Marian College (Dublin)

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Marian College
Colaiste Mhuire Cois Abhainn
Type Secondary School
Motto Optimum Optare
Established 1954
School district South Dublin
Principal Paul Meany
Staff 35
Number of students 425 (Full)
Color(s) Royal Blue, Old Gold
Athletics Rugby union, Basketball, Waterpolo
Affiliation Marist Order (Brothers)

Coordinates: 53°19′58″N 6°13′45″W / 53.332899°N 6.229055°W / 53.332899; -6.229055

Marian College is a Marist Catholic secondary school on Lansdowne Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin. The school motto is Optimum Optare - the pursuit of excellence. The school was founded in 1954 and has a student population of 413 boys and 12 girls. The main sports played are rugby, basketball and waterpolo.


In the early 1950s, the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Charles McQuaid, had invited the Marist Brothers to open a school in the Sandymount-Ballsbridge area. This was in response to the opening of a co-educational school, Sandymount High School. Co-education was anathema to Archbishop McQuaid, so he wanted to provide a Catholic option beside it. The Marists found a beautiful site at Riverside House on the banks of the River Dodder and on 8 September 1954 the first pupils entered the Brothers’ house (Brian Nesbitt being the first student to sign up and later became a teacher at the school) to begin their secondary schooling. The Brothers decided to name the school Marian College as an acknowledgment of the special place of Mary in the foundation and traditions of the Marist Brothers and as an acknowledgment that the Church had declared 1954 as the Marian Year.

Until 1999, Sandymount High School was next door to Marian College.

For the first 34 years, the College was run by a succession of Marist Brothers.[1] In later years, lay involvement in the management and organisation of the College has grown.


Rugby union is one of the schools main sports. The college fields teams in both the JCT/SCT competitions and reached the JCT final of the Cup Shield in 2008. The JCT won the Cup Shield in 1968. Water-polo is the school's most successful sport, the college having won numerous Leinster titles over the past 10 years. In 2010 the senior Gaelic team won both the Dublin and Leinster schools championships. Marian won a Leinster basketball title in 1989-90, coached by Meany and Nesbitt. The College also won national soccer cup, captained by Graham Kavanagh and coached by Robbie Cronin. Marian won the bike polo all Ireland championship in 2010.

Notable past pupils[edit]

  • Declan Hughes, author and playwright; founder of the Rough Magic Theatre Company.
  • Adrian Kennedy FM Radio presenter.
  • Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin (2004 - )[2]
  • Kevin O'Brien and Niall O'Brien, brothers on the Irish international cricket team.
  • Noel Pearson, film and theatre producer and impresario[3]
  • Casey Walsh, Irish actor, songwriter and Hip-hop artist
  • Dr. Michael Kennedy, Author, Historian, member of the Royal Irish Academy and Adjunct Professor School of Modern History University College Dublin.
  • Colm Mackey, former Irish representative Water Polo player.
  • Marc Coleman, economist and media personality.
  • Brian O'Rourke, Irish Cricket coach.
  • Eamonn O'Reilly, Irish Chef and restaurateur.
  • Sean Kavanagh Irish International Football player & Fulham Football Club.


  1. ^ Marian College Website Archived 2012-07-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Is it worth spending a mint on your child's school?". Irish Independent. 10 September 2005 Mark Fitzgerald (LEGEND). Retrieved 19 June 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ Ferguson, Ciara (15 October 2006). "Meeting with the maestro". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2011.