Joseph Doorley was a native of Carlow, Ireland. He was a member of the Congregation of Christian Brothers. He established schools in New York City; New Rochelle, New York; Chicago, Illinois and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Past pupils of the schools which he founded include American singer, songwriter and musician Don McClean and Argentinian and Leinster Rugby Union footballer Felipe Contepomi.
Joseph Doorley was born at Cloneen, Nurney, Co Carlow in 1878. He was the fourth of five children of John Doorley and his wife Maria Whitty. Maria Whitty was a native of Milltown House Co. Kilkenny. James was baptised at the nearby St. Patrick’s Church, Newtown by Fr Edward Kavanagh on March 31st 1878.
When Joseph was five years old his father died. The five children were raised by their mother. Joseph was educated at Newtown National School where Mr O’Mahoney was the Principal. He excelled at school and having completed his primary education was retained in Newtown School as a monitor.
It was intended that Joseph would proceed to teacher training. However Newtown School was visited by Br Joseph McCormack, a Christian Brother who was on his postulating rounds. Following the visit, Joseph Doorley decided to join the Christian Brothers. At the age of 17 he entered the Christian Brothers training school in Baldoyle, Co Dublin in July 1895. He was given the name Brother Ignatius.
Having completed his training Br Ignatius taught for a time at O’Connell’s Schools in Dublin. He was transferred to the Christian Brothers’ College (CBC) in Cork City in 1904. He worked in the commercial department and was appointed sports master in charge of the school rugby team. CBC had remarkable achievements in University College Cork and the rugby team produced two international players, Harry Jack and Vincent McNamara who played for the Ireland national Rugby team.
In 1909 Br Doorley was chosen to be the Superior of the first Christian Brothers’ High School established in New York City. He remained in charge until the school was well established before being transferred to New Rochelle, New York where he established Iona College on October 16th 1919. In 1927 he established St Leo’s High School in Chicago.
At the age sixty-nine Br Doorley set out for Argentina to establish the first Christian Brothers’ school in South America. Colegio Cardenal Newman (Cardinal Newman College) was established in Buenos Aires in 1948. Today it is a bilingual, day, co-educational primary and secondary school. It is an important centre for Rugby union in Argentina. Br Doorley died aged 68 in 1963. He is buried in Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires.
Br Joseph Ignatius Doorely, Christian Brother and native of Carlow, Ireland, who founded schools in New York City; New Rochelle, New York; Chicago, Illinois and Buenos Aires, Argentina was born in the year 1878 On This Day.
Iona College of New Rochelle
Iona Gaelic Society at St. Patricks Day Parade