Pirrie House


Senior Housemaster:  Mr. D.S. Scott

Year 8 Tutor: Mrs KS McClean                      Year 9 Tutor: Ms L Gordon

Year 10 Tutor: Mr D McCann                 Year 11 Tutor: Mr S Archibald

Year 12 Tutor: Mr RJ Wilson               Year 13 Tutor: Mrs VH McCord

Head of House: Finlay Bodel

Deputy Head of House: Will Millar

House Secretary: Sam Kennedy

Prefects: Finlay Bodel, Ben Connolly (Head of School), Brandon Douglas, Tom Glover, Sam Kennedy, Rhys Madden (Senior), Adam McGuckin, Mitchell Mercer, Will Millar, Jonathan Starrett, Adam Stewart.

 Mentors: Tom Glover, Sam Kennedy, Rhys Madden, Mitchell Mercer, Callum O’Neill, Jonathan Starrett.



8P Photograph

Valete: Uzair Baloch, Peter Bowman, Harry Brown, Michael Corbett, Andrew Donald, Adam Forsythe, Adam Gowdy, Cameron Harte, Jacob Heggarty, Conor Irvine, Michael Lowry, Isaac Main, Robbie Marrs, Ryan McKeown, Pierce McLernon, Theo Millar, George Robinson, Daniel Simpson, John Stewart, Matthew Stewart, Dylan Tortolani, Jack Woods.

Firstly on behalf of the House, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of our new members of Pirrie House to the school. Everyone within the House hopes that you will thoroughly enjoy your time here at RBAI. I urge you to make the most of it as you will only get out what you put in whether it is in your academic studies or availing of the extensive extra-curricular opportunities that you have presented to you here. I extend a warm welcome to Mrs D Harshaw to register 9P and to Mrs K Rogers for assisting to register 13P this year.

Last year’s Year 14, who have now left school, achieved an excellent set of A2 Level results. The top performer was Michael Corbett with three A* grades and one A. Not far behind were Theo Millar with two A*s and two As; Isaac Main with two A*s and an A; Peter Bowman with a profile of A*AB and Robbie Marrs with AAB. Best wishes to all the Year 14 pupils who left school last year in terms of their further study or employment. At AS Level, there were a number of high performers – Ben Connolly with four As; Rhys Madden, Mitchell Mercer and Donal Shearer with three As; and Finlay Bodel with an A and two Bs.

At GCSE, there were some very good performances with Nick Irvine top scoring with 36½ points. Barry Cheevers followed Nick closely with 36 points and Ewan Magee scored an impressive 31 points. Ralf Stewart (23½) and Fionnbharr Brannigan (21½) also achieved pleasing profiles.


Left to right: Deputy Head of School Michael Lowry, Head of House Adam Gowdy and Head of School Theo Millar share the House Leadership Cup for 2016-2017.

 Pirrie House finished in fifth place in the House Championship with a total of 82½ points and while this is disappointing, we are determined to improve again this year. The House won the Junior Cross Country, Cricket and Rowing Competitions while tutor groups and individuals had many other successes.


Left to right: Ethan Hance (9P), Harry Greer (10P) and David Martin (8P) represent their tutor groups as the House celebrates success in cross country running.

 14P strongly contributed to the success of Senior Sport’s Day with Pierce McLernon winning the discus and shot putt events and Robbie Marrs winning both the high and long jumps. Robbie was also chosen to travel to New York with the Ulster Youth Orchestra. Michael Lowry represented Ulster and Ireland in Under-19 Rugby as well as captaining the 1st XV, playing alongside Pierce McLernon, to win the Schools’ Cup for the third year in a row. Michael completely an incredibly successful year by being chosen as the Ulster Schools Player Of The Year. The Sixth Form team competed well and finished second in House Basketball. In Year 13, Will Millar was selected to play for Ulster Tennis at Under-18 level helping the province to finish in second place at the Interprovincial Championships in 2017. Other individual successes saw Donal Shearer winning the Senior Cross Country Race while Brandon Douglas, having competed at international level for a while, spent a month last summer cycling with a professional Belgium racing team. Last summer, I was able to participate in the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington DC and New York City where we got to interact with key leaders who influence global politics, finance, culture and diplomacy.

12P won House Volleyball while in Year 11, Daniel Boomer won indoor rowing. 10P won House Rugby and Zac Simpson won indoor rowing. The class performed very well in Sports Day with Harry Greer winning the 100m and 200m as well helping the team to win the 4x100m and 4x400m Relays. Harry and Zac also represented the school at District and Ulster Athletic events. 10P competed well and finished second in House Basketball. Dylan Leeman continued his excellent tennis progress by playing for Ulster Under-14s, ranked at number one, and making the Irish team which competed at the European Championships.

In Year 9, Ethan Hance, Ben McAvoy and Dylan McCluskey won House Badminton; the class won House Cricket; and Jacob Martin won indoor rowing. Oscar Dunbar competed in the Jiu-Jitsu Irish Open as defending champion. Ethan Hance played tennis for Ulster at Under-14 level and has travelled to Portugal to play at international level. 8P won their section of the House Swimming Gala. The class also contributed well to Sports Day with Bryn Ward winning the 100m sprint and the shot putt while Alex Hogg won the high jump. Outside school, Lewis Crompton won an Ulster Scot’s Drumming Competition.


Head of House Adam Gowdy delivers clothing and bed linen to Storehouse Chairman Alan Carson.


During the year, each tutor group was represented at Pupil Councils by John Stewart (14P), Sam Kennedy (13P), Harry O’Gorman (12P), Daniel Boomer (11P), Zac Simpson (10P), Daniel Flynn and Ben McAvoy (9P) and Dan Kernohan (8P). Throughout the year, Pirrie House continued to consider others in the local and wider community, making donations to anti-slavery charity Hope For Justice; to local charity Storehouse; and to The Disasters Emergency Committee’s Appeal for East Africa. At the annual House Rewards Assembly, The Pirrie Cup for leadership was presented to Head of House Adam Gowdy, Head of School Theo Millar and Deputy Head of School Michael Lowry. House Secretary Peter Bowman, Dan Kernohan and Will Kernohan shared The Todd Cup for the best contribution to the House. House Contribution Certificates were awarded to Charles Hamilton (9P), Matthew Hamill (10P), Thomas Dunne (11P), Aaron Tate (12P) and to Finlay Bodel and Ben Connolly (13P) while House Punctuality Certificates were awarded to pupils for 0% lateness.


Left to right: Will Kernohan, Peter Bowman and Dan Kernohan share The Todd Cup for the best contribution to the House.

 In order to conclude my report, may I take this opportunity on behalf of Pirrie House to thank Mr. Scott for his leadership and to all of the tutors for their commitment, time and impeccable organisation. We are all privileged to attend a school where our form tutors encourage us, look after us and are committed to our well-being and pastoral care.

I now wish each and every member of Pirrie well for the coming academic year with their academic studies and extra-curricular involvement.

Sam Kennedy (House Secretary)


When the House system was introduced in 1926, Pirrie was one of the original four Houses. It was named after the shipbuilder, businessman and entrepreneur Lord William James Pirrie.

Born in Quebec, Canada on May 31st 1847, Pirrie rose to the top of the shipbuilding industry. The famous Victorian writer and political activist, William Stead – who himself died on ‘Titanic’ – described him as “the greatest shipbuilder that the world has ever known”, who has “built more ships and bigger ships than any man since the days of Noah”.

Pirrie was educated at R.B.A.I. between 1858 and 1862 when he left and enrolled as an apprentice at Harland and Wolff shipyard at the age of 15. Sir Edward Harland almost immediately saw Pirrie’s potential and took the teenager under his wing: as a result, Pirrie’s rise through the company was meteoric. By the age of 22, he was chief draughtsman; by 27, he was made a partner in the company; and later he became the first chairman of the board. Under his energetic, but often dictatorial, control, the shipyard boomed – and alongside it, so did the city of Belfast. Pirrie was elected Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1896 and 1897, and played a key role in the drawing up of the plans for the magnificent new City Hall (work began two years later and the building was completed in 1906). He was the first person to be named a Honorary Freeman of the City in 1898; was the first Viscount of Belfast in 1921; and was elected to the Northern Ireland Senate in 1921. A bust of Lord Pirrie was unveiled in the grounds of BelfastCity Hall in 2006.

Pirrie and his expanding shipyard embarked on some of their most ambitious projects at the beginning of the 20th century. First came the ‘Laurentic’ in 1908 and then the three sisters ships of the ‘Olympic’ class. However, the shipyard’s crowning achievement was soon followed by its moment of infamy – the sinking of the mighty ‘Titanic’ on April 15th 1912, less than one year after its launch. Pirrie was due to travel aboard the Titanic but illness prevented him from joining the ill-fated passage. In an ironic twist of fate, Pirrie died at sea on June 7th 1924 while on a business trip to South America

In the early days of the House, boys from East Belfast were allocated to Pirrie House where the House became synonymous with the “hard men from the east” according to former Senior Housemaster and historian Brian Todd. These boys certainly did not know how to give up in House competitions. In more recent years, boys enter the House from various parts of Belfast and beyond but the Pirrie fighting spirit is still alive and well.