A warm welcome to you!

I hope as you browse through our website you will get an insight into what we are about as an educational establishment in the beautiful secluded setting of Gortnor Abbey on the shores of Lough Conn.

The school, founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Jesus and Mary, is rooted in the ethos of St. Claudine Thevenet and the past century has continued in its efforts to meet the education needs of young people in the catchment area and beyond.

Photo Principal John Mangan

Mr. John Mangan


In 2009, like many other smaller religious communities, the Congregation of Jesus and Mary joined Le Chéile Schools Trust so as to continue to offer educational opportunities to the local students based on the Catholic tradition.

Today, as a co-educational school, we offer a broad and varied curriculum, encompassing technology, business, the creative arts, sciences and modern languages, together with a rich extra-curricular palate, providing each student with endless possibilities to develop and express their individual talents and interests.

In keeping with the educational philosophy of St Claudine Thevenet, in Gortnor Abbey we see real education as being more than an emphasis on academics.

Education is about liberation of the individual to experience life to its fullest and in all its diversity: liberating each of us to see the richness of our life. We strive to create a home away from home, where students feel welcomed and safe. A place where each student is valued for their rich and varied personalities; encouraged and supported to reach their full potential. As a school we look out for and support the students most in need.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and if you would like to make an appointment to chat with me please do not hesitate to contact the office.

Caroline Harrison

Deputy Principal

What is it about Gortnor Abbey?

We are often asked what it is about Gortnor Abbey that makes it so special. While you have to experience our school to really know it, we believe that the following elements make us what we are.

• Our co-educational school’s idyllic rural setting on the shores of Lough Conn and its wide range of facilities provides the ideal environment for learning and teaching.

• We seek to live out the ethos and educational philosophy of the founders, the Religious of Jesus & Mary under the Trusteeship of the Le Cheile Trust. Our Whole School Evaluation report stated “Fostering a sense of responsibility in the young and nurturing the leaders of tomorrow is a central part of the Jesus & Mary educational philosophy and is evident in many ways at Gortnor Abbey. Gortnor Abbey succeeds in creating a caring and strong sense of community where the holistic education of each student guides all endeavours.”

• The well being, happiness and success of each of our students is at the heart of everything we do. We believe in the limitless potential of young people and expect the best from and for our students.

• A strong sense of mutual respect permeates the school. This atmosphere is constantly commented upon by visitors.

• Our students achieve the highest academic results. Many students have received awards and entrance scholarships from Universities to mark and celebrate their success in the Leaving Cert due to achieving high CAO points. Among the awards received are JP Mc Manus Scholarships, Naughton Foundation Scholarships and entrance awards to TCD, UCD, DCU, NUIM and GMIT.

• The percentage of Gortnor Abbey students transferring to 3rd level each year is the highest in the locality. Currently we have past students attending Trinity, Royal College of Surgeons, UCD, DCU, UL, NUIG, Colleges of Education and Institutes of Technology.

• We are especially aware of and sensitive to the needs of special needs students and have a specially dedicated learning centre for students with special needs as well as a new centre for ASD students which we call the Claudine Centre.

• We strive to create a warm, friendly and caring atmosphere where each student’s uniqueness is cherished. For us the welfare and safety of each student is always a priority and is well catered for through our Pastoral Care, Year Head and Mentor system. Regular Care Team meetings take place during which the needs of students are addressed.

• We offer an effective transition programme and mentor system to ensure a smooth transition from primary to secondary education

• We have a truly dedicated staff, who teach to the highest academic standard. We strive for excellence in everything we do and believe in going the extra mile.

• We assess, monitor, acknowledge and reward academic excellence and genuine endeavour in each class group, beginning in 1st year. All school reports are individually assessed and signed by the Principal.

• Our excellent T.Y. Programme bridges the gap between Junior and Senior Cycle. The T.Y. Programme is carefully balanced to include academic study as well a broad and striking programme aimed at “education for life”.

• We are very proud of our strong tradition of music including choirs, orchestras and musicals. As part of our Centenary Celebrations the music department produced a CD comprising of pieces submitted by past and present pupils. The School Choir held a Carol Service at Christmas for the school and the local community. Clips of music in the school are available for viewing on youtube /Gortnorabbeymusic. The Young Americans often return to the school for amazing performance workshops.

• Our renowned Art Department has inspired many students over the years as exemplified by the number of past pupils and artists who contributed their work to the Centenary Art Sale and Exhibition held as part of our Centenary Celebrations. We continue to offer our students a wide range of opportunities to develop their artistic talents. Our students have been awarded many national titles and we count many Texaco Art winners among our present and past pupils.

• We have a strong ethos of participation in competitive and non-competitive sporting activities and are the proud holders of several Connacht and National Titles across a range of sports including boys and girls Gaelic, boys and girls Basketball, Hockey and athletics. Camogie and Rugby have been introduced as new sports in the school.

• We believe that students need and indeed welcome healthy structures which enhance the learning environment for all. We work very hard to prevent bullying and deal immediately with any incidents reported to us. We have recently updated our policy in line with DES guidelines. Students are actively encouraged to approach the Principal/Deputy Principal with their concerns. Our approach to discipline is firm, fair and consistent. So what is it about Gortnor Abbey? We think 3 comments from our students reported by the Inspector following our Whole School Evaluation sum it up well – “everyone reaching their full potential” “feels like a second home” “safe and caring school”.