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Dublin’s King’s Hospital school marks 350th anniversary

Former pupils of fee-paying school in Palmerstown include Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Daniel Ohoka, Ella Giles, Sofia-Rose Deeleman and Andreï Zündell, members of The King’s Hospital School Chapel Choir. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The King’s Hospital School in Dublin, one of the country’s oldest secondary schools, has celebrated its 350th anniversary with a service of celebration at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The school, where Jonathan Swift was a governor and whose former pupils include Taoiseach Leo Vardakar, was originally founded as The Hospital Free School of King Charles II.

It was based on Dublin’s Queen Street for its first century before moving to Blackhall Place — now the headquarters of the Law Society of Ireland. It is now based on an 80-acre campus is Palmerstown, Co Dublin.

Speaking at the event, recently-appointed headmaster Mark Ronan said the fee-paying school has been an important part of the fabric of Irish life, with many former students going on to play significant roles in politics, business, the arts and sport.

“It is crucial that our school contributes positively to the challenges that lie ahead for Ireland during this period of change,” he said.

The school still retains some old traditions, such as the robed choir, and special occasions such as “charter day” to commemorate the granting of the school’s charter in 1671.

The service conducted by The King’s Hospital school chaplain Canon Peter Campion, while Glascott Symes, a former deputy headmaster at the school, delivered an address around the history of the school. The King’s Hospital school chapel choir and orchestra performed at the ceremony. Guests included Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson and Bishop of Meath and Kildare Pat Storey, both governors of the school.

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