Ethos, Mission & History

The school endeavours to embody the educational and religious philosophy of the Loreto tradition. This philosophy is centred in God, rooted in gospel values and derives its specific expression from the insights and visions of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Mary Ward (foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary – known as Loreto in Ireland) and her core values of Truth, Freedom, Justice, Sincerity, Joy and Reflection.

We strive to ensure that our school community is a place where the potential of each individual is recognised and respected, where excellence is pursued and where staff, parents and students co-operate for the common good. This is encapsulated in our Mission Statement.

Mission Statement

Our school is a caring Christian community in which students have the opportunity to grow academically, creatively, emotionally, physically and spiritually in a healthy, safe environment.

Our school is a place where children can develop their individual gifts and talents and use them in loving and responsible service of others.

All students are cherished equally, regardless of ability or creed. They are unique and we recognise, support and develop the potential of each pupil in consultation with their parents.

Our Mission

History

On September 5, 1833, Mother Teresa Ball and a small group of nuns took possession of No. 58, Harcourt Street, Dublin. Here Mother Teresa proposed to open a Day School. Eleven years earlier, Mother Teresa had founded Loreto House, Rathfarnham and she now extended her work of education to the city.

On September 23, 1833 the school opened its doors to receive pupils. Mother Teresa had been told that there was a great demand for such a school but, on the opening day, only one pupil presented herself. However by January 1834, there were 27 pupils. As more accommodation was required, No. 53 St. Stephen’s Green, was purchased and the school moved from Harcourt Street to the Green on October 6th, 1841. By 1846 there were 20 boarders and 30 day students in “The Green.” On January 11, 1844, Daniel O’Connell visited the Green and enrolled his two grandchildren.

In 1878 the Government set up a Board of Intermediate Education to re-organise and co-ordinate Secondary Education in Ireland. The Board drew up syllabi covering a wide range of subjects and divided them into three courses: Junior, Middle and Senior Grades. Examinations were set at the end of each year and a generous scheme of rewards was provided with Exhibitions, Medals and Prizes to be won by outstanding candidates in each Grade. For some time Catholic schools remained outside this scheme, however in 1880 the Loreto schools, including the Green, sat the Intermediate Examinations for that year. The Loreto pupils carried off a number of Exhibitions, Medals and Prizes.

During the late nineteenth-century the record of the Green was a glittering one, with pupils winning Exhibitions, Medals and Prizes. In 1897, Green pupils won five Exhibitions and First Places in Classics, in Greek and in Latin, as well as a Prize for English Composition. In addition to the Intermediate Examinations, the girls sat for the examinations of the Department of Science and Art, South Kensington, London, in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Magnetism and Electricity, Sound, Light and Heat, and in Geometry. They also sat for examinations in Freehand Drawing, Model Drawing, Drawing from Cast, and Geometrical Drawing. Many of the girls learned the piano, the violin and the harp, and took the examinations of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, London, the Royal College and Academy of Music, London and the Local Centre examinations.

In 1899, Mother Michael organised University Classes in the Green. The Royal University had been founded in 1878, but it was only an Examining Body. Women were allowed to sit for the examinations, but were not allowed to attend lectures in the University College on St. Stephen’s Green, South. Courses were provided in the Green in French, German, Modern Literature, History, Jurisprudence, Mental and Moral Science, Philosophy, Metaphysics, as well as in Catholic Doctrine and Apologetics. No. 54, St. Stephen’s Green, was purchased and that house was allotted to the University Students. From that time forward, the establishment was known as “Loreto College.” In 1908, the National University of Ireland was established and University College, Earlsfort Terrace was opened to women students. Until 1911, when Loreto Hall, 77 St. Stephen’s Green, opened, University students stayed on in the Green and attended lectures in U.C.D.

In 1907, a new three-storey block was erected at the back of No. 53, with a Concert Hall on the ground floor, a Science Room and three classrooms on the second floor and on top there were nuns’ Cells. By 1922, a new era had begun in Irish Education. The Free State Government set up a Department of Education, which organised a new system of Secondary Education, with a six-year course of studies and two examinations within that period, the Intermediate Certificate Examination and the Leaving Certificate.

There were other developments, too, at that time. The Loreto Examination system was set up, with programmes for each Grade and examinations at the end of each year set by examiners for the Loreto schools. The Loreto Games League and the Loreto Debating Society were also founded at this time.

The school buildings have been extended many times over the years. During the 1920’s the Superior, Mother Albertus Culligan, an Australian, built a refectory for the boarders in the old 54 garden. Over it she erected a library. The next extension came in 1956, when the old music cells were demolished and a four-storey building was erected. This comprised a shoe room and a new laundry on the ground floor, four new classrooms on the next floor, an art room, another classroom and new music rooms on the third floor, and on top, a large dormitory. The Concert Hall was also enlarged. A further extension was made when St. Vincent’s Hospital was transferred to Elm Park. It then became possible to buy No. 55.

In 1986 a fire partially destroyed the College and Convent tragically claiming the lives of six Loreto Sisters. A decision was taken to move the school temporarily to Harcourt Street where an office block at number 79 was leased for two years. In 1988 “The Green” was reopened with entire new sections added to the original buildings.