Oscar Wilde Attends the Portora Royal School for Boys

We know something of Oscar Wilde's time at Portora from surviving records and from contemporaries.

When Ocsar enrolled at Portora in February 1864, he signed the Roll Book, "Oscar Fingal O'Flehertie Wilde" omitting to write 'Wills', his fourth Christian name and misspelling "O'Flahertie". There is some irony in this. Wilde later wrote, "I started as Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde. All but two of the five names have already been thrown overboard. Soon I shall discard another and be known simply as 'The Wilde' or 'Oscar'. At Portora, however, he became known by the nickname 'Grey Crow' which he disliked.

After nine years, Wilde was sent to the Portora Royal School, which some years later also cultivated Samuel Beckett, and which offered an education steeped in the classics. The institution was a favorite of Irish professionals, and the degree to which it embodied the aspirations of the rising upper middle class is noted in the hope of its headmaster-a liberal and academically celebrated Trinity College graduate named William Steele-whose ambition it was "to develop a school that would not only be the best in Ireland, but which could compete with the best schools in England."