Dialogue Ireland has been giving a presentation to 6th years since the ’90s and forged a close relationship with the school. In 2007 we had a Conference on the Mind Benders which marked the end of Scientology’s dominance in controlling the environment in Dublin. They tried to send in spies but John Duignan was able to flush them out.
Early the next year Anonymous was formed and it has been able to reduce Scientology’s influence to a nasty trickle. The rise of the internet has also been part of this decline.
Another interesting part of the history of the school is that next door was a school called Sandy mount High which tried to revive the tradition of Non Denominational Education. Read how Archbishop McQuade had other plans!
Sandymount High School
Sandymount High School was a coeducational secondary school on Herbert Road, Sandymount, Dublin 4. Founded in 1947, it was initially controversial because, as a non-denominational school, it wasn’t owned by a church but by the Cannon family, who also provided the two headmasters the school had: father and son Patrick and Conall Cannon. Patrick’s wife Eileen Cannon also served as headmistress.
The school’s student body was arguably drawn from several distinct groups:
those from a local council estate called Beech Hill
the offspring of parents disenchanted with denominational/same sex schools
Students on the Malahide/Howth to Bray rail corridor and the 3 & 18 bus routes
foreign nationals who paid tuition fees
The school’s pre-Celtic Tiger period accommodation and successful integration of the latter group was remarkable, as until the late 1990s non-white/non-Christian students were a rarity in the vast majority of Irish classrooms.
While the school had gym — basically exercise classes — for Intermediate Certificate students, it had no compulsory sports or sports team while Conall Cannon, the second headmaster, was in charge: allegedly he hated having compulsory sports while he was a student. The first headmaster, Patrick Cannon, was happy to have rugby as the main school sport for both Intermediate and Leaving Certificate male students in the early 1960s.
A rival school opened next door several years later: Marian College, run by the Catholic Church. It was opened at the behest of John Charles McQuaid to counter what he perceived as the influence of Sandymount High. Marian College even copied the school colours.
Ruth Dudley Edwards