St. Jarlath's College

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St. Jarlath's College
Post-amalgamation Crest of St. Jarlath's College, adapted in 2009

Tuam, County Galway

St. Jarlath's College, founded in 1800
Type Secondary school
Motto Veni lumen cordium
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1801 A.D. (Amalgamated 2009)
President Mr. John Kelly
Faculty 43
Enrollment approx 530

St. Jarlath's College (Coláiste Iarfhlatha in Irish) is a Roman Catholic secondary school for boys in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland. It is an amalgamation of the former St. Jarlath's College and St. Patrick's College, Tuam both diocesan colleges of the Archdiocese of Tuam.

The College was named after Jarlath, or Iarlaith, who founded a monastery in the town when, as legend has it, his chariot wheel broke.


Pre-amalgamation crest of St. Jarlath's College, in use until 2009.

Former St. Jarlath's College[edit]

The original St. Jarlath's College was founded in 1801 by then Archbishop of Tuam, Edward Dillon, with the aim of preparing young boys for entry into Maynooth Catholic Seminary. Dr. Dillon had to seek permission to establish the college from the Protestant Archbishop of Tuam, Dr. Beresford. It began with two thatched cottages at the Mall, Tuam later moving to a new building in Bishop Street, now commonly known as "the Old College". Its first president was Rev. Oliver Kelly, who later became Archbishop of Tuam. In 1824, the facilities of the College were enlarged by the erection of additional houses in Bishop Street and in 1856 the site of the present college and grounds was bought by Archbishop McHale. This property was known as Keighrey's Park and a portion of it was used as the town's fair green. Dr. McHale continued to set it as a fair green to the town commissioners at a yearly rent of 30 until 1875 in which year the college was extensively enlarged by the addition of two wings to the first building which had been erected in 1858.[1] Professor JB Whelehan taught at the school.

Former St. Patrick's College[edit]

In 1851, Archbishop, John McHale had invited the Christian Brothers to Tuam. This Catholic organisation was to play a large part in the development of an educated Catholic middle class in Ireland. The invitation resulted in the birth of Tuam CBS, and 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.[2]


Plans to amalgamate St. Jarlath's and St. Patrick's colleges had first been suggested in the late 1990s. At that time, a new school building had been promised by the Government. However, no such building materialised. Enrollment numbers began to drop in St. Patrick's and the phasing out of boarding in St. Jarlath's also led to a reduced enrollment. In March 2008, Archbishop Michael Neary, as trustee of both schools, announced to staff that the amalgamation would proceed in the absence of a new school building. The amalgamation process between St. Patrick's and St. Jarlath's commenced in September 2008 with enrollment of all first year students in St. Jarlath's. The process was completed in September 2009 when students from both schools amalgamated into the new school, in the old St. Jarlath's building.


Starting with The Mikado in 1944, St. Jarlath's College Amateur Operatic Society has performed a yearly musical or opera for the local community. The 1969 production, The Quaker Girl was the first to be held in conjunction with the Mercy Convent, Tuam. The 2008 Opera was also in conjunction with St. Patrick's College, due to the amalgamation process in progress at the time.

The tradition of the annual Opera was continued following the amalgamation, the 2009 Opera being the first production of the newly amalgamated school. The Opera has been successful in recent years in the Connaught Tribune organised musical awards, winning a Best Overall and a Best Chorus award in 2008 for Hot Mikado.

The current Musical Director is Shane Farrell. He has 2 Operas as musical director under his belt, including one where he was still a Leaving Certificate student himself. He has acted as musical director to many different musical productions around County Galway in recent times.

In recent years, the Opera has been directed by Ronan Lardner, a past pupil. Ronan played lead roles during his own time attending St. Jarlath’s, including the role of Judas in the millennium show of Jesus Christ Superstar, which involved a mix of pupils past and present. Since then he has participated in other shows around the province (both acting and directing).

Year Show Year Show Year Show
1944 The Mikado 1977 Kiss Me Kate 2010 Evita
1945 H.M.S. Pinafore 1978 South Pacific 2011 The Pirates of Penzance
1946 The Gondoliers 1979 Fiddler on the Roof 2012 Oliver!
1947 The Quaker Girl 1980 The Pirates of Penzance 2013 Me and My Girl 1948 The Country Girl 1981 The Gondoliers
1949 The Pirates of Penzance 1982 The Arcadians 2014 Singin' in The Rain
1950 The Maid of the Mountains 1983 Iolanthe 2015 Carousel
1951 The Arcadians 1984 The Quaker Girl 2016 Billy Elliott
1952 The Geisha Girl 1985 Oklahoma!
1953 Lilac Time 1986 Fiddler on the Roof
1954 The Vagabond King 1987 H.M.S. Pinafore
1955 Iolanthe 1988 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
1956 Patience 1989 Oliver!
1957 The Student Prince 1990 Brigadoon
1958 The New Moon 1991 The Pirates of Penzance
1959 The Yeomen of the Guard 1992 Carousel
1960 The White Horse Inn 1993 The Mikado
1961 The Arcadians 1994 Chess (World schools' premiere)
1962 The Country Girl 1995 Finian's Rainbow
1963 H.M.S. Pinafore 1996 My Fair Lady
1964 Brigadoon 1997 God Bless Archie Dean
1965 The Pirates of Penzance 1998 Guys and Dolls
1966 Iolanthe 1999 Jesus Christ Superstar
1967 The Gondoliers 2000 Oliver!
1968 The White Horse Inn 2001 Godspell
1969 The Quaker Girl 2002 Les Misérables
1970 Oliver! 2003 Joseph
1971 Guys and Dolls 2004 Grease
1972 Annie Get Your Gun 2005 Little Shop of Horrors
1973 Oklahoma! 2006 Half a Sixpence
1974 H.M.S. Pinafore 2007 Big River
1975 My Fair Lady 2008 Hot Mikado
1976 Oliver! 2009 West Side Story
St Jarlath's in 2008.


The old St. Jarlath's College's senior football team won the Hogan Cup a record 12 times and were runners-up 14 times.

The amalgamated school reached the Hogan Cup Final for the first time in 2011, under the management of Joe Burke,and captained by Ian Burke from Corofin, losing out to St Colman's College, Newry by just one point .

Sporting Honours[edit]

The Old St. Jarlath's College[edit]

1947, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1984, 1994, 2002

    • Runners-Up : 14

1946, 1949, 1962, 1967, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1999, 2001, 2003

1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008

  • All-Ireland Colleges Senior 'B' Hurling Championship : 1


St. Patrick's College / Tuam CBS[edit]

1980, 1989, 1995

The New St. Jarlath's College[edit]

2011, 2012


Selected Alumni[edit]


Old St. Jarlath's College[edit]

Name From To
Very Rev. Oliver Kelly (later Archbishop of Tuam) 1800 1806
Very Rev. Paul McGreal 1806 1817
Very Rev. James MacHale 1817 1821
Very Rev. Thomas Feeney 1821 1831
Very Rev. Martin Brown 1831 1837
Very Rev. James Ronan 1837 1838
Very Rev. William Cullinane 1838 1842
Very Rev. John Flanelly 1842 1845
Very Rev. Anthony Regan 1845 1849
Very Rev. Peter Reynolds 1849 1852
Very Rev. John McEvilly (later Archbishop of Tuam) 1852 1857
Very Rev. Patrick O’Brien 1857 1865
Very Rev. Ulick Bourke 1865 1878
Very Rev. Patrick Kilkenny 1878 1888
Very Rev. Michael O’Connell 1888 1893
Very Rev. John Fallon 1893 1898
Very Rev. Michael McHugh 1898 1903
Very Rev. Michael Higgins 1903 1910
Very Rev. Michael Conroy 1910 1915
Very Rev. Alex Eaton 1915 1923
Very Rev. Denis Ryder 1923 1928
Very Rev. Joseph Walsh (later Archbishop of Tuam) 1923 1940
Very Rev. Tim Gunnigan 1940 1947
Very Rev. Conor Heaney 1947 1961
Very Rev. Michael Mooney 1961 1971
Very Rev. Michael Walsh 1971 1977
Very Rev. Thomas Waldron 1977 1986
Very Rev. Dermot Maloney 1986 1994
Very Rev. Oliver Hughes 1994 2003
Very Rev. Conal Eustace 2003 2008

St. Jarlath's College (post-amalgamation)[edit]

Name From To
Very Rev. Brendan Kilcoyne 2008 2013
Mr. John Kelly 2013 -

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Cunningham, John (1999). St. Jarlath's College, Tuam, 1800 - 2000. SJC Publications. ISBN 978-0-9536978-0-9. 
  • Jordan Anthony J. 'The Good Samaritans - Memoir of a Biographer' Westport Books 2008. ISBN 978-0-9524447-5-6.

External links[edit]