© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This paper discusses the various ways privatisation processes affect Irish education. Due to the long history of considerable church involvement, the notable absence of middle tiers of governance, and more recently, the embrace of neoliberal principles, in large part due to and for economic reasons, the Irish education system represents a fascinating example of a complex interplay between the public and private sectors. The conceptual and analytical tools provided by Cultural Political Economy are used in this paper to highlight why and how privatisation has unfolded and might yet unravel further in Irish education. These tools offer a useful lens through which to examine country-specific developments, whilst locating them in the global picture. Utilising the conceptualisations offered by Cultural Political Economy, this paper demonstrates how different forms of privatisation in Ireland have contributed to what can be described as a complex system of governance with strong private involvement.