Tuesday 24 January 2017

Varadkar among past pupils of prestigious €16k-a-year Dublin school

Published 02/12/2016 | 02:30

The King’s Hospital school in Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly
The King’s Hospital school in Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly

King's Hospital is a prestigious, co-educational Church of Ireland secondary school, whose alumni include well-known figures from the worlds of politics, broadcasting, sports and pop.

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Parents pay upwards of €15,580 every academic year for the privilege of sending their children to the institution, rising to almost €18,000 a year for non-European foreign students.

Past pupil Leo Varadkar
Past pupil Leo Varadkar

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar, TV presenter Kathryn Thomas and singing duo Jedward are among the former pupils to have graced its halls. Former head of the GAA the late Jack Boothman and singer Lisa Hannigan are also former students.

Founded in 1669, as The Hospital and Free School of King Charles II, the school's ethos is best summed up in its motto "a school and a way of life". The school moved from the city to its 80-acre site in Palmerstown in 1970.

John Rafter became the 25th headmaster of the school two years ago.

According to its promotional literature, the school is a Christian institution in which the traditions and beliefs of the Church of Ireland inform its policies and practices.

Past pupil Kathryn Thomas
Past pupil Kathryn Thomas

Most of King's Hospital's 700 pupils are boarders, though about one-third are day students.

The annual cost for a five-day boarding student at the school is €14,275, or €15,580 for a seven-day boarder. The cost for day students is €6,895. Children of members of the Church of Ireland clergy get a 33pc discount on those prices. Parents who already have children in the school are also offered discounts.

Among the reasons for the popularity of King's Hospital is the wide range of subjects it offers. Meanwhile, extra-curricular activities include hillwalking, debating and poetry.

The school has produced a number of Olympic athletes, including some who competed at the most recent games in Rio. They were runner Sara Tracey; Natalya Coyle, who took part in the modern pentathlon; and equestrian competitors Judy Reynolds and Camilla Speirs.

Pop stars Jedward
Pop stars Jedward

King's Hospital prides itself on its rugby teams with up to 12 teams fielded in various age groups.

The school was previously embroiled in controversy when it and national swimming body, Swim Ireland, agreed to pay substantial damages to 13 victims of paedophile coach Derry O'Rourke.

The payouts in February 2008 marked the end of a mammoth 10-year legal battle by the women who were horrifically abused by O'Rourke as young girls from the early 1970s onwards.

One of the 13 women received a payout of more than €500,000 and 11 others received awards of more than €100,000 each.

Irish Independent

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