By 1798 there were only three Sisters in Channel Row. After the landlord did not renew the lease, the account books note: “received for old furniture sold on leaving Brunswick St £14.10.9d.” Thus, in the spring 1808, the Sisters, with some parlour boarders, moved to a rented house (later known as “Convent House”) in Vernon Avenue, Clontarf. With a good-sized garden, and fields purchased, they made some money: “received for vegetables”, “for grazing”, “for sheep sold in Smithfield”.
The Sisters opened a day school and a small boarding school in August 1808. Textbooks included Goldsmith’s English (abridged), French Grammar, Thompson’s Geography, Usher’s Grammar, Fontaine’s Fables. A Dancing Master was engaged. Each young lady was required to have a summer, winter, and dancing costume. The Bellew organ had been brought from Channel Row. The nuns made great efforts to restore the religious life and observances they had previously known. They used their religious names with the prefix Sister; they also wore the Dominican habit of white serge, a fact reflected in the laundry expenses. However, over time, their financial situation did not improve, with “debts” owed to them and taxes which had increased after the 1798 rebellion. One very encouraging sign, which proved to be to their salvation, was the arrival of four new members to the community and later, a Dominican priest and chaplain, Fr Edmund Cruice. However, after eleven years, due to decreasing numbers of pupils and lack of money to pay extern teachers, the school closed.
From Sr. Maris Stella McKeown, Archivist, Mission Area of Ireland