The King's Hospital

The King's Hospital

School entrance gate at Palmerstown

Entrance to King's Hospital
A School And A Way Of Life
Palmerstown, County Dublin
Coordinates 53.359414,-6.386061
Established 1669
Chairman Mr Kenneth Peare (Chairman of the Board Of Management)
Principal Mr John Rafter
Gender male and female
Number of students 700 (approximately 2/3 are boarders).
Houses Mercer House, Desmond House, Blackhall House, Swift House, Stuart House, Bluecoat House, Ormonde House, Ivory House, Morgan House, Grace House
Colour(s)          Navy blue and Yellow
Religious order Church of Ireland
Annual basic fees 2013/2014

7-day boarding – domestic pupils: €14,374.00 / 5-day boarding – domestic pupils: €13,350.00 / 7-day boarding – E.U. pupils: €17,249.00

7-day boarding – Non E.U. pupils €17,968.00 / Day €6,274.00.
Family discounts(pupils concurrently in the school) 1st child at the school - no Discount / 2nd child at the school - 5-day boarding - €667.00, 7-day boarding - €718.00, day pupils - €314.00. 3rd child at the school: 5-day boarding - €1,334.00, 7-day boarding - €1,437.00, day-pupils €628.00. 4th child at the school: 5-day boarding - €1,334.00, 7-day boarding - €1,437.00, day pupils - €628.00
Children of clergy of the Church of Ireland discount 33%)(Canon G.F. Gibson Bursar Fund) 5-day boarding - €4,450.00/ 7-day boarding - €4,790.00 / day pupils - €2,090.00.

The King's Hospital is a Church of Ireland co-educational fee-paying boarding and day school situated in Palmerstown, Dublin, Ireland. . It is located on an 80-acre campus beside the River Liffey, called Brooklawn, named after the country houses situated on the site and in which the headmaster and their family resides.

Founded in 1669, it is one of the oldest schools in Ireland and was also known as the Blue Coat School.[1] Although priority is given to those of the main Protestant tradition, as a Christian school, it is attended by students of other denominations and faiths. The school's colours are navy and gold. The school crest is three burning castles with the date "1669", almost identical to the crest for Dublin city.[2] The current headmaster is John Rafter.[3]



The Blackhall Place building, circa 1890. A new cupola was being added.

The school was founded in 1669 as The Hospital and Free School of King Charles II and was located in Queen Street, Dublin. King's Hospital was a continuation of the old Free School of Dublin.[4] On 5 May 1674, the school opened with 60 pupils, including 3 girls.[5] From 1783 to 1971, the school was located in Blackhall Place, Dublin, currently the headquarters of the Law Society of Ireland.

Morgan's takeover

The take-over of Morgan’s School (1957) contributed to steadily increasing numbers of students, and by 1970, a need for extra space and facilities led to the move from the city centre to a modern purpose-built school set in its own 100-acre (400,000 m2) site on the banks of the River Liffey in Palmerstown, County Dublin.

Erwin Schrödinger

A 57-year-old manuscript by renowned Nobel Prize in Physics winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger recently resurfaced at the school.[6] Entitled "Fragment From An Unpublished Dialogue Of Galileo", it was written for the School's 1955 edition of the annual Blue Coat magazine to coincide with Schrödinger leaving Dublin to take up his appointment as Chair of Physics at the University of Vienna.[7] Schrödinger wrote the manuscript for the school's former English teacher and Editor of the Blue Coat magazine, Ronnie Anderson (now deceased), a friend of Schrödinger when he lived in Dublin. It is now in the possession of Professor Jonathan Coleman in CRANN at Trinity College, Dublin.



Charter Day

The annual calendar includes a number of special days and events forming part of the school tradition. One of these is Charter Day, when the Headmaster or Headmistress delivers an annual address to the school, and academic prizes are presented, commemorating the granting of the School's Charter in 1671.

Other traditions

Sports Day, Harvest Festival, Carol Service and Confirmation are other significant occasions, to which parents and past pupils are welcome. There is an open invitation on Sundays to attend worship according to the rites of the Church of Ireland. Morning assembly is compulsory for all pupils, and Sunday service is compulsory for boarders.



The school is co-educational and caters for some 700 pupils, roughly half day pupils and half boarders. The King’s Hospital has students from all over Ireland and from overseas. Students from Germany and Spain are the most common international students.


The School is divided into five boarding houses: Bluecoat, Mercer, Grace, Morgan and Ormonde and five day pupil houses. Each boarding house has its own resident housemaster or housemistress.


Rugby being played at King's Hospital

The King’s Hospital's 80-acre campus provides facilities such as:

- Modern Sports Hall & Gymnasium (with fully computerised fitness centre)

- 25-metre indoor heated swimming pool

- floodlit, artificial grass hockey pitch

- rugby pitches

- all-weather hockey pitches

- tennis courts

The School provides coaching and training in the following on the campus: rugby, hockey, cricket, athletics, cross-country, badminton, tennis, soccer, canoeing, basketball, swimming.[8] Off-site, the School offers opportunities to participate in: rowing.

Notable past pupils

Past pupil Minister Leo Varadkar TD

Notable headmasters

See also


  1. Falkiner, Frederick Richard. The foundation of the Hospital and Free school of King Charles II., Oxmantown Dublin: commonly called the Blue coat school. Palmerstown, Dublin.
  2. Image of KH Crest
  3. The Kings Hospital website
  4. Falkiner, Frederick Richard (1906). The foundation of the Hospital and Free school of King Charles II., Oxmantown Dublin: commonly called the Blue coat school. Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker. p. 36.
  5. Falkiner, Frederick Richard (1906). The foundation of the Hospital and Free school of King Charles II., Oxmantown Dublin: commonly called the Blue coat school. Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker. p. 70.
  6. "'Quantum humour' beams back after absence" 18 April 2012, The Irish Times.
  7. Copy of article for Blue Coat magazine
  8. "The King's Hospital, Church of Ireland Co-educational Day and Boarding School Dublin Ireland". 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
  9. CRANN. "Prof Jonathan Coleman". CRANN. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
  11. CRANN. "Prof Jonathan Coleman announced 2011 SFI Researcher of Year". CRANN. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
  12. "Heike Holstein". Sweep Stud. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
  13. "RUC men's secret war with the IRA". Sunday Times. Liam Clarke. 7 March 1999.

Coordinates: 53°21′32″N 6°23′09″W / 53.358832°N 6.38582°W / 53.358832; -6.38582

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