St. Columba’s College

School Gallery


Within the Irish context St. Columba’s College is a unique institution, a Church of Ireland foundation offering full-time, seven days a week boarding, with an increasing number of day students. Founded in 1843 in Stackallan, County Meath. Moved to the current location in 1849. Very high standards: five-year average of 460 Leaving Certificate points across all candidates. Equivalent to AAA in ‘A’ levels. In 2016, 44% of candidates achieved 500 points or more and 95% achieved over 300 points. The average was 473 across all candidates, a new College record

Number of students

Boarding School:







Day School:








7 days boarding: 

About the school

St. Columba’s College was founded in 1843 by the Rev. William Sewell, the Lord Primate of Ireland, the Earl of Dunraven and others. Since its foundation it has been in communion with the Church of Ireland but the College has a vision of ecumenism which welcomes other faiths also. Four years later, in 1847, Sewell founded Radley College, in Oxfordshire, on a similar basis and the two schools have retained fond links to the present.

In 1849, St. Columba’s moved from Stackallan House in Co. Meath to its present 140-acre site on the slopes of the mountains in South County Dublin, with its centrepiece the 18th century Hollypark House. Many of its buildings date from this period, most notably the Warden’s House, the Cloisters, the Argyle building, the Big Schoolroom and the Chapel. 

It was Sewell’s view that young people should be educated in beautiful and spacious surroundings. This ideal has been conspicuously retained and strengthened by the College over the years so that those who visit us see buildings, grounds and gardens which are attractive to the eye and pleasant to live in.  A walk through  grounds displays architecture from the Georgian and Victorian periods as well as from the twentieth-  and twenty-first centuries.

Over the years the buildings have grown up around central quadrangles. Development of the College has been particularly evident over the past 20 years, starting with the Library and Reading Rooms in 1994. Other notable additions have been the 9-hole golf course (1995), the Sports Hall (1998), the Art Centre (2000), the refurbishment of the BSR (2003), the Grange boarding and classroom building (2004), the complete refurbishment of the Argyle as a boarding House with study and dining facilities on the ground floor (2005), new all-weather tennis courts (2006) and a second Astroturf hockey pitch (2007), the conversion of the Cadogan building into a new Music and Performing Arts School (2008), much staff housing, and the total re-development of the Science Block (2016).

The College is situated on a 140-acre campus in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. 

Major Facilities:

Beautiful William Butterfield-designed Chapel (1880).

Seven boarding Houses spread across the central area of the campus.

Two Dining Halls.

Purpose-built Library in the centre of the College (1994).

Specialist Cadogan music building, with individual and group practice and teaching rooms.

Major hall (‘Big Schoolroom’) for frequent plays, concerts and other whole-school events. About 15 drama productions each year.

Art Centre with two studio areas, photography and pottery facilities.

Science Block with physics, chemistry, biology and general laboratories. €1.75m redevelopment, completed in October 2016.

High speed wired and wireless internet connections across the campus.

Over 80% of our pupils board in our traditional yet modern and comfortable boarding houses. There are seven boarding houses (Glen, Gwynn, Stackallan, Tibradden, Hollypark, Iona & Beresford), each with an assigned Housemaster or Housemistress, Assistant Housemaster (or Housemistress) and a team of House Tutors. Every house has a friendly atmosphere but a unique personality and spirit. Day pupils are assigned to a boarding house and are encouraged to take part in inter-house activities.

The size of House ranges from 20 to 60 pupils. A Housemaster or Housemistress, assisted by at least one resident member of staff, is in charge of each house, and acts in loco parentis in every aspect of the children’s welfare throughout their time at the College. Housemasters and Housemistresses know the pupils in their houses very well, and are usually the main point of contact between parents and the College.

Let us identify a number of school options for your children

  • We will help you to identify your family priorities and find the best potential schools fit.
  • We will approach those schools on your behalf
  • We work with you through the full process, help with admission procedures and stay with you until your children finish their boarding school education.

Academic life

The curriculum for each subject is set down by the Department of Education and is administered by each academic department as outlined in their department submission.

There are four forms in the junior school. Form Primary (roughly equivalent to sixth class in primary school and first year of secondary school in the U.K.), Form I, Form II, and Form III. Form IV (the Transition Year), Form V and Form VI make up the senior school.

St. Columba’s College provides a wide range of academic subjects in both the Junior and Senior cycle: Applied Science, Arts, Business, Chemistry, Classical Studies, Civil, Social, Political Education (CSPE), Design and Communication Graphics, Economics, English, Geography, History, Irish, Latin, Learning Support, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Music, Physical Education, Religious Education, Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE)

Sport and culture

All pupils in St. Columba’s College are actively encouraged to make sport and physical activity a part of their daily lifestyle. Organised sport is available six days a week. Pupils make a daily choice of a physical activity that is governed by the team sport they are involved in. 

Sport and physical activity is a central part of the boarding life of pupils in St. Columba’s College.

Hockey, Basketball, Cricket, Tennis, Athletics, Golf, Archery, Polocrosse, 

Top class sports facilities: large Sports Hall (1998), two artificial hockey pitches, six artificial tennis courts, spacious rugby, cricket and athletics areas. Over 300 sports’ fixtures annually.

There is a wide extra-curricular programme at St. Columba’s College, including arts & crafts, musical performance, drama and public speaking & debate.

There are art, pottery and photography clubs, practical trips and expeditions to galleries, and major annual exhibitions. The College has had a fine tradition of nurturing artistic talent over many years. Music performance is an integral part of life in the College, be it for examination purposes or concerts or soirees.   There are a number of choirs which are also very active in the college. Pupils in every year are involved in an annual production of some sort, and there are also performance technique workshops . As well as learning specific performance-related skills, drama allows pupils to build self-confidence, character and social skills, and to work as part of a team whether on- or off-stage. Gaining confidence and skill in speaking and performing in front of large groups is an end in itself, but several of our recent leavers have also gone on to pursue a variety of drama-related courses. There is also a Video Drama group which involves pupils of all ages. Drama Dublin has a thriving theatre scene and visits to current productions are made as part of the English courses, and by the Shakespeare Society.

Location Description

St. Columba’s College is situated in a 140- acre campus in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, overlooking Dublin Bay. The campus is conveniently close to the city (30 minutes) and the airport (25 minutes).

Kilmashogue Lane, Whitechurch Dublin 16 D16 CH92

You tell us what is important to you and your child.

Good education decision

Based on your family needs and requirements and your child's interests, aspirations and expectations

Best boarding schools match

Schools cultivate relationships with Best Boarding Schools because we send them well-matched kids and they want that pipeline.

Peace of mind

We help in school admission process, family school visits, passing tests, arranging visas and travel

We help you to get accepted at all schools

We help with school placement at top ranked highly academic schools and all other schools as well.

We are International Education Specialists

Supporting your child’s international learning journey

We provide the advice you need to make the best educational decisions for your children and help you choose the right boarding school in England, the UK, Switzerland, Europe, Canada and the US.


Give Your Child The Best Possible Opportunities In Life

Consultation, schools guide, questions and answers about finding a school in the UK, Switzerland, Europe and America. Everything from identifying your specific family and childrens’ requirements, academic, language and extracurricular requirements to evaluating the school’s mission and philosophy, curriculum, and student achievements.

We help in the full process and in multiple school interviews and applications.

Our team of education consultants will guide you in the right direction to gain entry into a right school.


Speak to an Expert

We have placed hundreds of children at boarding schools in the UK and worldwide. Use our experience to your child's benefit and education success.

Immediate access to an Expert

Get in touch so that we can learn more about your family and schedule your consultation.

Find the right school

The key benefits we offer are:
We work with ALL schools
Simplifying and strategising school admission process
Full focus on the best school for you and your child

Not sure which boarding school to choose?

  • We have your child’s interest in our main focus
  • We are proud of our highest ethical standards of practice
  • We are fast, experienced and reliable
  • We keep in touch with our partner schools on a daily basis
  • We have access to the information that parents do not have
  • You get contacts to our former parents registered with the schools
  • You get our honest views about the school you choose for your child
  • Your child will be placed at a boarding school that develops his significant talent or passion in an academic pursuit, art, music, theater, athletics 

Discover how we can help

Get in touch now for an immediate school placement advice

Why to get in touch?

  • Less stress, more fun
  • Better financial education investment
  • Smooth admission process
  • Costs nothing
  • Multiple school interviews, applications
  • Our advice based on what is best choice for your child