St Jarlath's College

St. Pat's history

Pats History

The history of the school which eventually became St. Patrick’s starts in 1851, when the Christian Brothers first established a school in Tuam. The Church of Ireland Archbishop leased them the land for the school through a middle man, and in 1859 to much local consternation this lease wasn’t renewed. At this time, St. Jarlath’s was exclusively a boarding college and so the townspeople felt a day school was needed. After local protests and a collection for the new school, Archbishop John MacHale presented the town with a site on the Dublin road, and deputised Fr. Eugene Coyne to visit the headquarters of the Christian Brothers in Dublin to organise a deal.

The foundation stone was laid in March 1860; the new school was to be under the direction of Brother Laurence Lowe, a teacher who had established a good reputation in the old school. Tuam CBS first opened with only three teachers in control of 160 students, but rising numbers meant expansion, with a third room being built in December of that year. At the request of Archbishop MacHale, Irish began to be taught in the school, with Tuam CBS indeed being the first Christian Brothers School to teach the subject in the country (and was the only CBS to do so for over 20 years). Irish History was also taught in St. Patrick’s (as it was in Jarlath’s, largely as a result of MacHale’s political leanings) so it encouraged a very strong sense of nationalism in its students. Following the introduction of free education in 1964, numbers in St. Patrick’s continued to rise to the extent that the Dublin Road site became inadequate. This resulted in the purchase of the then recently vacated Tuam Racetrack and Football grounds in Parkmore, and in 1978 building began (with the Tuam Herald at the time reporting a cost of £500,000). The new building was opened in 1980, and in November 1986 a plaque was unveiled by Reverend Br. J.J. Heneghan, Provincial (leader of the Christian Brothers in Ireland).

In 1990, due to lack of vocations, the school ceased to operate under the Christian Brothers. The C.B.S. was renamed St. Patrick’s after the saint the school was dedicated to in 1860. It was put under the trusteeship of the Archbishop of Tuam; a lay teacher, Sean Burke, became the first principal of the new school.

In 2000, a decision was made in principle to amalgamate St. Patrick’s with St. Jarlath’s. While initially a new building was to be built, eventually after years of none materialising a decision was made by Archbishop (and trustee of both schools) Michael Neary to fully amalgamate the two into the grounds of St. Jarlath’s. This was to be precluded by the enrolment of all first years into St. Jarlath’s in the 2008-2009 school year. St. Patrick’s College closed its doors in June 2009 after an emotional closing ceremony including a performance by past pupils the Saw Doctors. It was a sad occasion for all teachers, pupils, parents, past pupils and all who were associated with it in its long and illustrious lifetime. It is indeed hoped that the school and its contribution to the area will not be soon forgotten.

Adapted from “Sic Itur Ud Astra- 160 Years of Pat’s,” Patrician Magazine 2009, Brendan Greaney.

Past Principals of Tuam CBS

1861-69: Louis Devlin

1869-80: Laurence Lowe

1880-90: J. Dominic Grace

1890-97: James Vincent Cadden

1897-1905: Richard Morrissey

1905-14: Berchmans Hoctor

1914-17: William Xavier Doyle

1917-19: Victor Kerrigan

1919-24: Alipius Browne

1924-26: Michael Sergius Kelly

1926-30: Michael Rupert Coffey

1930-36: John Pancras Clifford

1936-42: William Rodan Brick

1942-48: John Dominic McKenna

1948-54: W. Philip Wrafter

1954-60: James A. McNeill

1960-64: Patrick Muldowney

1964-70: Pat B. Garvey

1970-74: Charlie O’Sullivan

1974-78: Patrick J. O’Callaghan

1978-85: James Killeen

1985-90: Gerry E. Carberry

Past Principals of St. Patrick’s College Tuam

1990-2000: Mr Sean Burke

2000-2007: Mr. Kevin O’Dwyer

2007-2009: Ms. Terry O’Driscoll

Sport in Pats

St. Patrick’s College Tuam (and the CBS before it) had a proud tradition of sporting achievement in a variety of different sports. Because of its location in the heart of Western GAA country, football was of course a huge game, but the College also enjoyed big success in basketball in the 1970’s along with rugby and soccer featuring in their later years.

In football, St. Patrick’s has produced some top quality football talent, including many who would go on to represent their county in All-Ireland winning teams. Talents such as Frank Stockwell, John Tobin and most of the 1998 All-Ireland Club winning Corofin were all bred in the Tuam school, a massive showing for its size. The College also enjoyed a long and much celebrated rivalry against St. Jarlath’s College Tuam, their nearest neighbours and Galway football nursery. The proudest days in many Pat’s pupils’ memories were those when their under-dog senior team defeated Jarlath’s teams, such as (for the first time) in 1980 when they beat the incumbent Connaught champions 1-4 to 0-5 for the Connaught title, or most recently in 2005 when a late goal meant a 2-5 to 0-8 victory.

Tuam C.B.S. had a very successful run of basketball teams in the seventies and early eighties. In 1971, the Pat’s team won the Tom Muldoon trophy after winning the Connaught Basketball Blitz Tournament. In 1974, the senior team won the All-Ireland colleges title and represented Ireland at the World Basketball Championship in Barcelona. In 1979, the senior team won Connaught and made it to the All-Ireland final, narrowly losing out to St. Vincent’s of Dublin. In 1980 and 1981, Tuam C.B.S also won the All-Ireland Under-19 national tournament, the first two years this tournament was held.

St. Patrick’s College was also unique in Tuam for embracing the sports of soccer and rugby, fielding teams since the ‘90s. Golf was active in the CBS, as well as an active athletics tradition including cross country and relay teams, including a record breaking Connaught Championship relay team in 1970.

All in all, sport played an important role in St. Patrick’s College throughout its long history and will surely bring continued success in the amalgamated school.

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