We Remember Maynooth: A College Across Four Centuries

While the ACP website homepage is not a forum for book promotion many members will have an interest in this forthcoming publication from Messenger Publications and may avail of a discount before publication date.  



We Remember Maynooth: A College Across Four Centuries

Edited by Salvador Ryan and John Paul Sheridan


Publication date: 1 November 2020.

Available to pre-order now at a

special pre-publication price of €40 until 31 October 2020 – save €10!

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We Remember Maynooth: A College Across Four Centuries

Maynooth College celebrates its 225th anniversary in 2020 and this beautifully-presented volume captures a multi-dimensional perspective of an institution that has held a singular place in modern Irish church history. We Remember Maynooth: A College Across Four Centuries, edited by Salvador Ryan and JP Sheridan is a collection of essays that paints a rounded picture of a unique college, through whose hallowed halls have passed both kings and popes.

This splendid book is part history, part folk-history, part aide-mémoire. For some, it will be an introduction to this historic centre of learning, for others it will be an evocation of memories, reminiscences and encounters, offering portraits of characters that passed through the college and the people that journeyed with them.

242 x 170 mm

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  1. Joe O'Leary says:

    4 centuries already? It was only 2 in 1995. Why not say 2 millennia!

    It’s wonderful that thanks to Jeremiah Newman Maynooth now thrives as a university, ensuring that the old place and its history will be cherished even if its church role wanes.

  2. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Right Joe. I was ‘up’ for the bicentenary and that’s only a brief 25 years ago. We live in an age of ‘awesome’, ‘incredible’, ‘humongous’ linguistic inflation, so no wonder that Maynooth has fallen for hyperinflation of its titles and subtitles. To the extent that it’s a child of Trent and Bellarmine, maybe its imagined memories should be of ‘a College across Six Centuries’, if not two millennia.

    Salvador Ryan’s predecessor Paddy Corish ended his bicentenary history’s epilogue with a slightly jaundiced view of its present and future: “Yet were Maynooth to break with its past it is hard to see anything very distinctive in its present, or indeed in its future. Hopefully, the past will not be forgotten: ‘olim meminisse iuvabit.'”

    I think your view of Maynooth University today, and its evolving reality over the past 55 years, is a better conclusion. And yes, Jer Newman and others from the mid 1960s should be gratefully remembered. Fr Gerry Watson (Armagh, Ancient Classics) was one of those movers and shakers, but in 1995 he remembered others: “The fall in the number of students in Maynooth was obvious and painful by 1966. One of the members of staff most conscious of this was James McConnell, then Professor of Mathematical Physics, later to go to the Institute for Advanced Studies. It was largely through his urging a letter was written to the Chairman of the Trustees, Cardinal Conway, saying that if Maynooth did not open up, it would die ….. The College was very lucky to have as its President, from 1968, Dr Jeremiah Newman. It was a difficult time to become President but he managed to have the new campus built, plus the hostels which were a vital part of the development, and the bridge linking the new and old campus. Members of staff who never did a hand’s turn in developing the College sometimes sneered at Newman’s efforts, but the Maynooth College that we know would not be there without him.”

    I’m sure that both Jer Newman (d.1995) and Ger Watson (d.1997) would translate that post-trauma verse from Virgil’s Aeneas, “Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit”, as “Maybe even these struggles too will be helpful (rather than a pleasure) to remember one day.” Aeneas in Heaneyesque mood with a throwaway line: “If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.” Gods make their own importance, I suppose.

    Let’s hope that somebody close to those struggles of the 1966-1995 era will have done their protagonists justice in “We Remember Maynooth”.

  3. Joe O'Leary says:

    I entered Maynooth in 1966 and there did not seem to be a numbers problem. We had the first non-seminarian students, two or three sisters. I think it was the next year that a lone male lay student showed up, wonder what kind of student life he had. Michael Mullins (Scripture) said, “if it were not for the lay university the crows would be coming in the windows of these buildings.” One of the bad decisions was to refuse to let Theology be a subject in the lay university, another of what Brendan Hoban calls “lost opportunities.”

    I see there’s a huge controversy about how to translate iuvabit: https://medium.com/in-medias-res/forsan-et-haec-olim-meminisse-iuvabit-will-remembering-help-or-please-d631c8829886

  4. Sean O'Conaill says:

    Why isn’t it a good idea to be reminded that Maynooth was founded in the 18th century – if only at the tail end of it – and that this is the 21st?

    That fin de siècle purpose – of making sure that the Nouveau (Jacobinic) Régime would trouble neither bishops’ palaces nor the bewigged Lords and Ladies of Palace and Parliament was surely clinging on tight in Archbishop McQuaid’s insistence that Vatican II mustn’t disturb our ‘tranquillity’ in 1965.

    And that same decision locked dynamite inside a tight metal box filled with nails – the shrapnel that is still hitting us – with more to come – in 2020, when secularised France ordains roughly three times more priests per capita than Ireland.

    No – we need to know that Maynooth does indeed straddle four centuries.

    And to marvel that nevertheless this one still has time to recover!

  5. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Joe@3, thanks for that interesting link. I’m delighted to see that in 2019-20 a single line, or even word, of Virgil can still continue gladiatorial contests of interpretation. Glad to see, too, that maybe Dani Bostick agrees with me. I follow her on ‘Sententiae Antiquae’ – last time it was on the campaign for diversity, inclusion, equity and down with white supremacy in Latin teaching and examining. – and now I see she’s standing for Mayor of Winchester Virginia next month. What a woman! In addition to her experience as a counsellor and as a glorious survivor of child abuse. They need people like that in the ACP.

    I wonder whether those visible seminarian numbers in 1966-68 were skewed a bit by an influx of SVDs, Salesians etc about then. P. Corish’s total figures for 1962/63 (my time) are 546 with 9.15% leaving during the year (much the same as in 1869/70 and post-1900); 1968/69 (your time) are 395 with 14.45% cutting mid-year; and 1974/75 (year after your ordination) are 280 with 15.00% going during the year.
    A pretty steep downwards learning curve, for presidents and primates with eyes on the ball.
    I chortle, however, to note that Corish must have noted my cutting in March 1965: “The rise in the proportion of those who left was worrying, especially as it inclined to be higher among those more gifted intellectually” !!! If I’d only had Dani Bostick as my Latin teacher for those six years in Armagh!

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