Meagher was sent, first, to the Jesuits at Clongowes Wood College in Co. Kildare.  Truly, it could be said of Clongowes that it was just the Catholic version of the then new system of national education.  This system was run by Protestant commissioners and its function was to deflect the schoolchildren from an adherence to their native country - Ireland. The children were taught nothing of  the history of Ireland and, indeed, the following verse was prominently displayed on school walls for the instruction and edification of the pupils.
I thank the goodness and the grace
That on my birth have smiled
And made me in these Christian days
A happy English child.

    Meagher wrote, in disparaging terms, of his education in Clongowes, although he loved the college.  He wrote     

They talked to us about Mount Olympus and the Vale of Tempe; they birched us into a flippant acquaintance with the disreputable gods and goddesses of the golden and the heroic ages; they entangled us in Euclid; turned our brains with the terrestrial globe; chilled our blood in chilly excursions through the Milky Way; paralysed our Lilliputian loins with the shaggy spoils of Hercules, bewildered us with the Battle of the Frogs and Mice, pitched us precipitately into England amongst the impetuous Normans and stupid Saxons; gave us a look, through an interminable telescope, at what was doing in the New World; but as far as Ireland was concerned, they left us, like blind and crippled children, in the dark.
   They never spoke of Ireland.  Never gave us, even what is left of it, her history to read.  Never quickened the young bright life they controlled, into lofty conceptions and prayers by a reference to the martytdoms, the wrongs, the soldiership, the statesmanship, the magnificent memories, and illuminating hopes of the poor old land. 

    All this was then to me a cloud.  Now I look back to it, shake my hand against it, and say it was a curse. 

"Memoirs of Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher" by Michael Cavanagh, The Messenger Press, (1892), Worcester, Mass., USA,  P.23        


Copyright 2006 Waterford History