An informative guided tour that takes you through one of the most beautiful and historic campus settings in Ireland. Maynooth Castle, Ireland’s medieval seat of power, overlooks the entrance gate, the starting-point for the tour. Marvel at the Silken Thomas yew, at least 800 years old and Ireland’s oldest native tree.
Stoyte House, where St Patrick’s College was established in 1795, pass through into the iconic quadrangle of St Joseph’s Square, hear stories of nineteenth-century scientist Nicholas Callan’s renowned experiments and discoveries, how Eamon de Valera took refuge here while on the run following the 1916 Rebellion, delve deeper into the hair-raising mysteries of the “Ghost Room”, enter St Patrick’s House, a Gothic Revival masterpiece designed by Augustus Welby Pugin and constructed during the dark years of the Great Famine, soak up the contemplative atmosphere as you walk the cloisters that surround the Bicentenary Garden, and study the class-pieces and portraits recording Maynooth’s two hundred years as Ireland’s National Seminary.
The pièce de résistance is the College Chapel, where the tour concludes. It is a sumptuous design, featuring carved stalls, floor mosaics, a ceiling adorned with canvas medallions depicting saints and angels, the impressive Rose Window, the recently restored 3,106-pipe Ruffatti organ and the Lady Chapel, where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco heard Sunday Mass during their stay in 1963.
Pugin Hall, the seminarians’ refectory, is also worth viewing (it is often compared to Hogwarts!).
Tourists are welcome to stroll in the extensive parkland, visit the College Cemetery and Junior Garden. A visit to the National Science Museum is recommended. It houses fascinating artefacts from Callan’s research, as well as more contemporary items, such as the original Intel Pentium chip. Non-scientific items are on display as well, including vestments presented by Empress Elizabeth of Austria, and the death-mask of Daniel O’Connell