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All Hallows College was a college of higher education in Dublin. It was founded in 1842 and was run by the Vincentians from 1892 until 2016. On 23 May 2014, it was announced that it was closing down, due to the decreasing students number.[2]The sale of the campus in Drumcondra to Dublin City University was announced on 19 June 2015 and completed on 8 April 2016.[3]The college closed on 30 November 2016, becoming the All Hallows Campus, of Dublin City University.


The college was founded in 1842 by Reverend John Hand[4] and, from 1892 until its closure in 2016, was under the direction of Vincentians.[5]

By 1973, the college had trained 4000 priests[6] for England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, South America, South Africa, India, Canada, Australia,[7] the West Indies, New Zealand, and the United States. All-Hallows alumni were the largest group of secular priests in California up to the late 1890s.[6]

The academic training for a priest took seven years, of which three were devoted to physics, mental philosophy, languages, and English literature; the remaining four years were devoted to sacred scripture, history, liturgy, canon law, sacred eloquence, and the science of theology.[8]

In autumn 1955, while on holiday in Ireland, Senator John F. Kennedy addressed students of All Hallows at the invitation of Fr. Joseph Leonard.[9] His speech referred to the suppression of religion in the Soviet bloc.[10]

In the 1960s, after the Second Vatican Council, the college began accepting women from religious orders and also all Lay Students, offering adult education, and certificates, degrees and diplomas in theology, humanities and pastoral studies.

In 1976, the Vincentian retreat and conferencing in St. Joseph's, Blackrock, moved to All Hallows. Similarly in 1981 the Vincentian Mission Team moved to the College.

The Pathways - Exploring Faith and Ministry adult education course commenced in 1985.

The BA degree, a four-year programme in Theology with Philosophy, Psychology or Spirituality was validated by the Irish governments NCEA in 1988. In 1991 the Evening BA and MA by Research began, which was followed in 1993 by the taught MA programme.[11]

In 1999, the colleges degree programmes were validated by Dublin City University following on from NCEA. The undergraduate degrees based on subjects were recognised by the teaching council entitling graduates to teach in secondary schools in Ireland.[12]

In 2008, the college, as with the Mater Dei, and St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, became a college of Dublin City University.[13]

In 2012, the International Peace Bureau conference was held in All Hallows, where President Michael D. Higgins presented the Sean McBride Prize.[14]


All Hallows College was home to programmes that provided students with the skills to promote fairness and equality in the workplace and in society: leadership and management in the pastoral arena, the community and voluntary sector and on all dialogue between public policy and social justice. Programmes were held in spirituality, supervisory practice and ecology and their application to questions and issues about the meaning of life that came up in work settings, therapeutic settings,family settings, relationships or in the context of social issues. The college enrolled 700 students.

The final president of All Hallows College was Dr. Patrick McDevitt, C.M., a Vincentian priest, from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.

The college offered joint major undergraduate degree courses (where the student's two subjects were both considered majors and could both to be used as a basis for employment) in a combination of Theology and either Psychology, English Literature or Philosophy. These were offered under the Free Fees scheme that operates in Irish third-level education. Degree options were also available excluding Theology. In those instances, student applied directly to the college and pay full fees. The undergraduate degree courses were available to school leavers via the Dept. of Education's Central Applications Office (CAO), yet about 50% of first year students would be mature.[15]

The college offered postgraduate programmes in Social studies such as Social Justice and Public Policy, Management: Community and Voluntary Services, Leadership and Pastoral Care, Christian Spirituality, Supervisory Practice and Ecology and Religion. Most of these taught courses had graduate certificate and diploma stages prior to MA stage. The college also offered research masters and doctoral studies. All of the masters and doctoral programmes were entitled to tax relief under the government scheme.[16]

All Hallows ran Adult and Community Learning courses.

As part of the reaction to the closure of the aerospace company in Dublin Airport under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) a tailored degree course was provided in All Hallows for some 70 former employees.[17]

The College ran a series of Public Talks each Autumn and Spring on subjects relating to the Church, its mission and social justice, the 2015 spring series was entitled Reading the Signs of the Times : Urgent Questions for the Church today, with speakers including Archbishop Dr. Driarmuid Martin and Fr. Peter McVerry SJ. Previous subjects have included Vatican II : The Journey Continues and The Joy of the Gospel : Evangelii Gaudium Exploring the Teaching of Pope Francis.

Graduation took place every year on campus. 1 November 2016 saw the final graduation from the college, presided over by the Vice-President Ms. Mary McPhillips and President of Dublin City University Dr. Brian McCraith. Following the ceremony a reception was held for graduates and their friends and families in the College Dining Hall.

Exchange programmes

The college engaged in the Erasmus student exchange programmes with Liverpool Hope University as well as universities of Trier and Erfurt in Germany. All Hallows ran study abroad programmes with American universities such as DePaul University[18] in Chicago and St. John's University (New York)[19] both also founded by Vincentians. The college also engaged in programmes with Webster University, St. Louis; the University of Missouri and Regis University, Denver.


The college had a dining room, student common room, computer room, the John Hand library and study facilities. Students could use the facilities in Dublin City University and its sister colleges. Students had access to online learning via moodle. An archive of the college was hosted on campus. The college had on-campus accommodation for visiting students and groups. The Purcell House building hosted seminars, conferences, and workshops.

A number of non-profit organisations and charities such as Volunteer Missionary Movement, Daughters of Charity[20] Education and Training Service,[21] Ruhama[22] (Supporting women affected by prostitution and human trafficking), Accord Catholic Marriage Counselling, Debt and Development Coalition Ireland, Console (Living with Suicide), Migraine Association of Ireland, National Association for Pastoral Counselling and Psychotherapy, Marys Meals, and Older Women’s Network (OWN) Ireland were based on campus.

On campus there is a monument to Fr. Hand and a graveyard where he and a number of other former presidents, professors and students of the college are buried. Deceased former students and staff are commemorated by trees planted on the college grounds.

The College Chapel was often used for concerts by choirs and musical societies, such as Liam Lawton, Dolce Choir,[23] The Offbeat Ensemble, and the Dublin Airport Singers.

On 22 December 2003, the college hosted a special Christmas edition of RTÉs Marian Finucane Show with choirs for the northside of Dublin, and featured Brian Kennedy, Suzanne Murphy, Anúna, Bernadette Greevey and the Three American Tenors.

The BBC Songs of Praise show on 20 March 2016, featured a recording of Enya singing in the college chapel.[24]

People associated with All Hallows

Along with the founder Fr. Hand, over the years a number of eminent people had taught at or been associated with All-Hallows Dr. Bartholomew Woodlock(became Rector of the Catholic University of Ireland), Dr. David Moriarty, Dr. Michael Flannery, Dr. Eugene O'Connell, Dr. George Conroy, Dr. James McDevitt, Dr. Sylvester Barry, Dr. Thomas A. Bennett, Monsignor James O'Brien (St. John's College, Sydney), and Dr. Patrick Delany (Hobart), have gone on to leading positions in the Catholic Church or other educational institutions. Two other noted professors at the college were the converts from Anglicanism Father Thomas Potter, and Mr. Henry Bedford MA.

The architect and designer of churches in Ireland James Joseph McCarthy was Professor of Ecclesiastical Architecture at the college.[25] Rev. David Moriarty became president following the death of Fr. Hand in 1846, other presidents have included Dr Woodlock, the carmelite Dr. Thomas A. Bennett D.D. O.C.C. (1803–1897), the Very Rev. Dr William Fortune (1834–1917), Rev. Thomas O'Donnell CM and more recently Fr. Kevin Rafferty CM and Mgr. Tom Lane CM (served from 1970–1982). Dr. Patrick McDevitt took over as president in 2011 from Fr. Mark Noonan C.M. (1996-2011).

The term rector has also been used in the past for the head of the college.

  • Rev. John Hand (1842-1846)
  • Rev. David Moriarty DD (1846-1854)
  • Dr. Bartholomew Woodlock DD (1854-1861)
  • Rev. Thomas A. Bennett DD, OCC (1861-1866)
  • Dr. William Fortune (1866-1891)
  • Rev. James Moore (1892-1920)
  • Rev. Thomas O'Donnell CM (1920-1948)
  • Rev. William Purcell CM (1948-1961)[26]
  • Rev. Thomas Fagan CM (1961-1970)
  • Mgr. Tom Lane CM (1970–1982)
  • Rev. Kevin Rafferty CM (1982-1995)
  • Rev. Mark Noonan CM (1996-2011)
  • Dr. Patrick McDevitt CM PhD (2011–2016)[9]


The college's main buildings were the historic Drumcondra House designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce for Marmaduke Coghill, Purcell House, O'Donnell house, and Senior house. The architect J. J. McCarthy extended the house and designed a college quadrangle, however only two sides were built. The college chapel was designed by George Ashlin in 1876, replacing an earlier chapel by McCarthy, the south side of the chapel is dominated by Evie Hone's stained glass window.[27]

  • Drumcondra House - original Georgian house which the college was built around.
  • Purcell House - Conference Centre and Oratory.[28] Originally known as Junior House[29] designed by architect J.J. O'Callaghan in 1884.
  • O'Donnell House
  • Woodlock Hall
  • John Hand Library
  • Senior House
  • College Chapel

Winding down

On 23 May 2014, it was announced that the College activities would be winding down due to financial difficulties, these were brought to the fore following a fundraising effort which included the sale of letters from Jackie Kennedy was cancelled.[30] The College was not in receipt of direct state funding, and was capped at how many students it could accept on the Irish government's free fees scheme.[31] The winding down affected academic programmes in the short term, but sabbatical course ran in 2014 and before and after Easter 2015. Efforts were made, liaising with DCU and its Colleges, to maintain the Adult Learning BA (ALBA) degree programme, which is the only one of its kind in Ireland.[32] In September 2014 the College announced it was seeking a partnership or a sale of the campus to facilitate this, hoping to retain a presence on the campus and continue its mission.[33] Since 2015 the adult education Pathways programme has been run by the Dublin Dioceses Centre in Clonliffe College. The final Faith Renewal programmes ran during the 2015 to 2016 academic years.

All Hallows College Festival Week was held in July 2016, to mark the transition of the All Hallows Campus to DCU, and to celebrate the legacy of the College, events such as a Garden Party, Fun Day, Open day with Tours, Exhibitions and Lectures, and a mass celebrated by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.[34]

A number of the courses and programmes taught in All Hallows have been transferred to other institutions

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