St. Joseph's Patrician College

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St. Joseph's Patrician College
Nuns' Island, Galway, Ireland
Type Secondary school
Motto “Pro Deo et Patria”
Established 1862
Principal Ciaran Doyle
Color(s) Blue and White
Affiliation Catholic

St. Joseph's Patrician College, often known as "The Bish", is a secondary school in the West Ireland city of Galway. Founded by the Patrician Brothers, a religious order, it has approximately 800 students on roll and, in recent years, has had success in a wide range of sporting activities including soccer, rugby, basketball, rowing, Gaelic games, and table tennis.



St Joseph's College was established in 1862 due to the absence of a Catholic Intermediate School for boys in the city. Bishop John McEvilly asked Brother Paul[who?] to open such a school and St. Joseph's Seminary was established at Nuns' Island in 1862. Due to the bishop's close association with the school, the seminary was generally referred to as "the bishop's school" and to this day is known as "The Bish. . Publicising his new enterprise Bishop McEvilly wrote a pastoral[vague] in which he stated: "For many years we have had excellent schools for the lower orders at the Mercy Convent, Newtownsmith, and the Monastery School at Lombard St. The higher class of boys are catered for at St. Ignatius' College, the girls at the Dominican Convent. Now, at last, we happily have a school for the middle class at St. Joseph's Seminary, Nuns' Island."

When the school was established the word seminary had no ecclesiastical connotations[citation needed] and there was in fact a "Seminary For Young Ladies" further down Nuns' Island, by the 1930s the word had come to mean a college for the training of candidates for the priesthood,[citation needed] and at the express desire of Bishop Michael Brown[who?] the Brothers changed the name to "St. Joseph's College", and in the 1970s Bro. Valerian Whelan[who?] inserted the word Patrician in the title.

In 1899 a National School was opened to cater for the Junior Classes at the Seminary and it too came to be known as "The Bish". In 1930 the Brothers acquired the bonded store belonging to Persse's Distillery, renovated it and transferred the seventy Intermediate pupils across the road. The National School took over the rooms vacated on the original site and continued in operation until 1954 when it and "the Old Monastery School" were replaced by St. Patrick's, on Lombard Street.[1]


The following is a list of plays and talent shows performed by the students of St. Joseph's Patrician College:

Year Name of Show
1984 Bugsy
1987 H.M.S. Pinafore
1991 The Mikado
1992 H.M.S. Pinafore
1993 The Merchant of Venice
1994 Diarmuid and Gráinne (Abbreviated)
1997 Variety in Town Hall Parts 1 and 2
1998 Joseph
1999 Godspell March'99
2003 The King and I
2005 Oklahoma!
2006 The Pirates of Penzance
2007 South Pacific
2010 Bish Bash Talent Show I
2011 Bish Bash Talent Show II
2012 Bish Bash Talent Show III
2013 Bish Bash Talent Show IV
2014 Bish Bash Talent Show V
2015 Bish Bash Talent Show VI
2016 Bish Bash Talent Show V



St Joseph's College Rowing Club was established in 1932, making its first competitive appearance against St. Patrick's Boat Club later that year in the Schoolboy Fours. It did not acquire its own boathouse until 1955, when the Menlo Emmet's donated their Woodquay premises to the school under the agreement it should never be used for anything but the development of rowing. The club was a success from the beginning, and was seen as a dominant player in the Junior National Championships which had been established in 1964.[2]

National Championships

1969 - J18 8+ 1985 J18 8+ 2003 - J18 8+, 4+ 2013 - J18 8+
1970 - J18 8+, 4+ 1987 J18 4+ 2004 - J18 8+, 4+ 2014 - J18 8+
1971 - J18 8+, 4+ 1992 J18 8+, 4+ 2005 - J18 8+, 4+, 2-
1982 - J18 8+ 1995 - J18 8+ 2009 - J18 8+, 4+
1983 - J18 8+ 1996 - J18 2- 2011 - J18 8+
1984 - J18 8+ 2001 - J18 4+ 2012 - J18 8+

Internationally, oarsmen from St. Joseph's College R.C. have also excelled, as a club competing at The British School Regatta, Ghent International Regatta, Henley Royal Regatta, and most recently, Sydney International Rowing Regatta in March 2013. Many[who?] have represented Ireland on the international stage at all levels of competition from the Home International Regatta (Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales), to the Coupe de la Jeunesse (second level European Junior Championship) and the World Junior Championship. Alumni of the school have achieved even higher laurels following on from their experience gained on the Corrib, competing at the World U-23 Championships, World Senior Championships and the Olympic Games.[citation needed]


Major Honours:

  • 10 Connacht Schools Junior Cups (Last 1991)
  • 12 Connacht Schools Senior Cups (Last 1994)

Recent Titles (2010 Onwards)

  • U-14 Connacht Schools League (2010, 2012 2013)
  • Junior Schools Connacht League (2010)
  • Junior Schools City Cup (2012, 2013)
  • Senior Schools Development Cup (2010, 2012)
  • U-17 Connacht Schools 7's (2012, 2013)

The Bish has been remarkably successful in producing quality rugby teams and players since the school was founded. Many players have represented played on representative teams provincially and nationally, at both under-age and senior level. Among these are Damian Browne, Andrew Browne and Darragh Leader, all of whom have played at senior level for local professional side Connacht Rugby. The Bish currently fields teams at all school age levels - Under 14, Junior and Senior. The U-14's compete in the Connacht U-14 Schools League, the Juniors partake in the Connacht Junior League, Junior Cup and City Cup and the Senior Team play in the U-18 Connacht Regional League as well as the Connacht Senior Development Cup. Results and up to date league tables for all of these competitions can be found on the Connacht Rugby Domestic website.


Notable alumni[edit]




Sean McGrath, Sun Microsystems


  1. ^ Bish History 
  2. ^ Irish Rowing Archives - list of Championships & winners
  3. ^ "Séamus Brennan, TD". Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Retrieved 30 March 2011.