Castleknock College Union

College Church History Medal 1881

Original returns for College visit

May 17, 2005
College Church History Medal 1881 -

Front of Medal - Back of Medal

An unexpected visit to the College in May led to the brief return of a beautiful item from our past. The College Church History Medal was awarded to final year student John Dunphy of Rathdowney, Co. Laois in the year 1881 and it was his American relatives who dropped in to the college while on a visit to Ireland.

The medal is in fine condition and shows the excellent craftsmanship that was involved in its production. The front side bears a beautiful relief of McNamara House and the grounds including the castle and the water tower hill. The legend 'Collegium Sancti Vincentii apud Castleknock' identifies the college, while the date 'MDCCCXXXIV' marks the founding year of same. The words 'Religioni et Scientiae' give a clue as to the nature of the medal itself.

Medal CoverThe reverse side of the medal bears the legend 'In Doctrina Christiana et Historia Ecclesiastica. Lauream Meruit.' This explains that it was awarded for Christian Doctrine and Church History with Merit. The recipient of the medal was 'Joannes Dunphy' or John Dunphy in the year 1881. A final striking detail is the laurel wreath intertwined with the shamrock, symbolising both victory and the Irish nation.

The medal was still stored in the original leather case as presented 124 years ago. A beautiful engraving of St. Vincent de Paul adorns this handsome case and it is very well preserved. It was indeed a most unexpected boon for those who were lucky enough to have seen the medal before it again left the college.

It serves as a poignant touchstone to bygone days and reminds us of our rich and proud heritage here in 'Knock.

Fr. Sam Clyne, C.M.