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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

St. Patrick's College


St. Patrick's College

From the Dublin Penny Journal, Vol. 1, No. 14, September 29, 1832 2007
St. Patrick's College Carlow (Carlow College) c2006

St. Patrick's, College. Carlow 1782

St Patrick's, Carlow College, founded in 1782, by Dr James Keefe, then Roman Catholic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, and his co-adjutor Bishop Daniel Delaney, and opened in 1793, is a college in Carlow, Ireland. It is notable for educating many Catholic priests, but also provides courses in Humanities and Social Studies to the laity.

During the nineteenth century, students studied Philosophy, Theology, Mathematics, Languages and Law at Carlow College. In the 1840's, 50's and 60's, students at the college sat for the award of B.A. or B.LL. (Law) from the University of London. Today, the college is an accredited institution of the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (H.E.T.A.C.), Dublin.

Carlow College, or St Patrick's as it is known locally, is one of Ireland's oldest educational institutions. From 1793 to 1892, it educated both lay people and those studying for the priesthood. From 1892 up to 1989, the college was operating principally as a seminary for the priesthood. In the 1990's, it reclaimed its primary role as a college of the Humanities for lay people. Currently (as of 2006), there is an approximate student body of 700 students, full and part-time, taking degrees in the Humanities (in all fields of Philosophy, Theology and the Liberal Arts) and in the fields of Social Care, however this number is likely to increase in the forthcoming years as the college has built a fine reputation of being a 'home away from home,' as the college has a unique, community-orientated ethos.

Distinguished among the thousands of its past students was one the first ever Catholic bishops to be appointed in the United States, John England; the man who single-handedly brought Catholicism to Australia, John Therry; Ireland's first Cardinal, Paul Cullen; the artist Frank O'Meara; the Young Irelander and land-reform theorist, James-Fintan Lalor and the Fenian John O'Leary, friend of W.B. Yeats. Daniel O'Connell, also known as 'The Liberator' or 'The Emancipator' and Ireland's predominant political leader in the first half of the nineteenth century, reputedly gave an oration to the Carlow townspeople from the top of the college's front porch. Descendants of O'Connell have studied in the college.

In recent years, the college has established special links with Carlow University, Pittsburgh and with St Ambrose University, in Davenport, Iowa.

As of the 2006-2007 academic year, the college has opened a magnificently designed state-of-the-art library situated in the old college chapel. The library is named in memoriam of Fr P.J. Brophy, a former president of the college, who bequeathed his full library to the college.

The new facility incorporates the Delaney Archive containing the archives of the Brigidine Sisters, the Patrician Brothers as well as the college and diocese. It effectively charts 200 years of education in the local area. The P.J. Brophy memorial library stocks thousands of texts of the Humanities, in Philosophy, Theology, English Literature, Social Studies and the general Liberal Arts. The opening of the new library coincides with the opening of a new student services centre which is adjacent to the library. On the 12th of December, 2006, the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, officially opened the Fr P.J. Brophy Memorial Library and the Kathleen Brennan Student Services Centre.


Priests & Bishops

  • Since 1793 almost 3200 students of Carlow College have been ordained priests and have served all over the world.
  • J McEvoy, in his book 'Carlow College 1793-1993' gives destinations of Carlow College Alumni.
  • Carlow 1793 - 1899
  • 1793 - St. Patrick's College Carlow (Carlow College) opened
  • 1798 - Carlow Rebellion
  • 1811 - The Presentation Nuns arrived in Carlow
  • 1840 - The Convent Chapel was built (children were taught in rooms under the chapel and in the cellars before the school was built.
  • 1859 - The Order of The Christian Brothers arrived in Carlow
  • 1877 - The Presentation Convent was built
  • 1899 - The Convent Nation School was built

St Joseph's House, aka Lennon House, Carlow College

St Joseph's was built to accommodate seminarians. It was later renamed Lennon House in honour of Patrick Lennon who was the College President (1956-1966) and Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin (1967-1987). Bishop Lennon died in 1990.

It was built in the 1970s to the rear of St Patrick's College to accommodate students, it was here Father Peader MacSuibhne lived in his latter years.

Source: Delany Archives

St Patricks College Lodge house at the College Street entrance in Carlow.
from the Carlow Architectural Heritage c.1980

The Birth of Carlow College
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