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Mary Immaculate College

Coordinates: 52°39′11″N 8°38′22″W / 52.65306°N 8.63944°W / 52.65306; -8.63944
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Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick
Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál (Irish)
Main entrance
Latin: Collegium Mariae Immaculatae
MottoBriathar Dé Mo Lóchrann
Motto in English
The Word of God [as] my light
TypeCollege of Education
FounderEdward Thomas O'Dwyer
Parent institution
University of Limerick
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
Academic affiliation
National University of Ireland (1974–1994)
University of Limerick (1991–present)
PresidentProfessor Eugene Wall
South Circular Road, Limerick, Ireland
LanguageEnglish, Irish
Campus locationsLimerick and Thurles
ColoursBlue and Orange   
NicknameMary I

Mary Immaculate College (Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál), also known as MIC and Mary I, is a College of Education and Liberal Arts. Founded in 1898, the university level College of Education and the Liberal Arts is academically linked with the University of Limerick. The college now has a student population of over 5,000 enrolled in undergraduate programmes and a range of postgraduate programmes at Diploma, MA and PhD level. The college has a student retention rate of 95% - one of the highest in Ireland.

Current Developments[edit]

MIC has undergone significant growth and development in recent decades with the overall student population witnessing a tenfold increase since 1992. This expansion has brought with it a significant expansion and broadening of MIC's academic provision, as well as a re-development of the campus which now offers teaching, learning and research facilities as well as events and conferencing facilities. In 2016, MIC expanded its geographical footprint following the incorporation of St Patrick's College in Thurles, another well-established college, offering four degree programmes preparing students to become second-level teachers.

As a result of the incorporation of St. Patrick's College, Thurles, MIC is now a multi-campus institution offering 13 undergraduate degree programmes in Education and the Liberal Arts, as well as Continuing Professional Development offerings for teachers and numerous postgraduate opportunities to Masters and PhD level. Also in 2016, a consortium, led by MIC, was awarded the contract from the Higher Education Authority for the delivery of the National Higher Education Programme for Inclusion Coordinators in Early Years Settings.

Foundation building at Mary Immaculate College

A December 2020 report noted that Mary Immaculate College had spent €34,140 on investigating sexual harassment, together with €2,152 on legal fees.[2]

Degree Programmes[edit]

MIC offers 13 undergraduate degree programmes across both campuses. In 2022 the college announced the launch of a new Bachelor of Science in psychology (MI003), a unique four-year, full-time, honours degree level 8 programme that will provide students with a comprehensive undergraduate education in psychology and includes learning in the workplace. The programme content will be wide and varied and will prepare graduates for a range of careers while giving them the necessary psychological knowledge to pursue postgraduate studies in psychology.[3]

The Bachelor of Arts (MI002) is a four-year degree programme with three years on campus and one year on work placement and/or study abroad. The degree is flexible and offers a wide range of familiar subjects to choose from such as English, Geography and History, to newer subjects such as Drama & Theatre Studies, Media & Communication Studies or Psychology. For students interested in drama and theatre practice there is the four-year BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies (MI001).

On the MIC Thurles Campus there are a number of post-primary teacher education degrees in areas such as Business Studies, Accounting, Gaeilge, Religious Studies and Mathematics. The programmes offered include the BA in education, Business Studies & Accounting (MI009);BA in education, Business Studies & Religious Studies (MI010); BA in education, Gaeilge & Religious Studies (MI011); BA in education, Gaeilge & Business Studies (MI012); BA in education, Mathematics & Gaeilge (MI013) and the BA in education, Mathematics & Business Studies (MI014).

MIC also offers a host of postgraduate programmes to doctoral level in Education and the Liberal Arts, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses and numerous access and inclusion pathways. MIC also offers funding supports through a Departmental Assistantships Scheme and merit-based Research Masters and Doctoral Awards Schemes.

Student composition[edit]

Close on 10% of students on campus are mature students, a relatively high figure when compared to other third level institutions. The college, in addition to catering for mature students, also offers special entry to disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, refugees, members of ethnic minorities, and Travellers. MIC also offers Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses and is committed to improving access to higher education for adults. A range of tailored programmes and supports make the journey for adult learners as easy as possible.

Through its Erasmus and student exchange programmes, the college also has an overseas complement in its student body. Students come from England, Wales, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Nigeria, Italy, Sudan, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, China, United States, Indonesia, Norway, Denmark, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Iceland.

The college has recently expanded into Mount Convent, a former Sisters of Mercy convent on O'Connell Avenue, Limerick, where it houses postgraduate students.[4]

Wired 99.9FM[edit]

The college is home to a radio station, Wired 99.9FM, Limerick's only student radio station with a broadcast licence, run in partnership with another Limerick college, [The Technical University of the Shannon].

Lime Tree Theatre[edit]

Mary Immaculate College is also the location of the 510-seat theatre known as the Lime Tree Theatre.[5] It was officially opened on 30 October 2012.[5] The venue is host to a wide range of performances, including theatre, music, comedy, traditional arts, schools’ performances, and conferences.[5]

Notable alumni[edit]



Statue of Thomas Aquinas on campus

The college was established as a dedicated primary teacher training college for female teachers in 1898 by Bishop Edward Thomas O'Dwyer, Roman Catholic Bishop of Limerick and the Sisters of Mercy.

Its foundation stone was laid on the 8th of December 1898 and the college officially opened in 1902, accepting female students from Munster.[8]

The college accepted male students for the first time in 1969. With a new curriculum in 1971, a number of major changes were initiated with teacher training in Ireland.

1974 saw the commencement of the three year B.Ed. degree with the first graduates in 1977, the course, like in other teacher training colleges, was previously a two-year National Teachers Diploma). From 1974 to 1994, Mary Immaculate College was a recognised college of the National University of Ireland.[9] Due to a drop in the demand for school teachers, in the 1980s under Sr O'Connor and Sr Bulgers presidencies, the college diversified into non-education arts programmes, and began to initiate links with other international universities.[10][11] Evening programmes were delivered with diplomas in computer studies, catechetics, and philosophy (awarded by NUI).[12]

Following the granting of university status to NIHE Limerick in 1989, Mary Immaculate (as did Thomond College) began talks about a more formal relationship with UL. In 1991, the college became affiliated to the University of Limerick, with new Liberal Arts Programmes being offered by MIC.[13] Degrees were awarded by the NUI until 1994, from 1995 degrees were conferred by UL.

2003 saw the first PhD awarded by Mary Immaculate.[11]

Presidents of Mary Immaculate College[edit]

Since its founding in 1898, the Sisters of Mercy presided over the college up until 1999. The term principal was used for the position of head of the college in earlier years.

  • Sr. Mary Paul Quinlan (1901–1923) first principal of the college.[14]
  • Sr. Mary Veronica (1923-19??) she served as vice-principal to Sr. Quinlan.
  • Sr. Loreto (Eileen) O'Connor CSM, BA, HDipEd, MA (1959-1979)[10]
  • Sr. M. Cabriní Moloney (Siúr Carbriní Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh) CSM[12]
  • Sr. Angela Bulger BA, HDipEd, MA, HonDLitt(1988-1999)[11][13]
  • Prof. Peadar Cremin (1999-2011)
  • Rev Prof. Michael A Hayes (2011- 2017) [15]
  • Prof. Eugene Wall (2018 to present)

Partner institutions[edit]

In addition to institutions throughout Europe, the college exchanges students and staff yearly with the following colleges and universities:


  1. ^ "ACCU Member Institutions" (PDF). ACCU. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2014.
  2. ^ O'Connor, Wayne (27 December 2020). "Colleges spend €230,000 on fees after sexual harassment claims". Sunday Independent.
  3. ^ "MIC launches new and unique B Sc in Psychology | Mary Immaculate College".
  4. ^ Rabbitts, Nick (9 June 2014). "Expansion of Limerick's Mary Immaculate College moves closer". Limerick Leader. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "About Us". Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  6. ^ "About Jim Daly : Jim Daly TD; Fine Gael West Cork;". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Membership Management Software - Serving Associations for 20 Years". YourMembership. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  8. ^ The New Training College The Limerick Chronicle, Thursday May 15, 1902.
  9. ^ History National University of Ireland.
  10. ^ a b Sr. Loreto O'Connor An Appreciation, Irish Times, June 6, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c Former President Angela Bugler of MIC Receives Honorary Degree from UL I Love Limerick, April 28, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Mary Immaculate College - Historical Perspective By Siúr Carbriní Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh, Uachtarán, Education Vol.2 No.5, 1987.
  13. ^ a b Honouring Sister Angela Bugler rsm Sisters of Mercy, May 22, 2017.
  14. ^ Mary Immaculate Training College www.limerickcity.ie
  15. ^ Tributes paid to Mary Immaculate College president, Rev Prof Michael A. Hayes RIP [1]

52°39′11″N 8°38′22″W / 52.65306°N 8.63944°W / 52.65306; -8.63944