Explore the evolution of Loreto education from 1821, through our convent and school archives from Loreto Archives, 55 St Stephen’s Green.
The first ‘Loreto’ school was opened in Dublin in 1821, by Dublin woman, Frances Teresa Ball, to educate Catholic girls. Founded on the principles of the IBVM foundress, Mary Ward that ‘women in time to come will do much’, Loreto pupils were offered a broad and empowering education. Explore the evolution of Loreto education through our storybox.
Prospectus from Loreto Fermoy late 1800’s
Loretto (sic) Abbey Fermoy was established in 1853. The prospectus offers a unique insight into life in a Loreto boarding school in the late 1880’s.
A broad curriculum was offered, and Loreto Sisters taught almost all of the subjects.
Fees were paid on a quarterly basis, and covered basic tuition, supervision, board, laundry and food. Extra tuition fees were charged for stationary, use of musical instruments, singing, drawing and harp classes.
Certificate presented to a pupil in Loreto Fermoy and Premium (prize) awarded to pupil inLoreto Abbey Rathfarnham (pre 1861)
Until 1878 there was no public system of examinations, but Loreto schools had a system of internal assessment. Pupils sat written and oral examinations in each term. At the conclusion of the examinations, pupils were presented with certificates and prizes, known as premiums. Prizes usually took the form of non-fiction books (on history, geography, and the lives of saints or French literature. The French books were especially valued, and were imported directly from France.
The Board of Intermediate Examination Gold Medal awarded to Ellen Burke, pupil Loreto Navan 1897
In 1878, the Intermediate Education Act introduced a series of public examinations. In 1880, Loreto schools, on the request of the Archbishop of Dublin, began to prepare pupils for the Intermediate exams. Successes in these public examinations were lauded and publicly celebrated. Gold medals (such as this) were awarded to pupils who had achieved top marks in the Intermediate Education Board Examinations.
Mary Hosey BA – one of the early Loreto pupils who obtained university degrees.
The question of higher education for women was a contentious issue in the late 19th century, and was initially opposed by Catholic hierarchy. In spite of this, Loreto, along with the Dominican and Ursuline orders worked successfully to promote higher education for middle-class Catholic women. Loreto College, St Stephen’s Green was amongst the most successful Catholic women’s colleges in the last years of the 19th Century. Mary Hosey was amongst one of the first Loreto pupils to be awarded a university degree.