History

The word ‘Glenstal’ means ‘The Glen of the Stallion’, and is an English rendering of the Irish Gleann Stail. The glen itself is a very impressive geological feature, consisting of a mile-long valley, formed during the last ice-age, rich in many kinds of wild flowers.

The main building is a Norman Revivalist castle. It faces south, and commands an unbroken view of some thirty miles towards the Galtee Mountains. It was designed by William Bardwell, an English architect, who evidently intended Glenstal to look like a twelfth-century castle, for when he inscribed his name on the turret, Bardwell me fecit (‘Bardwell made me’), he added the date 1839, but cut in such a way as to look like 1139.

The castle was built for the Barrington family in the 1830s. Following the death of their daughter in an ambush during the Irish War of Independence, the last owners, Sir Charles and Lady Mary Rose Barrington, decided to return to live on their English estate. The property was bought by a local priest, who invited the monks of Maredsous Abbey in Belgium to settle in Glenstal. Monastic life at Glenstal began formally on 18 December 1927.

The origins of the current school lie in the small School for Arts and Crafts opened by the founding monks of Glenstal in 1928. A secondary school for boys was opened in September 1932. Fr Columba Skerret OSB was the Headmaster, and there were just seven boys on the roll.

From these humble beginnings, the school has grown considerably. As the school has grown, it has spread beyond the confines of the original Barrington castle. Modern dormitories and refectories, a large Sports Hall and state-of-the-art computing facilities combine to ensure that the school remains a vibrant and forward-looking educational institution.

Leaders of the school down the years

1932-1934     Headmaster

Fr Columba Skerret OSB

 

1934-1937     Headmaster

Fr Bede Lebbe OSB

 

1937-1948     Headmaster

Fr Matthew Dillon OSB

 

1948-1953     Headmaster

Fr Columba Breen OSB

 

1953-1961     Headmaster

Fr Matthew Dillon OSB

 

1961-1979     Headmaster

Fr Celestine Cullen OSB
(Abbot, 1980-1992)

1980-1985     Headmaster

Fr Andrew Nugent OSB

 

1985-1991     Co-Directors

Br Patrick Hederman OSB (Abbot, 2008- 2016) & Br Timothy McGrath OSB

1991-1998     Headmaster

Fr Simon Sleeman OSB

 

1998-2002     Headmaster

Fr Gregory Collins OSB

 

2002-2009     Headmaster

Br Denis Hooper OSB

 

2009-2014     Headmaster

Br Martin Browne OSB

 

2014-2018     Headmaster

Fr William Fennelly OSB

 

2017-2021     Principal

Ms Carmel Honan

2018-2019     Headmaster

Fr Simon Sleeman OSB


2019-2022     Headmaster

Fr Martin Browne OSB

 

2022-         Head & Principal

Mr Marius Carney

 

2022-2022         President

Fr Martin Browne OSB

 

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Glenstal Abbey provides external links as a convenience to our users. The appearance of external links does not constitute an endorsement by Glenstal Abbey of the views, activity or content contained therein.