“Small enough to care, large enough to challenge.”
St. Conleth’s College is now into its seventy-sixth year at the forefront of Irish primary and secondary education. When Mr. Bernard Sheppard opened the College’s doors to its first class the day after war was declared in 1939, Ireland seemed desperately in need of a generation of idealistic and ambitious young men. Many things have changed over the years, but with the once thought extinct Celtic Tiger perhaps now purring again, the need for inspired yet adaptable education is as essential as ever. Every August, around results time, the press tries to stir up controversy over the advantages of a private education. At St. Conleth’s, we proudly stand by our tradition of excellent exam results, but we refuse to be confined to the stereotype of ‘privileged points factory.’ A few years ago, a national politician was invited to St. Conleth’s to present our Transition Year students with their Gaisce awards. He paid tribute to the young men in question and the whole school by speaking of St. Conleth’s “tradition of providing the best in private education.” But, significantly, he did not stop there. The minister negated the begrudgers by identifying the real ‘privilege’ of Conlethians as belonging to a good school, but more importantly “a good, happy school which strives to see students as individuals and full human beings.” It is a tribute of which Bernard Sheppard would have been justifiably proud. He chose St. Conleth, the medieval saint known as a ‘moulder of precious metals,’ for our namesake because we were to perfect a similar craft: We take the natural intelligence and talents of children, and mould them into the best young people in Ireland.
Tradition is important at St. Conleth’s, but it is partnered by an eagerness to embrace modernity and its required innovations. Some older alumni would be pleasantly surprised if they passed through our doors today, not the least by the presence of young women in our Fifth and Sixth Years, and soon, throughout the whole school! Any jealousy over having missed out on this particular advancement in equality would quickly be overcome by amazement with the developments of St.Conleth’s working environment. A series of renovations and additions over the years has reached another impressive plateau with the third floor extension, including purpose-built music and conference rooms and a dedicated Sixth Year Unit. This latest project capped a building spree in which we added a state-of-the-art server-based ICT room, an auditorium/gymnasium, a new art room and renovated laboratory, and a facility which really gets the past pupils moaning about the contrast between the Spartan simplicities of the olden days and the cushy conditions which surround the current generation: a cutting edge cafeteria worthy of the best American sitcom high-schools.
No better tribute can be paid to St. Conleth’s tradition of success than a reading of the invitation list to our recent Seventy-fifth Anniversary Gala Celebration. Business entrepreneurs, Olympic champions, law professors, accomplished surgeons and missionary priests were amongst the alumni who came from around Ireland and the world to celebrate their alma mater’s birthday. The diversity in origins, careers and philosophies made it a cacophonous affair, but all voices became one when they recalled their days at St. Conleth’s and paid tribute to its unique tradition of melding personal development and educational excellence. Please explore this website for examples of the breadth and depth of the St. Conleth’s experience and feel free to contact us with any questions.
Le gach deá-ghui! With all good wishes!