Peter Costello, Clongowes Wood, A History … 1814-1989 (?1990), pp. 266.

Approaching my task as an outsider, I have tried to write a book for the general reader … to trace through its history aspects of the changing social and political scene in Ireland since 1814 [2]

To many of its critics … it seems to stand outside the true current of national feeling, and is not Irish with Irish Ireland. Such at least was the opinion of Thomas Francis Meagher, of his old school. [3]

Fr. Roland Burke-Savage SJ … Fr. Timothy Corcoran SJ (The Clongowes Record, 1932). [3,4]

Joyce among the Jesuits, Kevin Sullivan; James Joyce’s Schooldays, Fr Bruce Bradley.

extract: Fr. Matthias Bodkin, Borrowed Days (n.d.). [10-13]

Jesuit missions to Ireland, 1542; first Irish Jesuit, David Wolfe, 1561; Christopher Hawwood of Artane, 1598-1629; short lived university in what is now the Tailor’s Hall, 1627-30 [16]

Stephen White, who worked on ancient literature of Ireland; Jesuit schools in Ireland, (Kilkenny and Drogheda), 1600-90; suppression of Jesuits by Bull Dominus ac Redemptor, 1773; protected by Catherine in Russia; accumulated Irish monies of 32,000. [17]

Peter Kenney, b. Dublin 7 July 1779; son of coachmaker [17]; religious training at Stonyhurst and Palermo; RL Sheil ed. Stonyhurst, memoir of Kenney; Kenney plans to educated Catholic gentry of Ireland [18]

Carlow College, 1783; St. Kierans, Kilkenny; Maynooth, 1795 [19]

purchased Wogan-Browne demesne, Castle Browne, with land [19], for #16,000 [20] with funds for Church in Gardiner St., #6,500, and house and chapel in Hardwicke St., #400.

Opposed by John Giffard in Hibernian Magazine: Ireland now stands in imminent danger. If Popery succeeds, our fairest plains will once more witness days to rank with those of Bloody Mary and the walls of Derry shall again become the lamentable bulwarks against Popish treachery and massacre. [20]

Robert Peel’s administration resisted bigotry [20-21]; school to be in name of Thomas Parnell of Avondale, father of Charles Stuart [sic] Parnell, subterfuge suggested by Daniel O’Connell, not enacted.

Order restored by Bull Sollicitudo Omnium Ecclesiarum, 1814 [24]

Fr. Aylmer, of Painstown, north of Clongowes … came from Catholc gentry … with little experience of other classes, or other regions of Ireland, with the typical outlook of their class … gave a social tone to the Society in Ireland which was to mark it for generations. [27]

200 students in 1816, a total not reached again till 20th c.; typhus epidemic [27]

Dr. Doyle (JKL), Gallican stance on Church-State relations ( … suggested a union of the Christian Churches in Ireland) … rigorous Continental training at Coimbra … suspected Jesuits of leniency in confession [28]

JKL’s biographer, WJ Fitzpatrick [29]; JKL comments doubtfully, ‘luxurious splendour of Clongowes might tend to promote pride and voluptuousness if not counteracted by fasting, prayer and meditation.’ [31] … no mincing words … Fr Kenney leaves the table: ‘I am unused to such language at my table.’ [31]

Daniel O’Connell, Jr., his diary: Clongowes Wood College Clane Ireland Europe Eastern Hemisphere the World - a formula countless boys have since written. [35] vacation Hurra Hurra Hurra [37]

Meagher: It was in that library that Meagher devoured the speeches of O’Connell and Sheil; his ‘speeches … pitched in such an exalted strain, that they have become almost unreadable to later generations (Denis Gwynn) [41]

Schoolboys Three, Clongowes novel by William Patrick Kelly [42]—the only novel dealing with an Irish public school; at Clongows 1858-60, novel published in 1895; nine books, mostly historical [47].

Blackrock College, 1860; Castleknock … through their association with London Univ., 12832, could offer degrees [44]

Education Act, 1870, brought about reformed public schools; [44] 1879 Intermediate a disaster for Clongowes, no student passing [45]

Belvedere, 1832;

Tullabeg, started as a preparatory school, 1819; General Sir William Butler was a grad. of Tullabeg, which he greatly dislike [51]; Judge Matthias McDonnell Bodkin very happy there

.. his detective stories have come back into vogue, in recent years, though When Youth Meets Youth, his novel about Tullabeg, vivid and amusing though it is, remains in the limbo of lost literature.]

Fr. William Delaney [53 & facing]; Fr Conmee … widely known all over the world from his appearance as the model of the benign and cultured Jesuit in Joyce’s Ulysses [57] … Fr. Verdon, his minister [56]

Eoin O’Mahoney [60]; Father Daly = Fr Dolan in A Portrait [60], characterised by Ellmann as il-bred, wide of the mark [60] … old cultured family in Co. Galway … eccentric … there is a Jesuit tradition that Fr Daley pandied lightly (note, the pandy is in the school song [7])

Clongowes had become a college devoted to cramming for the needs of the government exam … meant the end of the last vestiges of … the Ratio Studiorum. [61]

Sir Michael Francis O’Dwyer, Gov. Punjab 1913-1919, assassinated 1940. [64]

Thomas Esmonde, ‘of the Redan’, one of first VC; other died at Lucknow adn in Peking.

Major-Gen. Henry Butler, Crimean and South Africa Soldier.

WQilliam Redmond, br. of John ‘made a special journey through the Empire whic he wrote about in 1892 … Irish nationalism had its imperial aspecxts, whic are all too often overlooked by a narrowing view of mere events in Ireland. Redmond spoke for many of his outlook … shared by many who sent their sons to Clongowes. [66]

Thomas Francis Meagher complained that the Jesuits were whigs … the new classes of Irish nationalism were not the classes who sent their sons to Clongowes [66] tendency to see Clongowes as having made a mistake, backed the wrong side … Home Rule … won their approval … educating their young men to become leaders of the nation [67]

Fr Dineen unhappy at Clongowes, later left the Jesuits … hard for a school which devoted much of its time to the civilisation of Christian Europe to find value in a largely pagan culture whcih was … the recent creation of a handful of scholars [and] an assortment of politically dubious enthusiasts. [67]

Fr. Boyd-Barrett provids socialist inspiration to some boys [67-8]

Conal O’Riordan ed. Belvedere 4 yrs, then Clongoes at 13; memoir of Clongowes quoted from Journal of Irish Lit., vol XIV, (Sept 1985).

Dan O’Connell places his boys at Clongowes [78] ‘that they should be strongy imbued with the principles of Catholic faith and national feeling. These advantages I should entertain sanguine hopes of, if they wre placed under your care.’ [80]

Joyce hated the food, the weak tea, the ghastly pudding, the fatty meat; much of his later life was devoted to making up for this. [82]

Francis Mahony and Frank Stack Murphy, celebrated classicists [83]

The narrative of Francis Mahoney told incoherently; gaining praise as temp. perfcect of studies when disaster ovetook him; boys from Rheotirc to walk to Maynooth, take tea with the Sheehans in Celbridge, and return for prayers; got drunk at Celbridge, returned in a truf cart; one boy fell in vat and was badly burnt; ‘very soon Francis Mahoney was on his way to Europe, and to his future career as a writer and journalist [83-4]

Peter O’Brien, Lord Kilfenora, ‘Peter the Packer’ [84]; … whom Maurice Healy so amusingly describes in The Old Munster Circuit

Word Processor problems: OC—Old Clongownian—but this initial is used earlier without explanation. [86]

Religious Ideal

‘The position of Catholic Traning, incl. religious practice and religious instruction, was by no means so satisfactory among the more wealthy element of our population.’ Fr. Corcoran. … Fr. Ornsby, Newman’s colleague … placed the emphasis on too long an exposure to English ideas; the irish upper-class Catholics were infected with Protestantism. Whatever their source, the effect of the malaise were obvious.

Fr. James Cullen, fndr. Pioneer Assoc. for total abstinence, came to Clongowes at 14, 1856. [94]

Fr. Browne’s exceptional holiness [96]; rector in 1900; staue of Our Lady in the grounds [facing 96]; heroic sanctity; Costello succombs to the atmosphere of the Boys’ Chapel [103]

Clongownian Francis Hackett, The Green Lion; records a thunderstorm during the Intermediate examinations, when Boyud-Barrett is the only boy not to abandon writing his paper. [106]

Remarks in Thomas Francis Meagher: … his famous espousal of the sword was a key speech in the development of the revolutionary traditions of Ireland. As with many rhetoricians, the words were finer than the man, and his later career despite his heroic achievements during the American civil war, peterd out and ended in suicide or something close to it.

Arthur E. Clery [109]

Much fun in the Chemistry lab. Patrick McGilligan, Free State Min. promoting Shannon Scheme OC. [137]

The Arts

William Carleton visits Clongows, 1817; received 15s to help him on his way.

Much has been written about Joyce in the context of Clongowes, but one woulc gain the impression from some of his admirers that he was the only literate person the school produced. This is not so, naturally.

W. P. Kelly, born Co. Mount Brnadon, Garigue-na-Managh, Co. Kilkenny, trained Wopowich, Royal Artiler, retired 1874. … an example (by 1916) to most nationally minded Clongownians of wha they most disliked in the older Clongowes. … Schoolboys Three modelled on Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1857) [148]

Floodtide: a story of Cluan College (1927), Fr. matthias Bodkin; The Last Lap (1925), Fr Fergal McGrath. [148] an incredibly silly literature.

In fact Clongowes comes out well in A Portrait, as indeed the Jesuits do, with the exception of Fr Daly, Fr. Dolan as Joyce calls him. … some of the best literary descriptions of the school and its life are contained in the books of James Edward Boyd-Barrett … labouring under a grievance against the Jesuits

Green Lion much concerned with Kilkenny … Hackett came from Parnellite family there … not as well written as the books of other authors … Henry the Eighth and Francis the First … fails to fain full mastery of personal material … banned on first publication … remains classic of modern Irish literature

Sydney Bernard Smith (OC 1947-52) … as yet unpublished … The Book of Shannow will be a remarkable peice of literature [150]

Gerard Manly Hopkins found some peace there during those last years in Ireland [151] MS of The Soldier, written at Clongowes. [153 facing]

Lots of jolly school plays. [155]

Box and Cox (1842) played twice, 1924, 1932. Again, in 1950, with Charley’s Aunt.

Thomas Bodkin OC, Director of National Gallery; also George Furlong, his successor. [163]

John Ryan OC [163]

James Joyce at Clongowes

Joyce’s significance for Clongowes must always be as an advertisment for the nature and quality of the traditional Jesuit education, both religious and literary. One of Stephen’s friends remarks that hs mind is supersaturated with the religion that he proposed to reject. This was true of Joyce: he was, essentially, a well-informed Catholic. If h later rejected Catholic it was not through any failure of the Jesuits, but because of his own nature. [170]

Joyce will always be of significance for Clongowes for he will always stand for that determined realisation of one’s own proper vocation which lies at the heart of the Jesuit ideal of education, however perverted it may become in some cases. [170]

Christopher Palles OC, Lord Chief Baron. [185]; d. 1920 [187]

Sir William Butler’s telegram: ‘Warmest wishes to Union of College which first re-lit the lamp of learning in Ireland after long extinguishment.’ [185]

‘progressive conservatism’ [187]


Clongowes 1966 completely ignored 1916 commemorations; proportionately more Clongownians died than Etonians; Thomas Kettle; [197]

Kevin O’Higgins; Patrick McGilligan; Patrick Hogan; John Marcus O’Sullivan; Seamus Burke; Joseph Brennan; D. A. Binchy; Fredericik Boland; Count O’Kelly; Count Plunkett

Captain Kelly Rogers, Churchill’s pilot [211] LDF/FCA at first treated with respect [211] … the FCA was a expression of the spirit of independent Ireland [213]

Tom MacIntyre taught at Clongowes in early 19603. [217]; Michael Smurfit contributes a Television Room.

Evie Hone window. Prosperous Crozier.

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