In 1815, the warden of Galway Dr French went to Kilkenny to ask sisters of the Presentation Order to return with him to Galway to found a convent here. A Reverend Bartholomew Burke has left a fund of £4,800 for the purpose. Three sisters arrived here in October of that year. They moved into a house in Kirwan’s Lane temporarily, and from there to Eyre Square. On March 25th, 1819, they moved to a house in poor condition that had originally been built as a Charter School and which would become known as the Presentation Convent. The following year they opened their school adjacent to the convent.
By 1830, there were 500 girls attending the school, 20 of whom were supported in the establishment and about 100 of whom were fed every day. About 150 girls were also provided with clothing by the nuns. As the sisters were educating and feeding the students, they founded the Breakfast Institute which provided substantial meals for the city’s poor then and especially during the great famine when the school developed into an important relief centre. The Breakfast Institute continued until 1891 side by side with the development of the school which grew from strength to strength. In 1879, there were 1010 girls on the roll.
At the request of the Bishop the sisters were asked to open a Primary School, Scoil Bhríde in Shantalla in June 1955. Scoil na n-Aingeal Kindergarten was opened in 1961 with accommodation for 300 pupils and 6 teachers. Scoil Chroí Íosa was built shortly afterwards and became a Pilot School for the new curriculum. 150 years after arriving in Galway, the nuns built a brand new secondary school.
This is a major weekend for the Presentation Sisters as they celebrate 200 years in Galway. President Michael D. Higgins will open an history exhibition in Scoil Croí Íosa tomorrow, a pageant “In the Footsteps of Nano Nagle” will take place in St. Joseph’s Church and there will be a special mass in St. Joseph’s Church on Sunday at 3pm.`The history exhibition which is of interest to all Galwegians will be open to the public on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week from 11.30am to 1pm, and from 2.30-4pm. It will also be open during Easter week for the same hours.
So we congratulate the Presentation Order for their hard work and their dedication and we thank them for the extraordinary contribution they have made to the quality of life of countless thousands of Galwegians over the last two centuries.
Our first photograph shows some of the class of 1935-36. Fifth from the left in the front row is Teresa (Teddy ) Molloy. Others who were in that year but may not be in the photograph are, in no particular order; Mary Mulcaire, Helen Geoghegan, Bella Fahy, Catherine O’Leary, Ellen Feeney, Maureen Walsh, Maureen McNamara, Eileen O’Neill, Chris Higgins, Margaret Moran, Margaret Flanagan, Margaret Lydon, Anne O’Toole, Kathleen Lawless, Mary Griffin, Bridget McNamara, Sinéad Hosty, Louise Walsh, Catherine Brennan, Anne Walsh, Josephine Rea, Peggy O’Donnell, Elizabeth Naughton, Anne Mannion, Ida Shapiro, Mary Doyle, Mary Macken, Irene Dunlaing, Elizabeth Kelly, Bridget Kyne, Maureen Shaughnessy, Mary McDonagh, Evelyn Bruen, Peggy Lydon, Nora Maloney, Joan Broderick, Bridget Fahy, Margaret Crowley, Rebecca Cullinane, Margaret Codyre, Sinéad Ward, Mary Hernon, Mary Brennan, Eileen Joyce, Lily Fitzgerald, Bridget Lydon, Margaret Keane.
Our second image is of a group who received the Fáinne in 1956. They are, front row; Sheila Scanlon, Geraldine Welby, Ena Byrne, Ronnie Brannelly, Hildegarde Benson, Teresa Hynes. 2nd row; Mary Gavin, Eibhlin Kearney, Susan Commins, Helen Canney, Mary Keane, Mary Scanlon, Fionnuala Hickey, Kitty Carpenter, Helen Bradley, Bernadette Tierney.
3rd row; Helena Brannelly, Margaret O’Brien, Sheila Stewart, Teresa McComiskey, Helen Heaslip, Eileen Keane, Rose Faherty, Maura McDonagh, Teresa Wallace, Gertie Hunt, Mary Tomkins. 4th row; Máire McMenamin, Margaret Burke, Maureen Keane, Carmel Molloy, Maudie McComiskey, Rita Faherty, Josephine McNamara, Winifred Corless, Mary Stenson, Claire Butler, Rose Hegarty.