Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

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Coláiste Iognáid
The Jes
Colaiste iognaid crest.png
Republic of Ireland
Coordinates Coordinates: 53°16′12″N 9°03′41″W / 53.269871°N 9.061497°W / 53.269871; -9.061497
Motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For the greater glory of God)
Established 1645

Mary Joyce

(Acting Principal: Catherine Hickey)
Number of students 600~

Coláiste Iognáid (Irish: Coláiste Iognáid), a bilingual secondary school, is located on Sea Road/Bóthar na Mara in Galway, Ireland. It was originally founded in 1645 and has had numerous locations over the years before its current home. The college is a co-educational, non-fee paying secondary school and one of a number of Jesuit schools in Ireland. There are approximately 600 pupils in the school.

Galway Ireland


Coláiste Iognáid is run by a board of management comprising parent, teacher and Jesuit representatives. It is non-fee paying, co-educational and has no school uniforms. Students study there from ages thirteen to eighteen and sit the Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations. Each of the six-year groups is divided into four classes. The four groups are Gaeilge (The "Irish Stream") Xavier, Loyola and Collins (G, X, L & C). Students are taught in similar ability classes throughout the school. The school is known locally as the 'Jes'.

In the fourth year ('Transition Year'), all students are reassigned into one of four classes, Brebeuf, Gonzaga, Ricci and Claver (B, G, R, C). The classes return to the initial four groups in the fifth year for Irish classes only. The reorganisation of the groups for the fourth year is part of the school's 'Transition Year' programme. While the Transition Year is optional in some Irish schools, it is compulsory in Coláiste Iognáid.


Since 1620, the Jesuits have, with some involuntary intermissions, been working with and for the people of Galway. In 1645 their first school was founded through the generosity of Edmund Kirwan. While the language of the classroom was Latin, only the Jesuits with a fluent command of Irish were sent on the “Irish Mission”.[1]

The school, which was incorporated into a Jesuit residence in the present Abbeygate Street, continued in Galway through a time of political upheaval and military activity.[1]

In 1859, at the request of the Bishop of Galway, the Jesuits once more took up residence in the city, this time in Prospect Hill and served in the nearby St. Patrick’s Church. Within a year they had opened a college near the site of the present Bank of Ireland at 19 Eyre Square. The college’s present location on Sea Road dates from 1863, when it was built the same year as the Jesuit church next door, St Ignatius Church.[1]

The modern phase of Coláiste Iognáid began in 1929. The local enthusiasm for the language revival efforts of the emerging Republic of Ireland was to be served by a re-invigorated Coláiste Iognáid, which became an Irish-medium School in 1931.[1]

In 1967, In contrast with its original foundation of 1620, Coláiste Iognáid became part of the “non-fee-paying” secondary school system. In 1969, with the co-operation of management and staff, coupled with the help of parents, past pupils and friends of the Society, the present main school building, the Griffin Building.[1]

In 1974, when the school population was increased to provide three-form entry, one co-educational form became the Irish medium Scoil Gaeilge. Following consultation with staff and Jesuits, the school established the Board of Management in 1980 to take shared responsibility for all aspects of the school - the first agreed board of its kind in Ireland.[1]

In 1982, the school underwent a buildings programme. This produced a new science block, the O’Reilly Building; a refurbished classroom block, the Andrews Building; as well as a library, as well as art, computer and co-educational facilities. The Colombian Hall was refurbished and an indoor sports area was added. Co-education was extended to the whole school in 1984, to become the first fully co-educational secondary school in the city.[1]


Coláíste Íognáíd is a non-fee paying co-educational secondary school, comprising Jesuit and lay staff and catering for a broad spectrum of social and academic intake. The school has a three-form entry. One form offers education through Irish up to Junior Certificate and all three forms offer mixed ability teaching.


In the three-year junior cycle all pupils follow the Junior Certificate syllabus in the core subjects of Irish, English, Maths, French, Commerce, Science, Geography, History, S.P.H.E. and C.S.P.E., as well as Religion and Physical Education. There also options to study Home Economics, Technical Graphics, Art, Music (each student studies one of these) and German, which can be chosen instead of French.

Transition year follows the Junior Certificate and comprises a selection of courses designed within the school and taught as modules. The subjects taken are as follows: Accounting, Art - Design & Craft, Career Guidance, Computers, English (in 4 modules - Media Studies, Modern Fiction, Drama, Creative Writing), French, Gaeilge, Geography, German, History, Home Economics, Safety, Home Maintenance, Mathematics, Music, P.E., Religious Education, Science, Spanish and Social Studies.

In the two-year Senior cycle pupils prepare for the Leaving Certificate. In addition to Religious Education, pupils study Irish, English, Maths, French and a choice of three from Chemistry, Accountancy, German, Art, Physics, Geography, Economics, Music, Biology, History, Business, Home Economics (Social and Scientific) and Design and Communication Graphics

Sport and extracurricular activities[edit]

Staff, parents and former pupils undertake extracurricular activities voluntarily. It is expected that each pupil will participate in at least one of the activities provided. As circumstances allow, the school provides the following sports: Rowing, Gaelic football just for girls, Rugby, Hockey, Soccer, Basketball, Canoeing, Athletics, Swimming and Mountaineering.[2]

Pupils also participate in various clubs and cultural activities such as debating (Irish and English), Drama, Social action and Orchestra. In many of the nearby schools, extra-curricular activities pupils enter city, provincial and national competitions like Feile Scoil Dramaiochta, Feis Ceoil na hEireann, Concern and Denny debates and the Young Scientist Competition, Golf and the various Blitz, Cup and League fixtures and Regattas.[2]

The school also produce a public musical/drama and each year which the fifth years perform.[2]

Ultimate Frisbee[edit]

The Jes Ultimate Frisbee Society (JUFS) started in 2014. It is a student organised club. JUFS is the first of NUI Galway's Schools Ultimate Frisbee Programme. Both JUFS and the NUIG Ultimate Frisbee teams train together on a weekly basis. Although presently the JUFS is a senior-student-only club, a Junior team is planned for the near future.[citation needed]


The Jes S (Senior XV) have won the Connacht Schools Senior Cup six times in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011. In all, the school has won the Senior Cup on 12 occasions, from 1913 to 2008, as well as being the losing finalists on several other occasions.

In the 2007-2008 season the school progressed to the Connacht Schools Senior Cup Final where they met Marist College, Athlone and won 10-7.[3] In 2008–09, the Jes beat Sligo Grammar School 10–3 to record their 11th victory in this competition and move up to third in the all time winners list. In 2011, the Jes beat Sligo Grammar again the semi-finals 30-5.

The Junior Rugby Team (Jes J) reached the final of the Connacht Schools Junior Cup in 2006 and lost to Garbally 12–20. In 2015 they lost to CBS Roscommon. The Junior side have been Connacht Champions on four occasions (1918, 1978, 1981 and 1987) and have been finalists in 1999 and 1989 though records are incomplete.


From 2001–2006 the Senior Girls Hockey Team won Senior A leagues and represented Connacht at the National Finals.

In the 2005-06 year a Senior B team was submitted for the first time since 1989. The team submitted in 1989 was the school's first hockey team and they won the competition. The following year they moved down to the C Division. The went on to win the league, defeating Salerno B 2–1 in the final.

In 2008 and 2009 the Senior team won the Connacht Schools Senior Cup with victories over Taylor's Hill and Our Lady's Bower Secondary School, Athlone respectively in the finals. They then participated in the 2008-09 ESB Kate Russell All-Ireland Girls Schools Finals where they beat Foyle and Londonderry College 3-2 in the final.

In 2010, Coláiste Iognáid hosted the Kate Russell All-Ireland Championships in Dangan Sports Ground.


Coláiste Iognáid Rowing Club (C. I. R. C.) has won various regional and national trophies as well as had members represent Ireland in international competitions.

In the 2005-2006 season, the women's junior crew won the women's junior eights and fours championships of Ireland and became the Connaught Tribune Team of the Year. Four oarwomen from the club represented Ireland at the Home Internationals. Later in the year, the school bought new boats and oars.

The school had students representing Ireland in the Home International and Coupe de la Jeunesse competitions in 2007 and 2008. The Jes also sent crews to Ghent, Belgium, for the annual KRSG international regatta. There the men's crew finished first in the junior-18 fours. At the 2008, Coup de la Jeunesse at the NRC, Cork, Eddie Mullarkey was in the 2 bow seat of the Mens coxed four that took silver.[4]

In 2008 the women won the all-Ireland junior women's eights title. In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Cormac Folan, a former student, competed in the bowseat of the Heavyweight Four in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, finishing 10th overall.[5] Another ex-Jes rower, Paul Murray, won gold at the Universiade in Lithuania.

At the 2009 European Junior Rowing Championships, at Vichy, France, Zoe Mannion and Aifric Keogh represented Ireland finished second to Britain to win a silver medal in the women's junior pairs. Three weeks previously, rowing as Coláiste Iognáid, the pair won the junior title at the Irish National Rowing Championships held in Cork.


The Jes currently has teams participating in regional Girls competitions at Senior and the Under 16 level and in Boys' competitions in the Under 16, Second and First Year age groups.


In 2008-09 there were squads from three different age groups representing the school, the first year, the Under 14s and the Under 16s.

Both the Under 14 and Under 16 teams qualified for the knock out round of the Connacht schools cup – both coming through their groups through disqualification.

The senior squad reached the final of the Connacht schools competition in 2014, losing to Summerhill College of Sligo.

Other Sports[edit]

Unlike other schools in Galway, the Jes has no adjacent playing fields. However, both the Under 19 boys and the Under 16 girls made to the All Ireland finals in 2008. In 2009, the Under 16 Basketball team again made it to the All Irelands.

The school also has a Mountaineering Club.


The school had a long history of debating and competes both nationally and internationally. As of 2012, it has had the highest tabbing for eight consecutive years. The current society, founded in 2007, by students Leah Colclough and Ciaran Garrett (winner of 2012 ESU John Smith Memorial International Mace), convene every week and is open to all students. It competes in every major national and international competition available to students.

From 2006 to 2014, the society won the Denny Schools' Debating Connacht Title (now known as the 'West of Ireland Debating Championship') nine times. The school won the 'double' at this level in 2010, winning the individual championship and the team award. In 2012 the society took part in a record 17 separate competitions around Ireland. In 2014, the school once more won the double'.

The school has been represented in the National Junior Mace finals every year of its existence and have also qualified for ICYD five times (2010,2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). From 2008 to 2009, the society won both the NUIG Junior and Senior Maces as well as being runners up in the All-Ireland Denny Schools Debating Competition. In 2008, the society won the national final. From 2009 to 2010, the society reached the Denny’s All-Ireland Schools’ Debating Grand Final against Wesley College and Castleknock. Students featured as representatives to the Irish National Session of the European Youth Parliament and were selected to the National Schools’ Debate Team. From 2010 to 2011, five speakers made it to Denny's West of Ireland Final. Two other students won the UCD Law Society Mace. One student, Andrew Forde, won the Galway Public Speaking award and represented Ireland at the European Youth Parliament. From 2011 to 2012, they won the West of Ireland Schools Senior Debate Final, the Belvedere Junior Mace, the St. Conleth's Junior Mace, the Coláiste na hInse Junior Mace, the Trinity Senior Pro-Am Final and the NUIG ‘Alan Kerins’ Mace. From 2012 to 2013, the society were champions at the West of Ireland Senior Final, the Coláiste na hInse Junior Mace, and the National Junior Mace 2013.[6][7]

The school won the West of Ireland Debating Competition in 2014. The following year, in 2015, the school won it again, meaning that since its first involvement in the 2004 the school has won the competition more times than any other.[8]

The school has run its own Junior Mace as part of the National Junior Mace event from 2013. It won it in 2013 and 2014.[citation needed]

Other activities[edit]

Coláiste Iognáid has a music department and stages a musical each year. The 2008 musical was Grecian Nights, an Adaptation of Mamma Mia!. In 2009, it was "Back to the '80s". The 2010 musical was "Guys and Dolls".

Notable former students[edit]

Scoil Iognáid[edit]

Scoil Náisiúnta Iognaid
Bothar Na Sliogan
Galway City
Co. Galway
Type National school
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s) St. Ignatius of Loyola
Established 1971

Associated with Coláiste Iognáid, is Scoil Iognáid (English: St Ignatius School). It is a national school and is the main primary school of the college and is located on Bothar Na Sliogan, 200m from the college.[16]

It was founded by the Jesuits in 1971 and, like the college, was administered by them. It is also bi-lingual and teaches both girls and boys. As of 2012, it had 550 pupils.[17][18]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Colaiste Iognaid from, retrieved 8 April 2014
  2. ^ a b c Activities from Colaiste Iognaid, retrieved 8 April 2014
  3. ^ Connaught Rugby retrieved 8 April 2014
  4. ^ retrieved 8 April 2014
  5. ^ retrieved 8 April 2014
  6. ^ 'Jes' debating success from Galway Independent retrieved 8 April 2014
  7. ^ Debating Marathon from Galway Independent retrieved 8 April 2014
  8. ^ Jes pupils talk the talk to scoop debating awards, from Galway Advertiser, 10 April 2014, 7 April 2015
  9. ^ Connacht rugby
  10. ^ Eric Elwood retrieved 8 April 2014
  11. ^ Connacht rugby retrieved 8 April 2014
  12. ^ 2005 U-21 Rugby World Cup retrieved 8 April 2014
  13. ^ Andrew Trimble retrieved 8 April 2014
  14. ^ London Irish pip Munster in race to sign Griffin retrieved 8 April 2013
  15. ^ "RaboDirect Rising Stars: Eoin McKeon (Connacht)". RaboDirectPRO12. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Scoil Iognáid from Wikimapia retrieved 24 June 2013
  17. ^ Scoil Iognáid from, retrieved 24 June 2013
  18. ^ Scoil Iognáid from, retrieved 24 June 2013

External links[edit]