Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Dublin cuts last ties with Clonliffe College

 Dublin cuts last ties with Conliffe College

More than 200 current and former diocesan staff joined priests and Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell for a prayer service in the chapel of Holy Cross College to mark the end of the archdiocese’s association with Clonliffe after nearly 170 years.

The property will officially change hands in October. Founded by Cardinal Paul Cullen, a total of 2,795 students priests entered the diocesan seminary from 1859 up to its closure in 2001. After that, seminarians for Dublin were educated at Maynooth.

In recent years, the college buildings accommodated diocesan offices. All of these have now moved to new locations.

In his address, Archbishop Farrell underlined the need for “new modalities of formation” for those who will be involved in the ministry of the Church and the proclamation of the Gospel in the coming decades.

Dublin priest Fr Aquinas Duffy told The Tablet that he spent seven years in Clonliffe College. “I was just 17 years old when I entered and I was 24 when I was ordained. I was one of the few in recent decades to be ordained in the church at Clonliffe College. I also had two separate appointments working in the diocesan offices for a few years. So Clonliffe holds a special place in my heart.”

When he was ordained in 1984, the Dublin seminary had about 94 students in addition to a few students at the Irish College in Rome. “Now we do not have even one student for the entire seven-year period,” he lamented. 

In 2018, the Archdiocese of Dublin announced that Clonliffe College and its 31.8 acres of prim Dublin land would be sold to the Gaelic Athletic Association for €95m and the sporting organisation would develop them for social, affordable and private housing as well as sports facilities for children and young adults.

The GAA sold the land to US property group, Hines, in 2019.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Dublin told The Tablet that it is working closely with the new owners of Clonliffe to facilitate the accommodation of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

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