Newbridge College

Newbridge College (Irish: Coláiste Dhroichead Nua), formally the Dominican College Newbridge, is a co-educational private fee-paying voluntary secondary school in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland, run by the Roman Catholic Dominican Order. The Dominican Friars founded Newbridge College in 1852 as a boarding school for boys.[3] Today, still run by the Dominican Fathers, Newbridge College is a mixed day school with a student population of almost 900 pupils.

Newbridge College
Irish: Coláiste Dhroichead Nua
The Newbridge College school crest
Newbridge College.jpg
Newbridge College and the River Liffey

Coordinates53°11′19″N 6°47′35″W / 53.1885°N 6.7931°W / 53.1885; -6.7931Coordinates: 53°11′19″N 6°47′35″W / 53.1885°N 6.7931°W / 53.1885; -6.7931
Motto"Veritas, Cur me Persequeris"
("Truth, Why do you persecute me?")
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established1852; 168 years ago (1852)
PrincipalMr Pat O'Brien
President of the BoardFr Gregory Carroll, OP
Staff97 (75 teaching staff, 22 support staff)[1]
Age range13–19
Enrolment882 pupils (2017)[2]
SportsRugby union
Equestrian sport
School fees€4,225 per annum (2017/18)[2]
Religious orderDominican Order
Newbridge College skyline in winter



The Dominican College in Newbridge was founded in 1852 by Fr Dominic Walker and Fr Nicholas Freyne, who established the College as a result of the high and increasing demand for secondary Catholic education owing to Catholic emancipation in Ireland at the time. In its first year of establishment, Newbridge College had an enrolment of 50 students. A cap was placed on the number of pupils enrolled. In 1870 the second church on the grounds was built. The restriction was lifted in 1894 and the roll grew to 100 students.

In 1924, Junior House and the Clock Tower were constructed. 1941 saw the Senior Cup Team (SCT) win the Colleges' first Leinster Schools Rugby Senior Cup, trained by Fr Leahy, OP. In 1950, the Junior Cup Team (JCT) won the schools first Leinster Schools Junior Cup Final. Building began for Senior House in 1951. In 1952 the College marked its centenary, events to celebrate the milestone were attended by the President of Ireland Seán T. O'Kelly, Taoiseach Éamon de Valera, the Papal Nuncio, the Master of the Dominican Order and the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.

The Newbridge College Past Pupils Union, which still exists today, was established by Dr JJ Cosgrove in 1937.

In 1956, with completion of Senior House and the refectory, there were almost 300 boys enrolled, 250 of whom were boarders. The third and current church was built in 1966, consecrated by Cardinal Michael Browne, OP. 1970 saw Newbridge win another Senior Cup, against Blackrock College, with a team trained by Fr John Heffernan, OP and captained by future Irish international Mick Quinn. In 1980 the bridge over the River Liffey was constructed, and the sports fields were moved from the quadrangle to the land across the Liffey.[4]

Recent developmentsEdit

In 1984, one of the most significant changes in the schools' history took place – the admission of girls to the school for the first time. Today, approximately 50% of the Colleges' pupils are female.

1992 marked the appointment of the first lay Principal of Newbridge College – Mr. Patrick O'Mahony – who made sweeping academic changes and oversaw big improvements in the facilities at the school until his retirement in 2006. His appointment came after responsibility for the management of the College had been transferred to the Board of Governors, composed of the Dominican Fathers, teachers, parents and past pupils. In 1992 formal classes on a Saturday also ceased, replaced with an extracurricular and academic study programme.

April 1994 saw the opening of the new gym block, science, art and technology suites behind Junior House by the Minister for Education. An all-weather pitch used for girls hockey was also built.

The practice of boarding came to an end in 1998, and the College became a fully coeducational day school. The option for day students to get evening tea and take part in supervised study until 9.30pm started, a practice which still takes places today. 1998 was also the year in which the first female School Captain, Tara Flanagan, was elected, and the first day student.

Newbridge College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2002.[4]

In April 2008, a new €6 million euro extension to Junior House was completed, with new science laboratories, technical and computer rooms, a new staff room and a new social area.[5]

In 2013, an all-weather floodlit AstroTurf sports facility was commissioned at the cost of €1 million. It is used for rugby, hockey, running and other sports, and allows for training and matches to go ahead during difficult weather conditions and dark evenings in winter.


The College coat of arms bears two mottos. Veritas (Latin for 'Truth') is the motto of the Dominican Order. Cur me persequeris ('Why do you persecute me?') is the motto of the Eustace family, who donated the land upon which the school is built. The reference is to the legend of Saint Eustace, who, while out hunting, encountered a stag with a cross between his antlers (visible in the College's arms); the stag addressed the saint in the terms of the motto.

St Thomas Aquinas is the patron saint of Newbridge College.[6]


Newbridge College is located north of Newbridge, Co. Kildare, a large urban town with a population of 22,000 people. The school is situated on either side of the banks of the River Liffey, which passes through the school grounds, with a bridge connecting the college to its sports fields. Students come from the surrounding counties, including Wicklow, Dublin, Laois and Offaly.[7]


Junior House and the Clock Tower

Catering for both boys and girls, the school provides the Junior Certificate, Transition Year, Leaving Certificate, Leaving Certificate Applied and Leaving Certificate Vocational Programmes as prescribed by the Department of Education and Skills (DES). The College follows the curricular programmes as set out by the DES in accordance with Sections 9 and 30 of the Education Act 1998.[7]

Newbridge College performs very strongly year-on-year when it comes to academic results, consistently topping the Kildare schools league tables[8] (often sending 100% of sixth year pupils to third level education)[9] and was recently ranked as the second best academic performer in the Leinster province.[10][11]

Dr John Monahan, PhD, was the inaugural winner of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, then a student of Newbridge College in 1965, he went on to establish a NASDAQ-listed biotech company in California.[12][13]


There are a limited number of places available for first years. The 2015/2016 intake was 144. First year is generally three times oversubscribed, and it is not uncommon for there to be 500 or 600 applications. Prospective first years must sit an entrance exam and interview with the Principal before acceptance, and preference is given to those with relatives who have or are currently attending the school. The school awards two academic scholarships annually, on the basis of the results obtained in a scholarship examination. Music and sports scholarships have also been awarded.[14]


The fee per student for the 2017/2018 academic year is €4,225.


Newbridge College is a 3 time winner of the Leinster Schools Rugby Senior Cup – in 1941 (vs Cistercian College, Roscrea) and 1970 (vs Blackrock College) and in 2020 where they are sharing the cup, due to the COVID 19 outbreak. In 2012, Newbridge College were victorious in the Leinster Schools Vinnie Murray Cup, defeating St. Andrew's College, Dublin in the final. Newbridge College triumphed in the Leinster Schools Junior Cup final against Blackrock in 1950 and again in 2020, where they are sharing the Junior Cup with Blackrosk College. The school has also made it to numerous finals, including both the Senior and Junior Cup Finals in 1939.[15][16]

Rugby is taken very seriously at the school, however other sports are played at the school, including hockey (for girls), equestrian sport, athletics, canoeing, soccer, GAA, basketball and golf. The Newbridge College rugby and hockey teams are sponsored by Newbridge Silverware.

Since April 1944, the Triangular Sword Competition – a format between Newbridge College, Clongowes Wood College and the Cadet School of the Defence Forces Military College – has taken place without fail. It involves six sports; golf, Gaelic football, soccer, swimming, athletics and basketball.[17]

Sports facilities at the school include an indoor gymnasium (indoor running track, basketball court, soccer), a gym equipped with weights, an outdoor running track, tennis courts, numerous playing fields, an all-weather hockey pitch, and two floodlight artificial playing surfaces for all-weather rugby, hockey and athletics.

Rugby honoursEdit

Notable alumniEdit

Irish international rugby player Jamie Heaslip is a past pupil of Newbridge College

Government, military, legal and educationEdit



Arts and entertainmentEdit

Rugby unionEdit

Other sportEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "School Community > Staff". Newbridge College. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b Guyett-Nicholson, Roisin; O'Brien, Carl (29 May 2017). "Private school enrolments are on the rise as economy recovers". The Irish Times. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "About the College > History". Newbridge College. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Minister for Education and Science to officially open new school extension". Newbridge College. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  6. ^ "The Dominican Vision of Education". Newbridge College. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b "About the College". Newbridge College. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Newbridge College tops list of feeder schools". Leinster Leader. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Two Kildare Schools Sent All Their Leaving Cert Students On To Third Level Institutes In 2015". Kfm. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Newbridge College and Clongowes top school list". Leinster Leader. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Sunday Times annual School League Tables". Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Key facts". BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  13. ^ Kennedy, John (10 January 2014). "Interview with the first-ever young scientist exhibition winner (video)". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Admissions & Participation Policy & Procedures". Newbridge College. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  15. ^ "History of Newbridge College". Newbridge College. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  16. ^ O'Sullivan, John (18 May 2009). "Newbridge old boys schooled for success". The Irish Times. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Triangular Competition". Newbridge College. Retrieved 16 December 2016.

External linksEdit