The impressive house which is the centre piece of Loreto College Coleraine was originally called 'Tiev Tara' and was owned by Mr Hugh Anderson. When he died in 1899 he left Tiev Tara to his partner's daughter, as he had no heirs of his own. Daisy Stewart, the new owner, did not live in the house herself, but sold it to a Colonel Mellon, a retired Welsh army officer. However, after a short time the house was put up for sale again. In 1904 Fr. Convery P.P. bought 'Tiev Tara'. He planned to bring the Christian Brothers there to set up a boys' school; at that time the Christian Brothers got no grants for their schools and were supported entirely by voluntary subscriptions. The people of St. John's parish were not able to guarantee the amount of money required for the upkeep of the monastery, so they had to decline the offer. In 1906, the Ursuline order came and bought the house. They started a school which had accommodation for girls. They also had a Preparatory College for boys. The Ursulines also took charge of the primary school. The building now used as the Art College was the boys' Preparatory College. Before that it had been the coach house and stables. The Ursuline nuns extended the school, building more classrooms and a new dormitory in 1910.
The Loreto Sisters pictured with members of the Senior Leadership Team in 2014
In 1922 when the new Northern Ireland Educational Authority was set up, certain qualifications were needed to teach in secondary schools. The nuns, being French, did not have these qualifications so they decided to withdraw from the country. Then Dr. O'Kane, Bishop of Derry, asked the Loreto nuns in Omagh to take over the schools, both primary and secondary. On August 13th 1930 four 'Sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary', founded by Mary Ward (1585-1645) arrived. The Ursulines stayed with them for two weeks to help them settle into their new home. The original four sisters M. Rose, M. Colmcille, M. Aidan and M. Kevin were joined by M. Peter, M. Benedict and M. Gertrude as first members of the new community. The school was named Loreto Convent school for Girls.
True to the spirit of their foundress, Mary Ward, the Loreto Sisters developed the school in Coleraine, added extensions, adapted to changes in the educational system and maintained the high standards of Loreto education. In 1977, Loreto admitted boys for the first time. A total of 25 boys were the school’s first intrepid male pupils, and the school was renamed Loreto College.
By 1987, Loreto College had a total of 701 pupils (59 boarders and 642 day pupils). One of the founder members of the College, Mother Colmcille, had died in 1986, and transport networks were bringing about huge changes in the world of boarding schools. In 1989, the ground floor of the old Dormitory Block was converted to accommodate Technology until a new Technology Block could be built. In June 1990, after sixty years, the boarding school was closed.
In 1992, a new block was opened, housing English, Drama, Music, Geography, Economics, History and Computer Studies classrooms, and practically doubling the physical size of the school. The St. Mary’s block was completely renovated, and a new front entrance was built. In 2001, the College’s new Sports Hall and Technology Block were officially opened following a Mass for all members of the College Community in the Sports Hall. The fields around the school were developed into the existing, excellent pitches and facilities.
In 2013 the College became an all ability Catholic Grammar School providing Spirituality and Excellence via both its Academic and Vocational provision and proudly remains embedded in the traditions and values of the Loreto Order.
Convent Chapel Advent Service
Convent Chapel Crib Visit