Posted: 30th April 2017

Earlier this year Jack O’Quigley, Eddie Boland and Hugo O’Donnell, decided that the boys in Clongowes could use a good set of cufflinks to complement their formal dress. They felt that there would be a demand from students who might like a ‘keep sake’ for the year that was in it as well as demand from Old Clongownians who might like to be reminded of old friends, of days at Clongowes and pleasant times gone by. So they decided to do something about it…

A piece of music, a song, a fragrance or perhaps a flash of purple and white can evoke pleasant memories in us all. These cufflinks are modern, stylish and – importantly – depict the College coat-of-arms. They are of good quality with a silver finish and are modestly priced to boot. They come presented in a handsome box and would make a welcome present for any Clongownian or indeed anyone with an association with the college!

While looking for the perfect set of cufflinks Jack and I did some research with Ms Margaret Doyle, College Archivist and former teacher of history at Clongowes. Visiting Ms Doyle in her rooms in the Castle we learned that before 2008 the College had a crest which had been created in the early twentieth century and included elements from the elaborate coat-of-arms of the House of Gonzaga seeing as St Aloysius Gonzaga is the patron saint of the school (hence the Aloysius Award on Union Day). The ‘cross with four eagles’ design went through a number of updates over the decades but it was not in fact a recognised coat-of-arms.

In 2006 the Board of Management recognised that it was time to consult with the Chief Herald and the Herald’s office in Dublin and to properly register a Clongowes coat-of-arms once and for all. While still familiar, the crest was transformed and redrawn according to the rules of heraldry. The coat-of-arms that we have now (which is portrayed on your next set of cufflinks!) is that which was agreed by the Board and registered with the Herald’s office in Dublin in 2008. It is in fact owned by the Government and granted to the college. It is for college use alone and is protected by Irish Law.

Coats-of-arms are designed to tell a story and are a pictorial representation of the person, family or establishment they represent. The Clongowes coat-of-arms while familiar to all, includes four elements which identify it specifically with Clongowes Wood College as a Jesuit Community of learning:

  • The two eagles mark the link with St. Aloysius Gonzaga through his family coat of arms.
  • The rampart in the lower half of the coat-of-arms represents the Castle of Clongowes.
  • The book represents the Academic Life of the College and its Community.
  • The cross represents the Christian Ethos of the Community of Clongowes.

We are grateful to Ms Doyle for her interesting History lesson and hope you will look more closely at the coat-of-arms on your cufflinks when you wear them! To order your set of cufflinks (€45 per pair) please contact us at duckpush@clongowes.net

All profits from the sale of these cufflinks will go towards this year’s Transition Year Duck Push which plans to put all monies raised towards the purchase of a 3D X-ray machine for Crumlin Children’s Hospital. We would like to thank Ms Aine Corcoran for her help with this mini company project and to thank you all in advance for your support!

Hugo O’Donnell

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