Summerhill College

Summerhill College
Coláiste Cnoic an tSamhraidh

Estote Factores Verbi
College Road
Sligo, County Sligo
Republic of Ireland
Type Voluntary secondary school
Established 1857
Founder The Most Reverend Laurence Gillooly, C.M., Bishop of Elphin
Patron The Most Reverend Kevin Doran, DD, Bishop of Elphin
Principal Mr. Paul Keogh
Teaching staff 70
Gender Male
Enrollment 900[1]
Colour(s) Navy Blue, Light Blue   
Athletics Soccer, Gaelic games, Rugby union, Athletics, Basketball, Swimming, Surfing
Nickname Boys in Blue, The Hill

The old buildings of Summerhill College (now replaced by a new building programme)

Summerhill College (aka The College of the Immaculate Conception) is a Roman Catholic voluntary secondary school for boys located in the town of Sligo in northwest Ireland.


The school was founded in 1857[2] by the then Bishop of Elphin Dr Laurence Gillooly in Summerhill, Athlone, County Roscommon. It moved to temporary accommodation in Sligo in 1880 (Quay Street) and to a new school building (the present site) in 1892. Although the official name of the school is the College of the Immaculate Conception, it has always been known locally as Summerhill or Summerhill College.

The College has been a Diocesan College—historically an entry school for those wishing to train as priests for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Elphin. The college took in both boarders and day boys until the dormitories were closed in the 1980s due to economic circumstances.[3]


The school offers the traditional Junior and Leaving Certificate cycles to its pupils. It also provides other options such as Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP),[4] Transition Year, Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP)[5] and Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA).[6]

Extra-curricular activities, clubs and sport

Summerhill College has a proud sporting tradition in soccer and Gaelic football. During the school year, soccer coaching is run in the school, with the assistance of Sligo Rovers F.C. It also offers many other sports to its students, including rugby union, basketball, athletics, swimming and surfing.

Selected past pupils

Some of Summerhill's more well-known alumni:[7]

New school building programme

In January 2006 it was announced that Summerhill was to get €20 million funding for a new school building. Work was due to begin in 2008,[8] but the Department of Education said later that same year that "the project will not be progressed further this year".[9] However, work finally began on the demolition of the 1970s building and construction of a new school in the summer of 2011. The new three-storey building opened its doors to new students in August 2012 at a reduced cost of €12.5M. There are over 40 new classrooms and many state of the art facilities in the new building, with a new gym and hardcourt playing pitches opened in November 2012.[10][11]


The school received a damning report from the Department of Education in May 2010.[12] The principal at the time of this inspection was Michael Murphy.

In February 2013 a trial in Sligo Circuit Court heard of alleged improper use of Department of Education funds by former school staff during 200809.[13]

See also


  1. "School Detail - Summerhill College". Department of Education and Skills. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  2. Freeman's Journal, 8 July 1857
  3. "School History". Summerhill College. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  4. "Schools in Sligo providing the JCSP". Second Level Support Service. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  5. "Schools in Sligo providing the LCVP". Second Level Support Service. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  6. "Schools in Sligo providing the LCA". Second Level Support Service. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  7. "Past Pupils". Summerhill College. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  8. McLaughlin, Gerry (10 January 2006). "Summerhill gets €20 m new school". Sligo Weekender. Retrieved 23 November 2006.
  9. Gray, Jim (24 September 2008). "Cutbacks put halt to 20m College project". The Sligo Champion. Retrieved 26 September 2008.
  10. "Minister Quinn Opens New School Building at Summerhill College, Sligo". Department of Education and Skills. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  11. Moran, Michael (15 August 2012). "New era for students at Summerhill". The Sligo Champion. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  12. "Sligo's Summerhill College Slated By Inspectors". Sligo Today. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  13. Clancy, Paddy (16 February 2013). "Principal 'ran school as he saw fit', court hears". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 16 February 2013.

Coordinates: 54°16′01″N 8°28′46″W / 54.266947°N 8.47938°W / 54.266947; -8.47938

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