© CBC Monkstown Park -
The Christian Brother’s College at Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin is situated on the grounds of an 18th Century Gentleman’s residence, Monkstown Park. The village of Monkstown has a long history. In the year 1174, King Henry II granted the lands of Carrickbrennan to the Cistercian monks of St. Mary’s Abbey in the city of Dublin. These lands has previously belonged to the Irish monks of St. Mochana who, to escape Viking attack, were said to have fled by boat from Skerries in the north of Dublin, to the fort of King Laoghaire (Dun Laoghaire) in the south. These Monks then followed a little stream to the higher ground of Carrickbrennan, now the grounds of the ancient graveyard (adjoining the school grounds).
In the middle of the 13th. Century the Monks were forced to build a castle to defend themselves against the raids of the Irish O’Byrne and O’Toole Hill Clans. Monkstown Castle was originally a large fortress, surrounded by a high wall, enclosing about 5 acres of land. During attacks the tenants would gather inside the walls for protection. The raids of the Wicklow Clans grew increasingly more frequent and the Monks had to buy them off with “Black Rent” or protection money. Despite this the Monks established their farm and fisheries and supplied their city centre monastery with fresh produce from the Carrickbrennan lands.
The name of Monkstown is first mentioned in 1450 A. D. when it was noted that the tenants of the Cistercians at Carrickbrennan had founded a little village, Villa Monachorum, or Monkstown. This village lay on the route between the main port for England at Bullock Harbour and Dublin City itself.
In 1539 A.D. King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and the Monkstown lands were awarded to Sir John Travers, Master of the Ordnance in Ireland. The village consisted of 4 houses and 13 cottages. Travers lived in his castle at Monkstown from 1557 to his death in 1562. He was buried in Carrickbrennan graveyard. The estate was inherited by James Eustace, 3rd. Viscount Baltinglass, through his marriage to Mary Travers. Baltinglass was a rebel and a staunch Catholic. Monkstown castle became a meeting place for conspirators against the Crown and Baltinglass threw in his lot with the Earl of Desmond in his rebellion of 1580. The rebellion was defeated and Baltinglass was forced to flee to Spain where he died a broken man in 1585.
Monkstown was then awarded to Sir Henry Wallop, the Vice Treasurer of Ireland, and best known for his introduction of the Rack (as an instrument of torture) to Ireland. Wallop did not last long at Monkstown and the lands were returned to Mary, widow of Baltinglass, who then married Gerald Aylmer, who campaigned for the Catholic cause until his death in 1634.
The Castle then became the property of the Cheevers family, though the marriage of Mary Travers’ sister Katherine, to a Cheevers. During Cromwell’s reign, Walter Cheevers was exiled to Connaught, the poorest and most western of the four Irish provinces, but was restored to his lands on the restoration of Charles II to the Monarchy in 1660. He died in 1678.
The estate was broken up in the 18th. Century and Monkstown purchased by the then Protestant Bishop of Armagh, Michael Boyle. His son, Viscount Blessington enlarged and modernised the Castle until it became considered the second best residence in south Dublin, containing a chapel, library and saloon, surrounded by glasshouses, ferneries and even an ice house. From about 1780 the Castle began to fall into decay and is today in ruins. The daughters of Viscount Blessington married into the De Vesci and Pakenham families and the ground rents of the Monkstown area are to this day owed to them.
In 1834, Charles Haliday, a merchant and Antiquarian, moved from his city centre house in Arran Quay and “…leased the ‘ pretty villa’ of Fairylands, adjacent to the beautiful plot of ground which he afterwards purchased… (Monkstown Park)” . For some time he enjoyed the society of “..a few intellectual and social men…he drew, he played the fiddle and he rode to hounds…” , but in order to secure his future he resolved to devote himself to business until he had made enough money to retire comfortably. He notes in his Diary “…I now gave up, dinners and drawing, fiddling and hunting, and lived upon one third of my income and less.” After about 12 years he had made his fortune and was wealthy enough to build himself a house.
This he did in 1843 when Haliday purchased the estate of Monkstown Park from Lord Ranelagh. The estate was described thus”…Exactly opposite, is the ancient castle of the Cheeveres…a gentle swell of land between it (Monkstown Park) and the sea shuts off the keener eastern air, and the general slope of the land is towards the south and west, with a delightfully warm and sheltered aspect. It is well timbered and a short distance to the south is the Dublin Mountains.”
Haliday pulled down Lord Ranelagh’s house and built himself “…an unusually elegant and comfortable mansion…”, which is today still part of CBC ‘s school buildings. In Haliday’s time the house contained, as its heart, an extensive library. Haliday had collected a vast number of books and pamphlets on Scandinavian Dublin, which was his subject of study. He had in fact one of the best collections on Irish History at that time.
Haliday’s biographer, John Prendergast (all the quotes given here are from Prendergast)
describes the house at Monkstown Park as a “Lucullan Villa” after the famous Roman
renowned for giving lavish banquets. Haliday was apparently mortified since it was
his habit to serve his guests a plain leg of mutton. Haliday was a renowned philanthropist.
He was kind to his servants and campaigned successfully for the establishment of
public baths in nearby Dun Laoghaire, for use by the poor of the town. It was said
that he locked his dining room door on Saturday night and re-
Haliday died on the 14th of September, 1866 of an illness exacerbated by a sea voyage. He left a request that no gravestone be set up over his remains but his wife erected a stone tablet to his memory on a wall of the adjoining ruined church in Carrickbrennan graveyard (pictured left) before her own death in1868. In the 1990s we ran survey of the Grave Yard with our Transition classes and the then Librarian Jane Doyle. Some of the findings can still be found
On January 1st. 1857, the Christian Brothers opened a school at Eblana Avenue in
Dun Laoghaire. This was just ten years after the Great Famine and emigration was
rife. The school at Eblana prospered to a extent that it became impossible to accommodate
both primary and secondary departments in the 19th. Century buildings. Accordingly,
in 1949 the Brothers purchas the nearby estate of Monkstown Park, which had been
most recently occupied by a Protestant school. The secondary department, with the
exception of the commercial stream, moved to the house at Monkstown in 1950, and
extended the neo-
Our latest addition is the Edmund Rice Oratory, opened in 1994.
This was the origin of CBC Monkstown. The school motto is “Certa Bonum Certamen” (CBC) or “fight the good fight” and the school colours are red, black and yellow. From the start, the boys played Rugby as the main competitive team sport of the school and for a small school have achieved relatively great success, winning the Leinster Senior Cup in 1976 and reaching the finals in 1984 and wining the League Cup at Junior Level in 1998.
Famous past pupils include John O’Shea, well known in Ireland for the charity which he founded (GOAL) along with the playwright; Bernard Farrell, actor; Rory Nolan, footballer; Andy Keogh and Frank McCabe; managing director of Intel in Ireland.
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