Larne Grammar School was founded in 1886 by Sir Edward Coey and Mr. John Crawford.Situated on the Lower Cairncastle Road, it occupies a beautiful site with stunning views overlooking the town of Larne, Larne Lough and Islandmagee. On a clear day the hills of Wigtownshire (Scotland) can be seen.
The trustees of the school were granted permission to site a school, beside the Rectory in 1885, at an annual rent of one shilling per year for ten thousand years.
On Tuesday 10th April 1888, with the appointment of the school’s first headmaster, Mr R.M. Jones M.A., the school opened its doors to the first pupils. However, for the following fifteen to twenty years the school struggled and was threatened with closure on many occasions.
By 1923 the Preparatory Department had opened and although the Grammar School had become an important aspect of Larne life, the school had made little progress, with few successes.
Up to September 1935, Larne Grammar School had always been a boys’ fee paying and boarding school. There had originally been two girls’ schools in the town, but this was reduced to one and in 1935 Larne Grammar School amalgamated with the girls Larne Intermediate School. Both schools were very reluctant to do so, but the amalgamation, in hindsight, saw the beginnings of success and a more stable future.
With the introduction of the qualifying examination in 1948, school entrants increased, particularly in the preparatory department, as a minimum of 20% of places were reserved for its pupils.
During the 1980’s, under the visionary and energetic leadership of the Headmaster, Mr. D.J. Thompson, the voluntary grammar school was virtually rebuilt and the remaining old buildings completely refurbished.
From its foundations Larne Grammar School has established itself as one of the leading grammar schools in Ulster. Its influence has been out of all proportion to its size, and it has produced men and women who have upheld its high reputation in all professions and in every part of the world.