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Coordinates: 55°04′23″N 6°31′16″W / 55.072992°N 6.521241°W / 55.072992; -6.521241

Dalriada School
TypeVoluntary, Co-educational Grammar School
MottoLabor Sine Cura, Labor Sine Fructu (Work Without Effort is Work Without Fruit)
HeadmasterThomas Skelton
Deputy HeadsIan Walker & Louise Nelson
Number of studentsApprox 900

Dalriada School is a mixed voluntary grammar school in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland.[1] The school draws its pupils from a wide geographical area and a range of social, religious and cultural backgrounds.[1] In 2008 the school won the Northern Ireland State Secondary School of the Year award from The Sunday Times.[2]

Dalriada School Sign


Past headmastersEdit

(as Ballymoney Intermediate school)

  • Rev. J.B Armour (1878-83)
  • John Steward (1883-84)
  • J.M Stronge (1884-84)
  • James Dick (1884-85)
  • William Beare (1885-1901)
  • John Ramsey (1901-17)
  • John Christy (1906-17)
  • Jeannie McNeil (1906-24)

(as Ballymoney High School)

  • Jeannie McNeil (1924-31)
  • Alfred Ross (1931–39)

(as Dalriada School, Ballymoney)

  • Alfred Ross (1939-48)
  • G. Edmund Gordon (1948–75)
  • Alan Reynolds (1975–87)
  • William Calvert (1987-2003)
  • Derek Boyd (2003-07)
  • Thomas Skelton (2007–Present)

Present dayEdit


There are several choirs throughout the school, ranging from the large choir of the younger years to the select few who are chosen for the chamber choir. The Chamber Choir were the winners of BBC Ulster School Choir Of The Year Competition in 2016, [3][4] and are hoping to achieve success as they prepare for the semi-finals once again this year.[5]


Dalriada has traditionally staged an annual Shakespearean production. This has been altered in recent[when?] years to include modern plays and musicals. Productions staged in recent years have included Les Misérables, Arthur Miller's The Crucible, Oliver!,"Phantom Of The Opera", Oklahoma!, "Macbeth", and “Hairspray” with “Fiddler on the Roof” being performed in December 2018 [6]


All pupils must take part in two periods of Games each week. Rugby is the main winter sports for boys with cricket and other types of athletics being practiced in the spring season. Hockey is the main sport for girls at the school. Football and Orienteering are also available during the two Games periods. Dalriada football has risen in popularity through the success of the Under 14 team, winning the league twice in a row.

Debating SocietyEdit

The senior debating society, Arguendo, is where pupils in Year 11 and above debate. Since its revival in 2008 the society has become popular, with Dalriada entering teams into the annual Debating Matters competition and the Denny all-Ireland Debating Competition. In 2009 a team of six won the Debating Matters Northern Ireland competition held in Coleraine University.

In 2009/2010 Arguendo entered the Northern Ireland Debating competition for the first time. The upper sixth team were awarded Team of the Competition at the finals in Stormont after being defeated in the Quarter Finals.[3]

In 2010/2011, the Society entered the UK Wide Debating Matter Championship. A team of six debaters won the Derry Qualifying Heat to make it through the Northern Ireland and Scotland final in Edinburgh, where they triumphed over schools from across the two countries.[7] This allowed them to then qualify for the National Final held at the Royal Society of Medicine where they were defeated in a debate on the Banning of the Burqa.[8]

Bar MockEdit

Dalriada also competes in the annual Bar Mock Trial Competition. The team prepares mock legal cases for the regional finals each year in the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast, winning this competition three times[9]. After winning the prestigious National Championships in London in 2016 for the first time [10], Dalriada pupils went on to compete in the Empire Mock Trial World Championships in New York for the third time [11]. At this event Dalriada had the experience of litigating in a different jurisdiction, and a student received an award for Outstanding Witness [12].

Robotics ClubEdit

The Robotics Club runs regularly throughout the year and encourages to give pupils an insight into the world of IT & Computing. Success has been had in various competitions over the years, most notably in the First Lego League competition (where the club has a good track record with 5 wins in 7 years) as well as PA Consulting's Raspberry Pi Competition, TeenTech UK and Sentinus Young Innovators.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ a b "Dalriada School". Retrieved 2010-10-12.[full citation needed]
  2. ^ "Dalriada win 'Northern Ireland School of the Year' award - Ballymoney and Moyle Times". 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  3. ^ a b The Dalriad, 2010, school magazine, published yearly.
  4. ^ "Dalriada wins BBC School Choir of the Year". Coleraine Times.
  5. ^ "Dalriada School in semi-final of BBC School Choir Of The Year". Ballymoney Times.
  6. ^ "Oklahoma – Tickets Available Now". 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  7. ^ "Debating Matters".
  8. ^ "Debating Matters".
  9. ^ "Dalriada's Bar Mock Team – N.I. Champions". Dalriada School.
  10. ^ "Dalriada School pupils triumph in The Bar Mock Trial". Irish Legal.
  11. ^ "Dalriada School pupils travel to New York for Mock Trial championships". Irish Legal.
  12. ^ "2016 Empire New York". Empire Mock Trial.
  13. ^ "Bridget Cleland Retires from International Hockey". 8 December 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Cleland retires from international hockey". 8 December 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  15. ^ "'There's a perception that the physique you might pick up at international level is not attractive'". 1 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Ireland's hockey stars unfazed by prospect of world stage". 19 July 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  17. ^ "NCU chief has big plans as Ireland get set for new era". 7 June 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2019.

External linksEdit