Ton up — St Mary’s College Galway celebrates its centenary next month
By Declan Varley
Almost one hundred years ago, on August 25. 1912, a mass to consecrate the new St Mary’s College Galway was held in the college grounds. It reportedly attracted a crowd of 14,000 people, eager to witness the blessing of this new school, built as it was to provide the people of Galway and its environs with a quality education.
Since then the imposing limestone and granite façade of the college has kept watch over the city below it, and countless young men have received their education in its halls and classrooms and excelled on its playing fields in many sporting codes.
St. Mary’s College will mark the anniversary of its foundation, with a special mass to be celebrated this Saturday August 25 at 12 noon in Galway Cathedral. This mass will be open to all former staff and students of the college and their families, and will be followed by refreshments in the college, where they can once again revisit their alma mater.
Indeed, this is just one of the many events that are being planned to commemorate the anniversary of the college. For 100 years St Mary’s has been a valuable contributor to the lives of many people, not only in Galway, but also right across the western seaboard.
Initially a boarding school, St Mary’s has been in its time a home away from home for students from across Galway, north Clare, Mayo, and Roscommon. The boarding section of the college finally closed in 2002, and nowadays the college is a vibrant seat of education catering to more than 400 students from around the city and county.
The college authorities are hoping that as many former students as possible will take the opportunity to visit the college during the year, and have put in place a number of events to facilitate these visits.
There will be a Family Fun Day in the college grounds on Sunday September 16 and the St Mary’s College Centenary Gala Dinner will be held in the Galway Bay Hotel on Saturday October 20, tickets for which are available through St. Mary’s. It is hoped that former students and staff from across the decades will meet up for a night of reminiscence and celebration.
The College feast day, December 8, 2012, will see the launch of a specially commissioned book commemorating the 100-year history of St Mary’s College, currently being compiled by local historian Peadar O’Dowd.
Information on all these events, and any more taking place during the year , is available through the college office (091) 522369, or on the college website, www.stmaryscollege.ie