Garron Tower

Garron Tower

Infobox School
name = St. MacNissi's College
motto = Et Velle et Perficere
type = Grammar school
district =
head of school = Mrs E O'Loan
chaplain = Fr Anthony Fitzsimons
enrollment =
colours = Purple and Gold
county =
postcode = BT44 0JS
country = Northern Ireland
location = Carnlough, County Antrim

Garron Tower (St. MacNissi's College) is a grammar school located convert|20|mi|km|0 to the north of Larne, Northern Ireland's busiest port. The grounds are situated on a plateau approximately convert|200|ft|m|0 above the famous Antrim Coast Road at Garron Point and overlook the Irish Sea (southern end of the Northern Channel) and out towards Scotland (Mull of Kintyre). The school motto is "Et Velle et Perficere".

The history of Garron Tower dates from 1850, but its life as a school began on the 3 September, 1951 (the feast day of St MacNissi) when Bishop Dan Mageean, Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor, officially opened the building as 'a diocesan grammar school for boys' and gave it the name "St. MacNissis College".


Main building

The college has extensive grounds which stretch for a mile or so around the main building. This building has rooms for 3 priests on the first floor, priests' dining-room, priests' sitting-room, 100 desk study-hall, kitchens, cloakrooms, first-aid room, classrooms, offices, and a food storage area.


The Chapel was completed in 1955 with the help of the late Fr. Charles Agnew's "Mile of Half-Crowns". On the canopy above the High Altar are the words "Laudate Pueri Dominum" which means "Boys, Praise the Lord".

On one of the Stained Glass windows which were installed in late 1956, the following words, in very small print, are to be found: "As I am making this window the Hungarians have risen in revolt against Communist/Russian rule in Hungary. October 1956".

Boarding rooms

A 150 room boarding department (now empty) was opened in 1956. Called St. Mary's residence, single rooms made up the majority of this building but at the front ends there were double rooms, six in total, two on each floor, which were occupied by six of the college priests.

Original stables which were the open dormitories of Ardclinis, Trostan and Knochore. On the level above the Ardclinis Dormitory were the rooms of three priests. Currently the old stables house Music, Languages and Business Studies classes. The building was known as St Joseph's. Fact|date=February 2008

ports facilities

The Tennis Courts were situated in a small field which in the 1950s and early 1960s was called the "Wee Field". The £1.6 million block for IT, Home Economics, Art and Science on the site of the old Tennis Courts.

At the south end of the College grounds there is a wooded area in which the original owner's dog, Urisk, is buried. Fact|date=February 2008 Beside the wooded area is a small golf course.

At the north end there are four sports pitches and a set of Hand-Ball alleys (1 closed, 1 semi-closed and 1 open) all of which are the 60 x 40 type of alley.

Behind the squash courts there is a new outdoor basketball court.

Architectural features

The seaward wall of the school has seven cannons facing the sea which are of naval origin from the Napoleonic wars.

Towards the northern end of the sea-wall there was a gate, lending access to a twisting path down to the Coast Road but the end of this path, where it met the Coast Road, was out-of-bounds. Just across the road and about 50 yards to the north, the Garron Point Post Office was located and the journey between the gate at the Coast Road and the Post Office was fraught with danger.

About 400 yards north of the Post Office, at the bottom of Dunmaul Hill, is situated a "Water Driven" Pump House where in March 1955 a boarder at the college, Terry Fannin, lost his life.


* [ Official school website]

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