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MIC Timeline

As MIC celebrates its 125th anniversary we invite you to travel through history as we commemorate the College’s many significant milestones throughout the years.

Foundation Building MIC at night


The Beginning

Foundation building at Mary Immaculate College The original building in MIC, started in 1899, is still central to the College today.

On 18 October 1896, Bishop Edward Thomas O’Dwyer, in a letter to the Commissioners of National Education, Dublin, sought sanction for the establishment of a teacher-training college in Limerick.

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Licence granted for the establishment of a teacher training college in Limerick

Mary Immaculate College is established by Bishop Edward T O’Dwyer and the Sisters of Mercy for the professional education of Catholic primary school teachers.

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December 8 - Foundation Day

The foundation stone of the new College is laid on 8 December, 1899.

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Sr Paul Quinlan appointed as Principal (President) of the College

Born in Limerick City in 1859, Sr Paul Quinlan joined the Congregation of the Limerick Sisters of Mercy at the age of 22.

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Initial Growth and Development

The College opens its doors to the first set of students on 21 September 1901.

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The official opening of Mary Immaculate College takes place on 16 May 1902.

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Now that the College is firmly established, it begins to develop on various fronts.

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Introduction of Gaeilge as a Subject

While the language has its place in college life, there is no official recognition of its place in Irish education.

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Class photo from 1903 in Mary Immaculate College Group of students, 1903.
MIC College chapel The College Chapel.

The College Chapel is built, linked to the rest of the College building by a long glass corridor lined with music rooms.

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Following a 12-year campaign, the long-awaited Free Home Scheme is granted to the College in November 1911.

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With the coming of Irish Independence in 1922, there is a radical change in the curriculum and culture of primary schools across the country.

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Born in Ennis, Co. Clare, Sr Veronica Cullinan is educated in England before joining the Limerick Sisters of Mercy.

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New domestic science extension built

tennis courts College games are established on an organised basis.
Students playing games in the Quad. The Quad - a quadrangle is designed to provide outdoor exercise space.

Final year students design an emblem for the College.

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A quadrangle is designed to provide outdoor exercise space during intervals between classes and also a pavilion to give a grandstand view over the games field.

New tennis courts and a large games court introduced.

In 1927, a group of enterprising students embark on the production of a Mary Immaculate College Annual.

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A music room annex, students’ shop and new furnishings for the library are introduced.

Galway-born Sr Celsus Barry, who had been on the English staff of the College since 1920, is appointed principal. In 1952, she resigns her post to join the administrative team of the Limerick Sisters of Mercy.

College Annual front cover 1927 edition Mary Immaculate Training College Annual.
New residential block at MIC opened in 1956 New residential block designed by Andy Devane.

The College celebrates its 50th Anniversary

A new Department of Infant Education is completed in 1953, providing a modern kindergarten room with storage accommodation attached, known to the students as ‘Naomh Veronica’.

The new residential block is built to cater for the considerable increase in student intake.

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September 24, 1956 sees the official opening of the extension by the Minister for Education, Richard Mulcahy

Sr Loreto is appointed to the staff of the College teaching History and Irish in 1959, before becoming President in the same year.

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Mary Immaculate College is the first Irish College of Education to become co-educational

The 75th anniversary of the founding of the College is marked by a week-long celebration, including a visit from the recently appointed Minister for Education, Mr Richard Burke, who inspected a guard of honour of male students of the College.

Richard Burke, Minister for Education in 1973, with students from MIC. Richard Burke, Minister for Education in 1973 attending the 75th anniversary celebrations.
First conferring of B Ed Degree in 1977 First conferring of B Ed degree in 1977.

Evan Morrissey, Director of Art Education, designs a new insignia to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the College.

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Mary Immaculate is the first College of Education to become a recognised College of the National University of Ireland (NUI) following the approval of the relevant bodies of UCC.

Mary Immaculate College offers a three-year Bachelor of Education Degree (B Ed)

The beginning of the academic year 1974–75 marked the inauguration of the degree course.

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In October Dr TK Whitaker, Chancellor of the National University of Ireland, confers the first recipients of the Bachelor of Education (B Ed) degree.


Sr Cabrini Moloney appointed as fifth College President

By 1980, student numbers had reached over 800 and physical expansion of the College was needed to accommodate the increase.

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Established in 1986, the CDU is a nationally recognised centre of excellence in terms of curricular design and innovation.

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MIC Library building exterior New library, lecture theatre and education complex, opened in 1980.
Sr Angela Bugler Sr Angela Bugler, College President 1988 - 1999.

Born in Mountshannon, Co. Clare, Sr Bugler began her career in education as a national school teacher in the 1950s.

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The late 1980s were difficult and uncertain years for the College.

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A plan is drawn up by the College management in an effort to offset dwindling student numbers to its B Ed programme.

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MIC enters into discussions with the University of Limerick

In late September 1990, a working group comprising representatives of Mary Immaculate College and UL, is established.

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MIC enters into partnership with the University of Limerick, which becomes its new accrediting body.

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MIC becomes the first Irish College of Education to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree programme with 150 students registered on the programme in its first year of offering.

Dr Edward Walsh, President, University of Limerick, in Mary Immaculate College, confers the degree of Bachelor of Education on 111 graduands.

Establishment of Student Community radio station, Wired FM

A successful bid is made to the Independent Radio and Television Commission for a Community of Interest Licence to broadcast.

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First conferring of MIC degrees by University of Limerick First conferring class of MIC degrees by UL. Photo: Glucksman Library Digital Library, UL.
MIC centenary stamp Special edition centenary stamp issued by An Post.

Following the linkage with the University of Limerick, the College is authorised to offer postgraduate degree programmes.

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MIC, now a College of Education and the Liberal Arts, celebrates its Centenary Year as the first Irish College of Education to confer Higher Degrees, including an M Ed degree and MA in Education. A special stamp is issued by An Post to celebrate the centenary.

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Establishment of MISU (Mary I Students’ Union)

MISU is established as the professional representative body for the students of the College.

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Professor Peadar Cremin appointed as the first lay President of the College in 101 years.

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Significant Advancement & Diversification

The College confers its first Doctoral award, a first for a College of Education.

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


Mary Immaculate College launches its first ever website

The Shannon Consortium is a collaborative framework for the University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology (now TUS) and Mary Immaculate College.

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Dr Hazel Farrell pictured with Dr Michael Murphy, Dr Gareth Cox and Prof. Michael Healy, MIC. Dr Hazel Farrell pictured with Dr Michael Murphy, Dr Gareth Cox and Prof. Michael Healy, MIC.
President of MIC, Peadar Cremin presenting a medal to Eunice Kennedy Shriver President Peadar Cremin presenting the McAuley Medal to Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

A state of-the-art Sports Complex is completed at a cost of €16 million.

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

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A new building, entitled TARA, together with Tailteann, are officially opened by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD.

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The McAuley Medal is presented to Imogen Stuart RHA

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

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Mary Immaculate College presents its Campus Masterplan, 2010-2016, to An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD

Mary Immaculate College launches new website

Limerick native, Professor Michael A Hayes is appointed President of Mary Immaculate College in October 2011.

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Pilot programme in Contemporary Living launches

Working in partnership with the Brothers of Charity Services in Clare, MIC introduces the pilot of a new inclusive programme of education.

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Franco-German House opens

The result of a joint-initiative by the departments of French Studies and German Studies at Mary Immaculate College.

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Lowering of the boundary walls

The campus’s boundary walls were lowered as a symbol of the College’s desire to embrace the community and to reassert its position in the heart of the city.

A 510-seat, state-of-the-art professional facility and Limerick's premier arts venue opens in October.

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Mary Immaculate College launches its first ever Strategic Plan

This Plan marks a new chapter in the life of the College, recognising as it did the rapid and complex changes to the policy landscape and the operational environment in Ireland.

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Campus Development

A number of developments take place on campus in 2012.

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Abbey production of Tartuffe in Lime Tree Theatre Abbey production of Tartuffe in Lime Tree Theatre (Photo: Ros Kavanagh).
Group celebrating 21 years of Bachelor of Arts in MIC Celebrations to mark 21 years of Bachelor of Arts programme.

Students Jack McCarthy and Kate Barry celebrate 21 years of Bachelor of Arts at MIC, along with Prof. John Hayes, Former Dean of Arts MIC, Sile Deegan, Limerick Arts Officer, Rachel Godfrey, MIC and Prof. Michael Breen, Dean of Arts MIC.

Launch of Blended Learning Unit at MIC, enhancing flexibility of teaching and learning environments

International Office established

The International Office (IO) at MIC was established to cultivate international partnerships, both within Europe and internationally.

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For Irish higher education institutions, the period 2011 to 2014 was dominated by an intensive and transformative process of landscape.

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MIC celebrates Limerick’s designation of National City of Culture

MIC launches its impressive programme of over 50 different cultural events taking place in the College.

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In September Minister for Education & Skills, Minister Jan O’Sullivan TD announces the incorporation of St Patrick’s College, Thurles.

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Student numbers exceed 3,500

Student numbers exceed 3,500, the highest number in the history of the College, and the 100th PhD graduate is conferred.

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The College is awarded the tender from the HEA for the National Higher Education Programme for Inclusion Coordinators in Early Years Settings.

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Mary Immaculate College launches new brand

A new corporate logo is approved by An Bord Rialaithe in 2016 to enhance the integrity of MIC’s unique identity.

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MIC hosts RDS Primary Science Fair

The RDS Primary Science Fair Limerick is hosted by Mary Immaculate College for the first time in January 2016.

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MIC Senior Hurling Team wins its first ever Fitzgibbon Cup

MIC make history on 27 February when the Senior Hurling team beat UL in an epic final to secure the Fitzgibbon Cup for the first time ever.

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MIC Thurles campus from the front MIC Thurles Campus.
John Henry Newman Building, MIC John Henry Newman Campus.

This period saw the expansion of the College footprint following the purchase of the Mount St Vincent Building.

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Professor Eugene Wall appointed Acting President of MIC

Professor Eugene Wall, former Registrar/Vice-President Academic Affairs, is appointed Acting President following the death of Prof Michael A Hayes.

Planning permission granted for new Library/Learning Resource Centre

A major milestone is achieved with the granting by Limerick City and County Council of planning permission for the new Library/Learning Resource Centre, in April 2017. The project is now ready to proceed to detailed design, tendering and construction stages, subject to confirmation of funding.

Dr Carmel Naughton receives MIC Alumni Award

The inaugural MIC Alumna of the Year Award was presented to Dr Carmel Naughton in recognition of her outstanding contribution to society.

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Professor Eugene Wall is appointed as President of MIC having served as Acting President since the death of Prof. Hayes the previous year.

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Alumni Awardees 2018

RTÉ presenter Dáithí Ó Sé, RTÉ sports presenter Jacqui Hurley and former Executive Director of Trócaire, Éamonn Meehan, announced as MIC Alumni Awardees 2018.

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In September 2019, over 2,200 new students enrolled for the first time at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at MIC.

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MIC launches its second Strategic Plan, A Flourishing Learning Community

An ambitious plan setting out the College’s agenda and strategic priorities for the next five years.

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SAHLBERG II – Review of the Structure of Initial Teacher Education in Ireland

The Review Report, published in May 2019, details the progress of the implementation of the structural reforms identified in the 2012 Report.

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Alumni Awardees 2019

Pat McDonagh, founder and Managing Director of Supermac’s and Limerick author Róisín Meaney announced as Alumni Awardees 2019.

MIC Awarded €350k towards next generation STEAM Initiative

In December 2019, MIC is awarded €350,000 towards the development of a major STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) outreach initiative.

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MIC launches new website

State-of-the-art new website unveiled in January in response to changing user trends, resulting in a dramatically enhanced marketing and communications tool.

On 18 March 2020, the awardees from the November 2019 round of Athena SWAN assessment panels were announced.

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City Connects

MIC is instrumental in bringing the City Connects Project to Ireland.

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Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic begins in March and the College closes its doors along with the rest of the country.

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MIC is awarded €3.6m from Government to extend LINC programme

International students with Mayor of Limerick City and Prof. Eugene Wall, President of MIC Group of International Students with then Mayor of Limerick City and County and Prof. Eugene Wall.
Prof. James Deegan, Professor Niamh Hourigan, Niall Collins TD, Professor Eugene Wall, Dr Julianne Stack and Prof Michael Healy standing in front of TARA building in MIC. Prof. James Deegan, Professor Niamh Hourigan, Niall Collins TD, Professor Eugene Wall, Dr Julianne Stack and Prof Michael Healy.

May 2021 saw MIC launching its inaugural Framework for Doctoral Education.

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Launch of MIC Student Charter

January 2021 saw the launch of The Student Learning and Partnership Dialogue Charter.

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The 2022 Conferring Ceremonies saw 30 doctoral awards being presented to graduated, the highest number of any year in MIC’s history.

Alumni Awardees 2022

RTÉ political correspondent, Micheál Lehane, former Irish Rugby captain, Ciara Griffin, Google Ireland’s Director of People Operations, Helen Tynan, and BBC commissioning editor, Tommy Bulfin were announced as the 2022 Alumni Awardees.

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Fr Peter McVerry is the third recipient of the McAuley Medal

Fr Peter McVerry was the 2022 recipient of the McAuley Medal, presented by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, in recognition of his social justice activism.

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MIC hosts one of Ireland’s foremost sculptors, Imogen Stuart’s first solo exhibition in over a decade

MIC has a long-standing relationship with Imogen Stuart, dating back to the 1950s when the Sisters of Mercy commissioned three major works for MIC.

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Minister for Education, Norma Foley launches exciting and innovative new CRAFT Maker Space at MIC.

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MIC’s Masterplan 2042

MIC set out exciting and ambitious plans for the College’s development over the next twenty years in its Masterplan 2042.

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MIC Munster GAA Centre of Excellence launched

The MIC Munster GAA Centre of Excellence in Child Coaching and Gaelic Games Promotion is officially launched.

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Funding for long-awaited new library announced

The Government agrees, in principle, to co-fund the project up to a maximum state contribution of €30.88 million.

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MIC Installs rainbow pedestrian crossings

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MIC awarded €1.5 million in Erasmus Funding to develop a European Teaching Academy in Digital Leadership in Education

The programme, known as IDEAL Futures (Integrated Digital Educational Leaderships for the Future) is one of sixteen teacher academy projects to be selected for funding this year.

Mary Immaculate College celebrates 125 years of existence

Minister Norma Foley with Prof. Eugene Wall and Enterprise and Community Engagement team Minister for Education, Norma Foley launches exciting and innovative new CRAFT Maker Space at MIC.