Rockwell College

College History wall

History & Ethos

Rockwell College History & Ethos

A Heritage Spanning more than 150 years

Established in 1864 in the heartlands of Tipperary, Rockwell College is one of Ireland’s leading co-educational boarding schools for second-level students. Located on a 100 acre picturesque lakeside estate, Rockwell College is immersed in history, but while there have been many changes throughout the years, providing students with a world-class education has remained at the forefront.


Established in 1864

Rockwell College was established in 1864 by the Holy Ghost Congregation (now the Spiritan Congregation) which had already established Blackrock College in Dublin. Rockwell College was referred to as ‘The Scotch College’ as its function was to educate young men as seminarians for the Catholic Church in Scotland. The grounds had, for many years, been an estate in the ownership of Charles Thiebault, a French landowner.


history photo closeup 1896

Academic Excellence

In initially, just 18 pupils were enrolled in Rockwell College. It quickly earned a reputation for academic excellence - a reputation it still holds. As the years progressed the College evolved from educating for the religious orders to educating lay students, boarders and day pupils, also. Its alumni includes a range of figures from Ireland’s political and literary past: 1916 Signatory Thomas McDonagh attended Rockwell College, as did former President Patrick Hillary.


Eamonn De Valera taught here and often visited during the upheaval of the period 1919-1922 as well as later, when Taoiseach and then President. Literary figures Padraic Ó Connaire, Liam O’Flaherty and Gabriel Rosenstock were pupils too. Famous faces in sport such as Denis Leamy, Willie Duggan and Joseph & Donnacha O’Brien also attended Rockwell College.


For over a century, Rockwell College only educated boys. This changed in the late 1980s, with the arrival of girls firstly as Repeat Leaving Certificate pupils and, over the next few years, as boarders and day pupils in all year groups. The College was managed directly by the Holy Ghost (Spiritan) Congregation until 2006 when the first Board of Management was established. Since then, the College retains it very close connection to the Spiritan Congregation while being managed by the Board of Management under the trusteeship of the Spiritan Education Trust.

Rockwell College Ethos

As a Spiritan school, Rockwell College is part of a community of ten schools nationally rooted in the Spiritan Ethos and under the patronage of the Spiritan Education Trust. A founding principle of the Spiritan Education Trust is the belief that the Holy Spirit is present and should enliven each moment and every part of the school community. It is through this lens that we articulate the Spiritan Seven Core Values that are at the heart of each of our educational works.

These seven values are:

  1. Openness to the Spirit
  2. A Sense of Community
  3. Option for the Poor
  4. Commitment to Service
  5. Global Vision
  6. High Educational Standards
  7. Personal and Faith Development

"Constancy in the Midst of Change"

Pupils at Rockwell College are expected to be mindful of these values and the College tradition throughout their school lives.

Rockwell College has a proud tradition in academic, sporting and cultural achievements. However, it is the tradition of offering every pupil the chance to reach their potential that is our lasting achievement.

The College motto “Inter Mutanda Constantia” translates as “Constancy in the midst of change” – a reference to the values of Rockwell College that remain constant despite the changes in our world.

In Hallway stuedents walking