Updated: 29/08/17 : 05:23:26
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The Sunday Times Best Schools Guide

Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Limerick, where 93.7% of the girls progress to university, is the top secondary school in Ireland for the fourth successive year in The Sunday Times Best Schools Guide published on August 27. The annual Sunday Times survey is the definitive guide to the country’s top 400 secondary schools. It measures the progression of all second-level students over a three-year period – from 2014 to 2016 – to universities and institutes of technology.

In 2014, Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ was the first Gaelcholáiste (Irish-language school) to become top of The Sunday Times Best Schools Guide since the paper’s annual Parent Power survey began in 2003. Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ is also the only non-fee-paying school to top the Sunday Times league table over the past 12 years. The 422-pupil girls’ Gaelcholáiste has been the top school in Munster (excluding Cork) for seven out of the past 14 years.

Second overall in this year’s Sunday Times Irish Parent Power survey, up three places from fifth in 2016, is Scoil Mhuire, Sidney Place, Cork, which is Ireland’s top fee-paying school. Scoil Mhuire has sent an average of 89.6% of its students to university between 2014 and 2016.

Ranked 14th overall, Coláiste na Coiribe, Galway, is the only mixed school among Ireland's 20 top schools in today's Sunday Times guide. With more than 450 students, the Galway Gaelcholáiste sent an average of 79% to university between 2014 and 2016. It has been the top school in Connacht for four of the past five years.

There are two mixed schools in the top 25, both in Galway, Coláiste na Coiribe and Coláiste Iognaid SJ, Sea Rd, Galway – ranked 22nd which offers teaching in the Irish medium and where 76.5% of the students go to university.

Ranked fourth overall, The Teresian School, in Donnybrook, is the top girls' school in Dublin. The fee-paying school saw 85.9% of its pupils gaining university places. Fifth overall, Coláiste Íosagáin, the girls' school in Booterstown, is the top Gaelcholáiste in Dublin, where 85.1% of its pupils won university places over the past three years. Girls’ schools occupy six out of the top 10 and 13 of the top 25 places in the latest Sunday Times survey of second-level education.

Castleknock College, which was 93rd in 2010, is in 12th position overall this year, making it the top school in North Dublin for the fourth time, ahead of Belvedere College.  Castleknock, the boys’ fee-paying school in the north Dublin suburb, sent 80.8% of students to university between 2014 and 2016. Ranked 15th, up from 23rd last year, Belvedere College saw 78.7% of its students progress to university.




Fee-paying schools in bold; Gaelcholáistí in italics; *English-speaking school with Gaelcholáistí streams or units; (G) Irish-medium Gaeltacht school; (B) Boarding provided


National rank, with 2016 in brackets                                                                                             % at university

                                                                                                          Type of school               


 (1)      Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Sth Circular Rd, Limerick                               Girls                   93.7%


2  (5)      Scoil Mhuire, Sidney Place, Cork                                                    Girls                   89.6%


3  (8)      Salerno Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Salthill, Galway                 Girls                   87.1%


4  (6)      The Teresian School, Donnybrook, Dublin 4                                    Girls                  85.9%


5  (7)      Coláiste Íosagáin, Booterstown, Co Dublin                                            Girls                   85.1%


6  (13)    Glenstal Abbey School, Murroe, Co Limerick (B)                              Boys                  84.6%


7  (3)      Presentation Brothers College, Mardyke, Cork                                  Boys                  83.5%


8= (14)   Christian Brothers College, Sidney Hill, Cork                                     Boys                  83.4%


8= (2)     Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin 6                                               Boys                  83.4%


10 (12)    Loreto College, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2                                    Girls                   82.7%


11 (11)    Coláiste Íde, Dingle, Co Kerry (G) (B)                                                      Girls                   82.6%


12 (10)    Castleknock College, Castleknock, Dublin 15                                     Boys                  80.8%


13 (9)      Mount Anville Secondary School, Goatstown, Dublin 14                   Girls                   80.3%


14 (15)    Coláiste na Coiribe, Knocknacarra, Galway                                           Mixed                 79.0%


15 (23)    Belvedere College, Great Denmark St, Dublin 1                               Boys                   78.7%


16 (4)      Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin 6 (B)                                       Girls                    77.7%


17 (16)    Cistercian College, Roscrea, Co Tipperary (B)                                 Boys                   77.3%


18 (18)    Coláiste Eoin, Booterstown, Co Dublin                                                 Boys                   77.1%


19 (31)    Mount Sackville Secondary School, Chapelizod, Dublin 20              Girls                   76.9%


20 (21)    Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Rd, Cork                                       Girls                    76.8%


21 (26)    Blackrock College, Blackrock, Co Dublin (B)                                   Boys                   76.5%


22 (20)    *Coláiste Iognaid SJ, Sea Rd, Galway                                                 Mixed                  76.5%


23 (19)    Loreto High School, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14                                   Girls                     76.0%


24 (36)    Ardscoil Rís, Nth Circular Rd, Limerick                                               Boys                    74.7%


25 (52)    Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles, Co Tipperary (B)                        Girls                     74.5%

The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2017 ranks the top 400 secondary schools in Ireland by the average proportion of pupils gaining places in autumn 2014, 2015 and 2016 at one of the nine universities on the island of Ireland, main teacher training colleges, Royal College of Surgeons or National College of Art and Design. Where schools are tied, the proportion of students gaining places at all non-private, third-level colleges is taken into account. Schools offering only senior cycle are excluded. The guide is compiled by Kate Butler.


The Sunday Times ensures readers are well informed, delivering a well-balanced perspective on local and international stories as well as offering a range of diverse and thought provoking views and opinions from top columnists such as Justine McCarthy, Cormac Lucey and Conor Brady. Insights into the global news agenda are delivered via the wealth of content generated by over 200 journalists in London and 36 correspondents across six continents.