Holywood Old School first opened in 1845 as a Parochial National School. It was built on land facing the new parish church which had replaced the Old Priory. Since its roof size matches that of the Old Priory, it has been reported that the timbers and other components of the Old Priory’s roof were used for the school.
The building continued in use as a school until 1878 when a new and bigger Parochial School was opened on the opposite side of Church Road. It was then used as a parish hall and, from1916, as a scout hall. However, in the early 2000s the building had to close because its fabric had deteriorated to the extent that it had become unsafe.
In response to this situation Holywood Old School Preservation Trust was formed with the aim of conserving the building and making it available for the Holywood community. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and local public bodies and through direct fund-raising activities, a £600,000 programme of repair and restoration was undertaken. The Old School reopened in January 2009. Since then it has been a vibrant community hub with regular and occasional users including ballet and keep fit classes, history lectures, an art group, a monthly craft fair and numerous private parties and events. In addition the 2nd Holywood Scouts are back using the hall 3 evenings each week.