St Kieran's College

St Kieran's College

St. Kieran's College, Kilkenny, Ireland is primarily a Secondary school for boys. It has long been a nursery for hurling.


Saint Kieran’s College is located on College Road in Kilkenny in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Kilkenny is famous for its medieval buildings and the gothic revival St Kieran’s College is one such attraction. [] It is a city-centre location of many acres.


Saint Kieran's College was founded in Kilkenny, in the diocese of Ossory in 1782, after the passing of the Relief Act of 1782. This act enabled Catholics to found schools for the first time since the Irish penal laws were introduced. Prior to this only Protestants could found educational institutions. Saint Kieran's College was founded as the diocesan school and was the first of its kind in the country.

The school's motto, “Hiems Transiit” which is Latin for “The Winter Has Passed” is a metaphor for the repeal of the penal laws which had kept catholics as second class citizens in Ireland. It is taken from chapter 2 verse 11 of the Song of Solomon book of the bible:::"My beloved speaks and says to me: Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, "the winter is past", the rain is over and gone."-RSV

The saint after which the school was named was Saint Kieran Saighir, "first-born of the saints of Ireland" (Promogenitus Sanctorum Hiberniae).

By the 1790s upheaval on the continent led to the need for the provision of education for priests at home and in 1792 the college opened its doors to students of philosophy and theology, the first college in Ireland to do so. The first location of the college was at Burrell's Hall, James Street, Kilkenny, which is now the location of Saint Mary's Cathedral (the seat of the Bishop of Ossory) and the CBS secondary school. It was later moved to the present location of the Loreto Convent Girls’ Secondary School on the Granges Road, Kilkenny. Until eventually between 1811 and 1845 a new permanent building was constructed on what is now called College Road. The architect of the school was William Deane Butler who also designed Saint Mary’s Cathedral; he was assisted by George Ashlin. The huge tower which rises from the centre of the cathedral was actually originally intended for the college. Some distinguishing features of the building include the Clock Tower, the Chapel and the Glass-Hall.

Present Day Education

The College had originally catered for Seminarians and Boarding Students but then eventually day students were let attend the school which lead to the abolishment of their five-days-a-week classes and the introduction of the three day week school time. The Seminary was closed in 1994 which was a watershed in the history of the diocese and the College eventually in 2003 it ceased catering for boarding students and became solely a day-student secondary school.

Extra Services

As well as being a secondary school The College also houses the NUI Maynooth Adult Education “Outreach Campus” and the CREIDIM Centre, which both give adult education in theology, philosophy, psychology etc. Saint Kieran’s College also provides services and class-room usage for the “City Vocational School” and “An Pobail Scoil Osraí”- the city’s wholly-Irish-speaking secondary school. Also within the walls of Saint Kieran’s College are the Diocesan Archives and The Carrigan Room. The Carrigan Room contains all of the documents and pictures collected by William Carrigan for his four-volume encyclopaedia on the history of the diocese, the biggest and broadest ever, the archives also contain documents collected by Carrigan for an inteneded second edition but which were never used as he died of “Spanish Flu”.


Saint Kieran’s College is famous nationally for their skill in the ancient Gaelic game of Hurling, winning numerous cups and leagues. Other sports that the school partakes in are handball, gaelic football, soccer, basketball, equestrian trials, swimming, golf, tennis, rugby and more. The Gymnasium is the biggest and most advanced of all the School-Gyms in the county and the campus retains an immense area of land around the college for sport and recreation.

Other than sport, there are regular poetry workshops with College English teachers and a writer-in-residence, Poet Mark Roper, has helped compile poetry broadsheets and advised people on the way to being published. Their own theatre/auditorium means the school always has a location for performances/readings.

Musical and Artistic Studies are also a major part of the school curriculum. The School also has a fully-equipped film-editing suite and have recently completed a feature-length film about the famine in Ireland as part of the SIP projects in Kilkenny. Farming and agriculture has always been a large part of Kilkenny's heritage and so too for the school, although the farming facilities within the college's city campus have been removed the school still retain vast areas of farmland in rural kilkenny and also teach "Science and Biology of Agriculture".

School Crest and Motto

As aforementioned, the motto of the school is “Hiems Transiit” - meaning the winter has passed, a long, cold winter for the Catholics in Ireland under repression. The school crest is the diocese’s crest emblazoned on a Celtic Cross. The coat of arms of the diocese has a representation of St. Kieran between two pillars. It appears on Episcopal arms from the 18th century and on a beautiful book plate of Archbishop Troy as well as the college crest.

Past Pupils

Notable students to have attended the school include, Kilkenny hurler DJ Carey and Wexford hurler Nicky Rackard. As well as the actor Ralph Fiennes and his brother Joseph, the artist Chris Nevin and most members of Kerbdog.

External links

* [ Kilkenny Campus]

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