Mary's College Knockbeg
St. Mary's College Knockbeg is a Roman Catholic,
all-boys secondary school located on the Laois/Carlow border,
approximately 2.5km from both Carlow town and Graiguecullen. A former
seminary school for the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, it was founded
in 1793. It accommodates both day-pupils and fee-paying boarders, though
the boarding school will soon be closing down. The College celebrated
it's bicentenary in 1993. Knockbeg won the All-Ireland College's Senior
Football Championship in 2005, under the guidance of former pupil and
current teacher, Chris Conway. In 2006, Knockbeg were the victors of the
Thomas Crosbie Holdings All Ireland Quiz Championship, bringing
All-Ireland success to the college twice in two years, and were crowned
All-Ireland German Debating Champions in 2008.
St Mary's College Knockbeg (Coláiste Muire Cnoc Beag in
Irish) is one of the oldest secondary schools in Ireland, located on the
Laois/Carlow border. It traces its origins back to 1793 when a lay
school for boys was established in St.Patrick's College, Carlow in
conjunction with the seminary there. In 1847 it was decided that the
young pupils in the school should come out to Knockbeg, which had been a
gentry estate on the banks of the River Barrow before being purchased by
the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin . The initial school had about 40
pupils but the numbers grew as all the lay pupils from St Patrick's
transferred out. In 1898 the school became the official junior seminary
for the diocese. To this day the aim of the college is to offer a
holistic Catholic education. Through the years the boarding numbers in
the school built up to the around 160 mark and has since increased in
the 1980s when Day-Boys were taken in. At present, there are well over
350 pupils attending the school.
Knockbeg College has educated many people of note over the years:
- William Hoey Kearney Redmond, Irish nationalist and Irish
Parliamentary Party MP for 34 years
- Kevin O'Higgins, Irish Nationalist and Pro-Treaty TD for
Laois-Offaly, Minister for Home Affairs/Vice-President of the
Executive Council in the first Dáil
- Tommy Murphy, the greatest Laois footballer of all time,
named in the midfield position in the GAA Football Team of the
- Charles Flanagan, current Fine Gael TD for Laois-Offaly
Others include members of the current Laois GAA teams : Brian
McDonald, Ross Munnelly, Donie Brennan and Rory Stapleton.
Former Laois great, Chris Conway, who is currently teaching in the
college, was also educated at Knockbeg.
Colm Begley, now playing Australian Rules Football for the
Brisbane Lions, also attended the college.
Dispute over location
Over the years many people have disputed whether
Knockbeg is in Laois or Carlow. Although its postal address is Carlow,
geographically it is in Laois. The River Barrow is the border line
between Laois and Carlow and Knockbeg is on the Laois side. However the
school has many pupils from both Laois and Carlow as well as boarders
from Kilkenny, Kildare, Wexford, Wicklow and further afield.
The Sisters of Mercy
The Sisters of Mercy from St. Leo’s Convent in Carlow
have had a very long and generous relationship with the Knockbeg
Community. Whether at prayer, cooking or nursing their dedicated service
has been a great blessing to us here. We are forever in debt to the
Sisters for their very special ministry among us.
Source: Wikipedia, the free
Milestone at Knockbeg Lock
- Image was taken by Carloman2 in 2010
Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel
is the residence of W. Carruthers, Esq.; and here is also that of Gerald
Byrne, Esq. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Leighlin, united
to that of Shruel, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes
amount to £60, and the gross value of the benefice is £106. 3. 1. In the
R. C. divisions it forms part of the union or district of Killeshin.
Here is a hedge school of 10 boys and 4 girls.