Education in Ireland

The school system in Ireland is based on the United Kingdom’s education system. Education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 16 but most Irish children begin their education at the age of 4 or 5. If attending the state system children attend primary schools until they reach the age of 12 or 13, and then move onto secondary education until the ages of 17 or 18.

Irish schools

There are no restrictions on the children of foreign nationals attending state schools in Ireland, and the standard of education is high. The majority of schools in the country are Catholic but there are an increasing number of schools of other faiths emerging. Education at state schools is free but like elsewhere private education can prove to be very expensive.

All schools follow the national curriculum which is very much focused on exam results. Religion is a big part of the curriculum but parents do have the choice to withdraw their children from religious classes.

The school year in Ireland begins in September and ends in June. The school day is typically from 9am to 3pm but most schools offer before and after school clubs. Upon your arrival in Ireland you will need to apply directly to a school to ensure your child receives a place, each school has its own admissions policy usually giving priority to children living closest to it.


The Irish university system is very similar to the UK’s except tuition fees tend to be less. There is a wide range of university’s across the country with the most esteemed institution being the Trinity college of Dublin which was founded in 1592 and is modelled after Oxford and Cambridge.