The Times We Lived In: Play it again, Sam

Published, November 4th, 1972. Photograph by Dermot O’Shea

The Most Rev. Dr Buchanan, Archbishop of Dublin, at the opening of St Andrew’s School, Lucan, Co Dublin. Playing the organ is Mr Sam Adamson

The Most Rev. Dr Buchanan, Archbishop of Dublin, at the opening of St Andrew’s School, Lucan, Co Dublin. Playing the organ is Mr Sam Adamson

 

To sing, or not to sing? That is the question. Especially when the conductor has a baton with a hook on the end of it. If you hit a wrong note he might fish you out of the back row in an instant, and make a show of you.

Today’s photo was taken at the opening of St Andrew’s primary school in Lucan, Co Dublin, in 1972. Facing the class is, not a conductor, but the Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Reverend Alan Buchanan.

It’s a happy occasion, no doubt about it. Playing the organ, the caption is at pains to tell us, is Mr Sam Adamson. It’s a pretty snazzy-looking organ for its time, too. Whatever they’ve all been singing, it was probably something rousing and celebratory.

It’s also, clearly, best bib-and-tucker time. Look at the style of the two girls in the knee socks. And the trouser-suit on the little girl at the organist’s right shoulder is catwalk standard.

Even so, there are an awful lot of anxious young faces in this image. The kids appear to be expecting the Archbishop to administer a bat of the crozier at any minute. The two lads on the right, one with his hood up, look as though they’re about to leg it. As for the boy standing behind the trouser-suited girl, to say he looks sceptical would be an understatement.

To be fair, it’s not every day an Archbishop turns up in your classroom. But Dr Buchanan’s blessing was, presumably, benign; and St Andrew’s is still going strong in Lucan, working – as its website explains – “with parents and the community to empower pupils to live in and contribute to an ever-changing society and to learn to act as responsible pupils and later self-sufficient adults who care about others and their environment”.

Which sounds good to us. As another school year gets under way, kids and teachers all over Ireland, we salute you.

Arminta Wallace

These and other Irish Times images can be purchased from: irishtimes.com/photosales. A book, The Times We Lived In, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books, is available from irishtimes.com and from bookshops, priced at €19.99.

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