The Bish, Galway
~ Celebrating 150 Years ~

Section of College Home webpage: Principal Mr Doyle with some of the 2012 graduating students.
St. Joseph’s Patrician College in Nuns Island is the last remaining Patrician boys’ only second level remaining in Galway and has served the educational needs of city boys since it was opened in 1862. The school is now under the trusteeship of Le Cheile Schools Trust.

The Patrician Brothers first arrived in Galway City in 1827 and established a national school in Lombard Street led by Bro. Paul O’Connor.  Because there was no Catholic Intermediate School for boys in the city,  Bishop John McEvilly asked Bro. Paul to open such a school and St. Joseph’s Seminary was established at Nuns’ Island in 1862. Because of the bishop’s close connection and active support the Seminary was generally referred to as the “Bishop’s School” and to this day is known in city and county as “The Bish.”

A comprehensive programme of events is planned to celebrate this important occasion.  Our school website has been relaunched- .  A school mass will be held in St. Augustine’s on 9th November to celebrate the work of the Patrician Brothers. On 11th November, the Big Breakfast at the Salthill Hotel will give parents an opportunity to be part of the celebrations. A gala dinner will be held on 13th October and all past pupils will be welcome to attend. It is planned to publish a commemorative book in November and a committee are already working on this. It is also planned to have a special lecture by Mr. Donal Taheny.  An inaugural “Bro. Paul O’Connor Lecture” is planned for later in the year.

“This is a very important milestone for the College” says Ciaran Doyle, Principal at St. Joseph’s College. “The Bish has a very strong legacy of educational excellence in the city and we are very proud to celebrate the success of the College in delivering second level education to boys in the city.”

Photo: Mr Ciaran Doyle, Principal

Programme of Events
May 14th - Mayoral Launch & launch of new website
May 21st - Lecture on Patrician Brothers in Galway
June - Launch of alumni website
July 27th - Golf Tournament
October 13th - Gala Dinner for Past Pupils
November 9th - Sesquicentennial Mass
November 11th - Big Breakfast for Parents
November - Launch of commemorative book.

Congratulations and a Blessing
from Br Jerome Ellens

(Because there are a few audio cliches: Hello, Br Jerome Ellens, Patrician Congregation Leader, speaking to you from St Mary's Catholic School, Dubai. Congratulations to Principal Mr Ciaran Doyle, and to all the staff, students, parents, and friends of The Bish, as you approach the 150th anniversary of the foundation of your school on the 15th January, 1863.

You are the oldest school in the world that still bears the name of the Patrician Brothers, something to be proud of I would say, it is something the Brothers are proud of.

It is a wonderful co-incidence that as you celebrate 150 years in beautiful Galway we are beginning a new Patrician mission here at St Mary's Catholic School in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates. You, St Joseph's, we, St Mary's. May Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus our Saviour, bless all of us as you move into your 151st year and we into our 1st.

I see that you have already begun your celebrations in earnest, with still much more ahead. Congratulations on your new website, it portrays a school of the modern world, as well as a school with heart and pride.

I am hoping that before the last streamer falls to the floor there in Galway, I may be able to join you for this momentous occasion.

God bless, and enjoy the celebrations to come.)

A Little History

Students of St Joseph’s Patrician College (The Bish) in 1963 (centenary). The motto translates to “Holiness and Knowledge”.
The building no longer exists. Photo from the Delany Archives, Carlow.

St Joseph’s was the sixth foundation undertaken by the Patrician Brothers, this includes the Baltimore foundation in America. But the Patricians were well and truly established in county Galway by 1862. In fact, St Joseph’s was the third Patrician school in county Galway.

The Brothers first came to Clarenbridge, county Carlow, in 1823, to established a “Male Free School” at the invitation of Mr Christopher Redington. In 1826 the Brothers were invited by Right Rev. Edmund Ffrench to take over the Male Free School in Galway. It is with this school that we associate Br Paul O’Connor. It was then in 1862 that Bishop John McEvilly invited the Brothers to establish an independent school. On the 15th January, 1863, the school opened its doors to thirty pupils. (cf.
By the Narrow Gate, Br Linus Walker, p. 26) Today the school has 783 students. The last Patrician principal of The Bish was Br Marcus Moriarty.

Cup of Coffee?

The following video comes from The Bish’s website, well, the second half of it anyway. It is part of a fundraising effort by the College but it gives us a little peek of the school. We have added an aerial and some photos of Galway for the benefit of those who have never been to Galway.

For more information on the history of the school: