The Sunday Times Best Schools Guide








Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Limerick, where 96.4% of the girls progress to university, is the top secondary school in Ireland for a record fifth successive year in The Sunday Times Best Schools Guide published today, September 23. The annual Sunday Times survey is the definitive guide to the country’s top 400 secondary schools. It measures the progression of all second-level students over a three-year period – from 2015 to 2017 – to universities and institutes of technology.

In 2014, Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ was the first Gaelcholáiste (Irish-language school) to become top of The Sunday Times Best Schools Guide since the paper’s annual Parent Power survey began in 2003. Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ is also the only non-fee-paying school to top the Sunday Times league table over the past 13 years. The 409-pupil girls’ Gaelcholáiste has been the top school in Munster (excluding Cork) for eight out of the past 14 years.

With 391 girls, Scoil Mhuire, Sidney Place, Cork, Ireland’s top fee-paying school, retains its place at second overall in this year’s Sunday Times Irish Parent Power survey. Scoil Mhuire has sent an average of 87.1% of its students to university between 2015 and 2017.

Dublin’s fee-paying Gonzaga College is Ireland’s top boys’ school. An average of 85.9% of students progress to university at the 550-pupil school in Ranelagh, which now sits in fourth place, up from joint eighth last year, in the Sunday Times survey. However, the top school in South Dublin, ranked third overall, up two places on last year, is Coláiste Íosagáin, the 494-pupil girls’ Gaelcholáiste in Booterstown, where 87% of the students won university places. The top school in North Dublin is the fee-paying Castleknock College, ranked 11 with 81.6% of its students progressing to university.

With an 85% progression to university, and ranked seventh overall for a second year, the top boys’ school in Cork is the Presentation Brothers College. The Mardyke fee-paying school, where 100% of the boys go on to third-level education, has 718 pupils.

The top secondary school in Galway, Salerno Jesus and Mary, where 84.3% of the girls progressed to university between 2015 and 2017, has dropped from third place last year to eighth overall in the latest Sunday Times survey.

Ranked 10th  overall, Coláiste na Coiribe, Galway, is the top mixed school in today’s Sunday Times guide. With 570 students, the Galway Gaelcholáiste sent an average of 81.7% to university between 2015 and 2017.

With just 27 pupils, 15 boys and 12 girls, Coláiste Ghobnait, in Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, Co Galway, is the top small school in Ireland, ranked 15th overall in the latest Sunday Times Parent Power survey. The Gaeltacht school, with 77.8% of its students going to university, has risen from 53rd place last year.



Fee-paying schools in bold; Gaelcholáistí in italics; *English-speaking school with Gaelcholáistí streams or units; (G) Irish-medium Gaeltacht school; (B) Boarding provided


national rank,

with 2017                                                                                                  Type of             % at

in brackets                                                                                                 school                university


 (1)      Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Sth Circular Rd, Limerick                        Girls                 96.4%

2  (2)      Scoil Mhuire, Sidney Place, Cork                                              Girls                  87.1%

3  (5)      Coláiste Íosagáin, Booterstown, Co Dublin                                      Girls                  87.0% 

4 (8=)     Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin 6                                    Boys                  85.9% 

(10)    Loreto College, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2                       Girls                  85.2% 

6  (4)      The Teresian School, Donnybrook, Dublin 4                       Girls                  85.1% 

7  (7)      Presentation Brothers College, Mardyke, Cork                     Boys                 85.0% 

8  (3)      Salerno Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Salthill, Galway          Girls                  84.3%

9 (13)      Mount Anville Secondary School, Goatstown, Dublin 14      Girls                  83.5% 

10 (14)    Coláiste na Coiribe, Knocknacarra, Galway                                     Mixed               81.7% 

11 (12)    Castleknock College, Castleknock, Dublin 15                         Boys                 81.6% 

12 (22)    *Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Sea Rd, Galway                                                 Mixed                81.3% 

13 (8=)   Christian Brothers College, Sidney Hill, Cork                      Boys                 80.7% 

14 (19)    Mount Sackville Secondary School, Chapelizod, Dublin 20  Girls                 79.4% 

15 (53)    Coláiste Ghobnait, Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, Co Galway (G)             Mixed               77.8% 

16 (16)    Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin 6 (B)                            Girls                  77.2% 

17 (23)    Loreto High School, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14                      Girls                  76.5% 

18 (32)   Holy Faith Secondary School, Clontarf, Dublin 3                                Girls                 76.5% 

19 (21)    Blackrock College, Blackrock, Co Dublin (B)                         Boys                76.4% 

20 (15)    Belvedere College, Great Denmark St, Dublin 1                  Boys                 75.6% 

21 (20)    Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Rd, Cork                                    Girls                  75.5%           

22  (6)    Glenstal Abbey School, Murroe, Co Limerick (B)                Boys                 75.5%

23 (24)    Ardscoil Rís, Nth Circular Rd, Limerick                                              Boys                 75.4% 

24 (27)   Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh, Limerick                                                         Mixed               75.4% 

25 (47)   St Conleth’s College, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4                             Mixed               75.2%


The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2018 ranks the top 400 secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland by the average proportion of pupils gaining places in autumn 2015, 2016 and 2017 at one of the nine universities on the island of Ireland, main teacher training colleges, Royal College of Surgeons or National College of Art and Design. Where schools are tied, the proportion of students gaining places at all non-private, third-level colleges are taken into account. Schools offering only senior cycle are excluded. The guide is compiled by William Burton and Colm Murphy.


Christmas FM announces Temple Street as official charity partner for 2018

Festive radio station will raise funds this Christmas to help give the gift of life to over 1,000 critically ill babies and children in Temple Street Children’s University Hospital

 Christmas FM is delighted to announce Temple Street as the official charity partner for the festive radio station for 2018.

The radio station is aiming to raise over €200,000 which will go towards giving the gift of life to over 1,000 critically ill babies and children in Temple Street.  Funds raised will purchase new state-of-the-art incubators and ventilators, helping to ensure that sick children have access to the very best paediatric equipment when they need it most.

Nearly 150,000 sick children come through the doors of Temple Street every year in need of urgent care, All monies raised by Christmas FM will go towards ensuring that seriously sick children receive the highest quality medical care in a caring and family-focused environment.

Christmas FM will be celebrating its 11th year on air this year and, since it began broadcasting, has raised almost €1.5million for a range of charities. The costs of running Christmas FM are covered by various sponsors, ensuring that all on-air fundraising and donations will go directly to Temple Street.

Seen by many as the official soundtrack to the festive season, Christmas FM plays round-the-clock Christmas tunes, spreading an abundance of festive cheer and seasonal goodwill every single day in the run up to Christmas.

Broadcasting almost nationwide, Christmas FM is listened to by almost one in three adults. It is entirely funded through sponsorship and run each year by more than 100 volunteers on-air, devoting hundreds of hours of their time. The station is also available online.

Garvan Rigby, co-founder of Christmas FM, says: “Temple Street Hospital is such a wonderful organisation and we are delighted to be partnering with them for Christmas FM this year. The radio station creates a very special feel-good festive factor that is unrivalled anywhere else, and we look forward to sharing that with everyone at Temple Street – patients, parents and staff – as well as our listeners. As sponsorship pays the running costs of the radio station, this means that all monies raised on air through donations can go directly to Temple Street and we look forward to raising as much as possible this year for such a worthy cause”  

Denise Fitzgerald, Chief Executive, Temple Street Foundation says: “Christmas FM is the sound of Christmas for so many and we are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as their charity partner for 2018. The partnership will not only raise much needed funds for Temple Street but will raise the spirits of staff, our patients and their families during the festive season.  Every minute of every day, children are cared for in Temple Street’s critical care wards, and the donations raised by Christmas FM will help purchase new incubators and ventilators for fragile babies and children in our hospital.  Sick children need great care right now – and with the help of Christmas FM listeners this December, we can continue to buy the vital equipment that the hospital needs to continue its life-saving work.”

While the main on-air sponsorships are now in place with key brands for 2018, there are variety of other sponsor opportunities still available to help businesses to get noticed over the festive season. Find out more about Christmas FM at


Follow Christmas FM on Facebook at or

Twitter @christmasfm


Christmas FM – Bringing You the Magic of Christmas


TV chef Catherine Fulvio, Olympic rowing duo The O’Donovan Brothers and architect Hugh Wallace team up with FBD Insurance to attend the National Ploughing Championships

Well known faces will offer tips and answer questions on topics such as health and wellbeing, home renovation and motor and travel

‘Walk the Plank’ virtual reality game, Selfie Mirror and range of kiddie friendly events also taking place in FBD tent at the National Ploughing Championships

TV chef Catherine Fulvio, Olympic silver medallists Paul and Gary O’Donovan along with celebrity architect Hugh Wallace, star of RTE’s Home of the Year’, have teamed up with FBD Insurance, Ireland’s only truly indigenous insurer, to attend the 2018 National Ploughing Championships.

FBD Insurance is one of the main sponsors of the National Ploughing Championships, which take place in Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly from the 18th to the 20th of September. Everyone attending is invited to the FBD tent to listen to Catherine, Paul, Gary and Hugh chat about their respective careers and answer questions from the audience.

If you have a question for any of our well-known faces, or if you simply just want to see them in action, the schedule for the FBD tent at the National Ploughing Championships is as follows:

  • Tuesday 18 SeptemberCatherine Fulvio travels all over Ireland, and further afield, for her role as a professional chef, so she will share her top tips and hints for driving and traveling for business or leisure. She will discuss travel tips to ensure each and every journey you make is safe and enjoyable for everyone. She will also be giving advice for healthy eating on the road and how to keep children entertained on long journeys!

Catherine says: “I’m constantly on the road travelling all over the country from hosting a fundraising cookery demonstration to filming ‘Tastes Like Home’ and ‘Lords and Ladle’s or attending one of the many food festivals around the country. I will be giving lots of tips and hints for healthy eating on the road, especially if you have to travel a lot for work. I’m also very aware of safety when it comes to driving. Whether you are driving a car, motorbike, van or farming machinery, it’s imperative that all of us are aware of our impact on the roads, so I’ll be offering advice in this regard too. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone at the FBD Insurance tent, so make sure to pop in and say hello!”

  • Wednesday 19 September – Paul and Gary O’Donovan, the Cork brothers fresh from their recent European championships silver medal success along with their achievement at the 2016 Olympic Games will be in attendance. They will be on hand to chat about their active lifestyles, the importance of exercise, eating a balanced diet and also looking after your mental health. The O’Donovan brothers will also provide their top tips on how to live the healthiest life possible.

Paul and Gary O’Donovan say: “Our lifestyle is very focused on health and fitness – we wouldn’t have it any other way! We believe that it’s important to teach everyone about the importance of health and wellbeing. Heading to the National Ploughing Championships with FBD Insurance is a great opportunity to meet and encourage people, young and old, to get active and be the very best form of yourself.”

  • Thursday 20 September – Hugh Wallace, one of Ireland’s most respected architects and judge on RTÉ’s ‘Home of the Year’, will bring the audience through a journey of décor and design tips to help improve the spaces we already live in, as well as advice on how to approach a renovation or extension. He will also be discussing the best way to approach the restoration of a farmhouse or farm buildings.

Hugh says: “I’m really looking forward to the National Ploughing Championships. One of the topics I’ll be talking about is the restoration of farm buildings and the great experiences I’ve had on farms growing up. It’s a great national event and I’m delighted to be part of it with FBD Insurance.”

As well as Catherine, Gary, Paul and Hugh, the FBD tent at the National Ploughing Championships will also feature a host of activities such as the ‘Walk The Plank’ virtual reality game which simulates walking a plank that is 80 stories high in the air! Will you or your kids be brave enough to walk to the very end of the plank……..? There’s only one way to find out!

We also have our very own Selfie Mirror in the FBD tent this year, so you and your family can get your photograph taken! Just pose and smile – and you will receive a wonderful souvenir photograph to take home to remind you of your great day at the 2018 National Ploughing Championships!

The 20 finalists of the recent FBD Insurance ‘Irish Summer’ photography competition will also be exhibited in the FBD tent, so come along and see the wonderful photography talent we have all over the country. The winner of the competition will be announced in the FBD tent on Thursday 20 September.



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