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Down High School Downpatrick

The House System

On entering the school each pupil is assigned to one of five Houses

  • Down
  • Lecale
  • Rathkeltair
  • Mourne
  • Strangford

The House colours are of historical interest and are reflected in the school crest.

Down – purple, on account of its ecclesiastical connection with the town. The Hill of Down (Dun being a fort) is the hill on which Downpatrick’s religious history is based. Down Cathedral stands on the Hill of Down.

Lecale – blue, an armorial colour of Lady Betty Cromwell, daughter of the 4th and last Earl of Ardglass, owner of Downpatrick estate. The name Lecale derives from the Gaelic Leth Cathail (Cathal’s portion), the land marked out by an eighth century warrior tribesman.

Rathkeltair – red as Celtair, or Red Branch Knight who ruled the district in ancient times and who is buried close to the school site. The name Rathkeltair is often given to the Mound of Down, although it is likely that Celtair was in fact buried on the Hill of Down, where the Cathedral now stands.

Mourne – green, reflecting the major colour of the school and the countryside of the Kingdom of Mourne.

Strangford – white, reflecting the turbulent waters of the Narrows – mouth of Strangford Lough.

The house system develops a sense of healthy competition amongst our pupils and promotes the skills of leadership, resourcefulness and resilience. Pupils engage in a range of House competitions, ranging from bake-offs to sporting contests, environmental endeavours, attendance points, mock castle building, a Literacy Quiz and much, much more.