St Jarlath's College

School History

School History

St. Jarlath’s College was founded in 1800 by the then Archbishop of Tuam, Edward Dillon. Its first President was Oliver Kelly, a dynamic young priest who was later to succeed Dr. Dillon as Archbishop. Until about 1846 the College functioned as a major seminary, annually ordaining priests trained within its walls. For some time, those walls had been poor enough, as the College operated initially from two thatched cottages in the town. The purchase of Ffrench’s Bank on Bishop Street in 1817, when that establishment had gone bankrupt after the end of the Napoleonic wars, gave the College its first solid building. Further building followed in 1858, when the first wing of the by now distinctive old boarding block was begun. The College, now effectively a second-level boarding school, was to continue building, at steady intervals, for the next 150 years.

Already, in 1852, however, a later and very famous Archbishop, John McHale, had invited the Christian Brothers to Tuam. This remarkable Catholic organisation, wholly Irish and exclusively focused on education, was to play a large part in the development of an educated Catholic middle class in Ireland. The invitation resulted in the founding of Tuam C.B.S., later St. Patrick’s College, a Catholic day secondary school, which was to play an enormous role in the development of the town of Tuam. In the twentieth century these two schools, both passionately attached to the sport of Gaelic Football, developed an intense and celebrated rivalry.

In 2009 after more than a decade of intermittent discussion and planning; the two great Catholic educational and sporting traditions of St. Jarlath’s and St. Patrick’s Colleges amalgamated under the Trusteeship of the Archbishop of Tuam.

The new St. Jarlath’s College has in excess of 550 students, and a staff of more than forty teachers, special needs assistants, administrative staff, etc.

The Latin motto of the College, ‘Veni Lumen Cordium’, ‘Come, Light of Hearts’, is addressed to the Holy Ghost. Inspiration, courage and empowerment are the gifts we most need as we build our new lives here together. They are also the gifts we most want for the hundreds of exceptional and talented young people in our care. This is a story in chapters, with no end in sight.

Bishop Street, Tuam, Co. Galway, H54EV84
093 243 42
Roll Number: 68074M
Charity Number: 20202100
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