The History of the House

In 1957 the Marist Brothers had foundations in 52 countries with 14,000 members teaching 275,000 boys. The first group of Marist Brothers arrived in Clondalkin from Athlone in June, 1957. The following September the school was set up in an old house on a fairly large property named “Moyle Park” with a main entrance from Convent Road in the village. A former Manor house of the district, it was ideally situated and suitable. The Manor has been previously owned and occupied by horse trainer Jack Nugent.

The site had once housed the arsenal and gunpowder factory of the United Irishmen – but in the 19th Century it has also been the setting for a pioneer educational endeavour. It was stated that the gunpowder mills near Clondalkin were blown up and fifty years later in 1782, the foundation stone of a new mill was laid in what is now known as Moyle Park, under most distinguished auspices. The construction of these mills had its origin in the Volunteer Movement and was undertaken by Mr. William Caldbeck, a well-known barrister of that time who had become a resident in the parish. He was Colonel of the Lawyers’ Corps and we are told had previously built at his own expense a foundry for casting brass cannons for the volunteers. The foundation stone for the gunpowder mills was laid on the 28 May by the Right Honourable James, Earl of Charlemont who had the assistance of Lord Delvin and Mr. Caldbeck’s neighbour at Fortfield House, Barry Yelverton, later Lord Avonmore. The ceremony was attended by a number of the volunteers, who had marched to Clondalkin from the Phoenix Park, where they had been reviewed, and who, after the stone was laid, were entertained by Mr. Caldbeck in his garden “on a every substantial dish fitting for soldiers, with abundance of wine, Irish porter and native whiskey.” The mills inaugurated with so much splendour were blown up in their turn five years afterwards with an explosion of the most terrific character. Only two lives were lost, but it is said that pieces of the building several tons in weight were found six fields away and that the concussion was felt so severely in Dublin that it caused the fall of a stack of chimneys in Usher’s Quay.

Foundation of The College

When the College first opened its doors to students in 1957, sixteen boys “went up to the Marists” on that September morning. The spacious campus at Moyle Park provides an excellent atmosphere for the work of education. The College has been since its inception, the centre of every worthwhile local activity. Its gates are never closed to anyone who can further the welfare of our locality. The school was founded in the days when Clondalkin was a village that could only boast of one street and a pump (which still exists in the heart of the village today). Thanks to the foresight of the Marist Brothers we now have well kept grounds and spacious playing fields.

Moyle Park College is a voluntary secondary school (voluntary schools are schools run by religious orders).

Recognising Local Need

Clondalkin Residents Association was founded in 1952. Its aim was to make Clondalkin a better place to live for all. In this connection the Association was most active in the urgent matter of provision of a new boy’s school. The Association wrote to the then Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid, requesting him to invite a religious order to set up a school in Clondalkin and that the establishment of a secondary school would also be warranted having regard to the growing population. Archbishop McQuaid invited the Marist Brothers to establish such a school in Clondalkin. At the time, voluntary Secondary School buildings were not financed by the Dept. of Education and consequently a Building Fund Committee was established by the Brothers to fund the building and subsequent extensions to the college. The building as it is today is entirely the work of those Building Fund committees. It is a very big achievement and it speaks volumes for the dedication of the people of Clondalkin, both parents and friends of the College. A truly phenomenal achievement when one considers all the demands made on their time and resources.

(From an original article by Nancy O’Connell, former secretary to the College)