Glenstal Abbey School

Glenstal Abbey School is an all boys independent day and boarding Roman Catholic secondary school, located on the grounds of Glenstal Abbey in Murroe, County Limerick. It is run by monks of the Benedictine order. The school offers seven-day full boarding, as well as day boarding (Mon-Sat). The school is regularly ranked among the top schools in Ireland.[1][2][3]

Glenstal Abbey School
Murroe, County Limerick

Republic of Ireland
TypeBoys only, 7-day Full Boarding and Day Boarding (Mon-Sat)
MottoPAX, Reverence, Respect and Responsibility
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
HeadmasterFr Martin Browne OSB
Number of studentsc. 250


Glenstal is a Norman Revivalist Castle, designed by William Bardwell, an English architect and built by Sir Matthew Barrington in 1839. Sir Charles and Lady Barrington left Ireland permanently in 1925.

The castle and estate were purchased shortly after by a priest, Monsignor James Ryan, for the nominal sum of £2,000. Some months after the purchase, Msgr Ryan wrote to Celestine Golenvaux, the Abbot of the Benedictine monastery at Maredsous, and invited him to come to Ireland and set up a daughter house in Glenstal and by March 1927, the first two Belgian monks had arrived at Glenstal to establish the new house. In September 1932, the monks opened a Secondary School with Fr Columba Skerret as Headmaster, and with an intake of just seven pupils. The first lay teacher of the school was Mr Vincent Quirke.


The Chapel Lake in Glenstal

Glenstal is south facing and has views of the Galtee Mountains.[citation needed] It is on an estate of around 500 acres (2.0 km2), of which some is farmland, forestry, games fields, lakes, gardens and school and monastery buildings.[citation needed]

School lifeEdit

The Main Castle in Glenstal

The school is divided into three houses, Junior House, Inter House and Senior House. Each house has its own Housemaster. Each house has dormitories for the girls to sleep in, a common room with a television, the housemaster's office and pantry.[citation needed]

Junior House holds the first and second years, Inter House the third and fourth years and Senior House the fifth and sixth years. The dormitories range in size from two beds to about sixteen.[citation needed]


Glenstal vs Newtown in rugby

The main sport in Glenstal is and has always been rugby union. For all students in first and second year it is mandatory that they play rugby union. Teams are fielded at all ages from U-14 to U-19 and are involved in both friendly and competitive fixtures from late-September until March.

Over the years Glenstal has produced a number of rugby players, athletes and tennis players.[citation needed] In recent years[when?] the school has enjoyed some success[vague] off the rugby pitch in local and regional track and field, tennis and soccer competitions.[citation needed]

The school won the Munster Schools Senior Cup, for their first time on 18 March 2018 beating Christian Brothers College, Cork, on a scoreline of 18-17.

Sports facilitiesEdit

Glenstal's sporting facilities include a sports hall, four rugby pitches, a soccer pitch, six tennis courts and a gym (for seniors only). Glenstal does not have a swimming pool, but there is a large lake beside the main rugby pitches where students are allowed to swim (with staff supervision) during the summer term.[citation needed]

During the summer term, the main rugby pitches are turned into a 400 m grass running track and there is an area for shot put, javelin and discus throwing. There are also soccer pitches marked out.[citation needed]


Glenstal's music department offers lessons in many instruments, for example drums, guitar, violin, clarinet, piano. Most of these instruments are taught to the students by people from outside of the school who come in during the day or evening to give half-hour lessons.


Students performing Oliver in 2005

Glenstal Abbey School puts on a musical or straight drama every year around March. Usually an outside director is engaged, who works closely with the musical director to put the show together. The roles are almost always played by students of the school, the only exception being some male parts played by boys from nearby boy schools. Previous shows have been Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Oliver!, We Will Rock You, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story and Grease (musical).

Notable former pupilsEdit


  1. ^ "Revealed: The new No 1 secondary school in the country". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Glenstal Abbey crowned Ireland's top school". Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  3. ^ "School league tables: Country's top schools get perfect results". Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Glenstal Abbey School". Retrieved 26 April 2020.

External linksEdit