A journey through time
On the 10th of January 1882, two weeks after the arrival of the sisters, Dominican College opened in 18/19 Eccles Street with a small number of pupils. Both houses were fine examples of Georgian architecture. House number 18, was reorganised as a new school while house number 19 became the convent.
The latter part of the nineteenth century was particularly important for the education of young women in Ireland. The Irish Intermediate Act, passed in 1879, enabled the setting up of a system of secondary education for both girls and boys, while the establishment of the Royal Colleges encouraged women to pursue higher education.
The Dominican Sisters, with their enlightened approach to the education of young women, prepared the pupils for the Intermediate Board Examination. High standards were achieved. Numbers increased so rapidly that very soon the original accommodation became inadequate. New buildings were added, and as the years went by, adjacent houses were bought and adapted for school use. The foundation stone of the new block was blessed and laid on May 31st 1888. Another stone, of white marble, blessed by Pope Leo XIII was brought to Ireland and set inside the building. This stone can still be seen today in Dominican College, Griffith Avenue.
As the secondary school developed and flourished, a university education for women emerged in Eccles Street. Women-students, prepared by the Dominican Sisters, presented themselves for the Degree examinations of the Royal University. Eccles Street became a true university centre. St. Mary's University Centre, already under the auspices of the Dominican Nuns, transferred to Eccles Street in 1902.
A Training College for secondary teacher training for women was established in 1908. It became known as St Dominic's Training College. It fulfilled its duty until Diploma Courses in Education were begun in University College Dublin in 1911.
A Junior Boys' School, known as St. Thomas' Academy, was opened in 1898. It continued to flourish until 1965, when it was closed down to create much needed extra accommodation for the secondary school. A new junior school for both girls and boys was opened in 1965.
In 1928 Scoil Chaitríona opened and prospered. Again increasing needs for more space resulted in the transfer of Scoil Chaitríona in 1972, to new school buildings at Mobhí Road, Glasnevin.
A residential Commercial College was set up in 1931 to cater for women pursuing careers in business. It remained opened until 1978 when again, the Secondary school needed further space.
From 1882, the diverse educational pursuits of Dominican College, Eccles Street, educated young women in preparation for their role in a rapidly changing society. Dominican College always responded to the significant changes taking place in Irish society. Almost one hundred years later in 1983, Dominican College had almost 800 pupils on roll, and more on the waiting lists - attracted by the ethos and academic success of the College.
Then a new chapter was opened when the Mater Hospital wished to acquire the entire block of buildings in Eccles Street to provide for its expansion. After some months of negotiation it was decided to transfer the school to a new site in the grounds of All Hallows College, Drumcondra.
In September 1984, staff and pupils moved to their new modern school, catering for almost 650 pupils. Today, Dominican College, Griffith Avenue is a flourishing and successful secondary school, carrying on the Dominican ethos in pleasant landscaped surroundings. It continues the tradition begun over one hundred and twenty years ago.
Dominican College is concerned with the development of the whole person, and through its educational activities strives to encourage student self-confidence, self-esteem and self-understanding as they experience the essence of Dominican education in a modern world. New programmes have been added over the last eighteen years in order that students experience a balanced curriculum that caters for their individual needs. Veritas, the school motto, infuses all aspects of Dominican College school life.
Dominican College has entered the 21st century, assured in its confidence that it will carry on and develop the traditions of Eccles Street and Griffith Avenue by providing a Christian education for those who attend it.