History of St. Peter’s National School

The roots of St. Peter’s National School stretch back to the beginning of the 18th century, to the Drogheda Blue School in St. Peter’s Close which was adjacent to our parish church, St. Peter’s Church of Ireland. The spire of St. Peter’s Church can be seen directly across from the front door of our school on Bolton St, reminding us of the inextricable link between school and parish.

Our School building dates primarily to 1896, although there has been a school on this site since 1826 when a charitable school for orphan girls was erected. In 1872 Ordnance Survey of Ireland maps we can clearly see the new parish school. There is a report by the Master John Shaw to the Endowed School Commission in 1855 that the school was “taken down in 1842 or 1843 and rebuilt”. At this stage the building housed thirteen boarders (all boys). From the close up view of the 1872 map we can see the existing structure prior to the 1896 modifications.

In 1896 the school received a Victorian extension and facelift with the financial aid of local philanthropist Thomas Plunkett Cairnes. The existing building roof profile is “hidden” by a new façade of ornamental brickwork. The new wing was added and a new side door that balances the façade. The proportions of the old building are still apparent and are not typically Victorian. The old roof behind the Victorian Redbrick is very apparent from the rear of the school.

A new chapter was added to the school in 2015. The school was extended and modernised to the building it is today which has bright classrooms which are excellently resourced.

St. Peter’s continues the tradition of providing education for the members of the Church of Ireland and the wider Protestant community in Drogheda and its surrounding area. For many years the school was the only mainstream alternative to a Roman Catholic educational system; the major difference being that church teaching, doctrine, was not seen to be a function of the school but rather the parents and the Church. That tradition continues to this day and St. Peter’s continues to welcome pupils of all faiths, denominations and none.