While there has been a boys’ post-primary school on Armagh’s Sandy hill since 1838, the present St Patrick’s Grammar school was set in place in 1988 with the amalgamation of Armagh’s two outstanding boys’ grammar schools, two schools with long and proud histories of service and achievement, St Patrick’s College and CBS, Greenpark.
St Patrick’s College had been established as a junior seminary by Archbishop Crolly in 1838, and was under the direction of priests of the Archdiocese of Armagh until 1861 when the Vincentian Order was invited to take charge of the school. The Vincentians continued their apostolate in Armagh until the amalgamation. Generations of St Patrick’s students, from all over Ireland and beyond, owe a debt of gratitude to the Vincentians for providing an excellent all-round education.
The Irish Christian Brothers arrived in Armagh in 1851 at the invitation of Archbishop Cullen, later to be Ireland’s first Cardinal. Within a few years the Brothers acquired the Greenpark site and established primary and post-primary schools. Christian Brothers’ Grammar School, Greenpark, built up a strong academic and sporting tradition for which generations of students are grateful.
When the Vincentian Order signalled its intention to leave Armagh, Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich asked the Irish Christian Brothers to become joint trustees of the new amalgamated school. The great work in education started by Archbishop Crolly in 1838 was to continue on Sandy Hill. Christian Brothers remained on staff until 1999, which was also the year that the long tradition of boarding at St Patrick’s came to an end.
Cardinal Ó Fiaich was succeeded as Chairman of the Board of Governors by Cardinal Daly in 1991 and by Cardinal Brady 1n 1997.
From the beginning it was clear that the new St Patrick’s was going to be a vibrant institution. The present school now draws from over fifty different primary schools and provides opportunities for our students to meet new friends and develop their full potential in a caring and supportive educational environment.
The school is noted for its warm, welcoming atmosphere and for the positive, affirming relationships among students, teachers and parents. Being a Catholic school, we are keenly aware of our responsibility to build upon the values of the homes and parishes our students come from, and we seek to nurture faith and Christian living in all our students. Prayer and worship are part of school life and there is a strong tradition of service to those less fortunate in our community and in the wider world.
There is an excellent record of academic success and our students consistently achieve top grades in public examinations across the entire range of subjects. This success is due to the ability and commitment of our students, the encouragement and support of their parents, and, in no small way, to the expertise and dedication of our teachers. As a school, we are fortunate to have excellent staff who co-operate to provide the very best of education within the classrooms and in a vast range of extra-curricular activities.
In September 2003 we opened two new facilities. Our new Music Suite has five classrooms with further room for practice and a recording studio. The new Technology and Design department is superbly equipped for this exciting subject area. We are one of the leading schools in the country when it comes to information and Communications Technology (ICT). Every one of our 54 classrooms has an interactive whiteboard, data projector, computer and other subject-relevant electronic equipment. Plans are under way for other major developments in the very near future.
Everyone in St Patrick’s is expected to work hard, and to this end we support each other in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual enrichment. We set high standards and we help each other achieve them, and so, in enabling each individual to reach his/her true potential, we are all prepared for the challenges and opportunities of life.