Clongowes Wood College is supposedly one of Ireland's best schools.
Founded in 1814 by the Jesuits, it has educated a long stream of famous Irishmen, including the writer James Joyce, current Irish taoiseach Bertie Ahern, and various other high profile sporting and political figures.
My experience with Clongowes began when I was 14, and I was sent there by my parents. Clongowes is a very, very sport orientated school, rugby being the main focus. We actually got days off school sometimes to see our teams play matches. Very jock.
For someone who had little or no interest in rugby (ie. me), my first year in Clongowes was a bit of a nightmare.
Our dormitories offered very little privacy, a wooden cubicle and a curtain being the only way to shut the world out. The cubicles had no roofs, so rugby balls whacking you on the head unannounced were commonplace.

The cubicle next door to me was occupied by a very strange individual. It being my first few days in a school where everyone else already kew each other for two years, and I a complete stranger, I decided I had better make an effort with my peers, so I asked the strange guy next door if he would care to join me for a cigarette.
This was my first mistake, I didn't realise the guy I was about to share a pack of Marlboro with was to be my arch enemy for the next academic year.
I soon realised all was not well with my new friend, after about two weeks, I was walking down the corridor on my own, I walked past him and a group of other people from my class, said hello to them, then my "buddy" , James, walked over to me and punched me square in the face, sending me flat on my ass.
This was unexpected to say the least, and very painful too. As the guy was a lot stronger, and 100 times more aggressive than I was, there was very little I could do.

I was only in the school about a month when my first "incident" with James occured. I was told by some of my more sane peers to "watch out" for him, as he tended to pick on people, especially quiet people who were weaker than him.
Me being the type of guy who liked to read the lord of the rings, listen to new order and hang out in the computer room and generally mind my own business, sort of made me prime fillet steak for James' appetite.
So for one of the worst years of my life, I lived in constant fear of this psycho. The staff knew what a shit he was, but never did anything about him. It came to the point where I was afraid to sit in the same room as the guy for fear of what he would do next. I would usually get up and walk out, suffering a mere kick to the stomach on my way out the door.
I got so desperate and distraught about the whole thing that I wanted to leave the school. I begged my parents to let me leave, but I didn't have the heart to tell them why.
Academically, it ruined my first year there too. I could not concentrate. My results were consistently bad and I had taken to being a bastard to all the teachers and resenting them.
The bullying continued right up to the end of the year. I did go mental on the guy once and threw a tray of food in his face in front of about 100 people at dinner time. I got my ass kicked badly for it, but it was sooo worth it.

The guy got expelled after that year. The school finally realised that he had mental problems that they couldn't help him with. He had the IQ of a shovel and temper like Ted Bundy. Not a good combination. Boarding school was not the right environment for him. Personally, I think an abbatoir, or possibly a hazardous waste dump would be perfect for him.
I never told my teachers or my parents about it, and I am glad I never did. It was something that I had to deal with myself, and I felt much stronger after it. But, I would hope that if it ever happened to my kids (when I have some), they would come to me and tell me, because I would hate to see someone go through that.

At the end of the day, I will always hate that part of Clongowes and boarding school, but there was so much about it that I loved. I received an excellent academic eduaction, the facilities were top class, the staff were flexible and accomodating (At 16, my mom wrote the school and asked them if I could smoke in my room, they said yes).
I also made some of my best friends there, and for that I will always be grateful.

Last I heard of James, he was in some mental institution. Apparently he had gotten heavily into drugs, and had attempted suicide twice.
Sad. Although I will hate the guy forever, I hope for his family's sake that he gets better.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.