History of the School

Our Story

The Royal Charter to establish a free school for boys in County Tyrone was laid down by King James I in 1608. In 1614 the Royal School Dungannon came into being at the village of Mountjoy near Lough Neagh. Sometime later, the school relocated to Dungannon, finally coming to rest at its present site in 1789 with the erection of the building we now know as the ‘Old Grey Mother’ by the Archbishop of Armagh, Richard Robinson, and the then Headmaster, Rev Dr William Murray.

The 1789 building acquired the nickname of the Old Grey Mother after the red sandstone with which it was built was rendered with cement sometime in the 19th Century. New windows and doors were required but the Board of Governors had insufficient funds for sandstone blocks and instead used handmade brick. To preserve a unified appearance, the building was covered with cement. For the generations of boys who lived and learned under its roof that old grey building must have been an object of great affection.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the school grew and new facilities, such as the ball alley, cloisters and assembly hall, were added. Amalgamation with Dungannon High School for Girls in 1986 and the subsequent refurbishment and new build of 1999-2003 gave us the school we know today. Classrooms are large and well resourced. There are specialist teaching facilities in the Sciences, Design & Technology, Music and Food Technology as well as extensive computer provision, and sporting facilities such as a modern sports hall and multi-gym and a floodlit astro-turf pitch to complement rugby and hockey pitches and tennis courts. RSD’s facilities make it a school for the 21st century.

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