Extracurricular Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School

Music at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School

The Cathedral Choirs

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral Choir school, founded in 1432, is the oldest school in Ireland as well as being Ireland’s only choir school. A coeducational Primary School, it caters for pupils from 3rd to 6th class. Many of the choristers continue their secondary education at the Grammar School while continuing to sing with the Cathedral Choir until the voice changes. In later years many of the boys return to the Cathedral Choir as Martin Scholars as Choral Scholars. Many of the girls at the Grammar school are choristers (juniors) or scholars in the Cathedral Choir. Becoming a Cathedral chorister opens a world of exciting opportunities that include regular broadcasts, concerts, recordings and tours in addition to singing the Cathedral services. Choristers also receive free instrumental, vocal and theory tuition. Music, both sacred and secular, is a defining aspect of life at the Cathedral Schools. The Schools draw on their links to the Cathedral to provide a first-rate music education.

The Grammar School Choirs (School Choir and Chamber Choir)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School has a strong choral tradition dating back to 1547 when the Grammar School was founded. Our aim is to promote beautiful singing, to provide performance opportunities for our students in addition to facilitating students who wish to offer choral singing as part of the performing element of the Leaving Certificate music. The School Choir is an SATB, all-inclusive choir open to students from form 2 – form 6 who rehearse after school on Wednesday. The rehearsals are coordinated and conducted by Ms. Balfe and Ms. Lyons. The choir prepare a mixture of sacred and secular music and perform at school events including the annual carol service and spring concert. Since 2014, the School Choir have been finalists in the RTÉ Choirs for Christmas competition each year. In 2018, the school choir embarked on a very successful trip to Prague and Barcelona in 2019. The School Choir has had considerable success at the Feis Ceoil, Sligo Choral Festival and in 2019 they won the Sacred Music competition and came 2nd in the Choir of the Year competition at the Navan Choral Festival. In May 2021, the choir produced a beautiful virtual choir recording of Down By The Salley Gardens which is accessible on Youtube. In March 2022, they came 2nd in the Wesley Interschools Music festival SATB competition. In October 2022, they were invited to perform at the National Concert Hall. The Chamber Choir consists of singers from senior years who love to perform choral music in a chamber setting. In 2020, the Chamber Choir won the Unaccompanied 16 Competition at the Wesley Interschools Music Festival.

Chamber Orchestra

The Grammar School Chamber orchestra, established in 2014 by Ms. Balfe, presents an opportunity to students from all year groups who play an instrument and who can read music to perform together. Combining acoustic and semi-acoustic instruments we perform classical arrangements, film music, popular and jazz standards. The Chamber Orchestra meets weekly at Tuesday lunchtime in the Music room to rehearse. They perform at all school events including the school carol service. The Chamber Orchestra has completed the RIAM orchestra exam with Distinction on numerous occasions, musicians from the Chamber orchestra have played for the annual TY musical. In 2019 the orchestra were invited to perform at the Post-Primary Music Teachers Association Annual Conference. In 2020, they produced a virtual Orchestra recording of the Raiders March which is accessible on Youtube. In 2022, they came 3rd in the Orchestra Competition at the Wesley Interschools Music festival.

String Ensemble

The Grammar School String Ensemble was founded by Ms. Balfe in 2020 and is co-conducted by Ms. Balfe and Mr. O’ Breacháin. This newly established beginner ensemble gives students and teachers the opportunity to enhance their playing and play with string players from all year groups. It raises confidence levels of aspiring young musicians giving them an opportunity to perform in public. The current members play a wide range of string instruments including Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass. The String Ensemble meets regularly to rehearse.

Chamber Music

Chamber Music gives musicians at St. Patrick’s an opportunity to develop musical independence while playing in a duo, trio, quartet or larger ensemble. Chamber groups rehearse with Ms. Balfe but generally perform without a conductor and this enables students to develop a strong sense of musicality and fosters a great sense of student leadership. The composition of chamber groups depends on the musicians interested in performing. Ensembles range from a string or wind quartet or trio, to a mixed string and wind ensemble. In 2020, the Junior Chamber Ensemble won the Chamber Music Competition at the Wesley Interschools Music Festival. All chamber groups perform at the annual Spring Concert.

Instrumental and Vocal Lessons

Vocal and Instrumental (piano, classical guitar, flute, clarinet, saxophone, violin, viola, cello and double bass) tuition are offered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School for a fee. Each student attends a 30-minute lesson per week. The lessons take place during the school day and are rotated. Many of the students prepare for R.I.A.M and A.B.R.S.M practical exams, State Examination Practical Exams in addition to playing for enjoyment! All enquiries for vocal/instrumental lessons should be directed to Ms. Balfe at

Wesley College Interschools Music Competition March 2022- see here for a list of achievements.






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Where words fail, music speaks…


Saint Patrick's Cathedral
Grammar School
Saint Patrick's Close
D08 WK19

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+353 1 454 3388
01 454 3388

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Monday 9.00am - 4.00pm
Tuesday 9.00am - 4.00pm
Wednesday 9.00am - 1.30pm
Thursday 9.00am - 4.00pm
Friday 9.00am - 1.30pm