Old Columbans in the Arts

In the course of its one hundred and seventy years' history, St. Columba's has produced many fine artists in a variety of disciplines, especially painting.

In the last fifty years, Oisin Kelly and Chris Vis were prominent among the art teachers who inspired generations of their pupils. In other areas, especially music, writing, stage and film, talents nurtured at the College have led to conspicuous success for many Old Columbans.

There follows a sample of well-established and more recent Old Columbans who have excelled in their chosen arts.

  • Selina Guinness

    Literature » Selina Guinness, Author

    Selina Guinness lectures in English Literature in the Department of Humanities at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dun Laoghaire.  She is the author of The Crocodile by the Door (Peng... read more »

  • Paki Smith

    Visual Arts » Paki Smith, Artist / Film-maker

    Paki Smith attended the College from 1978-1982. He went on to study fine art at NCAD in Dublin, graduating in 1987. While he was painting full-time between 1987 and 1999, he continued to have an interest in ... read more »

  • Sarah Davis-Goff

    Literature » Sarah Davis-Goff, Publisher

    After graduating from St Columba's College Sarah studied for four years at St John's College, Santa Fe in the US before she received an Ma in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University in 2009.  She gain... read more »

  • Mark Armstrong

    Performing Arts » Mark Armstrong, Musician

    Mark Armstrong is currently Director of the Defence Forces School of Music with responsibility for the three military bands of the Irish Defence Forces. Over a thirty year career as a professional musician h... read more »

  • Bridget Flinn

    Visual Arts » Bridget Flinn, Artist

    Bridget Flinn attended St. Columba's College from 1977 to 1979. She studied in the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, and the Royal College of Art, London. Bridget worked as an illustrator for a nu... read more »

  • Rebecca Hickey

    Performing Arts » Rebecca Hickey, Actress / Director

    On leaving St. Columba’s, Rebecca studied for three years at The Arts Educational School in London on the Musical Theatre Degree Programme and graduated with a BA Honours Degree in Musical Theatre. ... read more »

  • Holly Somerville

    Visual Arts » Holly Somerville, Artist

    Holly Somerville (n'e Nixon) was in Beresford from 1981 to 1984.She has an MA in Botany from Somerville College, Oxford, and a BA in Visual Communication from Edinburgh College of Art, where she specialise... read more »

  • Victoria Smurfit

    Performing Arts » Victoria Smurfit, Actress

    Victoria Smurfit lives in Dublin and has enjoyed a hugely successful television and movie career. Her film credits include About a Boy, The Leading Man, Bulletproof Monk, The Beach, So This is Romance? and T... read more »

  • Ronan Summers

    Performing Arts » Ronan Summers, Actor

    Ronan Summers left the College in 2002, having immersed himself in several acting roles whilst a pupil at St. Columba's - most notably his portrayal of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice . He has been a busy... read more »

  • Richard Mosse

    Visual Arts » Richard Mosse, Artist

    Richard Mosse's (b. Ireland 1980) work has been exhibited at the Akademie der K'nste, Berlin; Barbican Art Gallery, London; Bass Museum, Miami; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris; Kemper Museum of Contempora... read more »

  • Benjamin Russell

    Music » Benjamin Russell, Baritone

    Benjamin Russell is a member of the ensemble of the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Germany. He studied at the International Opera Studio of the Zurich Opera House, Switzerland after having received his ... read more »

  • Adam Clayton

    Performing Arts » Adam Clayton, Musician

    Adam Clayton is a member of U2 who, in his own words on visiting the College in 2008, 'conquered the world and have been on a remarkable journey'. With a discography stretching from Boy (1980) to No Line on ... read more »

  • Colm Carey

    » Colm Carey, Musician

    ... read more »

  • Kildare Dobbs

    Literature » Kildare Dobbs, Author

    Kildare Dobbs was a pupil at the College from 1937 to 1941. Though born in India and educated in Ireland, his greatest fame has been in Canada, where in 2000 he was awarded the Order of Ontario. He recei... read more »

  • William Trevor

    Literature » William Trevor, Author

    William Trevor was one of the most distinguished writers in the English-speaking world. In the course of a long and highly productive career, he wrote fifteen much-acclaimed novels. However, his achievements... read more »

  • Stephen Darcy

    Performing Arts » Stephen Darcy, Actor

    Stephen Darcy, who was Stephen Murphy before he became a professional actor, studied Drama at the Beckett Centre for the Performing Arts at Trinity College, Dublin. He was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Aca... read more »

  • Emily Archer

    Visual Arts » Emily Archer, Artist

    Emily is currently practising as a visual artist and art facilitator in Dublin. Her work is in public collections including the Office of Public Works and Lloyds TSB. She studied Fine Art in the National Col... read more »