St Peter's College, Wexford

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

St. Peter's College
Logo st peters.jpg
Summerhill, Wexford, County Wexford
School type Secondary School
Diocesan College Public
Motto Disce Prodesse – Learn to be useful
Religious affiliation(s) Christian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Established 1811[1]
Founder Rev. Patrick Ryan, Bishop of Ferns,
Principal Mr. Robert O'Callaghan
Chaplain Fr. Aodhan Marken
Teaching staff 42
Gender Male
Age range 12-19
Number of students Over 770
Language English
Sports Hurling, Football, Basketball, Badminton, Golf, Equestrian, Handball
Nickname Peter's
Rival Good Counsel New Ross

St Peter's College, Wexford is an Irish secondary school and former seminary located in Summerhill, overlooking Wexford town. It is a single sex school for male pupils. Currently, the schools population is over 770. The current Principal is Mr. Robert O'Callaghan and the current Deputy Principals are Mr. John Branville & Mr. Sean Foley.


Founded in 1811 by Most Rev. Patrick Ryan, Bishop of Ferns, the College has progressed from a Roman Catholic Seminary in Michael Street, Wexford to the present buildings.[2] In 1818, the large house at Summerhill was purchased and Bishop Ryan blessed the foundation stone of an extension to be constructed to the rear of the house. In 1819, Bishop James Keating opened the new college and the President, staff and student body of Michael Street took up residence. Rev. Miles Murphy was the first president, he went on to become a Bishop. Expansion occurred for years afterwards and the impressive facade with its distinctive tower and the chapel designed by Augustus Welby Pugin were constructed. In 1855 the college became affiliated to the Catholic University of Ireland, in 1858 a theology course was offered to students. Up until 1897 students went on to finish their Theology and Philosophy courses St Patrick's College, Maynooth, (or another seminary), but from 1901 students completed their studies in St. Peter's and were ordained. Over 160 priests ordained for American dioceses were trained in St. Peter's.[3]

In 1938, due to increasing numbers of students, a seminary wing was added to facilitate expansion. This wing is now occupied by the Wexford Campus of Institute of Technology, Carlow. The Seminary closed in 1999[4] and the 10 remaining students for the priesthood transferred to other seminaries, and new construction work was completed in 2001. In 2009, a new building was completed, €3.5 Million, the building links the two older sections of the school and provides many specialist rooms such as CAD rooms and Physics Labs. In 1988 the Christian Media Trust, was set up in St. Peter's, with radio studios and production facilities, this is an interdenominational grouping including representatives from wexford's Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, the groups programmes are broadcast on South East Radio on 95.6 FM .[5] The building of the studio at St. Peter's, was financed by Dr. Comiskey and the Ferns Diocese.[6]

In 2005 the college featured prominently in The Ferns Report enquiry into paedophile activities in the Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of Ferns.


The main entrance to St. Peter's College
Outside the 'old' section of St. Peters College

The Junior certificate cycle subjects are: English, Irish, Mathematics, Geography, CSPE, History, Religion, Physical Education, Computer Studies & CSPE. The optional or 'choice' subjects are: French or German, Science, Technical Graphics, Material Technology (Wood), Music, Art & Business Studies.

St. Peter's also offer a Transition Year programme for students between Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate cycles, which allows students to experience new subjects that are included in the Leaving Certificate aswell as exclusive subjects purely for Transition Year.

The Leaving Certificate cycle include the mandatory Irish, English, Maths, and Religion and P.E., and subjects chosen from Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Applied Maths, French, German, History, Geography, Accounting, Economics, Agricultural Science, Art, Music, Business, Technical Drawing and Construction Studies.

List of subjects offered at St. Peter's College
Junior Certificate syllabus Leaving Certicate syllabus
English (M) English (M)
Irish (M) Irish (M)
Mathematics (M) Mathematics (M)
Geography (M) Religion (M)
CSPE (M) Physical Education (M)
History (M) Chemistry (O)
Religion (M) Biology (O)
Physical Education (M) ~ Physics (O)
Computer Studies (M) ~ Applied Maths
CSPE (M) French (O)
French/German (O) German (O)
Science (O) History (O)
Technical Graphics (O) Geography (O)
Material Technology, Wood (O) Accounting (O)
Music (O) Economics (O)
Art (O) Agricultural Science (O)
Business Studies (O) Art (O)
Music (O)
Business (O)
Design Communications

Graphics (O)

  • (M) = Mandatory subject
  • (O) = Optional subject
  • " ~ " = No Junior Certificate examination


The college has a Gaelic Athletic Association tradition with All Ireland glory in hurling in 1962, 1967,1968 and 1973. Other successes include Leinster Hurling and Football championships. The college's recent victories include the Senior Leinster A Football in 2017 and the Junior Leinster A Hurling 2007/8. The school has teams in basketball, handball and many other sports.The school also won the Juvenile Leinster Football Final 2008/2009 and reached the final of the Juvenile Leinster Handball Final. In the GAA Centenary year of 1984, Martin Casey (Kilmore) and Chris Murray (Castlebridge) won the All Ireland U15 Colleges Handball Doubles Final for the school at Croke Park.

Power Park[edit]

Power Park, the all-weather pitch commemorates the name of Ned Power – former Vice-Principal – who did so much to promote drama and games, not only in the College, but also in County Wexford. . Decisions were taken to close the boarding school 1997 and the Seminary in 1998. The Patron allocated a portion of the available rooms to the Secondary School. Substantial refurbishment of these buildings and the construction of a new extension was made possible through funding from the Department of Education & Science.

People Associated with St. Peter's College[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Presidents/Principals of the College[edit]

The First President of St. Peters was Rev. Miles Murphy he was succeeded in 1829 by Rev. John Sinnott DD, in 1850 after the death of Dr. Sinnott, Rev. Lawrence Kirwan was appointed president. In 1858 Rev Patrick C Sheridan took over the post of president, he was followed in 1873 by Dr Kavanagh. Very Rev. Luke (Canon) Doyle, served as President of St. Peter's College, from 1890–1895. More recent presidents have included Very Rev. William F. Murphy STL, Rev. Laurence O'Connor,Very Rev. Dr. Thomas Sherwood, and Fr. Seamus S. De Vál who has written about the college.

As of 2018, the Principal of St. Peter's College is Mr. Robert O' Callaghan and the 2 Vice-Principals being Mr. John Banville & Mr. Sean Foley.

Institute of Technology, Carlow – Wexford Campus[edit]

The Institute of Technology, Carlow delivers courses at St. Peter's, in the former Seminary wing. There is approx. 900 students doing various full and part-time certificate, diploma, degree and masters courses in Business, Arts, Childhood studies, Visual Communications and Design, Sustainable Architectural Technology and Economics.[7] 2012 sees the commencement of a MBA programme at the IT Carlow Wexford Campus.


  1. ^ Historians back claim celebrations are too early By MICHAEL Freeman, The Wexford People, 18 March 2012
  2. ^ St Peter's College Seminary History Archived 9 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine. by V Rev Seamas S Canon de Val, Diosese of Ferns Website.
  3. ^ Irish priests in the United States: a vanishing subculture By William L. Smith.
  4. ^ Vocations plunge begins to bite in parishes as seminary closes By Willie Dillon and Michael Quinn, Irish Independent, 1 September 1998.
  5. ^ Background – Christian Media Trust – official website.
  6. ^ Background Christian Media Trust.
  7. ^ IT Carlow, Wexford Campus – Courses Institute of Technology, Carlow website.

Further reading[edit]

  • A Nineteenth-Century Tabernacle, Séamas S. de Vál, The Past: The Organ of the Uí Cinsealaigh Historical Society, No. 22 (2000), pp. 67–69. Published by: Uí Cinsealaigh Historical Society.
  • Sesquicentenary of St. Peter's College, Wexford, Séamas V. Ó Súilleabháin, The Past: The Organ of the Uí Cinsealaigh Historical Society, No. 8 (1970), pp. 52–59, Published by: Uí Cinsealaigh Historical Society.
  • In the Shadow of Pugin: A Troubled Local Church, Colm Tóibín, The Furrow, Vol. 54, No. 6 (Jun. 2003), pp. 352–356, Published by: The Furrow.

External links[edit]