St Columba's College, Dublin

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For other colleges of this name, see St Columba's College (disambiguation).
St Columba's College
Whitechurch, Dublin 16
Republic of Ireland
Type Co-educational boarding and day school
Motto "Prudentes sicut serpentes, sed simplices sicut columbae" ("As wise as serpents, but as simple as doves")
Established 1843
School district Dublin 16
Principal Dr Lindsay J Haslett
Staff 43
Number of students 295
Color(s) Red, Green and navy
Athletics Rugby, Hockey, Cricket, Athletics
Affiliation Church of Ireland

St Columba's College is a co-educational boarding and day school founded in 1843 located in Whitechurch, Dublin, Ireland. Among the founders of the college are Edwin Richard W. W. Quin, Lord Adare (afterwards third Earl of Dunraven), the Right Hon. William Monsell (Lord Emly), Dr. William Sewell, and James Henthorn Todd.[1]

The school is affiliated with the Church of Ireland and caters to 300+ pupils, aged 11 to 18. Alumni are organized in the Old Columban Society. Its campus consists of 140 acres (0.6 km2) on the edge of Dublin and the M50 motorway. The school has grown up around a series of quadrangles, and major developments since the 1993 150th anniversary have provided it with many modern facilities. In 2004 it opened the Grange Building, housing over 100 boarders, as well as classrooms and house staff accommodation. In 2006, the 19th century Argyle buildings in the heart of the College were refurbished.

The old Cadogan Building opened in January 2008 as a new music school. Academic standards are high; in 2006, the average points score by all Leaving Certificate candidates was 440 out of 625, and in 2007 this went up slightly to 442. In 2008 it was 424, in 2009 446, and in 2010 the highest yet at 459. Over the past five years the average has been 442 points.[citation needed] Average class size is 12 pupils per teacher.[citation needed]. The Sunday Independent newspaper has identified it as the most expensive school in Ireland.[2]

House system[edit]

St Columba's operates a house system. Each pupil is placed in one of seven houses; Stackallan, Glen or Gwynn for all boys Form II to VI; Hollypark or Iona for all girls; Beresford for junior girls; Tibradden for boys under 13. The size of house ranges from 20 to 65 pupils. A Housemaster or Housemistress, assisted by at least one resident House Tutor, is in charge of each house, and acts in loco parentis in every aspect of the children's welfare throughout their time at the college.

Tibradden and Beresford occupy separate buildings in the centre of the college. Like the senior houses each has its own living and sleeping quarters and routine. Older boys and girls, selected by the house staff, help to provide an existence more structured and more protected than that of the rest of the school.


The school year is divided into three terms of which the first, the Michaelmas Term (September to December) is the longest. The Hilary Term is from January to March. The third is the Trinity Term, from April to June, and this is when external public examinations are taken. The Michaelmas Term has a substantial holiday at half-term, when the college closes down.

There are also shorter half-term breaks in the other terms, including following the St Columba's Day celebrations in late May or early June. Each term there is a three or four-day Exodus during which the college closes; most pupils from outside Ireland stay with their guardians, or Irish school friends.

Old Columban Society[edit]

Founded in 1909, the Old Columban Society is the alumni organization of the college. It keeps members in touch with each other and the college and has also published books about the history of the college.

Each year in May they publish the Old Columban Bulletin, containing about 25 pages of news of Old Columbans and the college. Regular dinners and drinks parties are organised, in Dublin, London and Belfast. An Old Columban Scholarship is awarded to children of Old Columbans, who are all entitled to a discount on College fees.

Currently they have over 2,800 members, of whom over 50% live in the Republic of Ireland, 5% in Northern Ireland, 16% in Great Britain, 5% in continental Europe and 7% in the rest of the world.[citation needed] Old Columbans Germany has established a website, and is organizing events for Old Columbans from Germany as well as Old Columbans living in Germany.

Notable past pupils[edit]


  1. ^  "Todd, James Henthorn". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. ^ Sunday Independent, 4 May 2008.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°15′59″N 6°16′14″W / 53.266376°N 6.270427°W / 53.266376; -6.270427