Gerry Haugh R.I.P.

  • SumoMe

I heard bad news today. I was up at the hostel in Knockree, collecting our daughter, and a few of her friends who had been away with the scouts. Gerry Haugh died at 11:35pm on Saturday March 19th. This will likely mean little to most of you.

When we first met I was 12, and he was 22, just starting as an English teacher in Belvedere. He was keen on, and knowledgeable about, the theatre, and I was in his first ever production in Belvedere. At a net cost of £57, generously provided by Fr. Noel Barber SJ, the then head master, he put on Robert Bolt’s play for children – ‘The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew’, set in the AV room at the top of what was then the Science wing of the School.

This was the first of exactly 100 productions. Recently he did the ‘Pirates of Penzance’, in which my son played the 43rd pirate on the left. His last production, though we didn’t know it, was his adaptation of the ‘Pickwick Papers’ which opened on March 10th last. At that performance twelve of the original cast of Bolligrew, the 3 Syntax 1 Class of 1974, met up for a meal, the show, and a presentation to Gerry, who was in great form. Very unexpectedly he fell ill last Friday, was brought in to the Mater in a diabetic coma, and died on Saturday night.

What did I get from him? Many tangible things, a love of theatre, cinema, and stagecraft; the fun of long days hill walking in Wickow, and hostelling in Ballinskelligs; my first trips to London and Stratford to see plays; lots of great books, and great poetry; and even, (I think) an A in O-Level English. But I also got lots of intangibles. He was witty, sharp, and honest. He could be tough, when necessary, strict, when needed. He never fell in to the twin traps for young teachers of wanting to be one of the lads, or wanting to be God. He influenced many hundreds of young men for the better. He was a truly good man, an exceptional teacher, and we’ll all miss him.


Gerry Haugh, jacket open, tie askew, as usual, with some of the cast of Bolligrew, 100 productions later

Death Notice Irish times March 21st.
Haugh Gerard Martin (Gerry) (Glasnevin and Belvedere college S.J.) – March 19, 2011 (peacefully) after a very short illness at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. Only son of the late Desmond and Maire Haugh and sadly missed by his loving sister, Maureen, relatives, friends, past and present colleagues and students. May he rest in peace. Funeral arrangements later. Enquiries to Kirwan Funeral Directors, 0-8334444.

Funeral arrangements
Reposing in the Boy’s Chapel, Belvedere from 5pm Tuesday March 22nd, Removal at 7:30 pm to St. Francis Xavier’s Church, Gardiner St. Funeral Mass on Wed 23rd March at 11:30 am, in Gardiner St.

Gerry’s obituary from the Irish Times, Saturday April 9th 2011

Gerard Haugh: GERARD HAUGH, who has died aged 60, was a teacher of English and history at Belvedere College, Dublin, where over the course of four decades he made a lasting impression on successive generations of pupils.

Headmaster Gerry Foley said his sudden death shocked and saddened literally thousands of pupils, past and present, all of whom he encouraged to aspire to excellence.

“Generous and passionate in his belief in the principle ‘Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sé’, Gerry’s legacy is that he inspired others to be generous, to live life to the full and that in giving, their life would be meaningful and rewarding.”

“A true educationalist” is how one parent described him. “His priority was on the developmental stages of boy to manhood and a wish to nurture a love of the arts, humanities and a philosophy of ‘being’ . . . I always experienced him as operating from a stance of an ‘ethic of care and love’ and a belief that he could get more out of the boys than they ever imagined.”

A former pupil wrote: “Gerry was much more than an English teacher to me, he was a man I could always look up to, and more importantly he was a friend to every student.”

Born in Dublin in 1950, he was one of two children of Desmond and Maire Haugh. At University College Dublin, he was an attentive student of English and history, and an entertaining records secretary of the Literary and Historical Society. He graduated in 1971. That year also he began teaching at Belvedere College, and completed his HDip Ed in 1972.

His interest in and knowledge of theatre led to his first school production, which was Robert Bolt’s play for children The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew . It was staged in the science wing of the school for a net cost of £57.

Subsequent productions included Guys and Dolls, The History of Tom Jones and The Pirates of Penzance . He celebrated his 100th, and final, production last month. The author’s great-great-grandson, Gerald Dickens, attended his adaptation of The Pickwick Papers . And 12 members of the original cast of Bolligrew turned up at the opening night for a meal, the play and a presentation to the producer.

Gerard Haugh imparted a love of theatre, cinema and stagecraft to his pupils. He led them hill walking in Wicklow and hostelling in Ballinskelligs. He supervised their trips to see plays at Stratford-upon-Avon and London’s West End. Every year he organised the “Block Pull” from Dublin to Galway on behalf of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and Temple Street children’s hospital. And he also braved the elements to join pupils for the Christmas sleep-out in aid of Trócaire.

He is remembered as witty, sharp and honest. He could be tough when necessary and strict when required. He never fell into the twin traps of wanting to be “one of the lads”, or assuming to be God. He influenced many hundreds of young men for the better, one of whom now in middle age said: “He was a truly good man, an exceptional teacher and we’ll all miss him.”

He is survived by his sister Maureen, relatives and friends.

Gerard Martin (Gerry) Haugh: born April 13th, 1950; died March 19th, 2011

49 comments on “Gerry Haugh R.I.P.

  1. Canine Marathoner says:

    Gerry was the best teacher ever – in SO many ways. The comments made by Chris so miss the point – his confusion is akin to reading a Wordsworth poem & misinterpreting it as a Sun editorial. Gerry lives on whenever I teach a class history – the inner & constant inspiration – the ultimate personification of per vias rectas.

  2. astaines says:

    I sympathise first, most of the people I know enjoyed Belvedere, but like any other school, it wasn’t the best for everyone. If you wanted a low engagement environment, and some people do, unfortunately your parents sent you to the wrong place. This isn’t a matter of good school, bad school, but rather a poor fit between the student and the school. I was a bit anxious about sending our son to Belvedere, as I thought he might find the level of engagement offputting, but he loves it.

  3. astaines says:

    This is a case of YMMV. English is a subject which can be approached in a lot of different ways. Gerry taught me up to O-Level, and I got an A, so no complaints there. I didn’t have him for the Leaving, and while I liked Jack Daly’s teaching, I think I preferred Gerry’s.

  4. john says:

    he caused me a lot of pain and hurt when I was in Belvedere he may have been taken a keen interest in extra curricular activities. But no-one asked him too. However he felt the ‘need’ to get people involved in his activities and if you didn’t. Then you weren’t suitable for the school. Somehow I don’t think my Dad paid thousands of pounds for me to get an education in second rate musicals with bad orange make up and funny smelling costumes. Unfortunately for me his over enthusiastic but shallow teaching methods extended beyond the stage to both the classroom and the board of management. He was just another brick in the badly constructed wall, that is Irish education. Thankfully my son will not have to endure this sort of nonsense of “points don’t don’t matter” sorry I’m afraid they do Gerry along with the ability to construct proper essays in University.

  5. Past pupil says:

    I agree with Chris who uses the phrase “a smoke screen to cover up mediocre teaching”. He was an incredibly poor teacher.

  6. Past pupil says:

    There’s nobody else i could thank more for helping me and encouraging me in the way that Gerry did. Forever steering me onto the right path, he saved me in so many ways. Encouraging peoples passions, helping all those who needed it and dedicating himself to the lives of others. I had the pleasure of being in his form for 6 of the best years of my life and i can never show my appreciation enough. His memory and spirit lives on in the lives of those who were lucky to know him. RIP Gerry, we miss you.

  7. Senan Molony says:

    Gerry (or ‘Hairy Jaw,’ although the nickname never stuck – hard to tag a teacher everyone actually likes and respects!) had one other magnificent quality, apart from the many and myriad listed above.
    The ability to look the other way.

  8. Ian Flynn says:

    I read the news of Gerry’s death in the Irish times yesterday and couldn’t believe it. When I was a new 1st year in 1987, I took part in Tin Pan Ali, which Gerry directed and it was the first experience I had in the college that made me feel I could be involved. It was one of a number of porductions I took part in with Gerry, including a Block Pull to Galway. I got a lot out of my time in Belvedere, and got a lot out of many staff members, but, although I never had Gerry as a teacher, he was the first staff member who opened my eyes to the college being more than just a school. It’s a shame that furture generations of Belvederians won’t have the benefit of his dedication and encouragement. RIP Gerry.

  9. Paul Clinch says:

    Thank you Anthony for your extremely thoughtful words above. Like Anthony, I was one of the original cast from Baron Bolligrew (one of the raggedy peasants, key roles in the production!). English/theatre was not my thing at the time (Gerry had not started musicals in those days), and Gerry and I did not see eye to eye on many things. I loved sport, and I thought Brendan Staunton, Gerry O’Hanlon and others were inspirational. Having reached 50, I can see that the majority of any conflicts I had with Gerry were more because of my attitude at the time. No teacher is perfect; no teacher can motivate every boy, and some fault usually lies with both (though often unequally).

    Despite these issues, however I could always recognise how talented he was and I could respect the huge amount of work he did with the boys. We had fantastic fun producing Baron Bolligrew, on a shoestring budget, and I am sure that countless boys have been inspired since. I was greatly saddened to hear of Gerry’s death, and the genuine upset and sadness among my classmates who had just met up for the play 8 years after our last reunion was very obvious.

    I am reluctant to pass any comments on other contributors to this blog, but I would like simply to say to Christian Morris, that I thought his comments ungracious at this time. I am sure he is not the only person who didn’t see eye to eye with Gerry, but surely he can recognise what he brought to many boys who might otherwise never have learnt to appreciate English, or to discover hidden talents. It is precisely because Gerry never said “Achieve this and you achieve enough” (as you do above) that he was so successful and so admired. His refusal to restrict himself to just teach English and fulfill his primary duties was precisely what made him such an inspiration to many. Every school needs someone like Gerry Haugh to help them educate, develop and extend their students.

    I don’t wish to suggest that you are anything less than an excellent teacher; simply that there are many different ways to help and inspire children. Gerry’s way and your way may be different, and any teacher should be proud to have a similarly positive collection of comments on retiring from teaching. I hope you are more charitable to your pupils whose opinions and styles differ from yours than you have shown in your comments here.

    Paul Clinch

  10. Christian Morris says:

    Christian Morris (formerly “Christopher Morris”)
    1985 – 1991:-

    When evaluating a conventional post-primary teacher the most important criterion is how well that person implemented the terms of their contract of employment. Other work by the teacher (school productions, trips to the country, plays, etc), while superficially commendable, should take second place to how well the teacher performs professionally.

    Mr. Gerard Haugh was employed by Belvedere to be a teacher (of English and History) and a form tutor (mine for six years). In both professional capacities he underperformed. A shtick like:- “I don’t agree with the points system” etc can be used as a smokescreen for simply mediocre teaching, which is what I believe Mr. Haugh did. He was typical of so many Irish post-primary teachers insofar as his teaching only suited those who knew the subject inside out anyway and, even so, was far less than inspiring. As a form tutor he was always quick to mount pressure upon us but slow to actually help (I remember, in particular, two speeches of his – one, that if we did not “get involved” in extra-curricular activity we would be brought before the Board of Management and, another, telling us fourth year students that those going on a trip to France would have to bring O-Level work with us). He fed the constant atmosphere of anxiety and general nonsense that was endemic in Belvedere while simultaneously lacking the moral courage to confront either the more aggressive students in his own form or bullying by teachers (I can cite a specific instance).
    Unable to corral a clique of “yes men” he had to settle instead for a clique of “yes boys” – a group of students who were utterly uncritical of his amazing and invincible talents. If you weren’t in this group, you weren’t in.

    As a drama and musical director he fitted the clíché of “keen amateur”, full of gusto with no actual training in theatre, staging work of variable quality and questionable benefit to the children involved.
    His tireless dedication to extra curricular work disguised his essential narcissism and basic weirdness – ten years after I left Belvedere (every second of which I hated) he was still badgering me to attend his class reunions and buy CD’s and other tat being peddled by the school. When I wrote and asked him to stop contacting me, he refused, in a rambling, passive-aggressive letter which I have kept to this day.

    I am a secondary teacher of English myself and my core duties are to teach the subject as well as possible while getting the best exam results possible for everyone concerned (this and inspirational teaching are not mutually exclusive) while also being the king of my classroom and dealing effectively with indiscipline and bullying. Achieve this and you achieve enough.

    I was talking to someone last Monday who said, “oh Chris, Gerry gave his life to the place.” I replied:- “yes, but nobody asked him to”.

  11. Old Belvedere says:

    Thank-you very much for your blog Anthony. It was great reading it- part of it was referenced in the headmasters’ eulogy to Gerry.

    I had the privilege of being able to attend part of the funeral. I arrived at communion and the boys choir was signing “On Eagles Wings”- it was just beautiful. Would like to say a big thank-you to all who organised such a special send off to a great man.

    I wasn’t able to obtain the list of hymns on the day. If anyone could post that somewhere, that would be great as it really brought me back.

    RIP Gerry & thanks for being a teacher of so much to so many.

  12. Gerry's Student says:

    Gerry had a unique way of teaching and he was indeed one of a kind. May he RIP

  13. John Brennan says:

    I cannot admit to having particularly enjoyed my time in Belvedere College. One of those who helped me endure my stay was Gerry Haugh who taught me Renaissance History for the Leaving Cert. Gerry held a 2 hour class on Wednesdays. He always had a 10 minute break in the middle of class during which he played soothing Medieval and Baroque music which I was too young and callow to appreciate at the time. His good natured torturing of us with that music makes me smile now. Gerry was a fantastic teacher who imparted a life long interest in History to me. He was also a profoundly decent human being. I last saw him in December doing Christmas shopping in Hodges Figgis book shop. I thought about saying Hello to him but didn’t because I felt that he wouldn’t remember me as I left school in 1979. I wish I had spoken now. My loss! Rest in Peace, Gerry and Thanks for everything.

  14. Tom McMonagle says:

    Thanks for starting this thread Anthony, and for setting the personal tone. I feel the same need you do to speak about Gerry to others who knew him.

    I was a few years behind you and though he let us call him Gerry, we called him the Haughman. In the big snow of ’81/’82 many gaps appeared in the cast of the Pirates of Penzance. One of the missing was the leading man: We all knew Gerry would fill in,
    as he did gallantly, libretto in hand. What we really wanted to know
    was would the Haughman kiss the leading lady in the final
    scene.  He did. The show went on!

    Despite his love of language, Gerry spoke little of himself and rarely offered personal advice. He let his deeds speak for him. What did I hear?
    Humour, inclusiveness, kindness, high standards, humility, warmth, getting on
    with it, open-mindedness, adventure, hard work, generosity, grumpiness, love of
    beauty (and blue cheese), consideration for others…a life
    lived with skill and grace.

    He knew us better than we knew ourselves. He pushed us to stretch ourselves. And he was always the easier to imitate, for being so human…like not going to the bloody doctor when he should have. Thinking about his life these last few days I’ve felt the unmistakable tug of being challenged again…The inspiration goes on.

    “He whose deeds exceed his wisdom, his wisdom shall endure; but he
    whose wisdom exceeds his deeds, his wisdom shall not endure”.

    Thank You Gerry.

  15. Eoin Howlett says:

    I was shocked to hear the sad news – it brought back strong memories of being involved in the school opera in 1983/4. As a teenager, of course, I never realised how lucky I was to have been touched by his genius – thanks to Gerry on behalf of generations of lucky students.

  16. Karl Cassells says:

    It is with great sadness, that I too along with others here write these words about Gerry, but when I think back to the times I spent rehearsing and performing under his direction, it begins arouse in me, more uplifting emotions.

    I attended Belvedere from 1977-1984, completing the final year of the Junior School before moving into the Senior School. When I was in 1st year, Gerry put on The Mikado, staged at the Dominican Convent in Eccles Street, long before the days when Belvedere had a theatre, and even before we ever used the SFX! I had no real interest in the theatre at that time, so I never participated in the show, but because a lot of my class-mates were in it, I cajoled my parents into driving in to town one night for us to see it. In short I was mesmerised by the sight and sound of everything and everyone on the stage – it was unlike anything I’d seen before. The rest….as they say…is history. I played one of General Stanley’s Daughters(!) as an Alto the following year in ‘Pirates’….took a couple of years out for exams in 3rd and 4th year and then did Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in 5th year before doing my Leaving Cert in 1984! I stayed involved with the stage after I left school, both in amateur circles, and even acted semi-professionally on stage and tv – all thanks to Gerry.

    I always remember Sunday rehearsals where he bought a whole box of Mars Bars to give to us for coming in….but it wasn’t a bribe….we would have come in anyway. I also remember returning to Belvedere about 5 years ago, while rehearsing for a charity gig due to be put on at the National Concert Hall. We rehearsed one Thursday evening in the Boys Refectory…lots of professional Irish entertainers, along with some amateurs and semi-pros…..and Gerry was there watching everything. I chatted to him that night and, while always overly-modest, he was obviously proud when I told him he had inspired me to do this. I know I’m not the only one…he has inspired hundreds, if not thousands of people over the years to love theatre, and gave selflessly of his time and efforts in doing so.

    He’ll be very sadly missed….

  17. Rory says:

    A great man who gave generously. He will be sorely missed.

  18. Ruaidhri Boland says:

    Gerry inspired me to pursue the career in theatre that I have enjoyed. I took part in several of his productions from 1998-2002.
    He will be very sadly missed.

  19. Angi McNulty says:

    My heart aches, what an amazing man.

    We had many happy times arranging the Block Pull from Dublin to Galway,.

    We only spoke two weeks ago.

    My thoughts are with his family at home and in Belvedere.

    Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.

    Luv Angi

  20. Andrew Barry says:

    Gerry will be sadly missed through the years of Showboat, Joseph and Sweeny Todd, I left in 1997 full of confidence. The great memories of Block Pulls, Loyola trips away. All of this would not have been case if Gerry was not my form tutor but also a truly great person.

    Thank you Gerry..

    Rest in Peace

  21. John Hurley says:

    Rest in Peace, Gerry.

    A gentle giant.

    He explained to me in rehearsal …

    “We are doing something different from now on. Listen to the lyrics”

    “Any Dream will do”

    Joseph, SFX, December 1983

  22. Coilin Jones says:

    I had the pleasure of being in a couple of G Haugh productions,however much more so during two block pulls (89,90) I got to enjoy Gerry’s influence first hand.
    He allowed us to walk our own path, empowered us to make our own decisions but was always available to offer council and help. Those few weeks have provided me with many tools that I have used throughtout my life.
    I have very fond memories of Gerry and I am grateful for the time he invested in me.
    Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.
    Coilin Jones ’91.

  23. Brian Greaney says:

    Gerry was a warm, wise and passionate educator. He had a great facility to find talent in people and give them the opportunity to set it free. I’ll miss him. Rest in peace Gerry.

  24. Such is the mark of the man that I am thoroughly devastated writing this. My good friend Gerry Haugh passed away over the weekend. He was an incredible man – a teacher by profession, but by nature many more things to a countless number of people. He was inspiring, an awesome mentor, incredibly creative, exceptionally talented ….. and if he had been my English teacher I’d have lots more words to describe the great man. And even that says so much about him – he wasn’t even my teacher but his influence and effect on me runs deep to the soul.

    I knew Gerry from doing stage work for him when I was in Belvedere College (1978–84). His ability to demand and get so much from people was immense. And he brought out the best in us. It was Gerry’s stage work that drove me to become the Engineer I am. I enjoyed making stuff, building stuff, cutting things with a jigsaw … and from that I wanted to build more.

    Following his tradition from 1974, he brought a group of us students to Ballinskelligs, Kerry, when we were in first year and then in fifth year. About ten years ago, I started helping Gerry with these trips for his present students. There were many drives with Gerry, from Killarney to Ballinskelligs and back, or to and from Cahirciveen for the “supplies”, which became evident were Gerry’s excuse for a nice lunch. He spoke eloquently of books, drama and music. Not having the same appreciation for the Arts, it was clear this Engineer didn’t have a clue what he was on about a considerable amount of the time but it didn’t faze Gerry. He spoke with an optimism that some day I could be converted. And in the meantime I was the practical help – fixing things broken by our students in the Ballinskelligs hostel before Mrs. O’Shea ever found out! Some parents called me “Gerry’s driver”. Gerry beamed a wide smile when I told him that. We both knew we meant so much more to each other than that.

    In recent years Gerry got me to help him with his stage productions – taking photographs from the wings, and for the past year back doing stage work on Saturday afternoons. His ability to influence had moved life’s big wheel the full circle. I thought I was going in to help ease some strain but in Gerry’s inimitable style he saw it as an opportunity to get more out of his stage team. He was a hard task master, demanding bigger and better sets. And you couldn’t but just want to please the man. His enthusiasm was infectious, with a personality to match, and drove a person on, and on.

    His genuine concern and care for my foster son Josh was testament to his character. Those of you who know Josh (many from holidays given without reservation by Gerry on our trips to Ballinskelligs) will know he isn’t typical of the Belvedere students Gerry would have known, but typically mischievous of a child from inner-City Dublin. Gerry readily forgave him every single misdemeanour, and always, always started our Saturday stage planning meetings, or numerous dinners, with questions on how Josh was doing. I sometimes shocked Gerry telling him of Josh’s antics but regardless of the trouble he has been in over the years, Gerry’s offer was unwavering – to give assistance in whatever way possible, from a place in the College to a job from the OB network. Gerry was a rock of support, and an inspiration to fight the good fight when necessary.

    Gerry would be proud because I am fond of a verse from Edgar A. Guest’s poem “Compensation”. It seems apt for Gerry now:

    I’d like to think when life is done that I had filled a needed post,
    That here and there I’d paid my fare with more than idle talk and boast,
    That I had taken gifts divine, the breath of life and manhood fine,
    And tried to use them now and then, in service for my fellow men.
    – Edgar A Guest

    Writing this has been difficult, not just unable to hold back all the tears, with so many fond memories flooding back, but concerned at trying to do justice to the remarkable man. His like can only grace us occasionally in our lives. His loss to us is immense. May he Rest in Peace – although we know he’s actually directing a large show, with that personality that demands and achieves the best from the participants.

    I will miss my good friend immensely.

    Seamus Fearon
    21st March 2011

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/notes/seamus-fearon/gerry-haugh-rip/10150121960339174?notif_t=note_comment

  25. Mark O'Sullivan says:

    Waling home on Saturday evening, I was telling a friend how I think I’d never had as much fun and pleasure as I did taking part in Gerry Haugh’s plays …

    Richard III, Tamburlaine the Great, The Real Inspector Hound, Henry IV (Part I, bits of Part II and Henry V), Hamlet and Henry V.

    What a teacher, what a man!

  26. Such is the mark of the man that I am thoroughly devastated writing this. My good friend Gerry Haugh passed away over the weekend. He was an incredible man – a teacher by profession, but by nature many more things to a countless number of people. He was inspiring, an awesome mentor, incredibly creative, exceptionally talented ….. and if he had been my English teacher I’d have lots more words to describe the great man. And even that says so much about him – he wasn’t even my teacher but his influence and effect on me runs deep to the soul.

    I knew Gerry from doing stage work for him when I was in Belvedere College (1978–84). His ability to demand and get so much from people was immense. And he brought out the best in us. It was Gerry’s stage work that drove me to become the Engineer I am. I enjoyed making stuff, building stuff, cutting things with a jigsaw … and from that I wanted to build more.

    Following his tradition from 1974, he brought a group of us students to Ballinskelligs, Kerry, when we were in first year and then in fifth year. About ten years ago, I started helping Gerry with these trips for his present students. There were many drives with Gerry, from Killarney to Ballinskelligs and back, or to and from Cahirciveen for the “supplies”, which became evident were Gerry’s excuse for a nice lunch. He spoke eloquently of books, drama and music. Not having the same appreciation for the Arts, it was clear this Engineer didn’t have a clue what he was on about a considerable amount of the time but it didn’t faze Gerry. He spoke with an optimism that some day I could be converted. And in the meantime I was the practical help – fixing things broken by our students in the Ballinskelligs hostel before Mrs. O’Shea ever found out! Some parents called me “Gerry’s driver”. Gerry beamed a wide smile when I told him that. We both knew we meant so much more to each other than that.

    In recent years Gerry got me to help him with his stage productions – taking photographs from the wings, and for the past year back doing stage work on Saturday afternoons. His ability to influence had moved life’s big wheel the full circle. I thought I was going in to help ease some strain but in Gerry’s inimitable style he saw it as an opportunity to get more out of his stage team. He was a hard task master, demanding bigger and better sets. And you couldn’t but just want to please the man. His enthusiasm was infectious, with a personality to match, and drove a person on, and on.

    His genuine concern and care for my foster son Josh was testament to his character. Those of you who know Josh (many from holidays given without reservation by Gerry on our trips to Ballinskelligs) will know he isn’t typical of the Belvedere students Gerry would have known, but typically mischievous of a child from inner-City Dublin. Gerry readily forgave him every single misdemeanour, and always, always started our Saturday stage planning meetings, or numerous dinners, with questions on how Josh was doing. I sometimes shocked Gerry telling him of Josh’s antics but regardless of the trouble he has been in over the years, Gerry’s offer was unwavering – to give assistance in whatever way possible, from a place in the College to a job from the OB network. Gerry was a rock of support, and an inspiration to fight the good fight when necessary.

    Gerry would be proud because I am fond of a verse from Edgar A. Guest’s poem “Compensation”. It seems apt for Gerry now:

    I’d like to think when life is done that I had filled a needed post,
    That here and there I’d paid my fare with more than idle talk and boast,
    That I had taken gifts divine, the breath of life and manhood fine,
    And tried to use them now and then, in service for my fellow men.

    – Edgar A Guest

    Writing this has been difficult, not just unable to hold back all the tears, with so many fond memories flooding back, but concerned at trying to do justice to the remarkable man. His like can only grace us occasionally in our lives. His loss to us is immense. May he Rest in Peace – although we know he’s actually directing a large show, with that personality that demands and achieves the best from the participants.

    I will miss my good friend immensely.

    Seamus Fearon
    21st March 2011

  27. The Campbell Egan family says:

    As parents of an existing Loyola student, our son Jamie was fortunate enough to have this great man as his form tutor. Even though this is only his second year with Gerry, he has made a huge impact on on both Jamie and ourselves. We are so sad that their time together has come to such a sad ending and will miss him dearly. We feel blessed that we knew Gerry as he was an inspiration to our son. We will miss his wit and advice, and will never forget him. May he rest in peace.

  28. JohnGleeson says:

    Anthony
    Thank you, for these lovely thoughts. They brought back so many memories of those days from Baron Bolligrew to Tamburlaine to Hamlet, the old AV room and thr trips to Stratford.
    John

  29. maria says:

    My son only started Belvo this year but already Mr. Haugh had started to infulence him. He truely was a great man. May he rest in Peace.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Gerry for a place in Belvo, i was in Gerry’s English class for 6 years, i worked alongside him in a few of his productions and i also went to Ballinaskelligs with him. During my time in Belvo he was the most inspirational teacher and the most influential in my life. My interest in literature, reading, writing and drama all stem from his wonderful teaching of English which was unparalleled. When he read a book he played out the different characters, bringing to life the old classics and instilling within us a passion for literature, he was also the only teacher to give us a general talk about a few important things of life…………..i still picture him wearing his famous old black teachers cloak, with a big pair of glasses giving a big warm smile….just so many things i could write about him but my words would not be enough. I still have my old english story’s that i had written which he corrected and left some funny comments i think i will go re read them and think of the great man, the time that has passed and the memories i owe to him.

  31. Tara O'Grady says:

    I met Gerry in 1986, as one of the ‘Loreto Girls’ he engaged in the Opera Society, what marvelous memories! My son finished Belvedere last year and both of us have been struck with sadness at the loss of this monumental figure of a man. A quiet and unsung hero, who throughout the years touched peoples lives in a personal and insightful way. There’s a Gerry sized hole in Belvedere now that can never be filled.

  32. Valerie O'Brien Parent says:

    A Parent Perspective on Sharing Boy Rearing with Gerry Haugh
    I write from my experience as a parent of two boys, one who has already left Belvedere and one who is on the eve of leaving, Gerry Haugh was a true educationalist in the widest meaning of the word. He was not that interested in, and in fact barely tolerated an education system in which rote learning, ‘points’ focus, league tables etc had become in many ways, the primary indicators of success. Instead for him, his priority was on the developmental stages of boy to manhood and a wish to nurture a love of the arts, humanities and a philosophy of ‘being’. This was no mean achievement at a time when so many joys and challenges exist at a societal level. I always saw shades of the film, ‘Dead Poets Society’ in how he positioned himself in the world.
    He was tough. He was tough on himself, tough on the boys and even sometimes on the demands he made on their families! Yet, I always experienced him as operating from a stance of ‘an ethic of care and love’ and a belief that he could get more out of the boys than they ever imagined.
    It has been a real privilege to share boy rearing with him. From my perspective as a parent, Gerry had a way of encouraging, supporting and yet demanding the best, nurturing in a way that was never over stated. However, if you did not make the mark he let you know and his wry humour and ability to ‘use the look’, meant that you always knew where you stood. Communication for him was truly multi faceted and I suppose this is what made him such a wonderful teacher, director, producer and mentor .
    Thank you so much Gerry for giving our boys and our family so much of yourself, not to mention the truly memorable shows over the years on the Belvedere stage. Valerie O’Brien

  33. Mark Tiernan says:

    Gerry was our class teacher for six years from 1995 to 1991.
    He strongly promoted independant thinking and self introspection. He encouraged us to stand apart from the madding crowd if the vindication of our beliefs so required.
    He sacrificed his summers by taking us to balinaskelligs so that we could learn more about ourselves and from each other. As has been said he was not there to be one of the lads. He laid his ego aside to facilitate the intellectual and spiritual development of his students and succeeded.

    I was not one of the drama group and did not have a close relationship with gerry but in later years I have come to respect his methods more and more and respect him for giving his life to implement them. Rest in peace Gerry.

  34. William Wilson says:

    An incredible man from another grateful parent

  35. Sean Ryan says:

    Gerry was one of the most important people to influence my days at Belvedere. He was dedicated not just to teaching the curriculum but the whole person. I recieved great guidance from him over the years.

    I’ll never forget the trip to Ballinskelligs or the Block Pull. His productions of West Side Story, Les Mis and West Side Story could rival the West End. He introduced so many young students to great poets, playwrights and novelists. I’ll never read Yeats, Dickens or Shakespeare without thinking of him.

    I’ll never forget him nor will those who knew him – the memories of him conducting the orchestra to him helping himself to a couple of one of my best friends m&ms before English class began.

    RIP Gerry. Thank you so much for everything you gave us all.

  36. There are some people who make a school. I was never ‘in a play’, never ‘in a show’ while in Belvedere (1973-1980). But there were certain people who simply made the school what it was through their imagination, generosity, hard work and excellence. Gerry Haugh was the epitome of this – a fantastic example to students, teachers and parents.

    Like yourself Anthony I learned plenty from Gerry – in particular, as a mad keen sportsman, broader interests and a greater appreciation of other people’s interests and skills. And he set an example in terms of volunteerism which benefited all of us.

    May he rest in peace.

  37. Peter Walshe says:

    Anthony, Peter
    Well written, both of you; thanks. We were lucky to be there when he arrived at Belvo, taking us “for his sins” up the Wicklow Hills. I had the good fortune to meet him on a spontaneous visit 2 years ago. How ironic, but how fitting that he made the 100. There’s not much I can add to what you have written.
    Poins (the one in the green tights, Henry IV, part II)

  38. Jo Gannon says:

    Never has one teacher meant so much to so many – A very thankful parent + Rest in Peace

  39. Conor Whelan says:

    Superb article Anthony.

    So many memories are flooding back today. Right from first meeting him in ’84 as part of the chorus of Fiddler on the Roof right through to going to Russia with him in 1992.

    I went there neither as pupil or teacher. I suppose I was an “inbetweener”. That was a magnificent week spent in the company of Gerry, Jagger and Pat Rogan.

    Sadly missed.

  40. ronan lynch says:

    He was a true legend! I’ve set up a fecebook tribute page to him if you want to post anything! RIP Gerry Haugh
    I had him as a teacher for 6 years! Super man! Will be missed!

  41. Michael Hannan says:

    Hi Anthony,

    Great piece and a fitting tribute to a great guy. I was one of his students from 1989 to 1993, we owe him so much, as you said, he taught so much more than English or drama. Everybody in my year who was taught by him is devastated. It’s an understatement to say he’ll be hugely missed.
    R.I.P Gerry you were a legend and thanks for everything.

  42. David McAlinden says:

    A lovely article Anthony and I’m sure it echoes the sentiments of a lot of former students. Many of my fondest memories from the school are because of him, and I’m sure that I’m one of many in that regard. He’s irreplaceable.

    I’ve passed your article around the past pupils group on Facebook.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=20284638384

    RIP

  43. Mark Greaney says:

    I was part of the Belvedere class of 1998. Gerry asked me to sing solo at Christmas midnight mass in ’92. It was my first solo performance as a singer. I had no idea I could sing, until Gerry told me I could. I went on to play violin in the school orchestra for numerous school musicals in the old SFX Hall (all organised by Gerry). I formed a band called JJ72 whilst in 4th year (transition year). Gerry offered to listen to my first demo. I can honestly say, that without the encouragement, and the musical and artistic knowledge he imparted to me on that day (and continually for the remainder of my time in Belvo), I would not have gone on to be the person I became. My band sold many records and played amazing venues throughout the world, but in the midst of much of the madness, my mind would drift back to the day Gerry Haugh told me that I had something important to say, and the importance of saying it in a beautiful way. A great man, to whom I will always owe a lot….spiritually and otherwise. RIP Gerry.

  44. Colin Campbell says:

    An exceptional teacher indeed. Exceptionally generous and giving of his energy and time: days, nights, weekends, and summer trips… We pupils of his were so fortunate. RIP Gerry Haugh.

  45. Denis Twomey says:

    I would like to echo those well-chosen words about Gerry Haugh. I am still struggling to come to terms with the news we woke up to this morning. This day last week, we were honoured to be invited to a celebration after Gerrry’s 100th production and now we are waiting to hear about the funeral arrangements. We will always be deeply indebted to Gerry for the experiences he has given to our son both on stage and in the area of stage lighting for the most recent productions. Gerry will be sadly missed by all who knew him. May he rest in peace.

  46. Andy says:

    Thanks very much for the article. I’m an ex-belvo myself but i was class of 2010 went to ballinskelligs in 2008 and everything. the article sums him up almost perfectly and i’m delighted to know gerry was always the same great guy

  47. Colm Buckley says:

    I was never in Gerry’s class, but got to know him through the musical “operas”, from “Guys and Dolls” in 1984 through “Hello Dolly” in 1989, the Dramatic Society (“Roderick Random” in 1988) and of course the Dublin to Galway charity walks. He had a genuine gift of being able to inspire and lead, and I know that the store of fond memories I have of him are only a tiny fraction of what 37 years of Belvederians share and enjoy.

    He will be sorely and keenly missed. Rest in Poetry, as someone said on Twitter.

  48. Andrew Griffith says:

    Nicely put Anthony. I only knew Gerry Haugh from a parents’ perspective, but was always impressed with his contribution and influence on my sons time in Belvedere to date.

    He’ll be deeply missed.

  49. Peter Dempsey says:

    Anthony,

    Thanks for that beautifully written piece about Gerry Haugh (we would all be less articulate if it had not been for him).

    How sad his passing and yet how wonderful that just ten short days ago we all embraced him and said “thank you” for what he gave us from 1974 to 1978 and then continued to give, week in, week out (and weekend in, weekend out) right up until the end. His work was done, and as you said, he left his mark for the better on hundreds of us. God bless him and RIP.

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