The King's Hospital

The Hospital and Free School of King Charles II, Oxmantown, also called The King's Hospital (KH; Irish: Scoil Ospidéal an Rí[1]) is a Church of Ireland co-educational independent day and boarding school situated in Palmerstown, Dublin, Ireland. It is 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 his family reside. The school is also a member of the HMC Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the BSA.[2]

The King's Hospital
Scoil Ospidéal an Rí

Hospitium Regis
Entrance to King's Hospital

Coordinates53.3588°N 6.3859°W / 53.3588; -6.3859
TypeIndependent day and boarding school
Public School
MottoA School And A Way Of Life
Religious affiliation(s)Church of Ireland
Established1669 (1669)
ChairmanAngus Potterton (chairman of the board Of governors)
PrincipalMark Ronan
YearsForms 1-6 Age 12-18
Gendermale and female
Number of students700 (approximately 1/3 are boarders ).
HousesMercer 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

Founded in 1669, it is one of the oldest schools in Ireland and was also known as the Blue Coat School.[3] 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.[4] The current headmaster is Mark Ronan.[5]



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.[6] On 5 May 1674, the school opened with 60 pupils, including 3 girls.[7] From 1783 to 1971, the school was located in Blackhall Place, Dublin, currently the headquarters of the Law Society of Ireland.

During the early seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries it was used as the site of elections to the Irish Parliament's Dublin City. When this was changed to the Tholsel for the 1713 general election, it led to the Dublin election riot.[8]

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 the Nobel Prize in Physics winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger resurfaced at the school in 2012.[9] 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.[10] 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 King's Hospital alumnus Professor Jonathan Coleman in CRANN at Trinity College, Dublin.[11]


The school is co-educational and caters for some 720 pupils, roughly 440 day pupils and 280 boarders in 2018/19.[12] 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 school has a gymnasium and sports hall with an advanced fitness center. The school also has access to a swimming pool, grass hockey pitch, rugby pitches and tennis courts.

Various sports (with a focus on rugby) are played on campus and training is provided by staff. The school has teams for rugby, hockey, cricket, athletics, cross-country, badminton, soccer, basketball and swimming.[13]

Notable past pupils

Past pupil Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD

Notable headmasters

  • 1922–1927: John Mason Harden


  1. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "The Boarding Schools' Association (BSA)".
  3. 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.
  4. "Image of KH Crest".
  5. "Boarding schools hold new appeal for modern families". The Irish Times.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
    • Simms, J.G. War and Politics in Ireland, 1649-1730. Hambledon Press, 1986. p.280-81
  8. "'Quantum humour' beams back after absence" 18 April 2012, The Irish Times.
  9. Copy of article for Blue Coat magazine
  10. "'Quantum humour' beams back after absence".
  11. "The King's Hospital School. One of Ireland's leading boarding schools. - Kings Hospital School".
  12. "The King's Hospital, Church of Ireland Co-educational Day and Boarding School Dublin Ireland". 4 October 2012. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  13. CRANN. "Prof Jonathan Coleman". CRANN. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  14. "Thin materials could widen energy storage". The Irish Times.
  15. CRANN. "Prof Jonathan Coleman announced 2011 SFI Researcher of Year". CRANN. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  16. "Mr. Robert Dowds". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  17. "Robert Dowds". Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  18. "Niall Hogan". Irish Times. 17 April 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  19. "Heike Holstein". Sweep Stud. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  20. "RUC men's secret war with the IRA". Sunday Times. Liam Clarke. 7 March 1999.
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