St Mary's College, Galway

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St Mary's College
St Mary's Road, Galway, H91 H7F8.
Type Secondary school
Established 1912
Principal Tom Nolan
Enrollment 450

St Mary's College is a boys secondary school in Galway, Ireland. It educates students aged 12 to 18 for the Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations. It was founded in 1912 as the junior seminary of the Roman Catholic Galway and Kilmacduagh dioceses. St. Mary's College retains the status of diocesan college although it ended its boarding provision in 1999. The College currently caters to approximately 400 students, offering a wide and varied range of curricular subjects and many co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

The school celebrated its centennial in 2012, celebrating the completion of its main building in March 1912. The building is faced with granite and limestone, the two predominant stones of County Galway's geology.

Former students[edit]

Former students include former Fianna Fáil government minister Frank Fahey, the actor Mick Lally and deceased Bishop of Galway, James McLoughlin.Former students in the sports news include Galway Gaelic Footballers Paul Conroy, Eddie Hoare, Gareth Bradshaw, Dessie Conneely and David Wynne, soccer players Stephen O'Donnell (Dundalk AFC captain) and Vinny Faherty and Galway hurlers Fergal Moore, Tadhg Haran, Dean Higgins and Tony Og Regan. Mary's men in Politics include Seán Kyne TD, Noel Grealish TD, Derek Nolan and James Charity.

The Red Hand[edit]

Junior boarders, especially first years, lived in fear of the annual appearance of the Red Hand. Junior Dormitory was in the old college chapel which was held to be haunted by a questing severed hand. There were different stories of the origin of this story, each more macabre and embellished. However, the origins of the story may be linked to the theft of the hand, sometime in the early 19th century, from the disinterred body of the last Catholic warden of St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church. During renovations in St. Nicholas' church, the 100-year-old corpse of the Warden had been uncovered and was found to be uncorrupted; causing immense excitement amongst the Catholics of Galway. A Protestant zealot offended by the presence of the Catholic church man in the now Protestant church, and resentful of the attention caused by the uncorrupted state of the corpse, hacked the hand of the body and made away with it. After a hue and cry, the stolen hand was later found discarded in a field in the western suburbs of the town where St. Mary's College now stands. This may have been the origin of the story.