St Mary's College, Galway

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St Mary's College
St Mary's Road, Galway, H91 H7F8.
Type Secondary school
Established 1912
President Fr. Barry Hogg
Principal Ciarán Murphy
Enrollment 500

St Mary's College is a boys secondary school in Galway, Ireland. It educates students aged 11 to 18 for the Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations. It was founded in 1912 as the junior seminary of the Roman Catholic Galway and Kilmacduagh dioceses. It teaches boys to the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate examinations. St. Mary's College retains the status of diocesan college although it recently ended its boarding provision (1999).

The school celebrated its centennial in 2012, celebrating the completion of its main building in March 1912. The building is faced with granite and limestone, the two predominant stones of County Galway's geology.

Former students

Former students include former Fianna Fáil government minister Frank Fahey, the actor Mick Lally and deceased Bishop of Galway, James McLoughlin.

The Red Hand

Junior boarders, especially first years, lived in fear of the annual appearance of the Red Hand. Junior Dormitory was in the old college chapel which was held to be haunted by a questing severed hand. There were different stories of the origin of this story, each more macabre and embellished. However, the origins of the story may be linked to the theft of the hand, sometime in the early 19th century, from the disinterred body of the last Catholic warden of St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church. During renovations in St. Nicholas' church, the 100-year-old corpse of the Warden had been uncovered and was found to be uncorrupted; causing immense excitement amongst the Catholics of Galway. A Protestant zealot offended by the presence of the Catholic church man in the now Protestant church, and resentful of the attention caused by the uncorrupted state of the corpse, hacked the hand of the body and made away with it. After a hue and cry, the stolen hand was later found discarded in a field in the western suburbs of the town where St. Mary's College now stands. This may have been the origin of the story.