Best Private Schools in Ireland

The 5 Best Private Schools in Ireland

Need to enrol your child soon? Well, this article is for you as we’ll be discussing our selections for the best private schools in Ireland!

Add to that are answers we’ve gathered to some FAQs as well as tips you’ll find helpful in choosing the right educational institution for your child.

But first, let’s talk about school fees.

Private School Fees in Ireland

Remember, aside from tuition, you may need to spend more on uniforms, school trips, school bus services, boarding, and so on.

Some of our featured private schools’ fees have been listed in the table below, so you’ll have a better idea of how much you’ll spend to enrol your child in any one of our top picks.

Note: For more info on each school’s fees, you can click on the link we’ve provided as we discuss each school.

PRIVATE SCHOOLPURPOSECOST
International School of DublinRegistration deposit € 1,000
Tuition (based on the student’s month of enrolment) 
August € 9,850
June € 1,175
Nord Anglia International School Dublin One-time, non-refundable enrolment fee€ 1,500
Early years€11,620 – €13,720 
Primary €13,720 – €14,490
Secondary€16,660 – €18,340 
Sligo Grammar SchoolTuition fee Need to contact 
Villiers SchoolDay pupil (tuition only)€ 3,950
Weekly 5-day boarding (incl. tuition)€ 9,200
Fortnightly boarding (incl. tuition & 5-day boarding per week, plus open weekends)€ 12,650
Hedley Park Montessori School Full day (8:00 am to 6:00 pm) 
Per year€ 10,890
Per term € 3,630

The Best Private Schools in Ireland

Finally, here is our list of the country’s best private schools!

1.   International School of Dublin

International School of Dublin's Homepage
COURSESPre-kindergarten to primary  

Click here to know more about the school’s fees.
WEBSITEhttps://internationalschooldublin.ie/
ADDRESSSynge St, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin, D08 PW64
CONTACT DETAILS(+353) 87 – 329 – 1417
[email protected]
OPERATING HOURS8:00 am to 6:00 pm (Monday – Friday)

Founded in 2007, the International School of Dublin (ISD) is a co-ed, non-denominational international school for pre-kindergarten to Grade 6 students.

As one of its main features, ISD is an accredited International Baccalaureate (IB) World Primary School. Hence, it utilises IB’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) suited for children ages 3 to 12.

As an international school, ISD has more than 20 nationalities among its students, staff, and parents/guardians. Spanish is provided as a foreign language, and there’s also support for non-native speakers of English via EAL or English as an Additional Language session.

For parents/guardians, there’s no need to worry if you’re still unfamiliar with the IB PYP since ISD’s teachers carry out workshops to help you better know the curriculum your child will be undertaking.

There’s also after school care options—great for working parents/guardians.  Your child can play, learn crafts and do other activities such as dancing, cooking, piano, football, and more from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

Pros

  • Uniforms are not required
  • Has workshops to explain IB PYP
  • Has school bus service
  • IB World Primary School
  • Offers after-school care
  • Offers international admissions

Cons

  • Education is only up to Grade 6
  • Does not accept credit card payments
  • Does not currently offer scholarships/sibling discounts

Customer Reviews

The following are some positive reviews about the International School of Dublin:

“Thumbs up! School uses scientifically proven educational methodologies, while remaining a safe place to grow as part of a group and develop individually the same time.” -Jacek Frymus

“We have moved to Dublin from abroad and I am so happy we enroled our 5 year old son at ISD. He is very happy at school, asking to go even on weekend days. I love the international and multi-cultural environment of this school. I am also really impressed with the team, very friendly, warm, welcoming and professional. I am happy to recommend warmly this school as I see all children happy and blooming thanks to their IB and « learning through inquiry » curriculum.” -Paul-Henri Aumont

2.   Nord Anglia International School Dublin

Nord Anglia International School Dublin's Homepage
COURSESEarly years to secondary  

Click here to know more about the school’s fees.
WEBSITEhttps://www.nordangliaeducation.com/schools/dublin/international
ADDRESSSouth County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18 D18 T672
CONTACT DETAILS+353 1 544 2323
 
Admission inquiries:
[email protected]
 
General inquiries:
[email protected]
OPERATING HOURS7:30 am to 5:30 pm (Monday – Friday)

Nord Anglia International School (NAIS) Dublin is another co-ed international school. It boasts of being present in 30 countries worldwide.

What makes NAIS Dublin a standout among other private schools is its collaboration with two other schools: The Juilliard School and the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

This gives your child opportunities to learn more about performing arts and immerse him or herself in STEAM subjects or science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

Furthermore, NAIS is an IB Continuum School and offers the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, and Diploma Programme.

In other words, there’s no need to switch schools before college as your child can acquire his or her full education here at NAIS, from kindergarten until 18 years of age.

In terms of the teacher-to-student ratio, it’s 8:1. Also, their average class size doesn’t go beyond 25. Additionally, your child can meet classmates from more than 40 different nationalities and learn foreign languages such as Mandarin, French, and German, including Irish.

Unfortunately, if you live far from Dublin and are looking for accommodation, you’ll need to look for it elsewhere since NAIS Dublin does not provide one.

Pros

  • Education is up to secondary level
  • Offers international admissions
  • Offers virtual discovery meeting
  • Collaborations w/ The Juilliard School & MIT
  • Has school bus service
  • After-school care available

Cons

  • Does not offer boarding
  • No mention of scholarships/sibling discounts

Customer Reviews

Check out these comments from a NAIS Dublin student and parent:

“I am a Nord Anglia student and I must say, THIS IS THE BEST SCHOOL EVER!!!!! I come in to school everyday, ready to conquer new challenges! The teachers are great and all students enjoy spending their time with them. The education here is excellent and encourages everyone to be ambitious! I totally recommend going to school here!” -Sophie M

“We love this school! My middle school daughter loves going to school everyday. She is academically challenged, creatively stimulated and able to exercise leadership skills in ways we never thought possible at a school. And this happens on a daily basis! Our dinner discussions are full of exciting new things she’s learned and done at school that day so seeing your child be so happy in a learning environment, well you can’t ask for more than that! Highly recommend!” -Erin Zhurkin

3.   Sligo Grammar School

Sligo Grammar School's Homepage
COURSESSecondary
WEBSITEhttp://www.sligogrammarschool.org/
ADDRESSThe Mall, Rathquarter, Sligo
CONTACT DETAILS+353 71 914 3531
+353 71 914 5010
[email protected]

If you’re looking for a co-ed private school that also offers accommodation, check out Sligo Grammar School.

It’s under the management of the Church of Ireland and caters to students ages 12 to 18. However, it also welcomes students from other religions as well as international students.

In terms of subjects offered, it’s worth mentioning that Sligo Grammar School offers subjects on woodwork and construction studies and is equipped with a purpose-built workshop for these subjects.

In addition, TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language is offered to all their international students. And if your child is interested in taking up the Cambridge examinations, Sligo Grammar School helps them prepare for this.

Moreover, this private school also houses a number of sports facilities, including a hockey pitch, tennis and basketball areas, and a rugby pitch. Hockey is their main sport for girls, while rugby is their core sport for boys.

And aside from other common extracurricular activities, it’s great that Sligo Grammar School places emphasis on fundraising. All year groups raise funds for different charities.

Pros

  • Offers accommodation
  • Accepts international students
  • Offers subjects on woodwork and construction
  • Has multiple sports facilities

Cons

  • Education is only for secondary level
  • No mention of scholarships/sibling discounts
  • No mention of school bus service

Customer Reviews

Helen Skelly is a parent who enrolled two of her kids in Sligo Grammar School. Read her review of the school:

“One of my children have been through the school and exceeded her expectations of what she wanted to do.  She worked hard under the great supervision of the teachers and is now studying Psychology degree, teachers often ask how she is doing. My son is now in leaving Cert and has also been given a lot of encouragement and also shown that the whole person is important and it’s not the results that matter but the emotional, spiritual and mental well being that is most important.  He hopes to do Musical Theatre Degree in Dublin. The teachers are supportive and easy to chat to. The Principle is approachable and caring. If the student is willing to learn the teachers are very very supportive.” -Helen Skelly

4.   Villiers School

Villiers School's Homepage
COURSESSecondary  

Click here and here to know more about the school’s fees.
WEBSITEhttps://www.villiers-school.com/
ADDRESSNorth Circular Road, Limerick, V94 F983
CONTACT DETAILS+353 61 451 447
[email protected]

Founded in 1821, Villiers School in Limerick is another option if you’d like to enrol your child in a co-ed boarding school for secondary learners, including international students.

Up to 7-day boarding is offered in this private school as well as customised meals for students with particular diets. This includes vegetarian, vegan, halal, and coeliac diets.

The boarding school has a nursing staff and is also home to Villiers School’s Headmistress and Chaplain.

Meanwhile, one of Villiers School’s noteworthy features is that it offers both the Leaving Certificate and its international alternative, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

On top of this, the school’s website provides info on grants and bursaries available to Protestant students (see https://secgrant.ie/). To boot, Villiers also offers IB DP scholarships worth €2,000, academic scholarships, and hockey scholarships.

What’s more, there is a sibling discount available. Hence, if you’ve got more than one child at the secondary level, you’ll be entitled to a 10% discount.

On the flip side, though, while they claim to be the country’s leading IB school, note that currently, other IB programmes (e.g. Primary Years Programme) are not yet offered.

Pros

  • Offers accommodation
  • Offers multiple scholarships
  • Accepts international students
  • Offers both Leaving Certificate & IB DP

Cons

  • Education is only for secondary level
  • No other IB programme except for IB DP

5.   Hedley Park Montessori School

Hedley Park Montessori School's Homepage
SERVICESNursery & preschool and preparatory  

Click here to know more about the school’s fees.
WEBSITEhttps://hedleyparkmontessorischool.com/
ADDRESS67 Merrion Square, Dublin 2
CONTACT DETAILS+35316612388
[email protected]
OPERATING HOURS8:00 am to 6:00 pm (Monday – Friday)

If your child is just starting his or her formal education, check out Hedley Park Montessori School for nursery and preschool and preparatory students ages 4 to 12.

It’s also another co-ed, non-denominational school, so it’s ideal for parents who prefer to enrol their kids in private schools that are not affiliated with any particular religious belief.

In terms of facilities, Hedley Park’s classrooms are equipped with gadgets to aid learning such as SmartScreen technology, iPads, and MacBook Airs.

And if you pack your kids lunch, you can have it heated in the school. Outdoors, there is a giant chessboard and a private garden located at the rear of the school.

Aside from studying a variety of subjects, learning is made more enjoyable through a bunch of activities to further enhance the mind as well as physical health.

Your kids can enrol in ballet classes, learn Mandarin and calligraphy, and participate in the so-called Forest School, among others.

Meanwhile, the teacher-to-student ratio is approximately 1:12. While classes end at 3:30 pm, Hedley Park offers pre and post-care, so you can have someone look after your child if you’re still at work.

Pros

  • Classrooms are equipped with gadgets
  • Offers pre and post-care service
  • Small teacher-to-student ratio

Cons

  • No mention of international admissions
  • Education is only for primary level

Customer Reviews

Susie Aherne Gray, a parent of former Hedley Park Montessori School students wrote a lengthy review of the school. Read a part of it:

“Our twins progressed onto Secondary school from Hedley Park Montessori Primary School last year after nearly 8 wonderful years. A year has passed and I don’t really feel that we’ve actually left. Hedley is a community and each family is part of an extended family, and that is Hedley Park. It really is a very special place and we were / are very lucky to be part of it. . .” -Susie Aherne Gray

How to Choose a Private School

What are some of the things you need to think about when you pick a private school for your child? Read the tips below:

1. Accommodation

If you’re particularly after a boarding school, it’s best to check out their boarding facilities personally.

One of the primary things to inquire about is the school’s security measures. Are there CCTV cameras? If so, where are these located? What about fire alarms, fire exits, smoke detectors, and such?

Ask who manages the students’ residence so that your child will know who to contact if he or she encounters any problems.

Another important thing to ask about is visiting hours. When are parents allowed to visit? Moreover, aside from your child’s board mates, who else is allowed to visit the boarding house’s premises?

2. Special needs

Is your child academically challenged? Then it’s best to ask the school what their measures are to help such students.

Do they have a specific department that helps these students to ensure they are able to cope with their studies?

Special needs can also refer to diet. If your child follows a specific diet due to illness, preference, or some other reason, ask if the school’s canteen can accommodate his or her needs.

3. After-school care options

Younger students may not spend their whole day in school. Hence, if you’re still working by the time he or she finishes school for the day, it’s a good idea to choose an institution that offers after-school care options.

This will allow you to have that peace of mind as you work, knowing that your child is occupied and safe while you can’t pick him or her yet.

4. Scholarships

Private schools certainly have their perks, one of which is a lower teacher-to-student ratio. Understandably, many parents would want their kids to study in less crowded classrooms.

Of course, finances can be a concern for many parents who desire to send their kids to private schools. However, some offer scholarships to deserving students, so you can narrow your search to those that do if you’re tight on budget.

Furthermore, some also offer sibling discounts to parents who have more than one child attending their school, so look out for those as well.

FAQs about the Best Private Schools in Ireland


And that’s where our list of the best private schools in Ireland comes to a close! Hopefully, it has been of some help to you.

If you know other private schools that should also be mentioned here, just drop us a line, so we can check them out!

Maybe you’d like to see our private school picks for a particular county? Then, take a look at our choices for the best private schools in Dublin!