A Brief History

The morning papers of the 4th of August 1900 read as follows; “The Dominican Sisters have just purchased, as a permanent home for St. Mary’s College, the beautiful and spacious grounds known as Muckross Park, Donnybrook with its fine residence”. This purchase of Muckross Park in 1900 saw the beginning of a new era of Dominican education with the opening later in that year of a primary and secondary school and a Third level College for women sitting examinations in the Royal University.Inspired by St. Dominic’s vision of education, Muckross Park under the leadership of the Dominican Sisters learned to assimilate knowledge and evaluate ideas in relation to life. Through a well balanced curriculum of religious education, language, literature, history, the sciences, music, physical education, drama, the creative arts and technology, the students were helped to achieve self understanding and to grow in knowledge of the world.

From those early years Muckross Park College began to expand. In 1907 a new dormitory to cater for boarders was built. A larger secondary school wing was added by 1925 the year in which Muckross celebrated its Silver Jubilee with a performance of Laurence Housman’s ‘Bethlehem’. 1928 saw the convent wing added, followed in 1929 by the building of a house of residence for student nuns. A major problem in the college now was the lack of a proper concert hall. This was solved in1935 when a modern hall was constructed along with science rooms and more classrooms. However Muckross still did not have a chapel. This did not occur until May 25th 1945 when a new Church designed by a past pupil Eleanor Butler was blessed. One of the most beautiful features of the chapel is the stained glass window by Hubert Mc Goldrick which depicts the Crucifixion and Resurrection. A Church Bell donated by the past pupils was installed at this time and its chimes can still be heard today.

In 1949 the site of the present new college was acquired for playing fields, tennis courts and an all purpose sports pitch. The golden Jubilee of the school was celebrated in 1950 with a pageant based on ‘the forces of nature as prayer’. Muckross continued to develop after the Jubilee. A fourth story was added to the school during the 1950s and 1960s and in 1963 a new hostel for Universitystudents was completed. As pupil numbers continued to increase, pre-fabricated classrooms (Grianans) were added during the 1970s and 1980s. November 1982 saw the opening of a new science laboratory. In 1999 the Dept. of Education decided to finance the construction of a whole new school building on the present ten acre site owned by the Dominican Sisters.

The year 2000 saw Muckross Park College celebrate its centenary with the publication of a special booklet “A Century of Memories 1900 – 2000” followed by a special Mass and Garden Party on Sept. 9th. Construction of the new school began in 2005 and the pupils and staff moved from the old to the new in February 2006. The 19th April 2007 marked the official opening and blessing of the new school building.