Newry.ie

Mourne Grange Preparatory School was set up in 1900 by Allen Sausmarez Carey. Originally from Guernsey, A.S. Carey was the tutor to Francis Needham, the future 4th Earl of Kilmorey and was offered Dromindoney House on the Kilmorey estate at Mourne Park, near Kilkeel, in which to open a preparatory school. The first of its kind in Ireland, the purpose of the school was to prepare boys between eight and thirteen years of age for public school.

Trojan XI Cricket Team at Mourne Grange School, 1952. Pupils at Mourne Grange were divided into two houses, Greeks and Trojans, for sports. Cricket was always a popular game and the school had strong teams even when pupil numbers declined in the 1960s. Courtesy of Johnny Madden
Trojan XI Cricket Team at Mourne Grange School, 1952. Pupils at Mourne Grange were divided into two houses, Greeks and Trojans, for sports. Cricket was always a popular game and the school had strong teams even when pupil numbers declined in the 1960s. Courtesy of Johnny Madden

Although the school opened with only four pupils and three teachers, the early years saw expansion in terms of pupil and staff numbers, schools buildings and curriculum. By 1908 classrooms and dormitories had been added to the original house and the school uniform of a royal blue blazer with white edging and dark blue cap with the badge of the Carey family was being worn. Subjects taught included Mathematics, French, History, Latin and Greek. English Language and Literature were bolstered by Mrs Carey’s readings of novels to the boys on Sunday evenings, a tradition maintained by Mrs Carey until her death in 1960.

Sport also played a vital part in the school curriculum. A cricket pitch was laid out in 1903 and other games included rugby, football and athletics. In 1915, the school was divided into two houses – Greeks and Trojans – to create rivalry and competition in sport. ‘Education expeditions’ to local places of interest were also introduced and over the years there were annual excursions to destinations and notable events in Britain and Europe.

School photograph from 1952. The Headmaster, Mr A.S. Carey and his wife, Florence, are pictured in the second row, just off centre. Their son, Patrick (known as “Mr Patrick”), who succeeded his father as Headmaster in 1954, is seated left of Mrs Carey. Newry and Mourne Museum
School photograph from 1952. The Headmaster, Mr A.S. Carey and his wife, Florence, are pictured in the second row, just off centre. Their son, Patrick (known as “Mr Patrick”), who succeeded his father as Headmaster in 1954, is seated left of Mrs Carey. Newry and Mourne Museum

By 1927 there were 92 boys, nine masters and three mistresses at Mourne Grange and these numbers remained much the same for the next ten years. In 1933, Patrick Carey, the Headmaster’s son, joined the staff. Known as ‘Mr Patrick’, his main contribution was amateur dramatics which were a major part of school life up until the 1960s, often undertaken in association with the Newpoint Players from Newry. Patrick Carey became Headmaster when his father died in 1954.

Circumstances began to change at Mourne Grange during the 1960s. A tougher economic climate, competition from other preparatory schools in Ireland, greater improvements in state education in the post-war years and a changing attitude towards sending young children away to boarding school, led to a gradual decline in pupil numbers. The school eventually closed in June 1971 and is now the home of Camphill Community Mourne Grange for adults with special needs. 

Newry and Mourne Museum is temporarily closed.

by Ken Abraham

 

Pin It

DONATE

Please consider supporting Newry.ie

Amount

FOLLOW NEWRY.IE

 

 

Newry.ie require Cookies on some parts of our site to enable full functionality. By using Newry.ie you consent to our use of Cookies. You can use your browser settings to disable cookies on this or any other website.