St Finbarr’s College,
Lagos 60th Anniversary
The year 2016 saw the Saint Finbarrs College, Akoka Lagos celebrate her 60th ‘Diamond Jubilee’ anniversary which brought together the entire ‘Conquerors’ (alumni and present) as the students of the great school are known to celebrate and feast together.
The man known to us as Rev. Father D.J. Slattery came to Nigeria during the WWI (First World War) between 1939 and 1942, where he served in parishes in Osogbo and Ilawe-Ekiti, of the Old Western Region. Then, he was posted to St. Gregory’s College, Obalende-Lagos. As a teacher and sports lover, he became the Games Master for the school. Later become the editor of the Catholic Herald in Mushin before establishing his own school. His school became the first bilateral school in the country, combining full Grammar (called Basic) with Arts and Technical subjects, and in the 1955/56 academic year, with six students, fondly referred to as the ‘first six’, a new school, but without a name, was born.
The name Saint Finbarrs College which the school is known came later and could be traced to Ireland, the country of origin of its founder Rev. Father D.J. Slattery. Saint Finbarr or Finnbarr, in Irish Fionnbharra, very often abbreviated to Barra, (c. 550–25 September 623) was Bishop of Cork and abbot of a monastery in what is now the city of Cork, Ireland. He is also the patron saint of that city and of the Diocese of Cork.
Origin of the name Finbarr’s
Several lives of this saint have been written. According to one of them, the saint’s original name was Lóchán, but when he went as a young man to be tonsured as a monk for the first time, the man shaving his head said: “The hair of this servant of God is beautiful.” Another said: “You have spoken well, because his name will be changed and he shall be called Finn-barr, that is ‘beautiful hair’, from the beautiful head he offered in sacrifice to God.” So he was called Finbarr by some and Barra by others, Barra being generally used in the Irish language.