The Royal School is one of the top boarding schools in Ireland.

The Royal School is one of the best resourced co-educational boarding schools in Northern Ireland and recent upgrading and improvement has included the provision of a Sixth Form House on the Mall adjacent to the School.

The School’s Boarding Department offers superb value for money, and welcomes students from all over the island of Ireland and overseas, We strive to ensure that there is a family atmosphere in the Boarding Department by providing a “home from home” which we feel is important for children living away from home. Boarding at the Royal School allows pupils to benefit from all that the School has to offer, with the companionship and life skills that come from living with others.

The Boarding Department is always over-subscribed and adds a cherished international dimension to the daily life of the School. Boarding options are four or five nights per week or as a full seven days a week boarding school, pupils can board throughout the term without having to leave at weekends.

There are three boarding houses – one for boys and one for girls, and one for sixth form pupils.

It’s just begun…

Coming from a small primary school into a big secondary school and boarding accommodation can be a lot to take in, but with help from my parents and members of staff, I soon settled in to the routine of boarding and school.

Mrs McDowell was my form tutor and every day after assembly she took our register. She helped me to settle in with her encouraging words and advice. Mr Cardwell, our Year Head, helped as well.

After school there are lots of extra curricular activities to do, such as: Debating, Book Club, Science Club, Scripture Union, Chess Club, Dance Club and so on. I enjoy them very much.

My life in boarding was hard to begin with. I felt quite homesick, but everyone was kind and friendly and welcomed me and I started to feel better quickly.

Near Christmas, we went on a Boarding Trip to Victoria Square, in Belfast. We did a Secret Santa where we had to get gifts for other people and it was exciting choosing presents for people.

In the evenings, we do homework for two hours (from half past six to half past eight) and if we do not have homework that will last us for two hours, we read. If we are stuck, Mr McConnell and Mr Bell are willing to help us.

I think my first year in boarding was great!

Hamilton Brown
I started boarding in the Royal School when I was eight years old. I was nervous to begin with, but as I was with my sister, Rochelle, I knew I would have a familiar face to rely on.

The first few months were exciting. The older boarders treated me very well, especially Jack O’Hagan and Peter Finlay. I learned how to play rugby and settled into the routine of boarding quite quickly.

Miss Carson was my teacher in the Preparatory Department. She has been my teacher for all my years at the Royal School. She is very nice. I like her style of teaching and she helped a lot during my transfer preparations and time in school. I will miss having her as a teacher when I move to Essex in September.

I made many friends in the Prep and spent a lot of time with Jason Wu, both in school and in boarding. He has been a good friend and I hope to visit him in Hong Kong sometime.

I enjoyed the trips in school, especially Portrush with boarding and Paris with the Prep. The Share Centre was also a highlight of my time at the Royal School.

Boarding has been a good experience. I have learned independence, patience with others, correct grammar (thank you, Mr Bell) and how to eat sweets in prep without anyone knowing!

I will miss the Royal School, especially friends but I am also looking forward to the new experiences and challenges I will have moving to a new school in England.

I would like to thank Mr Crute, all the staff in the Preparatory Department and all the staff in the Boarding Department, especially Mr Bell. He has been very kind to me over the years but also has had to shout at me on the odd occasion.

Finally, I would like to say good luck to all my fellow P7s as they move into the senior school and I wish all my fellow boarders the best for the future.

Forrest Campbell, P7
It’s hard to believe my seven years as a boarder at the Royal School Armagh are over. But you know what they say; time flies when you’re having fun. When I started boarding in 2006, I knew it was going to be a new and exciting experience but I never anticipated the adventures we have had down through the years.

One of the best boarding memories decided unanimously among the Upper 6th, was the Boarding Movie. When we were in Year 10, the whole boarding department was involved in making a film, attempting to show what boarding life is like. Each year group was given a genre and a time of the daily boarding routine, ours was comedy and breakfast, and we had eight weeks to write a script and film our movie.

Each week we met up with our three sixth form leaders to develop our script and practice our acting, but we rarely did and instead used this time as an opportunity to mess around. With only three weeks until filming, we decided to go along the theme of role reversal, with the girls playing the boys and vice versa. The boys were very entertaining with them all donning over the top make up, including the Head Boy Toby McAlpine who was wearing eye shadow and red lipstick. Two other boys who were particularly funny were John Dunne who pretended to wax his legs and Sipho Wanliss who was wearing a bright green bra!

After filming we had the highly anticipated Boarding Oscars. With us all dressed up, we headed down to the assembly hall and watched the finished product. The film was fantastic, with cameo roles from many members of staff including Mr Bell, the Head of Boarding, who sang Bohemian Rhapsody. I don’t think I will ever forget that. The Oscars included awards voted for by everyone for Best and Best Supporting Actor and Actress. After the voting was cast and speeches were made, we reached the final and most anticipated accolade, Best Film. There was stiff competition but our film won, and we all were taken out for pizza, which was just an extra bonus to an already brilliant experience.

This is only one good memory amongst many. Being in boarding, I have made friends for life, from all over the world and I will really miss it. The staff: teachers, matrons, wardens and Head of Boarding, have been there for us the whole time, helped us through the ups and downs and made boarding a home away from home. Thank you for everything.

Lucy Graham
The boarding department definitely surprised me. This is because people tend to have the stereotypical view of a boarding school being strict, I also had this thought.

The boarding department is really organised and, from my honest point of view, it is one of the best boarding schools in Northern Ireland. Also, referring to the staff, people here are very nice from the first day. From the day you come to Armagh to see Boarding, the members of staff try to integrate you into the groups of people in your year and people from other years.

Going back to the organisation; the times for the different meals are set depending on the meal: breakfast takes place from 8-8:15; lunch depends on the period you have it at (period six, seven or period eight); dinner or ‘tea’ is at 5:30 while supper takes place at 8:30. ‘Prep’ starts at half past six and finishes at half eight, including the 15-minute break at half past seven. Straight after supper you can either go to your room early or stay downstairs doing homework or other activities. Sometimes after supper, we get ‘trips’ uptown or we go outside to participate in various activities that are proposed. Bedtime depends on the academic year you are in (it adds 30 minutes between each year group).

Finally, on the weekends, we have roughly the same times for everything. On the weekends you have different activities that you can do while some members of staff look after you.

I would recommend you to spend your time and come to boarding. You will have fun as I have done this year!

George Calvo
Rugby is the main sport supported in Northern Ireland, and from now it will also be followed by us, the Spanish boys. It has impacted me a lot, as before coming to Armagh I didn’t really know much about this sport and now, I can say that it is one of my favourite sports. It is a physical sport; a full contact game, which also attracts me because of the discipline, fair play and the respect for opponents. After every match, they all shake hands as friends, even after they have had their “fights” during the match.

I am very proud and happy in myself because I could join the Medallion Team before the Shield Cup; which I thought would be impossible as I was injured at the start of the year in the first training session! Then, I went to next training three months later and I want to thank Mr Cardwell and Mr Parker for letting me play with the team during the rest of the season. In the first matches I was very nervous because I didn’t know what to do and what was going on in the match but I always tried to play the best I possibly could. I’ve played as a wing this year, but I would like to try a different position where I could be more in contact with the game, maybe a centre or even a forward.

I’ve great memories about my rugby season in Armagh; one is the Shield Cup, where everyone was very excited and we played well but unfortunately we lost; also my first match, where I was starting and I didn’t play that bad. Another experience has been the Sevens tournament, I remember that as a fantastic day, even though the weather was awful. But my best memory is my score against Ulster in my last rugby match in Armagh. I would recommend anyone to play rugby if they come to the Royal School.

It has been a very pleasant experience and I will never forget this year in Royal School Armagh. Finally, thanks to that excellent team for the great moments I’ve had and for accepting me into the Medallions.

I wish you all the best next year, lads!

Juan Martinez
School in Armagh Compared to Spain
Schools in Spain and in Northern Ireland are quite different, the first thing that impacted me, was that here we have to move to other classes and we have our own lockers to store the books required for the appropriate subject. This is quite strange for me as in Spain we have just one class and the people who have to move are the qualified staff.

With respect to subjects, they are not that different, my point of view referring to subjects, is that you have more practical things, like experiments, and I think that it is a good idea because lots of people learn more doing practical than theoretical stuff.

Another thing that has been very impressive for me is that every morning you have an assembly where big topics are shared with the students by the Headmaster or other staff. After the assembly, school continues as normal. A good thing about the planning of the entrance and the way out of school is that it is at 3:15pm, and in Spain we finish school at 5:00pm; classes last 55 minutes while in Northern Ireland 35 minutes. To conclude, schools could be different but both are definitely comfortable for me and for all future students, for Irish or foreign people.

Pablo Calvo