Portora Royal School

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Coordinates: 54°21′04″N 7°39′18″W / 54.351°N 7.655°W / 54.351; -7.655

Portora Royal School
1 Lough Shore Road, BT74 7HA
Northern Ireland
Type Grammar School
Motto Omnes Honorate
Established 1618
Founder King James the First
Status Closed
Closed Tuesday 28 June 2016
Chairman Bishop John McDowell
Principal Dr J.N. Morton OBE, Ed.D, MEd, M.A, B.A, B.S.Sc, DASE, PQH
Vice Principal Mr Trevor Smith
Chaplain The Very Revd Kenneth Hall
Enrollment 491 (2013/14)
Houses Ulster, Munster, Connaught, Leinster, Gloucster (Year 8)

Black and gold

Nickname Wasps
Affiliations HMC

Portora Royal School located in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, was one of a number of 'free schools' founded by Royal Charter in 1608, by James I.[citation needed] Originally called Enniskillen Royal School, the school was established some ten years after the Royal Decree, in 1618, 15 miles outside Enniskillen at Ballybalfour, before moving to Enniskillen in 1661. It was not until 1778 that the school moved to its present location on Portora Hill, Enniskillen, when the nucleus of the present school was built.[citation needed]

Formerly a boarding school, in its final years Portora catered for 490-day students. Originally the school only accepted male pupils, but in the 20th century females were first admitted to Portora; the school's website states, "the year 1979 saw a break from the tradition of the previous 361 years when a small number of girls were accepted as pupils. The number of girl pupils increased from the original 9 boarders and 2 daygirls of 1979 to a maximum of 31 girls in 1984. As of September 2011, girls were able to enroll into 6th form."[citation needed]

On Tuesday 28 June 2016 Portora Royal School closed after 398 years. This was to facilitate the launch of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School in September 2016.


  • Age range: 11 – 18
  • Day pupils: 491 boys & girls
  • Annual school fees: £150, though this is just a 'voluntary' contribution as the school is a state grammar school, not a fee-paying private school but there is a £46 compulsory fee. Also various 'voluntary' contributions will be expected to be made to the school's sporting teams, even of those who do not play sport.
  • Total pupils: 491 boys & girls
  • Including 6th form/FE: 130 boys & girls
  • Staff numbers: 33 full-time
  • Method of entry: For entry from September 2010, following the abolition of The Transfer Test from 2009, pupils will be admitted on the basis of performance in the Post Primary Transfer Consortium tests, in English and Mathematics. The Post-Primary Transfer Consortium is made up of 28 Catholic, four non-denominational and two integrated schools.
  • Professional affiliations: HMC, ISC
  • Religious affiliation: Non-denominational, historically Irish Anglican although the school still affiliates with St Macartin's Cathedral, Enniskillen
  • Headmaster: Dr J.N. Morton
  • Vice Principal: Mr Trevor Smith

Portora Boat Club[edit]

Rowing has always been a major sport at Portora due to its location by Portora Lough. The boat club was originally for school pupils only but it was opened to students from St. Michael's College, Enniskillen, and later other schools, as a peace making programme after the Enniskillen bombing. The boat club enters the Henley Regatta and is officially a junior boat club in Ireland.

Formation of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School[edit]

A proposal by the Department of Education to merge Portora Royal School with the Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School to form "Enniskillen Royal Grammar School" was approved by the Minister of Education, John O'Dowd, in June 2015 but the matter was taken to the High Court in October 2015 due to a lot of local opposition. However, the High Court bid to stop the amalgamation of the two Enniskillen grammar schools failed.[1]

Portora Royal School and the Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School closed at the end of the 2015/2016 school year. The new co-educational Enniskillen Royal Grammar School then opened in September 2016. Initially, the school will operate on a split site, but there are plans to build a single new school. It is expected that the new school will be built at the current Portora site, but this has not yet been confirmed.

Notable headmasters[edit]

Old Portorans[edit]

See also Category:People educated at Portora Royal School


  • Former pupil Oscar Wilde won a scholarship to Trinity College, Dublin, and his name therefore appears on the school's Honours board.[citation needed] The name shines more brightly than those of his contemporaries and visitors have suggested that it has been deliberately highlighted.[citation needed] In fact, following his conviction and imprisonment in the 1890s, the name was initially deleted but was reinserted in the 1930s, which accounts for its lustre.[citation needed] There is also an Ulster History Circle Blue Plaque on the school building commemorating him.

The house system[edit]

  • A house system was introduced in 1919, whereby pupils were placed into one of four houses, named after the four provinces of Ireland, Ulster, Munster, Leinster or Connacht, irrespective of which part of Ireland they came from.
  • Pupils in their first year at Portora entered Gloucester House, a separate preparatory department.[citation needed] Today, there is no separate prep school, however the name Gloucester House survives as the name of the Pastoral House for Year 8 pupils.[citation needed]
  • The remainder of the school is divided into the four provincial houses.[citation needed]

However, Houses exist to facilitate a range of extra-curricular provision and the pastoral provision is horizontal with form tutors and Key Stage heads reporting to Vice Principal Student Support.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-35485887
  2. ^ STUART, Ian Malcolm Bowen in Who Was Who (A. & C. Black), online edition by Oxford University Press, December 2007, accessed 18 February 2014 (subscription site)
  3. ^ a b c Robinson, James. 2005. Pentecostal Origins: Early Pentecostalism in Ireland in the Context of the British Isles: Studies in Evangelical History and Thought. Milton Keynes, United Kingdom: Paternoster, pp. 34–35.. ISBN 978-1-84227-329-6
  4. ^ Patrick M. Geoghegan. 2009. Lyte, Henry Francis. In James McGuire, James Quinn (ed.), Dictionary of Irish Biography. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-63331-4
  5. ^ Patrick Maume. 2011. Kilfedder, Sir James. In James McGuire, James Quinn (ed.), Dictionary of Irish Biography. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-63331-4
  6. ^ James Quinn. 2009. Bourchier, James David. In James McGuire, James Quinn (ed.), Dictionary of Irish Biography. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-63331-4
  7. ^ "Leslie WADDINGTON". Debrett's People of Today. Debrett's. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 

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