From searching hedgerows for science students to designation as a Technological University there are 50 years of fascinating story’s to be told by IT Carlow graduates


Friday 12th November 2021 saw six of IT Carlow’s first ever science students and their lecturer walk through the doors of the Institute for a long-awaited reunion. The event was organized to celebrate 50 years of third level education in Carlow. Memories of practicals in the chemistry lab to winning an All-Ireland football title came flooding back for the guests as they travelled from across the country to the college they once called home.

As graduates David Harrington, Wicklow; Mel O’Rourke, Meath; Dermot Coyne, Cavan; Greg Murphy, Carlow; Phil Henderson, Laois; Martin Stapleton, Laois and retired lecturer Paul Kinsella, Wexford walked through the doors of the Institute, most of them for the first time since 1972, the sense of pride and excitement was apparent as they greeted each other with stories of their first days in college. Immediately the discussion started as to how they all ended up in Carlow. Seemingly the Department of Education had a leaflet drop across the country advertising new exciting courses in Science, Business & Engineering which were commencing in Carlow’s Regional Technical College (RTC). One of the first RTC’s in the country, CEO Austin Waldron and Principal, John Gallagher ensured Carlow was on the map and third level programmes, which were career focused and practical, was a real opportunity for students across the country.

Bullocks were sold, Honda 50’s were purchased and the hedgerows of Ireland were searched to ensure there were bums on seats at the new Regional Technological College according to the lads reminiscing over lunch. Dermot Coyne from Cavan recalls how his full board and digs on the Green Road were £4.50 per week. As the group took in a tour of the fantastic new facilities IT Carlow has to offer they chatted about winning an All-Ireland football title against Dundalk RTC, beating St Pat’s Teacher Training College in the semis and the bloodshed in between. Upon arriving at their old chemistry lab, they took their seats as their retired lecturer Paul Kinsella took a marker to the board and the crack was mighty. There was no stone left unturned as the memories of their days in Carlow kept flooding back. The group were joined by the Institute’s current Head of Science Faculty, David Dowling and banter continued.

Continuing the tour, the group were amazed and proud at how the Institute has expanded and developed into one of the top Institute’s in the country. Declan Doyle, Vice president for Development and Research welcomed the group on behalf of the Institute and spoke about the advancements of the Institute since they left in 1972 and the announcement of the Institute set to become a Technological University over the coming months.

After graduating with Science Certificates in Carlow most of the graduates moved on to Athlone to complete their Degree and work in various employment in their choose field. Their science background certainly rang through as they discussed climate change, water treatment and advances in cancer treatment as the event came to a close over coffee. It was a special day for those attending and a great opportunity to meet up with lifelong friends made in 1970 while studying in Carlow.

“On behalf of all my classmates, I wish to thank you sincerely for the wonderful reception you arranged for our visit. All those present have contacted me to express their appreciation and gratitude for the manner in which they were received and treated by the college. We were very impressed by the facilities available on campus. It was particularly satisfying to re-visit our old classrooms & labs. We are deeply grateful to you for taking so much time out of your busy schedule to accommodate us for this historic re-union. May I take this opportunity to commend the wonderful progress made by IT Carlow over the years and to wish you all continued success in the years ahead.” comments David Harrington.

David, Mel, Dermot, Greg, Phil and Martin started their story at IT Carlow and we wish them every happiness in the future. As with all of our alumni we would like to remind you the door is always open at IT Carlow. If you would like to return to the campus or tell us your story since you started your journey with IT Carlow (RTC) join our alumni page on LinkedIn or contact