- 1700 - 2020 (Creation)
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Since 1620 the Jesuits have, with some involuntary intermissions, been working in Galway. In 1645 our first school was founded through the generosity of Edmund Kirwan. The school, incorporated it seems into a Jesuit residence in the present Abbeygate St, survived and flourished although it had been established at a time of political upheaval and military activity. After the surrender of Galway to the Cromwellian forces in 1652, the Jesuits tried to maintain contact with the people of the area, and there is reference in 1658 to three members of the Society living secretly in County Galway. Jesuits returned openly to Galway after the Restoration of Charles II, but were banished again by Williamite forces in 1691. Once more they made a comeback in 1728 and for forty years they worked among the people of Galway. Sadly, a decrease in manpower forced the withdrawal of the “Mission” in 1768.
In 1859, at the request of the Bishop, members of the Order once more took up residence in the city, this time in Prospect Hill and served in St Patrick’s Church. Within a year they had opened a college near the site of the present Bank of Ireland at 19 Eyre Square. The college’s present location on Sea Road dates from 1863. The modern phase of Coláiste Iognáid began in 1929. The local enthusiasm for the language revival efforts of the emerging State was to be served by a re-invigorated Coláiste Iognáid, which became an Irish-medium School in 1931.
The college now is a co-educational, bilingual, non-fee-paying secondary school.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Deposited at the Irish Jesuit Archives from the Jesuit community at Galway, and the Irish Jesuit Provincialate (2000-2020).
Content and structure area
Scope and content
The papers of Coláiste Iognáid (St Ignatius’ College) and the Jesuit community offer an insight into the social, cultural and religious life of Galway. There are documents on the history of the Jesuits in Galway, property details such as deeds, leases and plans of property at Sea Road, Renmore, Sherwood Fields and Nuttall’s Garden, and correspondence with various Bishops of Galway and Jesuit Provincials. These documents illustrate major events in Jesuit community life: the return of the Jesuits and the establishment of a residence and school; building developments, ‘Attacked by Beetle: work to save church roof’ (1939); 1963 centenary celebrations and the erection of St Ignatius as a parish (1971). House histories, minister’s journals, visitations, and consults illuminate the ordinary life of members of the Jesuit community in Galway, ‘we have been hit hard again by the “Flu” (25 February 1919).
Roll books, school diaries, college calendars and school publications, such as ‘Turas na Sóisear’, which detail bicycle outings in the Galway area, with hand-drawn maps and route schedule (1940-1947). The arts and sports at Coláiste Iognáid are documented through photographs, scrapbooks and programmes of plays (The Rising of the Moon by Lady Gregory, 1941, for example), debates, theatre and musicals performances, rowing, rugby and GAA. The administration of the Jesuit school, community and Jesuit-run church provides information on: the role of Irish in the school; staffing; past pupils; Penny Dinners; sodalities; altar notices and masses. Financial papers, which consist of church and college accounts, bequests and intentions, also exemplify church activity and functions.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
All items retained permanently.
System of arrangement
Material was catalogued in 2000, 2004, 2009 and 2019.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
The Irish Jesuit Archives are open only to bona fide researchers. Access by advance appointment. Further details: [email protected]
Conditions governing reproduction
No material may be reproduced without the written permission of the Archivist. Copyright restrictions apply. Photocopying is not available. Digital photography is at the discretion of the Archivist.
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Allied materials area
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Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Finegan, Fr Francis SJ, ‘Irish Jesuit Yearbook’, 1964.
Kenny, Tom, ed., 'The Jes: 150 Years of the Jesuits in Galway', Coláiste Iognáid, 2014.
Subject access points
Name access points
- Irish Mission of the Society of Jesus, 1542-1773 (Subject)
- Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830- (Subject)
- Coláiste Iognáid SJ, 1862- (Subject)
Genre access points
Description control area
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Dates of creation revision deletion