Best private schools in Ireland and their cost

Gert Svaiko

Are you planning to move to Ireland from the UK and are looking around for private schools for your little (or not-so-little) ones?

Ireland offers a diverse selection of private schools with deep-rooted traditions, hundreds of years of history and modern approaches. This post covers 11 best private schools in Ireland, their fees and an overview of each private school.

We’ll also outline how the application process works and what documents are usually needed.

And, if you need to sort out your money in both British pounds (GBP) and euros (EUR) when moving, the money services provider Wise can help. With the Wise account, you can send, hold, convert and spend in over 40+ currencies with low, transparent fees and the mid-market exchange rate.

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Table of contents

11 best private schools in Ireland

Are you moving to Ireland from the UK? Or are you looking to send your child to a boarding school in Ireland? Whatever the case may be, choosing the right school is always a priority. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best private schools in Ireland and their tuition and boarding fees.

A note on the fees: not all the costs may be included in the tuition fee. Other fees can be for food, textbooks and uniforms, one-time fees for new joiners, school outings and so on.

Extra fees can add up to thousands of euros in additional costs with more expensive private schools, so make sure to consult the school’s fee schedules.

Sibling discounts are usually available, if you have more than one child attending.

SchoolTuition feesTypeLocation
International School of Dublin¹€72,300 or around £61,820 (no additional fees listed)Co-educationalDublin
Nord Anglia International School Dublin²€15,312 - €23,523 (around £13,090 - £20,112)Co-educationalDublin
Sligo Grammar SchoolFees not listed online, contact school directlyCo-educationalSligo
Bandon Grammar School (West Cork School) ³€4,418 or around £3,770

With boarding: €10,722 - €16,426 (around £9,170 - £14,040)

Co-educationalWest Cork
Villiers School€4,600 or around £3,930

With boarding: €10,800 - €18,400 (around £9,230 - £15,730)

Blackrock College Dublin Private SchoolFees not listed online, contact school directlyBoysDublin
Monaghan Collegiate SchoolFees not listed online, contact school directlyCo-educationalMonaghan
Drogheda Grammar School€4,275 or around £3,650Co-educationalDrogheda
Kings Hospital School Dublin (Kings Private School)€8,485 or around £7,254

With boarding: €17,580 – €25,623 (around £15,030 - £21,910)

Hedley Park Montessori School€11,775 or around £10,070Co-educationalDublin
John Scottus School⁸ ⁹€5,300 - €5,775 (around £4,530 - £4,940)Co-educationalDublin

International School of Dublin

The International School of Dublin (ISD) co-educational school was established in 2007. It is the first accredited International Baccalaureate (IB) World Primary School in Ireland. This culturally diverse school is non-denominational and accepts students aged 3 to 19.

Small class sizes guarantee the individual attention that each student needs. Teachers leading the classes have international experience and are skilled in using innovative teaching methods. The school prides itself in giving their students the tools to become independent learners.

Students can learn Spanish as an additional language and international students get support to continue learning and using their mother tongue.

ISD has many after-school activities available. Some clubs pupils can join are: piano, yoga, football, capoeira, Japanese, French, dancing, and sewing. Students also regularly participate in field trips and the school often hosts guest speakers from a variety of expert areas.¹⁰

Nord Anglia International School Dublin

Part of the Nord Anglia family of premium schools, Nord Anglia International School Dublin (NAIS) teaches the IB curriculum. Irish history, culture and language are also taught throughout all levels as part of the curriculum. This co-educational school admits students from 3 to 18 years old.

The school collaborates with several leading institutions to provide a high level of education. Programs created hand-in-hand with The Juilliard School, MIT and UNICEF deliver valuable learning opportunities for students.

NAIS prioritises diversifying students' learning experiences through nurturing pupils' hobbies and pastimes. A large selection of activities means that all students can find clubs and hobbies that match their interests.¹¹

Sligo Grammar School

Sligo Grammar School’s history spans more than 400 years. The school incorporates part of the original Charter School, which was set up in 1752 under the Royal Charter. This co-educational day and boarding school is managed by the Church of Ireland and admits students around the ages of 12 to 18. International students and students from other religions are warmly welcomed.

The school focuses on excellence in an inclusive and supportive community that is based on Christian values. Each student is supported in achieving their full potential both in personal life and academics.

Sligo Grammar School has a wide range of extracurricular activities available from sports to cultural activities. The school's rugby and hockey teams and award-winning choir have earned well-deserved recognition. Theatre trips and other cultural field trips are also a regular part of school life.12


Bandon Grammar School (West Cork School)

Bandon Grammar School is a Church of Ireland secondary school located in Bandon, County Cork. The school was established in 1642 and is one of the oldest schools in Ireland. Bandon Grammar is a day and boarding school and boarding is available as 5-day or 7-day boarding.

In the senior cycle students can choose three different academic pathways. Two options focus on preparing pupils for working life and one is for continuing higher education.

The school has many extracurricular activities available. These include tennis, basketball, rugby, sailing. Student's can also join different clubs like woodworking, drama, chess and art club.¹³

Villiers School

Hannah Villiers founded the Villiers Charitable Institutions in 1821. The school started as a Protestant educational establishment, which in the modern day has an international multi-faith student body. Villiers has been teaching the renowned IB curriculum since 2017.

Most of the students attend the day school, with about 25% of all students boarding. Weekly, fortnightly and 7-day boarding is available.

The school balances traditional values with modern approaches. State of the art educational facilities and modern teaching approaches support students' growth on all levels.

Contemporary facilities include state-of-the-art science laboratories, art rooms, technology, graphics and construction labs and a large ICT suite. Sports facilities include a full size sports hall, hockey pitch, rugby pitch, changing rooms and cardio gym.¹⁴

Blackrock College Dublin

Père Jules Leman, a French missionary, founded Blackrock College in 1860 along with his companions. It was one of the five schools that the Order of the Holy Ghost established in Ireland. This Catholic day and boarding school offers secondary education to boys aged 13–18 and is located in Williamstown. Over 1600 boys study across two campuses in Willow Park and Blackrock College.

Blackrock College is located near the sea and is surrounded by 56 acres of beautiful serene parkland. The boarding and teaching facilities accommodate about 1,000 day and boarding students.

Students can take part in sailing, summer tennis, water-polo and rugby, to name just a few of the sporting activities. There's also different clubs (chess, debating, science and more) as well as many cultural activities like the jazz band, choir or acting groups.¹⁵

Monaghan Collegiate School

Formerly the Monaghan Diocesan School, the school was originally founded in 1570. In 1902 the school was temporarily closed. The present day school was re-established in 1950. Monaghan Collegiate School is a co-educational day school for ages 11-19. It's located in a tranquil rural setting, outside the Monaghan town.

The school prioritises the holistic development of their students. This means spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical growth in an inclusive and caring environment. The school’s motto is ‘Working together so that we may flourish as individuals’.

Monaghan Collegiate School accepts international students. Overseas students are also prepared for one or more of three examinations from the Cambridge suite of examinations.

The school has many extracurriculars available. These include a lively music department and an active scripture union. There's also basketball, rugby, tennis, and more.¹⁶


Drogheda Grammar School

Drogheda Grammar School has been providing top tier education to local and international students for over 350 years. The school was founded under Royal Charter in 1669 by Erasmus Smith and is one of the oldest secondary schools in Ireland. Drogheda Grammar School was originally a boys’ boarding school and has been a co-educational school for over fifty years.

Located on 18 acres in a rural setting, the school is surrounded by a peaceful environment to balance academic studies. Over 500 students are currently enrolled at the school. The campus consists of a beautiful Regency house flanked by woodland. There's modern classroom buildings and extensive playing fields.

Students can take part in many extracurricular activities. There's chess club, hockey, netball, rugby, soccer and more.¹⁷

Kings Hospital School Dublin (Kings Private School)

The King’s Hospital School, one of Ireland’s leading day and boarding schools, was founded in 1669. The school emphasises its strong Church of Ireland values: compassion, respect and personal responsibility. This co-educational school teaches local and international students from ages 12-19.

The school has 80 acres of beautiful parkland and is boarding nearly 300 students, with the total number of students exceeding 700. The average class size for seniors is 15 pupils and 20 for juniors.

Students can join many after school activities. There's different sports activities, performing arts, music and other clubs. ¹⁸

Hedley Park Montessori School

Hedley Park is an independent Preparatory School that provides education for children from 2.5–12 years of age. Founded in 1990, this co-educational school uses the Montessori educational approach. The Montessori approach focuses on the individual child and their unique learning style and pace.

Hedley Park considers it most important to nurture its students' desire to learn and their belief in their own abilities.

Located in the heart of Georgian Dublin, the school offers its students easy access to museums, parks and galleries. Hedley Park also has its own private garden.

Extracurricular activities include ballet, karate, tennis, drama and performance, mandarin lessons, educational outings and more.¹⁹

John Scottus School

John Scottus School was founded in 1986 and is named after John Scottus Eriugena, the Platonist philosopher, theologian and poet of Ireland’s Golden Age.

John Scottus School is a multi-faith school, inspired by the works of Plato, Christianity and non-dual Advaita Vedanta philosophy. The secondary school is a co-educational private school and the primary school operates as a national school.

Spirituality is an essential part of the John Scottus School. The curriculum teaches the standard primary curriculum with a focus on philosophy. All students practise meditation and learn Sanskrit, alongside traditional national curriculum subjects.

The school's motto is ‘Laetus Impraesens’ – delight in the present.²⁰

How many private schools are in Ireland?

Ireland has around 50 private secondary schools and every year about 26,000 students attend the state-subsidised schools.²¹ There are fewer private elementary schools around – about 40.²²

Even though the primary schools don’t enjoy the same financial support from the state as the secondary schools, they remain in demand thanks to smaller class sizes and available additional support services.


How much do private schools cost in Ireland?

Luckily Ireland isn’t one of the most expensive countries to study in. Private school fees are roughly the same across all school levels from preschool to secondary school:

  • The fees for preschools come to about 3,000 – 10,000 euros or roughly 2,560 – 8,550 pounds per year.19,20
  • Primary schools cost on average 3,000 – 11,000 euros or about 2,560 – 9,400 pounds per year. ²²
  • Secondary schools cost on average around 4,000 – 10,000 euros or about 3,420 – 8,550 pounds per year.²¹

Note: this only takes into account the tuition fees.

If you want to make your pounds go further, consider sending the tuition and other fees over safely and securely using the Wise account. It’s not a bank account but offers many similar features.

With Wise, you get the mid-market exchange rate for all currency conversions, with no margins added on top and no hidden fees – just a small currency conversion fee that you can see up front.


Which are the most expensive private schools in Ireland?

The most expensive private schools will cost just a tad more than the average 4–10K… Actually, quite a bit more.

The International School of Dublin costs 72,000 euros or about 61,560 pounds per year, making it the most expensive school we found. However, keep in mind – this fee covers everything and there are no additional charges.

Nord Anglia International School comes in second, with tuition fees ranging from 15,312 – 23,523 euros (about 13,090 – 20,112 pounds).

What is the most luxurious school in Ireland?

In general, you can expect more expensive schools to be more ‘luxurious’ – schools’ with high fees like the International School of Dublin and Nord Anglia International School definitely fit the bill.

Still, it’s good to make sure you know what you and your child need from their learning environment. Often the most luxurious experience of all is authentic and personal care.

How to apply to a private school in Ireland?

Applying to a private school in Ireland is very straightforward. You’ll find the contact emails or forms on the schools websites along with instructions on what is needed. Note that you’ll often have to cover a one-time fee for applications.

The next step is usually to go in for an interview – or a few, depending on the school. Your child will often also need to take a test to show their academic skills.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions before applying, the more information you have, the smoother the process will be.

📚 Read more: Buying property in Ireland as a foreigner

What are the admission requirements?

Admission requirements are similar among private schools. Most schools will look at academic ability and engagement in extracurriculars. If you’re aiming for a top tier school, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a private tutor before your child takes the tests at the school you’re applying to.

Here is an example of the documents you may need to submit when applying to a private school in Ireland:¹⁰

  • Copy of the applicant's birth certificate
  • Immunisation records
  • Copy of ID
  • Photo of the applicant
  • School report from previous school
  • Reference letter from previous school

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Sources used:

  1. Nord Anglia International School Dublin – Fees
  2. International School of Dublin – Fees
  3. Bandon Grammar – Fees
  4. Villiers Day & Boarding School Ireland – School Fees
  5. Drogheda Grammar School – Fees
  6. The King’s Hospital School – School Fees
  7. Hedley Park Montessori School – Fees
  8. John Scottus Primary & Pre-School – Fees
  9. John Scottus Primary & Pre-School – Secondary School Admission
  10. International School of Dublin – Homepage
  11. Nord Anglia International School Dublin, Ireland | NAIS Dublin – Homepage
  12. Sligo Grammar School – Homepage
  13. Bandon Grammar School – Homepage
  14. Villiers School – Homepage
  15. Blackrock College – Homepage
  16. Monaghan Collegiate School – Homepage
  17. Drogheda Grammar School – Homepage
  18. Kings Hospital School – Homepage
  19. Hedley Park Montessori School – Homepage
  20. John Scottus School – Homepage
  21. Irish Links - Private Schools in Ireland
  22. Newstalk - Over 5,000 children enrolled in private primary schools last year

Sources last checked on date: 29-Feb-2024

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