St Jarlath's College

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St Jarlath's College
New SJC Crest.jpg
Tuam St. Jarlath's College 2009 09 14.jpg
St Jarlath's College, founded in 1800
TypeSecondary school
MottoVeni lumen cordium
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established1801 (Amalgamated 2009)
PresidentMr John Kelly
Enrollmentapprox 530

St Jarlath's College (Coláiste Iarfhlatha in Irish) is a Roman Catholic secondary school for boys in Tuam, County Galway. 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 Roman 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. 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]

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.[2]


St Jarlath's College (2008)

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 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 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, the college's 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 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.

Year Show
1944 The Mikado
1945 H.M.S. Pinafore
1946 The Gondoliers
1947 The Quaker Girl
1948 The Country Girl
1949 The Pirates of Penzance
1950 The Maid of the Mountains
1951 The Arcadians
1952 The Geisha Girl
1953 Lilac Time
1954 The Vagabond King
1955 Iolanthe
1956 Patience
1957 The Student Prince
1958 The New Moon
1959 The Yeomen of the Guard
1960 The White Horse Inn
1961 The Arcadians
1962 The Country Girl
1963 H.M.S. Pinafore
1964 Brigadoon
1965 The Pirates of Penzance
1966 Iolanthe
1967 The Gondoliers
1968 The White Horse Inn
1969 The Quaker Girl
1970 Oliver!
1971 Guys and Dolls
1972 Annie Get Your Gun
1973 Oklahoma!
1974 H.M.S. Pinafore
1975 My Fair Lady
1976 Oliver!
1977 Kiss Me Kate
1978 South Pacific
1979 Fiddler on the Roof
1980 The Pirates of Penzance
1981 The Gondoliers
1982 The Arcadians
1983 Iolanthe
1984 The Quaker Girl
1985 Oklahoma!
1986 Fiddler on the Roof
1987 H.M.S. Pinafore
1988 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
1989 Oliver!
1990 Brigadoon
1991 The Pirates of Penzance
1992 Carousel
1993 The Mikado
1994 Chess
1995 Finian's Rainbow
1996 My Fair Lady
1997 God Bless Archie Dean
1998 Guys and Dolls
1999 Jesus Christ Superstar
2000 Oliver!
2001 Godspell
2002 Les Misérables
2003 Joseph
2004 Grease
2005 Little Shop of Horrors
2006 Half a Sixpence
2007 Big River
2008 Hot Mikado
2009 West Side Story
2010 Evita
2011 The Pirates of Penzance
2012 Oliver!
2013 Me and My Girl
2014 Singin' in the Rain
2015 Carousel
2016 Billy Elliott
2017 Les Misérables
2018 The Phantom of the Opera
2019 We Will Rock You


The St Jarlath's College's senior football team hold the prestigious record of winning the Hogan Cup 12 times, more than any other school, and have also been runners-up on a further 14 occasions. The college also holds the record for winning the most Connacht Colleges Senior Football Championships, with an outstanding 48 wins.

Since amalgamation, the school have won two Connacht Senior titles, reaching the Hogan Cup Final in 2011. Under the management of Joe Burke, and captained by Ian Burke from Corofin, the school narrowly lost out to St Colman's College, Newry by just one point .

Sporting honours[edit]

Former 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

  • Paddy Buggy Cup (All-Ireland Colleges Senior 'B' Hurling Championship) : 1

New St Jarlath's College[edit]

2011, 2012


Notable staff[edit]

Selected past pupils[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 -


  1. ^ "Tuam Schools in the Nineteenth Century". Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  2. ^ "St. Jarlaths College | Boys Secondary School, Tuam, Co. Galway". Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  3. ^ "Some of the New Staff Members in SJC". 17 November 2011. Archived from the original on 8 February 2019.
  4. ^ Donoghue, Eamon (23 January 2015). "Schools GAA: Michael Meehan sparking St Jarlath's revival as tradition dies hard". The Irish Times. Today Meehan is back where it all began, teaching, managing and helping St Jarlath’s adapt to a very different Hogan Cup landscape, made all the harder for them since 2006 when they ended the option for pupils to board in the school... In his third year teaching maths in the school, Meehan is also managing the school's junior footballers, having moved up from managing the first years for the previous two years.
  5. ^ "Kevin Steede". LinkedIn.
  6. ^ "Belclare's Kevin Steede a Countdown champ". Galway Advertiser. 19 February 2015. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017.

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]