St Anthony's College, Leuven

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Irish College of St Anthony
St. Anthony's College, Leuven, by William Oldham.jpg
A view of the college as it was in the early 18th century by William Oldham
Type Franciscan house of studies
Active 1607 (1607)–1983 (1983)
Religious affiliation
Academic affiliation
Old University of Leuven, Catholic University of Leuven, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Location Leuven, Belgium
50°52′34″N 4°41′49″E / 50.87611°N 4.69694°E / 50.87611; 4.69694

The Irish College of St Anthony, known in Irish as Coláiste na nGael, in Leuven, Belgium, was founded in 1607 by Florence Conry, Archbishop of Tuam, as an exile institution for the training of Irish Franciscan priests. A bull of foundation was acquired from Pope Paul V. The foundation stone of the current building was laid in 1617.[1] Funding came from Isabella Clara Eugenia, wife and co-ruler with Archduke Albert. It was one of the main centres of Irish learning and the preservation of Irish intellectual culture during penal times.[2]

Entrance to the College as restored after World War II. The inscription reads 'Dochum Glóire Dé agus Onóra na hÉireann' ('For the Glory of God and the Honour of Ireland')

Closed down by the French invaders in 1794, the buildings housed first a seminary and later a boys' school during the 19th century. In 1925 the Irish Franciscans again acquired the site, using it for their own educational purposes until 1983. They then transferred the property to the Leuven Institute of Ireland in Europe, a secular academic institution.

Important works published by scholars associated with the College[edit]

Amongst the most notable Irish scholars associated with the College were, in alphabetical order: John Colgan, Aodh Mac Cathmhaoil (also known as Aodh Mac Aingil), Mícheál Ó Cléirigh, Giolla Bhríde Ó hEodhasa (also known as Bonaventura Ó hEodhasa) and Flaithrí Ó Maol Chonaire.

Notable staff and alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed 2015: Klooster der Ierse minderbroeders of Iers College, in Inventaris Onroerend Erfgoed. Accessed 24 Oct. 2015.
  2. ^ Benignus Millett, The Irish Franciscans, 1651-1665 (Analecta Gregoriana 129; Rome, 1964), pp. 106-116.