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St Nicholas' Parish

History | Churches | St Munchin's College | Priests of the Parish

Brief Parish History & Geographical Location

Bishop Jeremiah Newman created the parish of St Nicholas' in 1991 to accommodate the population growth in the then parish of St Mary's. The eastern section of St Mary's was separated to form the parish of St Nicholas'. The new parish includes parts of the two counties of Limerick and Clare. The parish also contains the Diocesan College of St Munchin's.

The population of the parish is around 4,000.

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The church of St Nicholas is in the large housing estate of Westbury on the Athlunkard Road before Larkin's Cross. The church was blessed and opened by Bishop Newman and Fr Oliver Plunkett PP on December 20 1992. McInerney Construction built the church and the architect of the church was Mr Seán Dempsey of Clontarf in Dublin. Mr Dempsey designed the Westbury estate.

On the right-hand side of the church, there is a statue to Mary and a shrine to the Sacred Heart. There is a statue to St Joseph and a shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour on the left. There is also a painting to commemorate the Jubilee year 2000, by Carmel Flanagan, a parishioner. There is a crucifix behind the marble altar. To the right of the altar is the baptismal font.

The seats on the right and left-hand sides of the church are pine and were originally the property of the Salesians Sisters in Brosna, Co Offaly. The oak seats in the centre of the church were originally part of the Good Shepherd Convent in Clare St in Limerick.

The high altar, tabernacle and the Stations of the Cross originally belonged to the Christian Brothers of Sexton St in Limerick City.

The second church in the parish is at St Munchin's College. This church was built in 1963 as part of the new diocesan college in Corbally.

In the porch of the church, there is a plaque listing all the donors of the various items in the church. There are two doors into the main body of the church, on the glass sections of which are engravings of the four evangelists; St Matthew and St Mark on the left door and St Luke and St John on the right hand door.

Over the main door of the church there is a stained glass window which depicts (from left to right) St Colmcille, St Patrick and St Brigid.

To the right hand side of the church, there are altars to St Joseph, the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Within the altar to the Blessed Virgin, there is also a statue of Mary.

There is a cast of the four evangelists on the ceiling above the altar with the figure of the Holy Spirit in the centre of the piece.

There is a small chapel to the left of the altar. There is a stained glass window high on the wall to the left of the altar. This window depicts (from left to right) the loaves and fishes, alpha and omega and the stork. The symbol of the stork represents self-sacrifice as it makes its own breast bleed to feed its young.

High on the wall to the right of the altar, there is a stained glass window, which depicts the Lamb of God, Chi-rho and Corpus Christi. Chi-rho is a combination of the first two letters of Jesus' name in the Greek language, X and P. Also, to the right of the altar there is a shrine to the Madonna and Child.

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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.

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

Most Rev. Dr Charles Tuohy

Most Rev. Dr Patrick O'Neill

Most Rev. Dr Edward Thomas O'Dwyer

Most Rev. Dr Henry Murphy

Most Rev. Dr Jeremiah Newman

Most Rev. Dr David Keane

Most Rev. Dr Denis Hallinan

Most Rev. Dr John Ryan

Most Rev. Dr George Bulter

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List of Priests

Year Parish Priest Curate(s)
1992 Oliver Plunkett  
1993 Oliver Plunkett Dermot Keehan
1994 Oliver Plunkett Dermot Keehan
1995 Oliver Plunkett Dermot Keehan
1996 Oliver Plunkett Damian Ryan
1997 Oliver Plunkett Damian Ryan
1998 Oliver Plunkett Damian Ryan
1999 John Daly Damian Ryan
2000 John Daly Damian Ryan
2001 John Daly Damian Ryan
2002 John Daly Damian Ryan
2003 John Daly David Bracken
2004 John Daly David Bracken
2005 John Daly David Bracken
2006 John Daly David Bracken
2007 John Daly David Bracken


The list of Priests from 1704 to 1836 is compiled from information gained in Begley's History of the Diocese of Limerick Vol. III page 598. The remaining years are compiled from the Catholic Directories. Information contained in a directory of any given year refers to what happened the previous year. For example if a priest is recorded in the 1954 directory as being in a particular parish, this would mean that he was actually there in 1953.

History | Churches | St Munchin's College | Priests of the Parish

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