It is with mixed emotions that I learned on Friday that Cistercian College Roscrea is to close in 2017. In a letter to past pupils from the Abbot Dom Richard Purcell, he stated that it was "with great sadness and regret that the monks of Mount St Joseph Abbey, as Trustees of Cistercian College Roscrea, have taken the decision to permanently close the College". It seems the monks had no real choice but to make this difficult decision. A 45% decrease in student enrolment, insufficient resources to cover day-to-day costs, and unrealistic alternatives have forced their hand. Up to as recently as 1989 there were about 300 boys boarding in the school - the projected figure 2017/2018 is 150, clearly an unsustainable number. Despite a growing population in this country and a consequent increase in demand for school places - it seems that demand for full-boarding is in terminal decline.
|Image source: Wikipedia.|
I attended CCR from September 1972 to June 1977 and have many memories, both good and bad, from my time there. There were about 60 boys in my year, and many of us keep in touch through reunions - this year were are hoping to gather for our 40th Anniversary of finishing up in CCR. Strange that this will be the last such reunion while the school will still be open. I'm sure that the Past Pupils Union will keep things going for a while, but as the song goes "But year after year, their numbers get fewer, Someday, no one will march there at all" (The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, by Eric Bogle).
I'll post some memories here over the next few weeks.