St Macartan's College

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St. Macartan's College
Type Diocesan College
Motto Fortis et Fidelis
Strong and faithful
Established 1840
Principal Raymond Mc Hugh
Number of students 770
Colour(s) Amber (colour) and Black

St. Macartan's College is the major Roman Catholic boys' Diocesan College in Monaghan, Ireland.[1] It is named after Saint Macartan, follower of St. Patrick and founder and bishop of the Diocese of Clogher. The school educates Catholic boys in County Monaghan and surrounding counties. It is located within the parish of Donagh. The school Feast Day is 24 March. St Macartan's College consistently appears as one of the top fifty post-primary schools in Ireland, in the annual school league tables published by The Irish Times. The school is currently ranked number eleven in its list of the twenty best boys' schools in Ireland.

History of St. Macartan's College[edit]

The foundation stone for St. Macartan's College was laid on 8 July 1840. Eight years later the "Sem" opened its doors to its first students, and for over a century-and-a-half the school has adapted itself to meet the educational needs of boys in the North Monaghan and surrounding areas. The school complex has at its heart a grand seventeen-bay stone building. It is in the Georgian style and was designed by the Newry-born architect Thomas Duff in the 1830s. The building boasts a chapel, a collection of antiquities and a clock tower and includes a large lunch canteen, which was formerly used as a refectory for the school's boarders. In recent years the college has changed from being predominantly a boarding school to a day school catering to its 770 students, and has been sympathetically enlarged to meet the demands of the twenty-first century.

About St. Macartan's College[edit]

Situated in North Monaghan, on the edge of Monaghan town, St. Macartan's College is a post-primary school for boys.

The school caters for boys from 11 to 18 years old. A wide and varied curriculum is offered. In the Junior Cycle (11–15 years old) the students study Civic, Social and Political Education, English, Geography, History, Irish, Mathematics, Physical Education, Religious Education, Science and Social, Personal and Health Education. The students also choose two subjects from the following five: Art, Technology, Business Studies, Music, Materials Technology and Technical Graphics. Also, each student must pick a third language (apart from Irish and English) to learn during the Junior Cycle. They get the choice of either French or German. The students sit the Junior Certificate Examination at the end of their third year. The Junior Certificate, or 'Junior Cert' as it is widely known, is used as a gauge of students' talents and abilities, which will be taken into account as they progress to the senior cycle.

After the Junior Certificate, the students enter the transition year programme followed by the Leaving Certificate (3-Year) or go directly into the Leaving Certificate Applied programme (2-Year). The Leaving Cert applied programme (LCA) caters for only around twenty students and does not provide the same qualifications as the Leaving Certificate. Transition Year is seen as a method of maturing students in order to make them more responsible within and beyond the classroom.

In the final two years the main emphasis is on preparation for the Leaving Certificate. Each student studies Irish, English, Mathematics, Religious Education and Physical Education. Each also chooses four optional subjects from French, German, Construction Studies, Business Studies, Art, Economics, Physics, Biology, Accounting, Chemistry, History, Technical Drawing and Geography.

At the end of their studies the students sit the Leaving Certificate Examination.

St. Macartan's College Crest[edit]

The crest of St. Macartan's College, as seen in the front hall of the school, was designed by the artist Richard J. King, for the centenary celebrations of 1940. It is modelled on the front panels of the circular boss of the Cross of Clogher,the 14th-century treasure, now on loan from the Diocese of Clogher to Monaghan County Museum. The panels contain the interlaced letters DEUS (God), and, underneath, the motto of the College, Fortis et Fidelis.

The words “Fortis et Fidelis” (Strong and Faithful) suggest a Pauline quotation from 1 Cor 16:13. They evoke the legend of St. Mac Cairthinn, the tréanfhear of Patrick, the bodyguard and champion of the Saint who used to carry him across fords and rivers on his missionary journeys. The words occur in one of the last letters of Father Cornelius Tierney, a former student and priest-teacher in St. Macartan's, and later a Columban missionary who died a prisoner of Communist guerillas in China in 1931.

St. Macartan's Mission Statement[edit]

St. Macartan's College seeks to provide an environment where the moral values of mutual respect, tolerance, care and justice are encouraged and nurtured. Whereas Christian faith has been projected outwards as a key focus in the school, the subject takes its place among many other issues and key factors affecting modern society. People of a different religious persuasion—Protestant, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh, among other religions—are all welcomed to the school, and as a by-product of modern societal structures, a new attitude has brought the school forward.

It is the school's wish that students share fully in the life of the school and leave St. Macartan's College as caring and capable young adults who will contribute positively to their communities.


St.Macartan's endeavours to provide a wide range of subjects for both the Junior and Leaving Certificates. Each student, in consultation with his parents and teachers, decides on the subjects which best suit his interests and abilities. Some subjects are however still compulsory, including Religion, English, Irish and Math at all levels of education.


St. Macartan's offers a wide variety of sports and competes in the MacRory Cup, the Rannafast Cup, Corn na Og, the Dalton Cup and has active programs in golf, soccer, handball, basketball and general athletics. One of the main highlights of the school was reaching the MacRory Cup final in 2004. Many students attended the match and it was televised as well. This feat was repeated in 2007 when they lost by a single point.

Student Council[edit]

St. Macartan's has an active student council where members are elected to represent the views of the student body and to communicate these to the management and teachers of the college. A student council formed recently, when it became obligatory under law for such an organisation to exist in every secondary school. Before this, no such council existed. [1]

See also[edit]


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