The Future of St. Brendan’s

Any thoughts of the future of this school will always be embedded in the historic foundations of St. Brendan’s.  On the feast day of St. Brendan, 15th May, 1860, a seminary was established on its current site beside the Cathedral in Killarney.  It was established by Bishop David Moriarty as a boarding and day school for boys.

The college began in a large room of the newly built Bishop’s House.  A Diocesan collection known as the Seminary Fund allowed for the construction of new classrooms and dormitories.  The Tower wing was added to the Bishop’s House in 1870.

Between 1876 and 1893 the main part of the college began to take shape.  In the latter years it was a large hollow rectangle enclosing a cloistered yard.  This building contained classrooms, dormitories, a refectory for the students and dining rooms for the priests and the kitchens.

In 1914 as the college population began to grow a new addition was made to the Bishop’s House to provide dormitories.

In 1934-5 under the presidency of Canon Denis Brosnan part of the earlier structure was demolished and the three storey Brosnan Building added more classrooms, a science laboratory, a study hall and extra accommodation and improved facilities.

In 1954-5 an addition to the Brosnan Building added an Oratory and extra accommodation under the Presidency of Canon O’Neill.

In the early 1960’s under the Presidency of Fr. John Moynihan the Moynihan Building was added to meet the demand for secondary education at the time.

In 1971 the O’Flaherty building was built by Fr. Michael O’Flaherty as student numbers began to rise to over 600.  In the early 1980’s the last major structural addition was the Gym.

In 1996 the College ceased to be a boarding school and Fr. Larry Kelly was the last clerical President.  Dr.TadhgMcCurtin was the first lay Vic-Principal in 1971 and Mr. Tony Behan was appointed the first lay Principal in 1997.  In that year a Board of Management was set up to manage the school.    In 2001 Mr.Ed. O’Neill was appointed Principal Mr.Seán Coffey succeeding him in 2011.

Future Planning

At the present moment St. Brendan’s is planning for a bright and progressive future on a wide variety of fronts.  With a new Board of Management now in place focusing on the development of an ambitious three year plan which will target the teaching and learning environment, the culture and ethos of the college, the buildings and facilities in which the school is housed, the relationship with parents, enabling the voice an input of the students into the whole life of the school and developing new programmes including the advancement of the new Junior Cycle preparations, the progression of Transition Year and Leaving Certificate Applied and ensuring the achievement of excellence in the delivery of our Mission Statement


As a Catholic voluntary School under the trusteeship of the Bishop of Kerry, the college continues its’ work in promoting the spiritual awareness and well-being of each member of the school community. While a school in the catholic tradition, the college is welcoming of and respectful towards students of all faiths and none.  With a very active Religious Education Department, and a whole-school awareness of the centrality of faith and spiritual well-being, the College marks the formal rituals of the Catholic calendar in student-led community activities. In particular the school celebrates an annual mass celebrated by our Patron Bishop Ray Browne. Events such as this are greatly enhanced by the carefully orchestrated abilities of our choir and musicians.

The college promotes a caring culture towards all members of the community  In its’ pastoral  care systems and co-curriculum the staff and students exhibit  the practical embodiment of the college theme for this year “Ours to tend the home shores” With full Guidance hours available to the students, with a pastoral care team who meet each week and close links with the South West Counselling  and with a progressive series of peer mentor systems, St Brendan’s reaches out to offer support to all in its’ community.

Furthermore the College presents a series of Wellness and Dignity weeks throughout the year. These workshop, activity and speaker-led events give emphasis to the moral, emotional and develpment

Curriculum /teaching & learning

At the present time our staff is engaged in preparing for the methodologies and expectations of the new Junior Certificate.  As well as Department of Education and Skills in-service, we are working with Ms. Maria Garvey T.C.D.(and formerly P.D.S.T .) to develop cooperative and interactive teaching methodologies.  In supporting our mixed ability class placement systems staff also receive support in Differentiation methodologies.  At the present time our Junior Cycle review team are examining the variation and possibilities available to students as the Junior Cycle is gradually introduced from September 2014.  The new approaches at Junior Cycle will offer exciting opportunities to students and staff alike.

While delivery of Learning Support is a role for the whole staff, we are fortunate to have three qualified resource teachers at St Brendan’s whose expertise facilitates the learning of  all students in the college.

All teaching and learning in the College is integrated into the Department of Education and Skills Numeracy and Literacy strategies and driven by the School Self Evaluation process.


Our Roinn Gaeilge is currently at work in conjunction with our next door neighbours St. Brigid’s as we prepare to launch our Irish language medium class in September, 2014.  This Aonad Gaeilge will offer a co-educational opportunity to students of both schools in 1st year in 2014 up to Junior Cycle.The Aonad Gaeilge will offer an enhanced experience of Gaeilge in seven subject areas. It will also herald increased cooperation with St.Brigid’s.

Academic Achievement

The College has a proud tradition of academic achievement. Staff continues to deliver at a level which allows students access courses and programmes at every major Irish University. In 2013 Darragh Rice was awarded by the Irish Maths Teachers Association and the State Examinations Commission as the top achieving student at Leaving Certificate Higher Mathematics in the State while Conor O Donoghue was a top achiever in Junior Certificate Science. This year in Maths, the State Examinations Commission awarded the achievements of ConorO’Donoghue, Ciaran Sheehan and Kiain Fleming.

Transition Year

Our Transition Year Programme – under the coordination of Mrs. Bridget Lucey, continues to offer students a … of opportunities – couched in innovation teaching and learning experiences – and with div… self-reflection and personal development.  With Mandarin Chinese now established as our newest Curriculum advancement, with entrepreneurship, social innovation and a variety of volunteer activities afoot.

At the present time our Junior Cycle review team are examining the variation and possibilities available to students as the Junior Cycle is gradually introduced for September 2014.  The new approaches at Junior Cycle will offer exciting opportunities to students and staff alike extracurricular life.

Extracurricular Life

As is evident from this website the College offers an extremely vibrant, diverse and opportunity laden extracurricular programme.

Traditionally, the College is associated with the development of Gaelic football teams.  As winners of the Moran Cup, runners-up in the Corn UíMhuirí and winners of the 1st year Blitz in 2013, the College continues this tradition.  But in participating successfully on the national stage in Soccer Athletics, Basketball, Golf, Pitch & Putt, and Debating, the College offers a diverse service of opportunities to its students.

Furthermore, in promoting Music and Choir, Rock-climbing, Table-tennis, Chess, Draughts,  Grappling, Young Scientist, Snooker, Entrepreneurship, Social Volunteering, Hill-walking, Community Engagement, Health Promotion activities, Student Council, the students of our College benefit from the commitment of the management, staff and parents of the College in providing an enriched extracurricular programme.

School Plant

With elements of the building stretching back to the 1860’s the new Board of Management in conjunction with the Diocese of Kerry and the Department of Education and Skills is developing ambitious plans to redevelop the facilities here at the New Road site. Our position at the heart of the education quarter of the town, sitting at the centre of the Diocese we serve and nestled next to the majestic Killarney National Park means that the focus of all and any future plant development will be here on the Bishop’s Path. In tandem with these grand plans, we have begun the process of refurbishingthe school in a phased way supported by fundraising and donations to the college . The school invites past pupils who may wish to contribute to this process to make direct contact through the email address or school office. In 2012 the senior toilets were completely overhauled while the staffroom was refurbished in 2013. Fundraising for these projects takes place throughout the year. The main corridor of the Brosnan Building is the target for the 2014 drive. Step by step we intend to upgrade the facilities whilst simultaneously lobbying Government to assist with major up-grading for the decades ahead

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