Music is an integral part of life in Clongowes. There is a large number of music staff, in several different disciplines, with a wide and varied range of skills, qualifications and experience to encourage our young Clongownians in the pursuit of their musical development. Music is studied as an exam orientated subject as well as in the ‘play for pleasure’ mode.

  • Music is a curricular and co-curricular subject.

Curriculum Music is studied as a formal class subject on the timetable from Elements to Rhetoric inclusive. It is a choice subject. There are Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate classes each year who take music as part of their Junior and Leaving Certificates. The results are a fine reflection of the Jesuit aspiration of ‘Striving for Excellence’. In Transition Year music is taken on a rotation basis, both in the classroom and in the computer room, for everyone in the year.

Co-Curricular Music

is studied through instrumental and vocal art/expression. Those students taking music for their Junior / Leaving Certificate must do a practical as part of their course and exam.  This part of the course may be covered by studying an instrument and performing vocal or instrumental music solo or in a group for each exam. There is a vocal tutor for solo singing lessons who also works with the Senior and Elements choirs.

  • Co Curricular Music is showcased twice yearly at the Christmas and Summer Concerts.

Instrumental Music

A large portion of the school population studies at least one instrument with a good number studying two. The instruments are piano (usually between 80 -90 students), and a full range of orchestral instruments. There is a full symphony orchestra in the College with all instruments taught here on campus.

Vocal Music

  • There are 3 choirs in Clongowes. The Senior Choir comprises boys from 2nd – 6th year inclusive. This choir represents the College at concerts and festivals throughout the country with considerable successes over the years including Feis Ceoil Dublin, Wesley Interschools Festival, All Island Choir Competition and Cork and Sligo International Competitions. Directed by D. Scott & C. Heslin.
  •  The 1st year – Elements Choir introduces the boys to choral singing and prepares them to join the Senior Choir. This choir has also returned with trophies to the College after Competitions. Directed by A. Conaghan & D Scott.
  • Schola is the choir, which sings at Masses and liturgies throughout the school year.


Clongowes orchestra is one of the most unique things the College has to pride itself on – a full Symphonic Orchestra in an all boys Boarding School. Tuition is offered on a one to one basis and students are invited to audition for the Orchestra when they have reached the required standard. The aim of these lessons is to teach each student to the best of his ability to become proficient in his chosen instrument.

Orchestral Students perform annually individually, as part of ensembles and as members of the orchestra in many events through the School Year both inside and outside the college. The Orchestra also tours both nationally and abroad. The orchestra has undertaken three European tours in the last six years and has performed in Prague, Berlin, Bonn and Koblenz.

Traditional Group

The traditional Irish music group under the leadership of Catherine Heslin is a collaboration between staff and students sharing their musical skills in a fun, informal environment. Traditional Irish music forms a huge part of our rich heritage and it is only fitting in a place such as Clongowes that all shades of the musical spectrum are explored. The group meets weekly to rehearse, and performs at each school concert. Several times during the year, the group travels to local hostelries to enjoy the music in its natural setting.