In 1859, the Bishop of Galway, John McEvilly invited the Jesuits to create a college and a church in the area. In 1863, both the church and the college, Coláiste Iognáid, were built. St Ignatius' church was originally a 'service church' or chapel of ease that would serve the local parish church, St Joseph's. In 1971, Bishop Michael Browne asked that the church become a parish church. However, in October 2003, it reverted to being a chapel of ease.The church has been an integral part of Galway life since. It was built next to the school, which had opened the previous year in 1862. The school was almost exclusively staffed by Jesuit priests, of whom there were quite a few, so there were always Masses being said on the various altars in the church. The unique ambience of the Jesuit Church is greatly enhanced by a beautiful mosaic which can be seen in a side altar which was commissioned in 1956. It is entitled “Our Lady of the Wayside” and was created and installed by the distinguished artist, Louis Le Brocquy.