Launch of new publication The Irish College, Rome, and its World

16 Oct 2008

16 October 2008

Launch of new publication The Irish College, Rome, and its World

A new publication, The Irish College, Rome, and its World, was launched today  (Thursday 16 October) by Mr Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, in the Kirby Library of the Pontifical Irish College, Rome. The launch was attended by Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, to whom the volume is dedicated, and who was Rector of the Irish College from 1987 to 1993.

Speaking at the launch, Cardinal Brady said:

“Friends of the Irish College Rome everywhere and past students in particular are delighted at the publication of The Irish College, Rome and its World by Dáire Keogh and Albert McDonnell (Editors). It is a volume that contains very interesting contributions from a number of people well qualified to chronicle the history of an institution that has played and continues to play an important role in the life of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

“I am delighted that Mr Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has kindly agreed to launch the publication here in the Irish College, Rome, at a time when Bishops from all over the world are in the Eternal City for the Twelfth General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops,” Cardinal Brady continued.

“The Synod has as its theme ‘The Word of God in the life and mission of the Church’. Knowledge and familiarity with the Word of God is a matter of prime importance for priests and deacons in their calling to the ministry of announcing the Good News.

“I am very happy to know that priests, deacons and seminarians from more than ten nations now live at the Irish College as they prepare for their service to the people of God. I am sure that the founders Fr Luke Wadding OFM and Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi must rejoice today at the success of the College which they founded almost 400 years ago,” Cardinal Brady concluded.

Fr Michael Paul Gallagher SJ of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, also spoke at the launch event on the contemporary role of national colleges in Rome.

The collection of writings contained in The Irish College, Rome and its World, edited by Dr Dáire Keogh and Fr Albert McDonnell, is based upon the archival holdings of the College and presents a fascinating insight into the history of the Irish College and its complex world.

Notes for Editors

  • Photographs of the event will be available from the Catholic Communications Office of the Irish Bishops’ Conference.
  • The Irish College was established in Rome in 1628 in order to prepare priests for the Irish mission. As part of an elaborate network of such colleges across the continent, the Irish College was always more than a seminary; it served as an ‘embassy’ and focus of Irish Catholic interests in Rome and remained as such until the 20th century when Ireland established formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See. This collection illustrates that dual role; based upon the archival holdings of the College it presents an insight into the history of the Irish College and its complex world. Contributors include: Colin Barr (Ave Maria U), Peter A. Boyle (NUIM), Charles Burns (independent scholar), Clare Carroll (CUNY), Patrick J. Corish (NUIM), Hugh Fenning, Eileen Kane, Dermot Keogh (UCC), Ambrose Macaulay, Amy McKinney (QUB), Michael Olden, Ciaran O’Carroll, Thomas O’Connor (NUIM), Fearghus Ó Fearghail (Mater Dei), Vera Orschel (Irish College Rome), Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, and Rory Sweetman (Otago).
  • The Irish College, Rome, and Its World is published by Four Courts Press, Dublin
  • The present rector of the Irish College is Monsignor Liam Bergin of the Diocese of Ossory.
  • This year eight new seminarians joined the community of the Pontifical Irish College.
  • The Irish College Rome was founded on 1 January, 1628 by the Irish Franciscan, Fr Luke Wadding and the Italian Cardinal, Ludivico Ludovisi. See
  • The College is the only surviving example of the large number of Irish seminaries established on the European mainland during the penal law period in Ireland to educate priests for the Irish Church. Past pupils include Saint Oliver Plunkett and Blessed Columba Marmion. Today, while the primary function of the College is the formation of seminarians and priests for Ireland, it has also expanded to include the education of clergy from other parts of the world.
  • The College organises different events for the Irish, and for the wider international community, in Rome. Some 200 couples celebrate their marriage at the College each year; young people are prepared for the sacraments of First Penance, First Communion and Confirmation, while conferences are hosted on different aspects of religion, history and culture. The College serves as a centre for the Irish community in Rome and as a focal point for Irish culture. It is also a popular centre for Irish pilgrims during the summer holiday months.
  • Dr Dáire Keogh lectures in St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Dublin.  Fr Albert McDonnell  is a priest of the diocese of Killaloe and is Vice-Rector of the Irish College Rome.

Further information:
Irish College, Rome: 0039 0677 2631 and/or by email: [email protected]
Martin Long, Director of the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth: 086 172 7678