Archives of St Patricks College, Maynooth

Repository: St Patricks College, Maynooth

Identity Statement

TitleArchives of St Patricks College, Maynooth
Archive ReferenceIE SPCM
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1795-2009
Extent Medium406 boxes


Creator(s): St Patricks College, Maynooth

  • Administrative History ↴

    Maynooth College was founded in 1795 as a seminary for the education of priests and by 1850 had become the largest seminary in the world. Over its history it has ordained more than 11,000 priests. Many of these have ministered outside Ireland and it has inspired two major missionary societies, directed to China (1918 - the Columban Fathers) and to Africa (1932 - Saint Patrick's Missionary Society). The College was founded because it was urgently needed. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it had not been possible to educate Catholic priests in Ireland. Institutions had been established in Catholic Europe, where they had become concentrated in France. The French Revolution confiscated all of these in 1792 and 1793. In Ireland the Penal Code was being dismantled, and the British Government, at war with revolutionary France, was anxious to placate Irish Catholic dissatisfactions, and certainly did not wish to see 'revolutionary' priests returning from the continent. In consequence, a petition to Parliament by the Irish Catholic Bishops was successful, and 'An Act for the better education of persons professing the Popish or Roman Catholic religion' was passed in June 1795. It provided a modest grant to establish a college. The student body has fluctuated between 500 and 600, all of them of course seminarians preparing for the priesthood. Authority to confer degrees came slowly enough to what, by the standards of the time, was a large 'third-level' institution. In the centenary year 1895 a petition was sent to Rome for authority to grant degrees in theology, philosophy and canon law, and this was granted in 1896. The problem of civil university education acceptable to Catholics was resolved by the Irish Universities Act of 1908. There was provision for Maynooth to become a 'recognised college', and this began to function in 1910, with faculties of Arts, Science, Philosophy and Celtic Studies. In 1966 it was decided to open the College courses to religious and laity, and student numbers grew. There are now about 5,000, of whom only a small minority are studying for the priesthood. Legislation in 1997 established the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, as a totally separate body.
  • Archival History ↴

    Acquired directly from St Patricks College, Maynooth
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: St Patricks College, Maynooth ↴

    The collection of archives belonging to St Patricks College comprises mainly of the colleges administrative papers and contains the following:

    Presidents papers
    Presidents Annual Reports
    Original deeds of the college
    College lands
    Mortgaged estates
    College Chapel
    Papers of the College Bursar- account books, journals, ledgers, cash books, fee books, Finance Council meetings, wage books, letter books
    Financial Records
    Trustees- Journals, Bye-laws, minutes of meetings, Ecclesiastical reports
    Administrative council- letter books, minute books, diocesan reports, order lists, matriculation returns, student lists
    Scholastic reports
    Maynooth Scholastic Trust
    Scholastic Council- examination results
    Wills, Bequests & Donations
    Irish Colleges in Europe and Vatican Archives
    Liturgical books
    Diocesan archives
    College Photographs
    Student Magazines

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The archive is divided under the following sections:

    Presidents office
    Executive Council/Students
    Scholastic Council/Professors
    Student Activities

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available by appointment with the archivist at St Patricks College, Maynooth
Conditions Governing ReproductionBy application to the archivist only
Creation Dates1795-2009
Extent Medium406 boxes
Material Language ScriptSpanish English Latin Portuguese French
Finding Aids Descriptive list available for consultation at St Patricks College, Maynooth Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteCollections have been listed by the college's 'Honorary Archivist' up until 2010.
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions1950-2010