Loreto Primary School is situated in the Parish of the Annunciation, Rathfarnham and caters for approximately 540 pupils aged between 4 and 12. 


The Loreto Sisters came to Rathfarnham in 1821. The order was originally known as the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was founded by Mary Ward. Mary Ward's followers pioneered a new type of religious life for women who found apostolic expression in Catholic schools for girls.


The 18th century saw the spread and development of the Institute on the continent and in England.   It was introduced into Ireland by Frances Teresa Ball who, having made her novitiate in the Bar Convent, York, returned to Dublin in 1821 to establish the first house of the Irish branch at Rathfarnham. She called it Loreto, the name by which all subsequent foundations made from Rathfarnham are still known.

Mary Ward was inspired to adapt for herself and her companions the way of life which St. Ignatius gave to the Society of Jesus. With remarkable foresight she realised the apostolic influence of women in time to come in families, in public life and in the Church. She chose as her particular apostolate the education of girls.

In 1823 Frances Teresa Ball founded a free school to cater for the needs of the poor of the locality. This was the beginning of Loreto Primary School.

Loreto Abbey Brief History

1725 - Rathfarnham House built for William Palliser to the design of Edward Lovett Pearce

1768 - The house was inherited by Rev John Pallister, Rector of the Parish

1790-1795 - The House was purchased by George Grierson III, the King's Printer

1821 - Rathfarnham House and 40 acres were purchased by Archbishop Murray of Dublin for £2,400.

1822 - Mother Teresa Ball and small community moved to Rathfarnham from Harold's Cross and named the house "Loreto House"

1822 - Loreto Abbey Boarding School established

1823 - Grange Road Primary School established

1838-1840 - Building of church to the designs of Patrick Byrne and Augustus Welby Pugin

1863-1922 - Novitiate wing complete; St Joseph's wing built, St Anthony's wing built, St Francis Savier's wing completed, Building Study Block

1922 - Purchase of Beaufort House

1925 - Beaufort College of Domestic Science established

1925 - Beaufort High School with separate Junior and Senior schools

1957 - Nutgrove Primary School which later extended to include a Secondary Top catering in all for pupils from Junior infants to Leaving Certificate

1981-1983 - Major reconstruction to Loreto House and Church.

1999 - Closure of Abbey

Former Loreto Abbey Former Loreto Abbey

With the closure of the Abbey, only two of the six schools, Beaufort Senior and Grange Road Primary remain.

Statue of Mary in the Loreto Primary School

Our statue of Mary in the Loreto Primary School originally resided in the hall of Loreto Abbey.

Mother Frances Teresa Ball Mother Frances Teresa Ball