Mary Immaculate College

Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick
Irish: Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál

Crest of Mary Immaculate College
Latin: Collegium Mariae Immaculatae
Motto Briathar Dé Mo Lóchrann
Motto in English
The Word of God as my light
Type College of Education
Established 1898
Affiliation Roman Catholic
President Professor Michael Hayes[1]
Students 3,500
Address South Circular Road, Limerick, Ireland, Limerick, Ireland
Partner university University of Limerick
Colours Blue and Orange         
Nickname Mary I
Affiliations ACCU[2]

Mary Immaculate College (Irish: Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál), also known as Mary I or MIC, is a College of Education and Liberal Arts, founded in 1898. It is located on South Circular Road in Limerick, Ireland. It became academically linked to the University of Limerick in 1991 and all degrees, certificates and other educational awards offered at the college are accredited by the university.[3] The college has approximately 3,500 students and 300 staff.[4]


The College was established as a dedicated primary teacher training college in 1898 by Bishop Edward Thomas O'Dwyer, Roman Catholic Bishop of Limerick and the Sisters of Mercy. Its foundation stone was laid on 8 December 1898 and the college officially opened in 1902, accepting in female students from Munster.[5][6] In 1969, the college accepted male students for the first time. From 1974 to 1991, Mary Immaculate College was a recognised college of the National University of Ireland. 1974 saw the commencement of the B.Ed. degree with first graduates in 1977 (the course was previously a two-year National Teachers Diploma).[7] Since 1991, degrees have been accredited by the University of Limerick.[8]

Foundation building at Mary Immaculate College

Degree programmes

The role of the College was expanded in 1992 to offer a Liberal Arts programme, while continuing to run both undergraduate and, more recently, postgraduate courses leading to primary education practice. The college also offers an Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) degree. The College's flagship programme is the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) with an intake of approximately 400 per year. Students may also pursue a Bachelor of Education and Psychology. The output of qualified primary teachers over a three-year period is approximately 1500, from a combination of the three-year B.Ed. programme and the Grad. Dip Ed. programme (which takes 18 months to complete).

In 2012, the B. Ed programme was lengthened from three years to four years in duration for incoming students. Bachelor of Education students study a combination of practical pedagogy, educational theory, and subject content in order to qualify to teach at primary level, which encompasses children aged between four and twelve years. A series of school placements take place during the course in order to build practical experience.

The Arts subjects currently offered at degree level are English, French, Irish, Geography, German, History, Leánn Dúchais (first year only), Mathematics & Computer Studies, Media & Communications Studies, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology & Religious Studies. In the first year, students take four subjects including a Foundation Studies course each semester. In the second year, students choose two subjects as their major subjects as well as an Elective. In the third year, students take part in an off-campus year which can include study in one or two of a number of universities and colleges abroad, and/or a placement in Ireland or abroad. The degree is then completed in 4th year after final exams and the successful submission of an Undergraduate Dissertation.

Student composition

About 15% 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. The college has an especially high percentage of female students in attendance.

Through its Erasmus and student exchange programmes, the College also has a vibrant 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 aims to expand into Mount Convent, a former Sisters of Mercy convent in O'Connell Avenue in Limerick, to house postgraduate students.[9]

Wired FM

The College is home to a radio station, Wired FM, Limerick's only student radio station with a broadcast licence, run in partnership with another Limerick college, Limerick Institute of Technology.

Lime Tree Theatre

Mary Immaculate College is also the location of the state-of-the-art 510 seat theatre known as the Lime Tree Theatre.[10] It was officially opened on 30 October 2012.[10] The venue is host to a wide range of performances, including theatre, music, comedy, traditional arts, schools’ performances and conferences.[10] The venue is rapidly becoming a significant addition to the national cultural infrastructure and, most especially to the cultural, social and economic life of Limerick and the greater mid-west as Limerick City centre lacked a major cultural venue since the closure of the illustrious Savoy Theatre on Bedford Row and the closure of the Theatre Royal on Cecil Street.

Notable alumni

Presidents of Mary Immaculate College

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.

Partner institutions

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

West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania


  1. "The President". Mary Immaculate College. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  2. "ACCU Member Institutions" (PDF). ACCU.
  3. "College History". Mary Immaculate College. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  4. Welcome from the President, MIC, accessed 21 October 2007
  5. The New Training College The Limerick Chronicle, Thursday 15 May 1902.
  6. Health Promotion Unit, History of MIC, accessed 21 October 2007
  7. 1 2 Mary Immaculate College - Historical Perspective By Siúr Carbiní Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh, Uachtarán, Education Vol.2 No.5, 1987.
  8. MIC History, accessed 21 October 2007
  9. Rabbitts, Nick (9 June 2014). "Expansion of Limerick's Mary Immaculate College moves closer". Limerick Leader. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  10. 1 2 3
  11. Mary Immaculate Training College

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

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