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Biographical Notes


Père Jules Leman (Founder of Blackrock College)

Born in France in 1826, Jules Leman studied under the Co-founder of the Holy Ghost Congregation, Fr. Libermann. After serving some years as Professor and Director in Senior Seminaries in both France and Rome (was a co-founder of the French National Seminary), he came to Ireland and founded Blackrock College and Rockwell College. During his time as President of Blackrock College he devoted himself totally to the welfare of Irish Youth and the needs of the Third World. He died in 1880.

Fr. Edward Leen CSSp

Edward Leen was born in 1885 and studied in Rockwell, U.C.D. and Rome. He served some time both as Professor in the Senior Seminary in Dublin and in Nigeria under Bishop Joseph Shanahan. In 1923 he became Principal of Blackrock College and in 1925 President. Through his many outstanding works on Theology and Education he became widely known throughout the Catholic world. He died in 1944.

Archbishop John Charles McQuaid CSSp

John Charles McQuaid, born in 1895, was a student at Blackrock College and later studied Classics at U.C.D. and Theology in Rome. He was appointed Principal of Blackrock College in 1925 and President in 1931, for some time he was also Chairman of the Catholic Headmasters' Association. In 1940 Dr. McQuaid was appointed Archbishop of Dublin; he served in this capacity until 1972 when he retired. He died a year later in 1973.

Père Edouard Reffé CSSp

Fr. Reffé was born in Alsace in 1841. In 1864 he was appointed to Blackrock College as Principal. He served in this capacity until 1888. During this time he also held the posts of Director of the Civil Service College and the University College in the Castle, and (as co-founder) was joint secretary of the Association of Catholic Secondary Schools. He died in 1894.

President Eamon De Valera

Eamon De Valera was born in 1882. He did both his secondary and university studies at Blackrock College. In 1916 he took a leading role in the Easter Rising and the foundation of the Irish State, culminating in the framing of the 1937 Constitution. He was elected Taoiseach, Uachtarán na hÉireann and Chancellor of the National University of Ireland. He further received the highest honour in the Catholic Church from Pope Pius XII; the Order of Christ. In 1960 he was made an Associate Member of the Holy Ghost Congregation. He died in 1975.

Mr Frank Duff

Frank Duff was born in 1889 and studied in Blackrock College from 1899 - 1907. In 1921 he, with others (including a past Blackrock Student - Fr. Michael Toher), founded the Legion of Mary. His whole life was devoted to this worldwide and most effective organisation. Being a leading exponent in action and writing of the participation by the laity in the Pastoral Mission of the Church he was invited as a Lay Auditor to the Vatican Council in 1964. (Earlier, in 1948, he was made an Associate Member of the Holy Ghost Congregation). His cause for Beatification has been officially introduced by the late Archbishop of Dublin Most Rev. Kevin MacNamara. He died in 1980.

Sir Joseph Glynn

Joseph Glynn was born in 1869. He attended Blackrock College for his secondary studies. Having studied Law at the University he took an active part in public life and was the first Chairman of the National Health Insurance Commission (1912 - 1940). He was particularly involved in Catholic social activity as President of National Council of St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Catholic Truth Society. He was honoured with a Knighthood in 1915, an Honorary Doctorate from the National University of Ireland and finally was made a Knight Commendator of St. Gregory by His Holiness the Pope. In 1913 he was elected President of the Blackrock College Past Pupils Union.

Bishop Joseph Shanahan CSSp

Bishop Joseph Shanahan was born in 1872. While pursuing most of his secondary and senior studies in France he was, however, ordained a priest at Blackrock College in 1900 where he was to return towards the end of his life to live 6 year in Clareville. He served as Dean and Professor in Rockwell College and in 1902 he was appointed to Southern Nigeria of which he was later ordained Bishop. He continued his work in Nigeria and was regarded as one of Ireland's greatest missionaries, revered by the people of Nigeria as "their St. Patrick". After his long service in Nigeria, his health failing, he returned to live in Blackrock College. In 1943 he died in East Africa but the people of Nigeria asked that his body be removed from there to Nigeria. This was done.

Professor Edward J Conway F.R.S.

Edward Conway was born in 1894 and was educated in Blackrock College where he proved to be outstanding in both Science and Music. In 1928 he was awarded a D. Sc. and in 1932 was appointed Professor of Biochemistry at U.C.D. His scientific research and publications received worldwide acclaim and two of his seminal ideas were expanded by other scientists gaining for them two Nobel Prizes. He was a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a member of the New York Academy of Science and Fellow of the Royal Academy. In 1961 he was elected President of the Blackrock College Past Pupils' Union. He died in 1968.

Monsignor Alfred O'Rahilly

Alfred O'Rahilly was born in 1884 and studied at Blackrock College from 1895 - 1901 where he became one of the most brilliant students to pass through the halls of the School. He published many valuable works particularly in electro magnetics, money, sacred scripture and theology. As Registrar and President of U.C.C. he showed remarkable skill as an administrator and made special links between the University and local industry. Further, he took an active part in public life and in the fight for independence. In 1954 he retired and joined the Blackrock Community. A year later he was ordained a priest, made a knight of St. Gregory and a Monsignor. He died in 1959.

Pádraic O Conaire

Pádraic O Conaire was born in 1882 and received his secondary education, firstly at Rockwell College and then Blackrock College. In 1904 he won the Oireachtas Gold Medal for creative Irish writing. Soon after this he was recognised as the leading creative writer in Modern Irish and after some time abroad he returned to Ireland in 1914. Pádraic became a legend in his own life and it was said of him that he brought Gaelic writing from the middle ages to the twentieth century overnight. Like Mozart, he died destitute, of malnutrition in 1928.

Père John Martin Ebenrecht CSSp

John Ebenrecht was born in Alsace in 1837. In his early years he excelled at Art and made a special study of Architecture. In 1862 he was appointed to Blackrock where he served as Bursar until 1896. He was both a Spiritual Director and the Director of Mission Aid. This devout, artistic, and eminently compassionate priest is remembered for having designed and supervised all the College building from 1866 to 1908, particularly the College Chapel. He died in 1914.

Br. Thaddeus Judge CSSp

Thaddeus (Myles) Judge was born in 1842. In 1863 he joined the Blackrock Community and after some time in France he was appointed Director of the Junior Students in the School. This legendary figure spent a life of total dedication in this post until he died in 1902.

Archbishop Charles Heerey CSSp

Charles Heerey was born in 1890. Having been educated at Blackrock College and U.C.D. he was appointed to Nigeria in 1922 and ordained a Bishop in 1926. In 1932 he succeeded Bishop Shanahan and for the next thirty-five years presided over the extraordinary expansion of the Church in Nigeria. He was appointed the first Metropolitan Archbishop in Nigeria.

Fr. James Browne CSSp

James Browne was born in 1836. He came to Blackrock College in 1860 and thus became the first student on the school roll. At first he was appointed to St. Mary's College, Trinidad, where he became President from 1876 until 1892 and then was appointed Head of the Catholic Missions in Sierra Leone, "Daddy Browne" died in the year 1903.

John Cardinal D'Alton

John D'Alton was born in 1882. Having studied at Blackrock, Clonliffe College, Rome and Oxford, he specialised in Ancient Classics. After some time as Professor of Maynooth University and then later President, he was appointed Bishop of Meath. In 1946 he was appointed Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of all Ireland and seven years later was created a Cardinal. He died in 1963.

Bishop John T Murphy CSSp

John Murphy was born in 1854. Having completed his secondary studies at Blackrock College he served at St. Mary's College, Trinidad. In 1878 he was appointed Principal in Rockwell and 1886 Principal of the Holy Ghost College, Pittsburgh (now Duquesne University). In 1899 he was appointed President of Blackrock College and presided over the re-building of Williamstown and the re-modelling of the College. Having been Provincial Superior in the U.S.A. and later in Ireland, he was appointed Bishop of Port Louis, Mauritius, in 1916 where he 'achieved more in 9 years than most men do in a lifetime'. He died in 1926.

Dr. John Casey F.R.S.

John Casey was born in 1820. From 1873 to 1882 he taught 'Third Level' Mathematics at Blackrock College. His originality and genius in Mathematics were recognised throughout Europe. After becoming a Fellow of the Royal University of Ireland and Fellow of the Royal Society he was further honoured by the Scientific Society of Brussels, the Norwegian Government and the Mathematical Society of France. He died in 1891.

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