St Mary's Knockbeg College

St Mary's Knockbeg College (Irish: Coláiste Muire Cnoc Beag) is a Roman Catholic, all-boys secondary school located on the Laois/Carlow border in Ireland, approximately 3 km from both Carlow town and Graiguecullen, Co. Laois. A former seminary school for the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, it was founded in 1793. Exclusively a boarding school until the 1980s, it now accommodates only day-pupils; the boarding school having closed down in June 2011. Knockbeg College celebrated its bicentenary in 1993.

St Mary's Knockbeg College, Carlow

Coordinates52°52′1.73″N 6°56′16.32″W / 52.8671472°N 6.9378667°W / 52.8671472; -6.9378667Coordinates: 52°52′1.73″N 6°56′16.32″W / 52.8671472°N 6.9378667°W / 52.8671472; -6.9378667
School typePublic, Voluntary
MottoMotto:   Recissa Vegetior Assurgit
"That what has been cut back will grow stronger"
Religious affiliation(s)catholic
DenominationRoman Catholic
Established1793; 229 years ago (1793)
OversightBishop of Kildare and Leighlin
RectorMicheal Murphy
PrincipalMichael Carew
Age range12/13 – 18/19
Enrollment400+ students
Colour(s)Blue and White
SongKnockbeg Army
SportsGaelic football,
YearbookKnockbeg College Annual

Knockbeg won the All-Ireland College's Senior Football Championship in 2005, under the guidance of former Laois GAA football captain and current[when?] teacher, Chris Conway.

In 2006, Knockbeg were the victors of the Thomas Crosbie Holdings All Ireland Quiz Championship, bringing All-Ireland success to the college twice in two years, and were crowned All-Ireland German Debating Champions in 2008.[1]


St Mary's Knockbeg College is one of the oldest secondary schools in Ireland, located on the Laois/Carlow border. It traces its origins back to 1793 when a lay school for boys was established in St.Patrick's College, Carlow in conjunction with the seminary there. In 1847 it was decided that the young pupils in the school should come out to Knockbeg, which had been a gentry estate on the banks of the River Barrow before being purchased by the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, in 1892 all lay students were moved to Knockbeg. The initial school had about 40 pupils but the numbers grew as all the lay pupils from St Patrick's transferred out. In 1898 the school became the official junior seminary for the diocese. To this day the aim of the college is to offer a holistic Catholic education. Through the years the boarding numbers in the school built up to the around 160 mark and has since increased in the 1980s when Day-Boys were taken in. At present, there are well over 350 pupils attending the school.[2]


Knockbeg College has a long sporting tradition,[3] and in 2005, Knockbeg claimed the Leinster Senior Football College's title after a gap over 50 years. Following this, they went on to claim the Hogan Cup for the first time in their history.[4] Knockbeg has produced many quality footballers throughout the years, playing inter-county football for their respective counties. Knockbeg's hurling and basketball teams have also achieved moderate success over the years.[5][6] Its athletics team is growing and developing to be one of the most successful athletic schools in the country in track and field and cross country. [7]

This history of sport has led many students to later play for the Laois county football team. This includes past students Donal Kingston, Brian McDonald, Ross Munnelly and Rory Stapleton.[citation needed] In addition, Laois captain Stephen Attride has taught physical education and science at the school.[8][9]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ Knockbeg College students sprechen Deutsch' to win All Ireland debating title - News, frontpage - Also won the Leinster and South Leinster Junior football championship in 2019Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ :: Colaiste Muire Cnoc Beag - St.Mary's Knockbeg College - A Brief History :: Archived 2007-11-18 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 February 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Attride blow for Laois". Hogan Stand. 25 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Laois captain Stephen Attride sewing seeds for managerial future". Sky Sports. 13 March 2019. A Physical Education and Science teacher at Knockbeg College, the fast-moving defender says his school team has really earned its final appearance and has improved with every game.
  10. ^ Sunday Tribune report on Liam O'Neill's GAA activity[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ RTÉ report of Liam O'Neill's selection as GAA president Archived 2011-08-30 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit