Eamon Phoenix, a past pupil and former teacher died on Monday after a short illness. He was 69 and left St Mary’s in 1971 before returning to the school teach history in the early 1980’s. Eamon’s last visit to the school was back in 2011 when he led an historical talk on The Civil Rights Movement and the period 1968 -1971. He was invited to the event which was supported by Féile An Phobail along with Paddy Mackel, Tony Caher and Danny Morrison (pictured below).
Eamon was Ireland’s leading social and political historian specialising in Irish history. He wrote extensively on historical issues for the Irish Times and wrote the daily ‘On This Day’ column for the Irish News. He was a member of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations established by the Taoiseach in 2011.
The editor of the Irish News, Noel Doran, paid tribute to Dr Phoenix as “one of Ireland’s pre-eminent historians” who “possessed unparalleled insights into the past, present and future of our society.”
A political and social historian of modern Irish history, Dr Phoenix was Head of Lifelong Learning at Stranmillis University College in Belfast and was a frequent contributor to the media, particularly during the Decade of Centenaries.
The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey, said his reputation was “based not just on his encyclopedic knowledge but particularly on his ability to communicate our history in an engaging and entertaining way”.
Eamon was a Trustee for the Edmund Rice Schools Trust, a role that he held for 12 years, from the foundation of the Trust. He attended last year’s Hogan /O’Keefe 50th anniversary golden jubilee reunion where he spent the afternoon regaling his peers with stories and anecdotes from happy times he spent in Barrack Street and Glen Road.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.