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St Munchin's College

After the penal laws were relaxed, St Patrick's College in Maynooth was established in 1795. However in the following year Bishop John Young founded a major seminary called St Munchin's College for the Diocese of Limerick at Palmerstown. The college was relocated a number of times. Within six months the college had moved to Newgate Lane. By 1800 the site was Peter's Cell. In 1809 the college was situated in Park House in Corbally. Since then, St Munchin's College has focused on the second level education of boys from the diocese

In 1825 the college at Park House closed but an academy was opened in Mallow St. By 1853 the college was situated at No. 1 Hartstonge St. Six years later Bishop John Ryan decided to remove the running of St Munchin's College from the clergy of the diocese. He asked the Jesuits to take over the running of the college and they accepted the challenge. The college expanded and was forced to move again, this time to Crescent House in September 1862.

In 1871, Bishop Ryan decided to re-establish a college run by the clergy of the diocese under the control of the bishop. The Jesuits' college became known as St Munchin's College and the diocesan college was called the Diocesan Seminary of Limerick. The diocesan college was located at No. 1 Hartstonge St. By the end of the 1870s, the Jesuits' college was known as the Crescent College although its official name was the Sacred Heart College. The diocesan college returned to its original name of St Munchin's College.

From 1882 to 1888 the college was located at Mungret under the stewardship of the diocesan clergy, in the form of Fr Joseph Bourke and later under the Jesuits again. In 1888 the college moved yet again to new premises, this time to Henry St when Bishop O'Dwyer purchased the former residence of Lord Limerick. The Jesuits again left the control of the college to the diocesan clergy. The school was divided into three sections, a day school, a boarding school and a seminary for ecclesiastical students.

Due to a lack of space to expand the college facilities it was decided to move to a new location. After a long search, Bishop Patrick O'Neill gave the land at the bishop's residence in Corbally for the new college. The foundation stone of the new college was laid on April 28 1960 and the new college was officially opened on August 28 1963. The cost of the college was £440,000.

For a more complete history of the college, you should consult St Munchin's College Limerick 1796-1996 written by John Fleming and Sean O'Grady, which is available from the college.

 Stained glass windows in St Munchin's College
© Stained glass windows in St Munchin's College

In the dining hall of the college, there is large window on which there is a small stained glass window of each of the Bishops of Limerick since the first St Munchin's College in 1796.

From left to right:

Most Rev. Dr John Young, 1796-1813
Most Rev. Dr Charles Tuohy, 1814-1828
Most Rev. Dr Patrick O'Neill, 1945-1958
Most Rev. Dr Edward Thomas O'Dwyer, 1886-1917
Most Rev. Dr Henry Murphy, 1958-1973
Most Rev. Dr Jeremiah Newman, 1974-1995
Most Rev. Dr David Keane, 1923-1945
Most Rev. Dr Denis Hallinan, 1918-1923
Most Rev. Dr John Ryan, 1828-1864
Most Rev. Dr George Bulter, 1864-1886

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