Loreto Secondary School is situated on the Waterford City side of Clonmel, near the river Suir, on the Coleville Road. It provides education for girls from the town and the surrounding rural hinterland. It is a Catholic Voluntary Secondary School. It is a member house of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I.B.V.M.). This Institute has a long history. It was founded in the Seventeenth Century by Mary Ward (1585 – 1645), a remarkable woman who pioneered the higher education of Catholic women. During her own lifetime she established schools all over Europe. At the present day her Institute is spread over the five Continents.
The Irish branch of the Institute was founded in 1821 by Frances Ball, a native of Dublin. Her first foundation was at Rathfarnham and was called Loreto Abbey, from which title the members became known as Loreto Sisters and all subsequent foundations at home and abroad, were called Loreto.
Loreto Clonmel was founded in 1881. Six Loreto Sisters arrived on the 22nd August. The sisters occupied the house adjoining the Suir Island Mills and remained there for about seven years. In March 1889 a fire in the Flour Mills caused extensive damage to the Convent. In August 1889 the Loreto Sisters bought a residence in Coleville Road. This has been the location of Loreto Secondary School since then. In 2004 a complete new Complex consisting of a School, full size Sports Hall and outdoor play facilities, was officially opened on the Coleville Road site. Today, over 500 students attend the school.