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Marian College, Dublin

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Marian College, Dublin

Marian College
Colaiste Mhuire Cois Abhainn
Type Secondary School
Motto Optimum Optare
Established 1954
School district South Dublin
Principal Paul Meany
Staff 35
Number of students 425 (Full)
Color(s) Royal Blue, Old Gold
Athletics Rugby union, Basketball, Waterpolo
Affiliation Marist Order (Brothers)

Coordinates: 53°19′58″N 6°13′45″W / 53.332899°N 6.229055°W / 53.332899; -6.229055

Marian College is a Marist Catholic secondary school on Lansdowne Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin. The school motto is Optimum Optare - the pursuit of excellence. The school was founded in 1954 and has a student population of 413 boys and 12 girls. The main sports played are rugby, basketball and waterpolo.


In the early 1950s, the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Charles McQuaid, had invited the Marist Brothers to open a school in the Sandymount-Ballsbridge area. This was in response to the opening of a co-educational school, Sandymount High School. Co-education was anathema to Archbishop McQuaid, so he wanted to provide a Catholic option beside it. The Marists found a beautiful site at Riverside House on the banks of the River Dodder and on 8 September 1954 the first pupils entered the Brothers’ house (Brian Nesbitt being the first student to sign up and later became a teacher at the school) to begin their secondary schooling. The Brothers decided to name the school Marian College as an acknowledgment of the special place of Mary in the foundation and traditions of the Marist Brothers and as an acknowledgment that the Church had declared 1954 as the Marian Year.

Until 1999, Sandymount High School was next door to Marian College.

For the first 34 years, the College was run by Paul Meany's[1] four predecessors, Bro Ligouri, Bro Declan, Bro Fintan and Bro Peter. Over the last 16 years, lay involvement in the management and organisation of the College has grown.


Rugby union is one of the schools main sports. The college fields teams in both the JCT/SCT competitions with the JCT in the final of the Cup Shield in 2008. The JCT won the Cup Shield in 1968. Water-polo is the school's most successful sport, the college having won numerous Leinster titles over the past 10 years. In 2010 the senior Gaelic team won both the Dublin and Leinster schools championships.They also won a Leinster Basketball title in 1989-90,coached by Meany and Nesbitt.The College has also won national soccer cup Captained By Graham Kavanagh (Irish international)the final was played at Tolka Park and coached by Robbie Cronin (teacher). Won the bike polo all Ireland championship in 2010.

Distinguished past pupils

  • Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin (2004 - )[2]
  • Adrian Kennedy FM Radio presenter.
  • The producer and impresario Noel Pearson[3]
  • Niall O'Brien and Kevin O'Brien, brothers on the Irish international cricket team.
  • Louis Magee Immediate past-President of the Leinster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU). Current Vice President of the IRFU. President season 2014/15.
  • Declan Hughes, Award winning author and playwright. Founder of the Rough Magic Theatre Company.
  • Peter Banks is the current irish olympic swimming team coach.
  • Donal Connell (1970) CEO of An Post
  • Frank O'Keeffe (1990) Partner in charge Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year awards
  • Lorcan Birthistle (1979) CEO Crumlin Childrens Hospital
  • Professor Alf NIcholson (1975) Temple Street Hospital.
  • Dr Sean Walsh (1975) Crumlin Childrens Hosptial
  • Tony Murphy - Actor (1990) Fair City.
  • David Bolger - internationally famous choreographer and founder of Coisceim Dance Company
  • Harry Long, well known in Irish traditional music circles and author of 'The Waltons Guide to Irish Music'.
  • Keith Dignam - (1979) 1st person in Ireland to get a sports scholarship to UCD and played for Shamrock Rovers in their final match in Glenmalure Park in 1987.
  • Marc Coleman - Economist & Journalist
  • Ger Siggins - Journalist
  • Emmet Riordan - Cricket Journalist Irish Times
  • Richie Smyth - Photographer, film and video director
  • Dave King - Rock singer (Fastway, Flogging Molly)
  • Dave Tilson - Footballer League of Ireland. Bohemians FC. FAI cup winner 1993
  • Alan Wyley - Chairman Barnardos Ireland


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