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Best schools in Dublin, Ireland

A snapshot overview of schools in Dublin and the rest of Ireland (Eire) that are considered (although not necessarily chosen) by English-speaking expat parents.

If there is no ribbon, pending or otherwise, it means we are aware of the school but have elected not to review it at this time. This could be for a number of reasons, but we continually update information and add or remove reviews as deemed appropriate.


The schools below have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them.

Alexandra College

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leaving Certificate; ages 4-18; girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 450 students

Founded by Quaker educationalist, Anne Jellicoe, in 1866 and now located in Milltown, Dublin and always operated as a Church of Ireland school. Full-time and weekly boarding, open to expats. Claims to be the oldest field hockey club in Ireland and still turns out international players. School consistently ranked near the top in terms of quality of the universities that graduates move on to.

Belvedere College

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leaving Certificate; ages 13-18; boys; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,015 students

A Jesuit secondary school, for boys only, in the heart of Dublin, founded in the mid-19th century and also James Joyce’s Alma Mater. Still run by the Jesuit order and known in particular for its sporting prowess. Drama and the arts well catered for and graduates leave for leading global universities, often in the US.

Blackrock College

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leaving Certificate; ages 13-18; boys; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 1,025 students

Located in Blackrock outside Dublin and once known as the French College, as its founder was a French missionary. Now run by a trust consisting of priests from the Catholic Congregation of the Holy Ghost and a group of lay personnel. Separate buildings for junior and senior cycles, the latter more modern. Approximately 100 boarders. Strong sporting history and alumni include Bob Geldof.

Castleknock College

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leaving Certificate; ages 13-18; boys; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 640 students

A Vincentian secondary boys’ school, founded in 1833 and set on landscaped parkland close to Phoenix Park in Dublin. Primarily Catholic but open to all Christian faiths. One of the oldest boys’ schools in Ireland with a very strong sporting tradition, particularly Rugby and athletics but Gaelic games are prohibited.

Castle Park School

Adapted Irish Primary School Curriculum; ages 3-12; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 330 students

Founded in 1904 in Dalkey, a seaside suburb of Dublin, by the charmingly named Wilfred Toone . Their motto ‘Mens Sana in Corpore Sano’ is entirely appropriate as they also run a Swimming Academy offering lessons to over 1,200 swimmers a week. Recent improvements have included the introduction of a Forest school and new adventure playgrounds.

Gonzaga

Irish Curriculum/ Junior certificate/ Leaving certificate; ages 13-18; boys; day; independent; private non-profit; 550 students

One of five Jesuit schools in Ireland, founded in 1950 and located in Ranelagh, Dublin. Pupils must be Catholic and live south of the River Liffey. Academically rigorous, the vast majority of its leavers progress to university in Dublin, either University College or Trinity College. Apart from traditional sport the school consistently fields chess teams who are successful at prestigious tournaments.

International School of Dublin

PYP; ages 3-12; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 60 students

A tiny school, established in 2007 in central Dublin, the only school in Ireland authorised to offer the IB Primary Years Programme. Pupils come from over 20 different nationalities and there is year-round enrolment.

Kylemore College

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leavers Certificate; ages 13-18 ; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 330 students

An inter-denominational school in Dublin. Originally established as a vocational school in 1965 but now a co-ed, secondary college with the number of leavers heading to university currently on a steep uphill curve. Still offering vocational courses.

Loreto College

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leavers Certificate; ages 13-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 590 students

Part of the worldwide network of schools run by the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto).  A strongly Catholic girls secondary school, situated on St Stephen’s Green in the heart of 18th century Dublin. About 50 per cent of leavers head to university in Dublin, recently in almost equal percentages to University College(23%) or Trinity College (27%).

Lycée Francais d'Irelande

French Curriculum/ Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ French Brevet/ French International Baccalaureat (OIB); ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 510 students

Junior campus located in the outskirts of Dublin in Foxrock and the senior school in the Eurocampus in Clonskeagh, which they have shared with St Kilian’s Deutsche School since 2001. Offering the alternatives of the French International Baccalaureat (highly regarded by European and global universities) or the Irish Leavers Certificate. 

Mount Anville

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certifcate/ Leavers Certificate; ages 12-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 675 students

Located in the Dublin suburb of Goatstown, originally day and boarding but now only takes day girls. A Catholic secondary school attached to Mount Anville Montessori Junior School and Mount Anville Convent, established in 1853. Over 50 per cent of leavers move on to University College, Dublin with a further 18 per cent heading to Trinity College, Dublin.

Nord Anglia International School, Dublin

PYP/ MYP; ages 3-16; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned;

Brand-new school in a futuristic environment, opened in September 2018 with Lord (David) Puttnam as the chair of the advisory board. Owned and run by Nord Anglia, a rapidly expanding global education group with a wealth of experience and aimed at the children of international executives as well as local families. Offering two IB programmes but is still a ‘candidate school’ and also pursuing authorisation as an IB Continuum World School. Obviously, no stats as yet but we will keep a close eye on it.

St. Andrew's College

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leavers Certificate/ IB Diploma; ages 5-18 ; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,300 students

A Church of Ireland school, founded in 1894 and now located in Dún Laoghaire, outside Dublin with a junior and senior school. One of the few international schools in Ireland with pupils from over 40 countries and accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). 60 per cent of graduates head to either University College Dublin or Trinity College Dublin but the remainder to leading universities in the UK and US.

St. Columba's College

Irish curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leavers Certificate; ages 11-19; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 320 students

A Church of Ireland school founded in 1843 and located in Whitechurch, County Dublin. Slightly more boys than girls with the majority of graduates moving on to Trinity College Dublin (60%), probably the highest percentage of any school in Ireland.

SEK Dublin International School

MYP/ IBD; ages 12-19; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned

One of three SEK (an educational system developed 125 years ago) international schools outside Spain. Located near Bray in Co. Wicklow.

Sutton Park School

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/Leavers Certificate; ages 4-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 345 students

One of the first multi-denominational schools in Ireland, founded in 1957. Located in a Georgian house in Sutton, close to the coast, north of Dublin. Divided into a junior (ages 4 ½ -9), intermediate (ages 9-12) and senior (ages 12-18) school.

The King's Hospital

Irish curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leavers Certificate; ages 12-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 720 students

A Church of Ireland school but open to other faiths and denominations. One of the oldest schools in Ireland, founded in 1669, and now located on a purpose-built campus on the banks of the River Liffey in Palmerstown, County Dublin. Traditional school sending over 50 per cent of its leavers to either Trinity College Dublin or University College Dublin.

Wesley College

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leavers Certificate; ages 13-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 930 students

Methodist school, founded in 1844, under the control of a board of governors appointed by the Methodist Church of Ireland. Located in the Dublin suburb of Ballinteer and now with a brand-new sports centre opened in 2019. Over 50 per cent of leavers go on to university in Dublin either University College (33%) or Trinity College (23%).

The rest of Ireland

Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare

Irish curriculum/Junior Certificate/Leaving Certificate; ages 13-18; boys; boarding; independent; private non-profit; 440 pupils

Founded over 200 years ago by the Jesuits (the current head is the first layman to hold the post) and located near Clane, Count Kildare. The original castle is connected to the school buildings, which were expanded and modernised in 2000. A traditional secondary boarding school with a long history, huge grounds and a strong presence in rugby union. Consistently achieving way above average results for Leaving Certificate.

Glenstal Abbey, Co. Limerick

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leaving Certificate; ages 13-18; boys; boarding; independent; private non-profit; 250 students

A Catholic secondary school, located in the grounds of Glenstal Abbey in Murroe, County Limerick. Run by Benedictine monks with a strong religious ethos. The impressive number of average points gained at Leaving Certificate equate to nearly 140 UCAS (UK university entrance) points. Leavers head to universities in Ireland, UK and Europe and occasionally the USA.

Kilkenny College

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leaving Certificate; ages 12-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 880 students

An independent Church of Ireland secondary school in Kilkenny in south east Ireland. Mainly Protestants but open to other denominations. Originally founded in 1538 but only on its current campus on the outskirts of the city since 1985. Roughly 50/50 boys and girls with just under 40 per cent of leavers heading to university in Dublin, either University College (25%) or Trinity College (12%).

Midleton College, Co. Cork

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leavers Certificate; ages 12-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 410 students

Although founded in 1696 by Elizabeth Villiers (later Countess of Orkney) in the handsome house in County Cork (still in use today), pupils did not arrive until 1717. With a charter dating back to William III, there have only been 17 headmasters in 300 years. Alumni include Isaac Butt (founder of the Irish Home Rule Party). Co-ed since the 1970’s but, interestingly, soccer is a girls only game here.

Newtown School, Waterford

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leavers Certificate; ages 12-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 400 students

A successful multi-denominational school (fairly rare in Ireland) located in Waterford City and founded by the Quakers in 1798. Sends students to universities and institutions across Ireland with approximately 15 per cent heading to Trinity College Dublin and over 35 per cent to IT colleges. Also offers a Leaving Certificate vocational programme.

Villiers College, Limerick

Irish Curriculum/ Junior Certificate/ Leavers Certificate; ages 12-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 600 students

A Protestant secondary school on the edge of Limerick, founded in 1821. There is a significant cohort of expat students, mainly from other European countries but also from China, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. The school sends nearly a third of leavers to the University of Limerick but a smaller percentage to Dublin universities than most fee-paying Irish schools.


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