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A History of Kildalton College

Bessborough House / Kildalton College has had a long and interesting history. 

Originally, the area was known as Kilmodalla in the 13th century. It became the property of a Norman family who called it Cill Datuin (later known as Kildalton). Sir John Ponsonby who was a Colonel in Cromwell’s army was awarded a house and lands on the site. The house stayed in the Ponsonby family for many generations eventually becoming known as Bessborough House. 

The family sold the estate in 1940 to The Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) as a seminary and the house became known as Our Lady’s Scholasticate, Kildalton Abbey. As numbers entering the priesthood declined, the Oblates closed its order here and moved back to Inchicore in Dublin. They sold the house and lands in 1971 to the Department of Agriculture as a training facility for young farmers. Kildalton College celebrated 50 years of land based training in 2021.

Download the full History of Kildalton College here