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History of St. Raphaela’s School

There are two Houses on the Campus of St. Raphaela’s, Wesbury House which is known as the Convent Building, and Clonmore House, known as the residence. The entrance to the school campus was originally located where the entrance to the Stillorgan Wood housing estate is on the present day Upper Kilmacud Road.

The original house of Wesbury was built in the 1750s, with an extension to the front of the house being added in the 1830s. Many families including the Wilsons, Devlins and Pilkingtons have lived on this estate. It is thought that the Pilkington Family gave the name Wesbury to the present day Convent House.

The Pilkington Family were ship owners and renowned glass makers. You can see evidence of their family still in the Convent House with lots of beautiful examples of their stained glass, and their coat of arms on the main stair case: “How thus, now thus”.

Wesbury House faced towards the east, and from the top of the house, it had views of Dublin Bay. There is a hidden staircase, and it leads from what was the master bedroom out on to the roof. Mr Pilkington had erected a special look out place on the roof, where he could see his boats come in to Dun Laoghaire and The North Wall.

The house was then sold to the Devlin family, who lived there with their children until it was then passed on to the Religious Community of the Daughters of Charity in the 1930s.

In 1932, the site that the Daughters of Charity moved in to occupied 93 acres, and included 43 acres of farm land. The Daughters established St. Philomena’s home for children and between 1940 and 1948 dormitories and school rooms were added to the site. These buildings connected Wesbury and Clonmore House, and part of those buildings now house the Primary School.

In 1952 a Church was built for the Convent Community and the children they served at the time. Over the years, this building was removed from use as a Church. The Convent have their own Chapel within the building of their House.

The old Church is now called the “Badminton Hall” and is used by the pupils of both schools for a variety of sports as well as whole school celebrations.

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