Our Lady's Abbey Girls School was founded by the Sisters of Mercy on Thursday, April 20th 1854. The opening of the school got a write up of two lines in The Limerick Chronicle.
The school was located at the back of the Trinitarian Abbey on the main street in Adare. The nuns chose to name their convent Our Lady's Abbey as the Trinitarian Abbey had originally been called the “White Abbey”. The Abbey had been in ruins up to 1811, but it was restored by Lord Dunraven and was ready for the nuns by 1850. The convent had accommodation for seven sisters. The school itself consisted of two rooms and in 1869 another room was added. School records show that almost 200 pupils turned up to enrol on the first day.
The school had classes ranging from Infants to 7th class. Some roll books even have an 8th class. During World War I in 1915, three Belgian refugees – Louise, Olivea and Matilda Gregoire enrolled in the convent. Children often started school as young as two and a half and as old as ten years old.
Many improvements were made to our school over the years. In the 1940's the Sisters of Mercy provided secondary education for the girls up to Leaving Cert. Extra nuns arrived from Limerick to teach Latin, French and Domestic Science. Second level education continued in the school until 1972.
The nuns left the convent and school in 1975 after 120 years of service due to the falling numbers in vocations.
The school, now known as the Girls National School of Adare, had a completely lay staff for the first time ever. The old school building began to show its age and underwent a huge renovation in the mid-90's. In addition, a new extension was completed.
In 1997, Bishop Donal Murray blessed the school and renamed it Our Lady's Abbey. A school crest was also designed to reflect the schools medieval origins – the triangle is the symbol of the Trinity and the image of Our Lady preserves our educational links with the Mercy Order. The school was further extended in 2004 with the addition of a General Purpose Room and a Computer Room among other facilities. A further classroom was added in 2016.