Past Pupil Mark Staunton


Mark Staunton is a native of Ballinasloe Co. Galway. He was educated at Garbally College where he developed his passion for Golf during his school years.

Garbally College would like to send our best wishes to Mark this weekend.

Congratulations Mark on your outstanding achievements to date.


Leaving Certificate Graduation 2012

Transition Year Graduation 2012

St Joseph's Day Awards 2012



Here are the team members and there jobs: TEAM GARBALLY RACING- Craig Donnellan-(Team Manager), Patrick Murray-(Web Designer), Aaron Leonard-(Marketing Manager),Ryan Glennon-(Car Designer), Cian Dooley-(Resource Manager)

TEAM ARROW-Thomas Cahill-(Team Manager), Alan Harney-(Marketing Manager), Cathal Kelly and Stephan Lyons-(Resource & Graphics Manager), Ruairi McKenna Carroll-(Web Designer)

We are the only school in the country to have two teams in the national finals.

We would like to thank our teacher Mr. Mike Tully and our TY Co-Ordinator Mr. Paul Walsh for all their help so far. We would  also like to thank our many sponsors- The Carlton Shearwater Hotel and Spa, Dubarry, AIB, Auto Trailer, Dillons Tyre Centre, Joe’s Bar, Barretts Hardware, Kelly & Lynch Motor Factors,and all the local businesses that gave donations to our teams.

Retirement as Principal of Garbally College


Things began to happen very fast.  Seamus was a man in a hurry to get this place moving.  Old faded photographs of students and staffs were removed and newly painted corridors begin to fill with photographs of present students and staff taken showing life in the school – there was nothing faded about these.  They bursted with colour, energy, beauty and optimism.    This details showed that Seamus understood that all teenagers (and staff) like to preen in front of their own photographs and hope the girls next door might see them (younger staff of course!)  There was lots of religious, educational and sporting icons also all geared to inspire.  The Mission Statement dominated by the Albert Power statue of St. Joseph took top place alongside the Student Charter.  The Library was transformed and became a “living room” with colour, wall murals, technology and comfort – you would want to spend time in it.  The School Canteen became a Dining Room, which would rival any modern restaurant.  Sixth years got their own extension built.  Old prefabs were replaced with New Buildings.  Roofs were redone.  Walls, ceilings and windows were updated to ensure comfort.  He even had the heating system changed.  Seamus knew that students and staff could only work to their best in these new conditions. There was no area of the College that wasn’t affected by his energetic and imaginative approach.  His involvement with parents and students was phenomenal.  His greatest work and contribution to us was without doubt broadening the timetable so that Special Needs and Autistic students were catered for in a modern second level school.  He oversaw the building of a new unit for this purpose with all the necessary trimmings – wood walks, carved dragons and sensory gardens.



Seamus consulting days were truly over.    Theory was now been put into practice.  I’m glad we were the College that benefited from his insights.  His work stimulated the intellect and imagination of all the partners in education.  It has been enlightening.  Seamus knows that school in its many facets is at its best when it stretches us beyond our reach.  Garbally thanks Seamus for all his work and wishes him the best of luck in his retirement.


His retirement was marked by a presentation from the Board of Management, Trustees, parents and students.  Staff presentation will follow later.

Colm Allman

Mr Seamus O'Brien being presented with a Papal Letter with the seal of Pius VII by Bishop John Kirby (on behalf of the Governors)

to mark his retirement as Principal of Garbally College

Mr Seamus O'Brien being presented with a clock on behalf of the Student Council by Jack Curley

to mark his retirement as Principal of Garbally College

Mr Seamus O'Brien being presented with a gift by Mrs Kitty McHugh on behalf of the Board of Management

to mark his retirement as Principal of Garbally College

Bishop John Kirby (Patron and Chairperson of Board of Governors) Mrs Jacinta Deady Henry (Acting Principal) and

Mr Seamus O'Brien at the retirement function for Mr Seamus O'Brien as Principal of Garbally College

The Board of Management of Garbally College pictured at the retirement of Mr Seamus O'Brien -

Mr Michael Tully, Ms Annette Lynagh, Mr Seamus O'Brien, Ms Kitty McHugh, Fr Colm Allman and Mr Brian Derrane

The Board of Governors of Garbally College pictured at the retirement of Mr Seamus O'Brien -

Rt Rev Cathal Geraghty, Very Rev Colm Allman, Mr Michael Garrick, Bishop John Kirby,

Very Rev Christy O'Byrne and Very Rev Niall T. Foley

Member of the Student Council of Garbally College pictured at the retirement of Mr Seamus O'Brien

Back row:  Jack Curley, Eoin Hardiman, Mr Seamus O'Brien, Aidan Loughrey, Cillian Kenny

Front row:  Eoghan Costello, Fintan Parsons, Sean Dunne, Michael Burnell, Michael Dolan

Young Scientists Success

Garbally BT Young Scientist Success

Photo: Andrew Mannion, Ruairi McKenna Carroll, Alan Harney, Ros McKeon and Kyle Greene

Garbally College, Ballinasloe achieved great success in the BT Young Scientist Competition. Not only were they one of the few schools in County Galway to have three entries into the competition but also two of the Garbally teams achieved awards.

One of the teams were highly commended for their project “Portable Testing Kit of Nuts in Food” created by Alan Harney and Ruairi McKenna Carroll.

The award for third in their category in chemical, physical and mathematical sciences went to “Replication of Motary Functions through use of Air Pressure” created by Kyle Greene and Ros McKeon

Garbally’s third entry was “A Smartphone Application to track the Growth Rates and Yield analysis of Miscanthus Xgiganteus” created by Andrew Mannion. The future looks bright for these budding scientists in Garbally College

This great success has to be attributed to Garbally College where every student gets the chance to showcase their talents.



Zigger Zagger

Zigger Zagger at Garbally College


British Playwright Peter Terson’s Zigger Zagger will be staged by the Transition Year students of Garbally College on January 25th 26th and 27th next at 8pm each night.

The play reflects Soccer hooliganism and the fans pursuit of drink and trouble.

However at the heart of Zigger Zagger is the hero’s successful attempt to escape the constraints of peer pressure and dead end working class culture.

Produced and directed by Mr. John Boland the Garbally Transition Year production pulls out all the stops. Rehearsals have been going on since September 2011.

It promises to be an excellent production and tickets can be obtained from the college or on the night in the Concert Hall at Garbally College.

Leaving Certificate


“Journeying Onwards” was the theme of the Graduation Mass 2011 when 63 students and their parents and teachers marked the end of their second-level education in Garbally College.  Mass was celebrated by Bishop John Kirby who urged the graduates to “keep your eyes skint for the presence of Christ in your lives”.  Principal Seamus O’Brien said it was a privilege to work with such a great bunch of lads who worked hard to achieve their potential and showed huge emotional intelligence.  He thanked the parents for entrusting their sons to the College and the staff for their high academic standards and pastoral care.
Guest for the evening was Ciaran Cannon T.D. Minister for State Training and Skills who spoke entertainingly about his sporting contacts with the college.  He told the graduates that they were taking with them the gift of true friendship as they left the security and shelter of school life.  Urging them to stay positive he said their good education was an excellent basis on which to build their future.
Mrs Geraldine Curley thanked the staff on behalf of the parents and wished the young men well in the future.  Joseph Ward then gave the valedictory speech bringing his audience through the academic, sporting and cultural highlights of their time in the college.  Tributes were paid to the year heads and pastoral team including Mr Sean Williams, Mr John Farrell, Mr Iomar Barrett, Mr Paul Walsh and to the office staff Ms Kathleen Kelly and Ms Pheobie Kenny.

The following awards were given:

Principal’s Award: Vincent Naughton
LCA Award: Niall Greene
LCVP Award: Eoin T. Riddell
Parents Association Award: David Flanagan and Shane Harrington
Marcus Scully Award: Matthew Gargas.

The evening’s ceremony was enhanced by the school choir under the baton of Mr Frank Kennedy and musicians led by Ms. Fiona Seery and Mr. Iomar Barrett.
Proceedings ended with a reception hosted by the Food Appreciation Department.



Speaking at a St. Patrick’s Day event this year, former U.S. President Bill Clinton put our economic woes in context.  He asked if everybody had thirty lucid minutes before passing away almost nobody would ask them to think about how they accumulated wealth or possessions.  He observed we would think about who we liked, how the flowers smelt in Springtime, how we made the passage from youth to adulthood and what it was like when our children were born.  

As teachers we are privileged to help our pupils make that passage from youth to adulthood.  The teenage years are hugely formative as talents are discovered, personality takes shape and a platform is built for a future career.  Our hope is that students will look back with warmth and gratitude to their time in Garbally.
We have continued to modernise the physical infrastructure of the College.  The Courtyard Block was the main focus of our efforts this year and the newly pedestrianised area at the centre of the block is a valuable public space for all in our community.  The sensitive restoration augments the spectacular setting we have the pleasure to work and be educated in.  The continued enhancement of our provision for the special class encapsulates our commitment to this new departure and our ethos of inclusively.

Open Day this year was a great event for our college.  Our guests were very pleased with what they saw and have responded very positively.  Almost one hundred new first years will join us next year.  Our intake continues to grow steadily and we will have reached our target figure of 500 pupils next year.
Teaching and learning continues to be our core concern.  I thank the teachers for their dedication to this difficult task of motivating and helping our students attain the excellent results they achieved in last years certificate examinations.  When students look back in their time with us they inevitably remember the many extra curricular involvements offered to them.  This is the icing on the Garbally cake.  Our provision for our students to help them develop fully in mind, body and spirit is well documented in this magazine.  At the time of writing we have reached four provincial finals in football and soccer and three national finals – food appreciation, debating and Formula 1.  I thank all the staff who give willingly of their time to help our pupils enjoy their time with us, enhance their self confidence and form friendships which last a lifetime.

Partnership continues to guide our policies and practices.  We work very closely with the Parents Association.  They are extremely supportive of our efforts and helped once again to raise valuable funds for our facilities upgrade.  This year we invited all our parents/guardians to specially organised assemblies as each year group returned in September.  We will continue to work closely with our parents/guardians to ensure their son achieves their full potential in the college.  
We continue to experience significant staff changes in the college.  We formally acknowledge the contribution of those who retired and wish them health and contentment as they begin their new post Garbally journey.  We also warmly welcome the new staff who have replaced them and hope that they will continue to work with us over the coming years.  With such a large and diverse student population it is inevitable that some will experience difficulties.  The pastoral care team provide excellent support to all in our school community.  We acknowledge the important work they do to help our young men overcome challenges and develop a resilience that will sustain them in their future studies and careers.  

I also wish to acknowledge the help and support of our new Deputy Principal Mrs Sindy Henry.  Ms Henry is the first woman appointed to a senior management position in the college and we wish her well in this new position.
We have had another great year.  We are now secure in our new identity as a dayboy school for Ballinasloe and the surrounding parishes.  Our college is improving and our numbers are increasing.  The atmosphere in the College is positive and I feel students enjoy their time with us.  We will continue to improve all aspects of our college, as we are very aware of the important task that has been entrusted us.  

Many thanks to all who contributed articles to the Fountain.  A special word of appreciation to our sponsors - we could not have gone to print without your help.
Kathleen Kelly has been the driving force behind the Fountain yet again.  Her suggestions, hard work and no nonsense approach means we will have had five consecutive editions of the Fountain this year.  Míle buíochas Kathleen.
The Fountain captures our story over the past year.  Future historians will discover what life was like in our East Galway boys’ secondary school in the academic year 2010-2011.  We hope you found this years story stimulating, enjoyable and informative.



Our vision of improving our educational infrastructure neared completion last summer.  The old block and the Construction Room were re-roofed mostly in the original blue Bangor slates that were placed there in 1819.  All the classrooms in these blocks were also upgraded – suspended ceilings, new furnishings, new doors in compliance with child protection regulations and new solid teak external doors.
The cherry at the top of the cake however was surely the double glazed sash windows in this listed building.  The pedestrianisation and new seating facilities have completed the “Old College” look of this beautiful quad.  The provision of much needed staff facilities beside the food appreciation facility means this part of our campus is now totally self-contained.

The new Garbally Quad

The Madden Block was not neglected.  The three central access points were upgraded with solid teak doors and the entire block was double-glazed.
Our extra curricular provision was significantly expanded.  The new Sports Court is on the site of the old facility which had fallen into disuse.  The new Sports Courts are a welcome symbol of our commitment to the holistic development of our students and is used on a daily basis.

New Sports Courts

Our special class started in 2007 with just one student John Joseph.  We now have ten and will welcome a further three next September.
A specially commissioned centre of excellence has been constructed for the lads.  Called Áras na mBuachaillí it consists of:

  • Tuition area
  • Relaxation Room
  • Art & Crafts
  • Shower and Toilet facilities
  • Store rooms
  • Converted loft
  • Hot press
  • Outside Leisure facilities.

A specially designed garden will be completed over the summer.  We  also completed a forest trail with a specially commissioned dragon carved out of a fallen beech tree.  Cyprus benches, bird boxes, bat boxes and gravelled trail and a story circle complete the picture.

The New Cyprus Bench

Bird boxes with slate roof!

Prospective students say hello to our dragon!

The complex has been substantially renewed – painted, new emergency doors, new shower facilities, new toilets and the largest Garbally crest in the Diocese.  
These renovations have contributed to the well being of all who work and are educated here.  They enhance the fabulous setting we have the pleasure to enjoy each day.

Newly refurbished Complex

A New Departure In Education












Idealists in education seek to replicate the complexity and diversity in society in their educational establishment.  This philosophy espouses inclusivity, equality and change.  The reality of course in Ireland is that all too often our educational communities are exclusive, elitist and conservative.  As the only secondary school in Ballinasloe for young men our college has had to respond to the challenge posed by responding in a creative manner to the complexities and needs of the wider community we are privileged to serve.  We are proud to operate an open door policy and all students are welcomed to join us as they begin the next phase of their educational journey.  A very exciting new development on this journey began in 2007 when John Joseph became the first student in our special class.  We had to discover how to mould a programme that was appropriate to this new class.  Ms Sinead Kennedy led the way.  She completed her Post Graduate in Special Education and designed a FETAC Programme, which is now a model of best practice in East Galway.  It reaches out to the multiple intelligences of the lads who have joined us in the last four years; the basics in literacy and numeracy are of course central.  We expanded into life skills such as –

•    Food Appreciation
•    Music Therapy
•    Horticulture
•    Nature Studies
•    P.E.
•    Art & Crafts
•    Woodwork and Metalwork
•    Personal Hygiene
•    Shopping for a living
•    I.C.T.
•    Speech Therapy
•    Sign Language.

Three women in the College have been central to these developments – Ms Sinead Kennedy, Ms Mary Callanan and Ms Jacinta Kennedy.
Our teachers have made a real difference to the lads.  They have grown in stature, confidence, happiness and skills before our very eyes.  The lads have brought joy, good fortune and huge happiness to all in our school.  The other students could not have been more welcoming.  We are so proud of the welcome the lads have received and this is a huge compliment to the young men of this area.  Áras na mBuachaillí symbolises our commitment to this new departure.  It states boldly that the lads are not only equal to the challenge but are simply the best!  They are role models for all of us – they seldom miss a day at school, are always on time, never have to do detention and are always in good humour.  Where would we be without them?  Lads you have made our school community special.  You have made us discard attitudes and prejudices that burdened our journey.  You have lightened our load.  Our journey from the small cabin in the courtyard to the Áras in the woods have been special.  Thanks Lads.

New Beginnings At Garbally College

The experts agree that schools or indeed businesses never stand still – they are either improving or declining.  When the last boarders left Garbally College in 2008, we had to decide how to manage the new situation we found ourselves in.  To ignore the loss of such an important section of our student population would lead to continuing decline in student numbers.  We decided to respond proactively in all areas of our educational enterprise.  A very significant element of our response was the decision to substantially upgrade our educational facilities.

Two major areas, which impacted directly on students, were our dining facilities and sports resources.  We built a new Dining Hall, which serves hot, nutritious meals each day.  A new senior Dining Hall was also constructed to encourage leadership qualities among the senior students.  This has been a huge success and the response from students has been extremely positive.

The College has a long tradition of involvement in extra curricular activities.  The loss of the boarders again impacted negatively on this endeavour.  We immediately built new Sports Courts and refurbished the gymnasium and complex facilities.  External coaches have also been engaged in all the sporting codes.  We now have huge numbers participating in all areas.  Students consistently cite sport and the new Dining facilities as two of the major advantages we now possess.

New Sports Courts

Our Refurbished Gym

We have also sought to create an aesthetically pleasant environment for the students and staff.  We have arguably the most spectacular school setting in Ireland.  We have now restored the listed building on our campus to its original splendour.  The courtyard has been pedestrianised and double-glazed sash sliding windows installed.  The building has been re-roofed with the original Blue Bangor slates first used in 1819.  The sensitive restoration has hugely enhanced the built environment on the campus.

Restored Courtyard Block

Overall the renovations and new buildings have given us the positive response we hoped for.  Our numbers will have increased from 420 in 2007 to 500 in the academic year 2011-2012.

Students’ time at second level is special.  They should look back on it with warmth and pleasure.  We feel we have created a very pleasant environment in Garbally for both those who work here and are educated here.

This week at Garbally

First year Return – Thursday 25th (9.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.)



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