Opened June, July & August


The Museum of Ecclesiology in St Patricks College, Maynooth was established in 1934, by a resolution of The Trustees of the College with Dr. William Moran, Professor of Dogmatic Theology being appointed as museum curator. The museum was to be a repository for various objects of Ecclesiastical and College interest, especially those which were linked with the researchers and pioneering work of former Maynooth Professors.

In 1942, on the resignation of Dr. William Moran, the Trustees appointed the Very Rev. Dr Patrick J McLaughlin, Professor of Experimental Physics and later Vice- President of the College, to be curator. This was to be the beginnings of a strong science presence in the College museum. Dr McLaughlin began to transfer apparatus belonging to the renowned Professor of Natural Philosophy, Rev. Professor Nicholas Callan to the museum. These included induction coils, electromagnets, the ‘repeater’, condensers, electric motors and batteries- amongst these his cast-iron cells, which were also manufactured by E.M. Clarke of London, who sold them commercially.

Fr Michael Casey, Professor of Chemistry proceeded him after to be curator from 1975 until his death in 1998. Under his careful watch, the staff of the Experimental Physics department went through all the cupboards and moved all items of scientific instruments that were deemed historic to the museum.

Since then, the museum has been able to develop two main collections.

There is first, the large group of scientific instruments mostly associated with Nicholas Callan of which a full catalogue for this collection was published in 1994 ‘The Scientific Apparatus of Nicholas Callan & other historic instruments’. The museum now has the largest collection of scientific instruments on public display in Ireland, most of which were manufactured in Ireland between 1880 and 1920

The second part of the Museum is a collection of ecclesiastical artifacts from the past three centuries of which a catalogue has also been prepared ‘St Patricks College Maynooth Museum of Ecclesiology: A catalogue of Ecclesiastivcal items spanning two centuries of the College history’ .

In September 1999 Dr N.E. McKeith was appointed museum curator, reflecting the continued interest in the museum by the Department of Experimental Physics.

Interested for more? Follow our Museum Blog ‘Sacred and Scientific; Reflections on the National Science and Ecclesiology Museum Maynooth’

Museum Opening Hours

June-August: Wednesday 2-4pm, Sunday 2-6pm

October-May: by appointment – contact Dr. Neal Trappe


Acknowledgements: Particular thanks are due to Rev Prof Michael Mullaney, President of St Patricks College, Maynooth for his help and support. Also, Intel Ireland Ltd.



Reverend Professor Nicholas Callan

Nicholas Joseph Callan was born on December 22, 1799, the fifth child in a family of six or seven, at Darver, between Drogheda and Dundalk. His initial education was at an academy in Dundalk, run by a Presbyterian clergyman, William Nelson. His local parish priest, Father Andrew Levins, took him in hand as an altar boy and Mass server, and saw him start the priesthood at Navan seminary. He entered Maynooth College in 1816, and was to remain there for almost all of the rest of his life.





Key pieces from the museums collections are currently being digitised by students of the MA in Digital Humanities/ MSc in Spatial eHumanities (Maynooth University) carried out in conjunction with the Museum of Ecclesiology and Science in St. Patrick’s College and under the guidance of Dr. Costas Papadopoulos:


St Patricks College, Maynooth and the National Science Museum featured in BBC’s GREAT BRITISH RAILWAY JOURNEYS. Watch Dr Niall McKeith talk to Michael Portillo about Maynooths rich history and heritage:



Russell Library

St Patricks College archive is housed in the Russell library. It is administrative in nature and contains material that documents the history of the college. Material includes ordination & matriculation registers, President & Bursar papers, account books, wages books, diocesan reports, deed papers and College Kalendarium.

Irish College in Salamanca

The archives came to Maynooth on the closure of the Irish college in 1951. They comprise some 50,000 administrative documents dating from the foundation of the college in 1592 to the mid- 20th century. The collection also includes some papers from other Irish colleges in Spain: Lisbon (flourished 1590-1834), Valladolid (founded 1592), Santiago de Compostela (fl. 1605-1769), Seville (fl. 1612-1767), Madrid (founded 1629), Alcalá de Henares (fl. 1649-1785).


There is a large selection of photographs within the College Archive which depicts life of both staff and students of St Patricks College, Maynooth.



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