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In Andrew’s Whittaker’s book on Douglas Gageby (former editor of the Irish Times) published by Farmar 2006 there is an interview between Gageby and John Bowman. Gabeby recalls his schooldays at the Belfast Royal Academy and a speech at prize giving by Mr Justice Hanna of the Dublin High Court ‘He startled all the parents by saying : ‘In my time Irish was very well taught in the school. But it stopped suddenly 1912’.

The headmaster of the school was Alec Foster, former Irish rugby international and father-in-law of Conor Cruise O’Brien. Gageby also mentions that a former past pupil for at least one term was Wolfe Tone’s brother Arthur. Also teaching history there was John Beckett later professor of Irish History at Queen’s University Belfast.