St. Malachy's College

St. Malachy's College
Coláiste Naomh Maolmhaodhóg

St. Malachy's College front exterior
"Gloria Ab Intus" (Glory from within)
36 Antrim Road, Belfast, BT15 2AE
Northern Ireland
Coordinates 54°36′32″N 5°56′25″W / 54.6089°N 5.9403°W / 54.6089; -5.9403Coordinates: 54°36′32″N 5°56′25″W / 54.6089°N 5.9403°W / 54.6089; -5.9403
Type Grammar School
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1833
Closed July – August
LEA Belfast Education and Library Board
Principal Paul McBride
Years taught Year 8 – Year 14
Gender All-Male
Age 11 to 18
Number of students 1024 (approx)
Athletics Badminton, Basketball, Cross country running, Gaelic, Golf, Hurling, Rugby, Soccer, Swimming, Volleyball
Team name Malachians F.C.

St. Malachy's College (Irish: Coláiste Naomh Maolmhaodhóg) is the oldest Roman Catholic grammar school in the province of Ulster, and the third oldest in Ireland.[1]

The college was founded in 1833 by Bishop William Crolly with the advent of Catholic Emancipation and the repeal of the penal laws, which had outlawed, among other things, the celebration of the Catholic Mass, and the provision for the education of the Catholics of Ireland. The school is located on the former site of Vicinage Park, just north of Belfast city centre. Its motto is "gloria ab intus" which translates from Latin as "glory from within".

St. Joseph's Seminary, the seminary for the Diocese of Down and Connor,[2] was situated on the same campus for over a century. This was officially known as the Diocesan Seminary at St Malachy's, and colloquially as "the wing" due to it being a wing of the college building. The Diocesan Seminary moved to the Cliftonville Road during the Christmas holidays of 2012, and has taken the name St. Malachy's Diocesan Seminary, in recognition of both the long-standing connection to the College.


St. Malachy's is a boys' school providing education for approximately 1,200 students aged 11 to 18 with a very wide catchment area. It is the only male, Catholic, grammar school in north Belfast and students come from not only local areas such as Ardoyne and New Lodge, but also suburban and rural towns in County Antrim such as Carrickfergus, Antrim town and Randalstown.


The college today boasts impressive records in both GCSE and A-level examinations, and has had many recent sporting successes, especially in athletics and basketball.[3] The college is also noted for having a strong music department and was recently designated as the first specialist music college in Northern Ireland.[4]


The current Chairman of the Board of Governors for the College is Sir Gerry Loughran.

Location and campus

College front entrance
Vicinage House, an illustration inside the college, which is on the site of the historically significant house Vicinage

St. Malachy's College is located in the Water Works electoral ward of north Belfast, between two main roads (the A6 Antrim Road and the A52 Crumlin Road), close to where they meet at Carlisle Circus.

The grounds of the College are accessed primarily from a tree-lined avenue on the Antrim Road, which leads to the front quadrangle, known as "the quad". The foremost building, which comprises 3 sides of the quadrangle and faces westward, is the oldest part of the College and dates to its earliest days in the 1830s. 'A' and 'B' blocks, housing the History, Classics and Drama departments, as well as administrative offices, the Library and the Chapel, take up much of these three sides; the remaining rooms consist of priests' apartments, abandoned dormitories and the Upper Study Hall. The more modern St. Joseph's seminary building completes the fourth side of the quadrangle. The College canteen and Music block are also accessed through the front quadrangle.

The concreted back quadrangle, bounded by the College Hall (westward), the gymnasium (northward) and the old building (southward and eastward), has in recent years been enhanced by several flower beds. The Mater Infirmorum hospital, and a small shrine to the Virgin Mary, both overlook the back quadrangle. The College Hall is the focal point of dramatic productions within the College, as well as assemblies and examinations. In recent years, the College's music department has eschewed the College Hall for its annual concerts, in favour of the more acoustically advantaged Ulster Hall in Bedford Street.

Behind the College Hall is 'D' block, completed in the 1960s, and the adjoining 'E' block, completed in the 1970s. Both consist largely of standard classrooms, with the exception of Physics laboratories on the top floor of 'D' block and Biology laboratories on the top floor of 'E' block. Since the 1980s, the second floor of 'E' block has also become home to the Computing department. The school's Lecture Theatre is on the ground floor of 'E' block.

'C' block, located to the north of 'E' block, was opened in the 1990s and replaced a row of temporary classrooms. It now houses the Chemistry, Art and Technology departments.

At the rear of the College grounds is the Sports Hall, the centrepiece of which is a basketball court, renovated in recent years with a multi-purpose hardwood floor. A synthetic pitch, laid in 2006, is adjacent to the Sports Hall. For security reasons, the pitch is surrounded by high walls on three sides, separating the College grounds from the neighbouring Crumlin Road prison (now derelict) and the closing Girdwood British Army barracks on Cliftonpark Avenue.

Notable Alumni


Notable events since 2007

Current members of staff

Former Presidents

Bishop Patrick Walsh (former President of the college)

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Spencer, Clare (6 May 2011). "Why do some schools produce clusters of celebrities?". BBC News. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  2. Diocese of Down and Connor
  3. St. Malachy’s College
  4. Specialist Schools – Music Regional Training Unit Northern Ireland
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