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16 October 2014
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Portora Royal School

Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Neil Hannon - just some of the well known personalities who went to this school.

Article by Brian Willis.


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Front of Portora Royal School

This Enniskillen school was founded by Royal Charter in 1608, with the motto "Honour all men".

The school started life in Lisnaskea but moved to its present site overlooking the water in 1643. The present building was erected in 1777 although, of course, it has been greatly expanded since then. In 1798 there were five boarders and nineteen day boys. Today, at the time of writing, there are no longer any borders but over 470 day pupils.

Past pupils

Whose famous feet crossed these hallowed steps?
Whose famous feet crossed
these hallowed steps?

Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900) He was at the school from 1864 to 1871. It is possible Wilde drew his inspiration for his fairy tale "The Happy Prince" from the Cole monument which stands in the Fort Hill Pleasure Grounds.

Rev. Henry Francis Lyte (1793 - 1847) Wrote the hymn "Abide with me"

Lord Plunkett

Archbishop Magee of Dublin

Samuel Beckett (Playwright) (Born 1905) Won the Nobel Prize in 1969

Oh yes a 'modern' old boy is Neil Hannon , founder, composer and lead singer of "The Divine Comedy".

A kangaroo fit for a king! Cartoon by Brian Willis

Another interesting old boy was Dr John White (Naval Surgeon), who, in 1787, sent King George III the first kangaroo ever to be seen in the UK.

This story obviously caught Brian Willis's imagination. He forwarded onto 'Your Place & mine' this amusing cartoon. (Editor)

I'm sure there are many more famous old boys - come on 'your place and miners' help me add to the list ....

Portora Castle

In the grounds of the school are the remains of Portora Castle. The castle was built about 1613. It is in ruins partly because a group of truanting school-boys, experimenting with gunpowder, blew up a section. They also tried digging under the building which also added to its dereliction.

Remains of Portora Castle
Portora Castle

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