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Founded in 1898, by Catholic Sisters of Mercy and the Bishop of Limerick, Edmund T. O’Dwyer, Mary Immaculate College (MIC) is the oldest third level institution in Limerick. The College has expanded significantly since 75 young women were enrolled in 1901 and, today, student numbers stand at more than 3,000.

Foundation & Enduring Vision

When the foundation stone for Mary Immaculate College was laid in 1899, the intention was to provide an institution dedicated to the professional training of female teachers for the Catholic national school system. Today, with over 3,000 young men and women enrolled at the College and participating in a multitude of academic programmes, MIC continues the embrace the founding vision of Catherine McAuley, who established the Catholic Sisters of Mercy as champions for the most marginalised in society with the conviction that education was essential to the quality of life to which all individuals should be entitled. These enduring values remain enshrined in the College Mission Statement as Mary Immaculate steers a new course in the Twenty First Century. 


Since its foundation, the College has grown consistently and diversified, with many significant milestones reached throughout the Twentieth Century. The advances of the last twenty years have been particularly remarkable, with a major expansion in academic offerings and a phase of intensive development of campus infrastructure accompanying a constant surge in student numbers from 297 in Academic Year 1991-92 to 2,957 within the Academic Year 2010-11 (with many more students participating at the College on a part-time basis).

The following developments have been especially significant for the College, many of them “firsts” in the history of the Irish State:

1898: The College was established by Bishop Edward T. O’Dwyer and the Sisters of Mercy for the professional education of Catholic primary school teachers.

1901: The first 75 students were enrolled

1906: The College Chapel was built

1948: The College celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

1956: The first major extension to the College was undertaken, with introduction of a new Residential Block that included 120 bedrooms, as well as a dining hall and music rooms.

1969: MIC became the first Irish College of Education to become co-educational.

1973: The College celebrated its 75th Anniversary.

1974: MIC was the first College of Education to become a recognised College of the National University of Ireland (NUI) and to offer a three-year Bachelor of Education Degree (B.Ed.).

1980: 800 Students were registered on the B.Ed. degree programme, the largest numbers since the foundation of the College.

1991: MIC entered into a partnership with the University of Limerick which became its new accrediting body.

1992: MIC became the first Irish College of Education to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree programme (with the first such graduates receiving their awards in 1996).

1998: MIC, now a College of Education and the Liberal Arts, celebrated its Centenary Year as the first Irish College of Education to confer Higher Degrees, including an MEd degree and MA in Education.

1999: MIC was the first College of Education to confer a specialist Masters in Early Childhood Education.

2000: MIC was the first College of Education to confer a specialist Masters in Information Technologies in Primary Education.

2002: The College conferred its first Doctoral award (in the discipline of Music), a first for a College of   Education.

2003: A four-year BA degree programme in Early Childhood Care and Education, the first for an Irish College of Education, commenced.

2004: A four-year B.Ed. degree programme in Education and Psychology commenced.

2005: The Mary Immaculate College Foundation was launched.

2007: Tailteann,” a multi-purpose gymnasium and the first major new building on campus for almost thirty years, was opened, winning the award for ‘Best Leisure Building’ at the 2008 Royal Irish Architecture Awards.

2008: The inaugural McAuley Medal was presented to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Founder of the Special Olympics.

2010:  The McAuley Medal was presented to Imogen Stuart RHA, by President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.

2010: A new building, Teamhair / TARA (Teaching, Recreational, and Auditorium space), together with Tailteann, representing a combined total of 11,700 m2 of new campus infrastructure, were officially opened by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD. This represented an investment of over €34m in the development and modernisation of facilities at the College, funded under the National Development Plan 2007-2013.

Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel: +35361 204300