the beginning

In 1914 a number of dedicated Past Pupils decided it was time to establish a union that had been in discussion during the previous year. The main purpose was to provide a basis where they could meet socially and thus retain many of the friendships made during their school years. On 6th June 1914 the first meeting was held at Dominican College, Eccles Street by kind permission of Mother Prioress and a provisional committee was formed. It was decided to circularise all past pupils and convene a general meeting in November of that year. On the 11th November 1914 the first President of the Union was elected, together with Officers and Committee. Professor Mary Hayden, MA DLitt, the first President, remained in office until her death in 1943. At this meeting a motion was proposed by Louise Gavan Duffy that a social work scheme be established, which was carried. Discussion commenced on ways to raise funds to support the social work. The twofold objectives of the Union to bring past pupils together by means of social gatherings and to promote social services established from the beginning are still the driving force of the Union 100 years later.

Past Pupils' celebrate the Golden Jubilee, Eccles Street, 1932

In 1930 the Union initiated a number of clubs and societies to cater for social and sporting activities of past pupils. The Lawn Tennis Tournament and the Golfing Society and Outing were formed. It was noted at the time that our Union was the first of any girls’ school to form a Golfing Society. Many other clubs and societies for the Union were established during the following ten years

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It was agreed by the Committee that some social work should be undertaken and this was the forerunner of the subsequent St Dominic’s Club. Funds for this work had to be found and so a concert was arranged at which many talented past pupils participated, including Margaret Burke Sheridan. Whist Drives were also held to augment the funds. In subsequent years the proceeds of Annual Dinner Dances, Dinners, Sales of Work were donated for the running of the Club. In 1918 a Night School was set up in 19 Eccles Street to provide religious and secular education for girls who had not attended school in their earliest years and also for those who wished to further their education. Tuition to about 30 girls was provided by past pupils and these projects were successful and continued until the early 1920’s, when troubled times and the curfew caused their abandonment. During this period some of the girls entered for the Examinations of the Technical Schools and were very successful. While the social work in the club was interrupted, the meetings continued and when possible, fund raising functions were arranged, and the proceeds divided amongst selected charities. In 1926 it was felt there was need for a Club to cater for girls aged 14 to 16 years who were working as street traders. The past pupils were invited by the City Commissioners to assist in administering the provisions of the Employment of Children Act from the Social Welfare point of view. Premises were leased in Frederick Lane and later at the rear of 213 Parnell Square and so St Dominic’s Club came into being which was the first girls club started by a school union.

Committee of St Dominic’s Social Service Club, 1934

Between 1926-1954 a number of dedicated Past Pupils taught the girls who attended the Club many Arts and Crafts, including the art of rug making and many homes of past pupils were adorned with their work. When Alfie Byrne was Lord Mayor of Dublin he commissioned a carpet in the original Celtic Design for the Mansion House.

Girls in St Dominic’s Club learn sewing, and exhibit carpets they made in 1934

There were also classes in physical drill and Irish Dancing and each night the girls were treated to tea and buns. In 1927, a year after the Centre was set up, the drill class was proficient enough to accept an invitation from Mother Prioress and the sisters to Eccles Street on a Sunday where they gave a drill display in the overalls which they had made themselves. This display for the sisters became a regular event.

Drill class in the yard of St Dominic’s Club, 1927

The following is an extract from the St Dominic’s Social Services Club Session 1942-3 as published in The Lanthorn: "As the Club is one of the foremost activities of our Union and now in its 17th year, it must be very gratifying to all our past pupils, especially to that early enthusiastic band of workers who commenced this great work, to know that it still continues to flourish and expand. This year  80 children were enrolled, and a long list of applicants on the waiting list.  The Sunday before Christmas the children were entertained by Mother Prioress and Community to a party.  The young guests gave a display of drill and Irish dancing for the Community, and a very pleasant evening was enjoyed by all. The Annual display, consisting of drill, folk-dancing, Irish dancing, tableaux and exhibition of knitting and rugs, took place early in June in Eccles St, by kind permission of Mother Prioress.  The distribution of prizes for Christian Doctrine, good conduct, etc, and the raffle of a valuable rug, followed by a fitting speech by our Spiritual Director, the Rev Fr Hannigan OP, brought the evening to a close.  The Club children also took part in the Annual Rally of Clubs and Guilds held in the Mansion House on the first Sunday in May, under the auspices of the CWF (Catholic Women’s Federation). The session 1942-43 concluded with the Annual Week-end Retreat in St Joseph’s,  Dún Laoghaire, which was conducted by the Rev Fr Whelan OP.  Over sixty members attended, including many “past” club girls, and all were unanimous in their appreciation of the beautiful lectures and carried away happy memories of a really pleasant week-end". - Eileen P Byrne Club Hon Sec.

The past pupils also arranged dental and medical care for the girls when needed. With the permission of the mothers they arranged some sex education for the girls by a lady doctor. St Dominic’s Club activities continued in loaned premises in Frederick Street and finally 41 Hardwicke Street, which they had purchased, until 1954 when the premises were subjected to a Compulsory Purchase Order.

St Dominic’s Club 25th Anniversary 1951

Between 1954-1957 the big decision was taken by the Executive Committee to build a suitable Club premises and so with the £3,100 compensation and the ever willing help of the Eccles Street Community, a loan £1,150 was arranged with the Bank with the assistance of Mother Prioress. The project and fund raising by the past pupils commenced with ‘6d-a-week’ collections,’ 'Buy-a-Brick’, shares in an imaginary company, Sales of Work and all the usual fund raising efforts. The new premises, situated in 45/46 Hardwicke Street, were opened on 4th November 1957 and were a great tribute to those who worked relentlessly down the years, collecting funds and working as helpers in the Club.

The new St Dominic’s Club, 45/46 Hardwicke Street built by the Past Pupils' Union in 1957

The main source of income for the running of the Club was the profits from social events and the Annual November Sale of Work in the Round Room of the Mansion House. In later years some income was generated by the letting of part of the upper floor of the premises and occasional letting of the hall for rehearsals by theatre companies. Between 1957-1991 various activities were arranged on four nights per week such as Ceilidhes, Parties, Picnics, Retreats, and Children’s Fancy Dress Parties. A dedicated committee and a group of helpers ran the Club activities while a House Committee was responsible for the furnishings, overseeing the maintenance and cleaning of the premises and later letting of the upper floor. Over the years the activities were always very well supported. In the 1950’s and 60’s many of the girls were children of the original street traders and were working in clothing factories and were now more interested in activities such as the Table Tennis Tournament. A Night was also started for Young Marrieds.

St Dominic’s Club 25th Anniversary Play 'The Dragon of Tangley Mountain', 1951

In 1966 Michael Viney made an RTE documentary ‘The Young Ones’ on the girls and the activities of the Club which was shown on television. Unfortunately the film deteriorated during storage and only the sound is available on the DVD obtained from RTE. In the 1970’s attendances began to drop off and the house committee had to deal with frequent break-ins and thefts. There was a shortage of past pupils available to help in the club. In 1978 the decision was taken to cease to operate the club for young girls and in 1983 for the young marrieds. The only Club activity remaining on the premises was the Old Folks Club. In 1991-1992 the executive committee agreed that the sale of the Club Premises in Hardwicke Street was unavoidable and the members of the Union voted endorsing this decision. The premises were put on the open market and purchased on behalf of the Vietnamese Irish Social and Cultural Association. Members of the Union overwhelmingly voted that funds from the sale of the premises be invested and the interest used for donations to the Schools and the Dominican Missions and for the administration of the Union.

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In October 1962 an ‘Old Folks’ Club’ was established in the Club premises in Hardwicke Street. From 1962 - 1991 Mrs May Walsh and a great band of past pupil helpers organised the activities and the light refreshment served. The club met each Monday evening between 7.30 - 10.00pm with the participants recommended by the St Vincent de Paul. Very many of the participants it was found suffered great loneliness. In later years some of the girls who had attended St Dominic’s Club became part of the Old Folks who attend the Club. The activities were the Monday Night get-together. The Summer Outing when a bus was hired, the beach or local attraction was visited, a lovely meal provided, the Neptune Hotel, Bettystown proved popular and the day ended with a great singsong on the bus journey home. The Christmas Party was held on the club premises where a full four course meal was served followed by a dance and singsong much enjoyed by all the old folks and helpers. At the end of the evening all the attendees went home with a gift parcel provided by Mrs May Walsh and her family.

Old Folks Last Christmas Party at St Dominic’s Club, Hardwicke Street

Annually a Mass for Deceased Members of the Old Folks Club was held on the premises. These activities continued to function until the 1990’s. However the number of Old Folk attending gradually reduced to a significant level. Despite the great help give by husbands of committee members, the maintenance of the premises became beyond the means and capability of the Union and helpers. In 1991-1992 the executive committee agreed that the sale of the Club Premises in Hardwicke Street was unavoidable and the members of the Union voted endorsing this decision. The premises were put on the open market and purchased on behalf of the Vietnamese Irish Social and Cultural Association. The sale of the premises were finalised in May 1992.

Mrs May Walsh at the St Dominic’s Club Farewell Party, 7th March 1992

Farewell Party
Prior to the sale of the premises 45-46 Hardwicke Street on 7 March 1992, a Reunion of past and present Committee Members of St Dominic’s Girls Club, St Dominic’s Old Folks Club, St Dominic’s Sale of Work Committee and St Dominic’s House Committee was held in St Dominic’s Club. Happily, Mrs May Walsh who was 100 years old, was fit and well and able to attend and enjoy the Farewell Party. Although it was sad to say farewell to St Dominic’s Club, it was a very enjoyable reunion for all those and their friends who worked so hard in the Club over the years.

St Dominic’s Club Farewell Party, 7th March 1992

The Union continues to support some social services for the Old Folks of the area with an annual donation to Sr Sheila Skeffington OP and the Dominican Day Care Centre, located in Dominick Street, and currently to Dominican owned Dollardstown Cottage.

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Jumble Sale /Sale of Work
By 1927 the Jumble Sale and Sale of Work were established as fundraising events. Past pupils in St Dominic’s Mission Group, for example, met in the school every Tuesday night throughout the year, and under the direction of Sr Norbert, stitched and sewed to make items for their stall at the annual sale of work. In 1937 the profit from the Sale of Work was £364-11-8. The Union made a £100 donation from the proceeds to Mother Prioress for the Missions for distribution at her own discretion.  However, that year the committee made a special reference to the work of Mother Thomas’s Missionary Sewing Circle (which had been established in 1934) and the African Missions.  The remainder of the proceeds were donated to St Dominic’s Club. The Sale of Work in the Mansion House took place over two consecutive days from early morning to 9.00 in the evening, and comprised a Catering Stall, a Wheel of Fortune, and 6 or 7 Stalls all run by the different Past Pupils’ groups.  Past pupils worked throughout the year making clothes, particularly baby clothes. These were very much sought after, as wool was very expensive at the time.  Stalls included The Children of Mary’s Sodality Stall and St Dominic’s Mission Group’s  St Norbert’s Stall.   

St Dominic's Mission Group Fundraising Sale of Work, 1962

The photograph above shows some of the Saint Dominic’s Mission Group who helped to make St Norberts Stall such a success.  All proceeds of the stall went to Kirkwood South Africa that year (1962).  Note the wedding dresses at the back were donated by past pupils and friends of the Mission Group. These were made into vestments for use in convents in South Africa. The First Holy Communion frock (2nd from left) was presented by Gail Graham, Junior school.

Students in South Africa, 1959

St Dominic’s Club’s Jumble stall and Good-as-New stall, organised for many years by Anna Seery, were very popular with the residents of Hardwicke Street. A large banner advertising the Sale of Work was erected each year outside the Mansion House.

Original Sale of Work Banner on display at the Centenary Archive Exhibition 2014

Fundraising Dances
Report of Past Pupils’ Union by Kathleen Taaffe Hon Secretary, The lanthorn, 1922

Sub-committees were appointed to carry through various social functions. The favourable terms in which these entertainments were spoken of by participants, and the excellent financial results show how earnestly these committees worked. The first entertainment was a Cinderella, held in the Royal Hibernian Hotel, at which the attendance, though limited in number, had the effect of bringing Past Pupils together, and affording an opportunity of discussing the All-Night Dance to be given later. Miss T Lawlor and Mss M Dallaghan were its successful organisers. The next gathering was at a Whist Drive, given in the Astoria Tea Rooms, Dawson Street.  The co-operation of members and their friends rendered it enjoyable and remunerative. The financial result of the Ceilidh was not commensurate with the endeavours of the enthusiastic committee. The Secretary, Miss Costello, suggests as reason, that

"friends who in normal times would patronise such a function, were engaged on the more serious work of rearranging our country"

The Dance held on the 10th February 1922 in the Gresham hotel, was, as always, a tremendous success. Its energetic and capable Secretaries, Mrs C McCarthy and Miss C Walsh, left nothing undone to esure the enjoyment of the guests. An added charm was the presence of our President, Miss Mary Hayden, and Mrs Hogan.

More recent fundraising events
Past pupils of Dominican College have at times approached the Committee and with their help organised various fundraising events, which include Patchwork Quilts of Yesterday and Today (1992). Colour Analysis Evening (1994) Gardening for the Summer (1995), Mulled Wine, Mince-pies Evening, a Bridge Night, and a decade of Women’s Mini-Marathons. These were organised by the Union with the proceeds to Dominican College Griffith Ave.

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Annual Union Dinner Dance

An inaugural DCPPU Dinner Dance was held in 1918. Then in 1921 a Dance was held in the Gresham Hotel which the President Miss Mary Hayden attended. Also in 1921 a Cinderella Dance was held in Royal Hibernian Hotel. In 1942 and 1943 the annual dance was again held in the Gresham Hotel and they were outstanding successes both socially, with 432 and 480 respectively guests present, and financially, resulting in the provision of a substantial sum for St Dominic’s Club. The Club was totally dependent on the profits of the social functions of the Union. This Dance was to establish itself as an Annual Union Event and was held until 1957. It was revived again in 1966 and admirably organised for many years by committee member Olive Clarke.

Past Pupils' Union Dinner Dance, 1948

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Debutantes Ball

In the late 1960s, the Dominican College Past Pupils’ Union organised the Debutantes Ball under the watchful eyes of Olive Clarke and Joan Gannon. A week or so before the Ball, the Debs and their escorts would be invited by the DCPPU to a rehearsal in the Hotel (Jurys) to assemble in correct order and practise walking the length of the ballroom and be presented to the President of the Union. On the night of the Debs, the Debutantes and their escorts would call in to Eccles Street to share their excitement with the nuns who had so long been a part of their lives, and with the boarders. They were much admired and photographed before setting out for the night they had so long dreamed of. As each debutante was presented to the president of the Past Pupils Union, she would give them a small gift, often a key-ring engraved with the Dominican motto and crest - a small memento of the evening. In the late 1980s the parents became more involved, and the responsibility was transferred from the Union to the Parents’ Association.

Debutants Ball, Jury's Hotel, 1967 (left) & 1969 (right)

Debutants Ball, Shelbourne Hotel, 1974

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Annual Dinner

The 4th Annual Dinner was held in 1966. In October 1980, Olive Clarke (nee White) organised the 19th Annual Dinner in the Clarence Hotel. These continued to be very popular and from 1980 on, Olive organised the Annual Dinner until 2003, when the 42nd Annual Dinner in the Maples Hotel in Iona Road was held, and this was to be the last Annual Dinner.

Class of 1964 celebrating their Silver Jubilee at the Union's 75th Anniversary Dinner, Royal Dublin Hotel, 1989

Annual Dinner, Jury's Hotel, 1992

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sports CLUBs

Colaiste San Dominic Camogie Club

Colaiste San Dominic, or as it is sometimes referred to in the old Dublin Board Minutes as Dominican College Past (DCP), affiliated to the Dublin County Board in 1933, and remained involved until the latter end of the 1960s. Members were made up of Past Pupils of Dominican College Eccles Street. Present Pupils played in the Colleges/Schools leagues.

Colaiste San Dominic Camogie Club

During the 1930s Colaiste San Dominic, along with the UCD Team, were the top two Senior Teams in the County. As can be seen from the Competition Winners listing below, in years when they didn’t win, they were runners-up. Colaiste San Dominic also had many representatives playing on the County Team.

The following is list of teams fielded by Colaiste San Dominic:

1930s - Senior, Inter, and two Junior competitions
1940s - Senior, Inter A & B and Junior A teams
1950s - Senior, Inter A and junior A and C teams
1960s - Inter A, Inter B and Junior A teams.
1966 - Inter A Championship Runners-up.

Colaiste San Dominic Camogie Club at Croke Park

Winners of All Ireland Medals
The following is list of of past pupils who won All Ireland Medals.

1933 - Bríd Kenny, Rita Fitzpatrick
1937 - Patty Kenny, Peggy Griffin, Angela Egan, Eva Moran
1938 - Patty Kenny, Peggy Griffin, Angela Egan, Eva Moran
1942 - Patty Kenny, Peggy Griffin (Captain), Eva Moran, Bríd Kenny
1943 - Patty Kenny, Peggy Griffin (Captain), Kathleen Griffin
1944 - Patty Kenny, Bríd Kenny
1949 - Pat Raftery
1950 - Pat Raftery (Captain)
1955 - May Kavanagh
1957 - May Kavanagh

May Kavanagh also won Gael Linn Medals with Leinster in 1957 and 1958. Eileen Bourke, another past pupil, also played on the County Team, representing UCD.

Members of Colaiste San Dominic Camogie Club were also represented on the Dublin County Team

Competitions won by Colaiste San Dominic Camogie Teams

1933 - Senior Championship
1936 - Senior Championship
1936/37 - Senior League, and Runners up in 1937 Championship
1939 - Senior League and Senior Chaampionship
1940 - Isle of Man Cup, senior League and Inter A Championship
1941 - Isle of Man Cup Senior Championship - Runners-up.
1942 - Senior Championship Runners-up. Inter A Championship Inter A League, Inter B Championship.
1943 - Senior League, Runners-up Senior Championship
1944/45 - Isle of Man Cup
1946 - Senior Championship
1947 - Junior C Championship
1948 - Senior Championship Runners-up.
1953 - Junior B League and Championship
1961 - Inter B League
1966 - Inter A Championship Runners-up.

One cannot mention Colaiste San Dominic without acknowledging the work by Mary Walsh (Maire Ní Bhreathnach) who coached the Present Pupils and who also played on the Past Pupils’ team. Mary also organised the Colleges/Schools League for many years. Every afternoon after school, Mary was a familiar figure in Shandon park, Phibsboro where Dominican College had a training ground. Scoil Chaitríona, the Boarders, Dominican College and Commercial College all had their own time for training. The Past Pupils Team would train on Sunday mornings, if they had no League fixtures. In 1935, the Veritas Team (members who were attending the Commercial College) and the Dominican Past Pupils Team were amalgamated. A team member of those successful years, Ita Phelan (nee O’Dwyer) remembers travelling to Cork at Easter time to play against the Cork Champions, St Aloysius. Ita, now in her 90s, is also a member of the Past Pupils’ Golf Society.

In 1942/43, Dominican College Eccles Street had a record number of Camogie Teams registered in the Colleges/Schools Leagues. Sadly, in the late 1960s, Colaiste San Dominic withdrew from the Dublin County Board, as they could no longer field a team.

Some Past Pupils who played on Colaiste San Dominic Camogie Teams
(This list does not include those already mentioned)

Brady,            Maura and Louise
Breen,            Maeve
Brennan,        Sheila
Costelloe,      Teresa, Nuala and Ann
Clarkin,         Collette
Cunne,           Jenny  (also delegate to Dublin County Board)
Fallon,            Helen
Hallinan        Mary
Keating,         Una
Keenan,         Betty, Nuala and Bernadette
Kennedy,       Treasa
Lynam,          Carmel and Marie
Maguire,       Dora
MMcPeake,   Colette and Una
McVeigh,       Ita
O’Beirne,       Imelda
O’Mahony,    Mary
Porter,           Maura, Betty and Breda
Soraghan,      Daphne
Rogan,           Triona, Una and Pauline
Sadler,           Muriel
Stanbridge,   Cepta
O’Reilly,        Vera (Supervised training in Shandon Park)

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VolleyBall (Sr Isnard Memorial Cup)
Sr Isnard OP was the driving force in introducing Volleyball to the school in the 1960s. With her great dedication and enthusiasm the sport became very popular among the students. Played outdoors in the school yard at lunch hour, Eccles St was soon competing at European level, representing Ireland at the FISEC Games in Louvain (1965, 1967). Eccles St were the Irish Senior Champions in 1970, the year the Games were held in Ireland. They represented Ireland at both Junior and Senior level at the Games in Portugal (1973, 1975), and again won the Irish Senior Volleyball Championship. In 1980, Eccles Street had 3 teams and were National Junior champions.  Soon after this, Volleyball became an indoor sport and enthusiasm waned somewhat. Enthused by their enjoyment of the game at school, the Past Pupils continued to play volleyball  and fielded teams in competitions on leaving school. They were indebted to Sr Isnard for her help and encouragement and to Mother Prioress for allowing them the use of the school’s indoor sports facilities for their weekly training sessions in the evenings after work. Following the death of Sr Isnard in 1989, the Past Pupils’ Union were proud to donate the Sr Isnard Memorial Cup for the Schools Volleyball Tournament at Griffith Avenue.

Volleyball Team, 1968

The Past Pupils Basketball Club, although short lived, had very enthusiastic members who were well coached by Joe Kavanagh. They played in 2nd Division Irish Basketball Association, and once in First Division. In 1966 they came third in the Ladies League (second division) and also third in the 'blitz' held in July of that year, and played several exciting matches the following year. Again, Sr Isnard encouraged the Past Pupils’ Basketball team, and thanks to Mother Prioress they were allowed the use of the indoor and outdoor courts for their weekly training.

Basketball Team, 1968

Swimming Club
In 1933 the past pupils’ swimming club was established. Indoor instruction classes in swimming and diving, for both novices and improvers, were given in the Iveagh Baths until end of June and then outdoors at Blackrock or Clontarf Baths until the end of September. Club night was Tuesday evenings, and in September 1942, the usual Annual Races, including a Handicap event and a Novelty race, were held. The President Mrs M Walsh presented the Swimming Cup and prizes. 

Tennis Club
In 1930 a Tennis Tournament was first held at Woodbrook Club. In 1936 a Tennis Tournament was held for past pupils in Mountjoy Lawn Tennis Club but was unfortunately was washed out. Nevertheless the members held a Table Tennis Tournament and a great day was had by all with the profit of £6-15s directed to St Dominic’s Club. The following year the tournament was held in Howth Lawn Tennis club with forty present.

Hockey Club
This club was established in 1932 and had a membership of 38 in 1933 and 47 in 1935.

Golf Society
Dominican College Past Pupils’ Union, on 30th July 1930, inaugurated their new Golfing Society at the Grange Golf Club. This was a very successful outing and the outings continued annually henceforth. In 1934 the Executive Committee of Dominican College Past Pupils Union presented the Silver Challenge (Perpetual) Cup to the Golf Society and this cup is presented annually together with the Lady Captain’s Prize to the golfer with the Best Gross.

Mrs Griffin, First winner of the Silver Challenge (Perpetual) Cup, 1934

A 9-hole competition was also held until recent times with a silver challenge cup presented to the winner. The runner up of the 18-hole competition is presented with the President of Dominican College Past Pupils’ Union’s Prize. A small silver cup is presented to the winners of the Past Lady Captains Competition. A putting competition was also held in the early days. In 1953 the office of Lady Captain was introduced and the outing from then on was held at the golf club of the Lady Captain appointed for that year. In 1952 Kathleen Taaffe, a member of the Executive Committee of the Union, was appointed Hon Secretary of the Golf Society. Kathleen was very active in recruiting members of the society and the union and revitalised the society. She remained the Hon Secretary until 1972 when the Executive Committee appointed Pauline Daly who continued in that role until her untimely death in 2001. Pauline Coakley was appointed to take over this role and remains in situ to date. A list of the Winners of the Perpetual Challenge Cup, the Lady Captains and Hon Secretaries is here. The Golf Society celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1979 and in 2014, the Centenary year of the Union, the Golf Society held its 85th Outing at St Anne’s Golf Club.

Golf Society Committee, 1967

Combined Dominican Unions’ Golf Society and Outing
In 1963 Joan Priestman (nee Horne) a past pupil of Muckross and Wicklow founded a golf society for Dominican girls. Our Golf Society members participate in this Combined Dominican Unions’ Golf Society and Outing where teams from the different Dominican schools compete for a Trophy which was presented to the Society by Waterford Glass. The trophy is of Waterford Glass on a mahogany plinth with silver plates on all sides on which is engraved the name of the winning school and the year. The team with the best three scores wins the trophy and the team from our union is very well represented on this trophy. 71 ladies played in the first outing and to make you envious again, the green fees were ten shillings and the cost of the supper was four shillings. In 2008, 65 ladies played with 24 golfers from DCPPU.

Combined Dominican Union's Golf Trophy

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Dramatic Society

The Past Pupils’ Dramatic Society was established in 1930 and presented the play She Stoops to Conquer in 1931, and The Rivals in 1932 when the Society had a membership of 21. Everyman was produced in 1933 when the proceeds of the production amounted to £60-15-8. In 1934 the membership is recorded as 16, and the play presented was Little Women and the proceeds, amounting to £45, were given to the Missions.

Scenes from some Drama Society productions

In 1935 honory members of the Society were also admitted who did not participate in the drama itself but their subscription entitled them to free admission to any play produced by the society. In 1932 Madeleine Cassidy, whose daughter Deirdre Carroll is also past pupil, was secretary of the Dramatic Society, and was so for many years. Madeleine took part in many of the productions.

Madeleine Cassidy, Secretary of the Drama Society, portraying a nun in a play

Drama Society Garden Party, 1932. (left to right) Nora Hand, Unknown, Madeline Cassidy, Madeline Cassidy, Unknown, Nora Hand.

In 1944 Maire Cranny revived the Past Pupils’ Dramatic Society and put on many plays including The Whip Hand, The Admirable Crichton and Double Door, and many young aspiring actors, eg Brendan Cauldwell and Barry Casson, were invited to perform with the past pupils.

Vera Gallagher, Drama Teacher 1963 (left) and Maire Cranny.

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In 1920’s the Union established the Sodality of the Children of Mary and by 1928 it is recorded that the membership of the Sodality was increasing. The new members were received into the sodality during the Annual Retreat held in the Convent Chapel. The Library was built up through donations and books were available to the members after the meetings, which were held monthly. A Study Circle was established in 1930 where special spiritual subjects were discussed under the guidance of a Spiritual Director. The Circle met fortnightly and attended a structured series of lectures designed to bring members to a deeper realisation of the principles of the Faith.

A meeting of the Study Circle of the Sodality of the Children of Mary, c.1930

The Sodality Stall at the Annual Sale of Work in the Mansion House in aid of St Dominic’s Club was always a great success.  Two Beetle Drives per year were also organised for many years by the Sodality in aid of the Club and of the Dominican Missions. While the Sodality is no longer active the Annual Retreat is still held annually by the Union. It is now held at the Dominican Retreat House, Tallaght, Dublin and is organised by Olive Clarke

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The Catholic Women’s Federation, established in 1935, was an organization where all Catholic Secondary Schools for girls were welcome to send representatives from their Past Pupils’ Unions, and to which DCPPU was affiliated. The Congress of Representatives consisted of two representatives from each of the Unions. DCPPU’s first representative was Annie O’Tierney. Kathleen Rochford was the Union representative for many years and in 1991 was elected President of the CWF and attended the meeting of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) in Mexico. She was accompanied by Áine Denis (representative of the Bower, Athlone) who was on to the Board of WUCWO. In 1992 Collette Mhic Giolla Eoin succeeded Kathleen as our Union Representative at the CWF when Kathleen’s time as President of the CWF expired. Collette was the Union’s representative until the organization was disbanded in 2002, after over 60 years involvement in women’s affairs in Ireland. The CWF attended many Ecumenical Services and meetings. Kathleen Rochford represented CWF on the National Council of Women in Ireland. CWF organized groups for Night Adoration and many past pupils took part. Past pupils of Eccles Street undertook two nights per month Night Adoration in Marie Reparatrice Convent Merrion Square.

Kathleen Rochford at WUCWO  in Mexico, and leading prayers on Irish Morning, 1991

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Marie Reparatrice Convent, Merrion Square 1956 - 1981

On 24 September 1956, the Sisters of Marie Reparatrice set up a Centre of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in their convent at Merrion Square Dublin. This Centre was affiliated to the World Federation of Nocturnal Adoration for the Laity in Paris. The Sisters mission of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was during the day. The groups for each night were formed mainly by the Catholic Women’s Federation (CWF), but also by different business firms and private persons around Dublin. Many Past Pupils’ Unions from Secondary Schools played a large part in this apostolate. Among the latter were several groups of Dominican Past Pupils, including the Past Pupils of Dominican College Eccles Street. The practical side of this apostolate required approximately 18 women, most of whom would stay overnight in the convent, in the sleeping accommodation provided. They came to the Chapel in twos, and spent one hour before the Blessed Sacrament Exposed. The two adorers would be called 15 minutes before each hour by one of the adorers of the previous hour. Adorers prayed in the Chapel right through the night until Mass time at 7.30 in the mornings. Then they would have a light breakfast, if they wished, and set off for work.

This Nocturnal Adoration continued for 25 years. In 1982 the Convent closed due to diminishing numbers entering religious life. A Thanksgiving Mass was celebrated on 8 December 1981 and some 300 Adorers participated. There are at present approximately 20 Sisters in Ireland, living in Limerick, Cork and Dublin. Their mission continues according to the capacity of each one, some in active ministry and others faithful to their life of adoration and intercession for the needs of the world.

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In 1922, Rev Dr Byrne Archbishop of Dublin, ordered a written examination in Christian Doctrine to be held annually in May. In 1934 a new award was inaugurated by the Union. A Gold Medal for Christian Doctrine (design similar to the school badge in 18 carat gold and enamel) would be awarded each year to a senior pupil of the school based on the results of the Bishop’s Examination. This was open to 4th, 5th and 6th year students. The first recipient of the Gold Medal in June 1935 was Pamela O’Reilly. Other recipients of the award were Ann McGrath (1956) Angela O’Dwyer (1960) Veronica Lynch (1962), Kathleen McKeown (Sr Maris Stella) (1963), Mary O'Callaghan (1965) and Joan Caffrey(1967). The winning student held the gold medal for the year, and was awarded a gold pin with similar crest to keep. Sr Maris Stella kindly loaned her gold pin to DCPPU for the Centenary Archive Exhibition. This award has ceased as the Bishop’s Christian Doctrine Examination is no longer held.

Sr Maris Stella's Gold Pin for Christian Doctrine

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