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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Sr. Anna Hyland

Carlow Person of The Year 1997

From CARLOW now and then, Winter 1997/98 Vol. 1 – No. 3. Page 4 - 6

Sr. Anna Hyland

Carlow Person of The Year Award, 1997

by Walter Lacey, Chairman Carlow UDC.

It may seem a cliché by now but I can honestly say that this function is one of the highlights, if not the highlight, of my year as Chairman. Since the introduction of this award by the late Paddy Carpenter there have been many deserving recipients.  It is not an easy task to choose a recipient as there are so many people out there that do great voluntary work for Carlow and its people. The recipient is thoroughly deserving of this award.

Walter Lacey presenting Sr. Anna with the Carlow Person of the Year trophy, pictured here with her sisters Geraldine Kelleher and Noreen Whelan.

The gift of music is a wonderful gift to have; it is even more wonderful to share this gift with others. The recipient has shared her gift of music with thousands of Carlow girls for thirty years now. It was of course Sr. Anna of Scoil Mhuire and Presentation School Band.

Sr. Anna's family travelled to celebrate her big achievement. Her sister Noreen and Tommy with their family Therese, Ann Marie, Martina and Thomasina from Borris in Ossory. Her sister Geraldine and Michael with their family Cathal, Noel and Philip from Cork.

Sr. Anna, a Laois woman by birth, came to Carlow in 1963 to teach in Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal. Even at that time there was always music to be heard in Scoil Mhuire and in 1968 Sr. Anna, then known as Sr. Savio, took charge of all and founded the Presentation School Band. The following quotes are attributed to Sr. Anna in relation to the formation of the band.

"Like all bands, ours was founded to develop the musical talents of the pupils of Scoil Mhuire, and to bring a further ray of brightness into the life of our town and its people."

"The result for the band members is a development of their appreciation of, and love for music, and the discovery of talents which otherwise might have remained dormant."

There was only one way and that way was forward

With a foundation like that there was only one way and that was forward. Over the following 30 years the school band has proudly represented Carlow at many events, every year for Saint Patrick's Day, Community Games, Town Twinning, Football Finals, Eigse, Slogadh, Glor Na Gael, Fleadh, Entente Florale and many more. The band actually played for the first Chairman's award. In fact very few ceremonial occasions have taken place with-out the distinctive sound of the Presentation Band.

Band Presented with Award for Excellence

Some other memorable performances were when the band played for the 175th anniversary of 1798 when in 1973 a wreath was laid at the Croppie Graves in Graiguecullen. Sr. Anna was always willing for the band to play for visiting dignitaries which included the Ambassadors of France, England and Italy, and also for visiting Government Ministers. In 1983 the band was featured on televisions Ireland's Eye programme, with Carolyn Fisher, and as far back as 1970 they were engaged to play for Dana when she visited Carlow, following her Eurovision win, but unfortunately poor weather and some chaos put paid to that but Dana on hearing of their plight called to see Sr. Anna in the convent.

Some more memorable performances were when the band played for President Mary Robinson when she visited Carlow on more than one occasion. In fact in 1994 the President presented the marching band with the Gradam award which is presented for excellence. Back in 1981 three members of the band played in Rome for Pope John Paul, another proud moment for Sr. Anna. In more recent times 2 members in 1995 and six members in 1996 represented Carlow in the Birmingham International Tattoo Festival, as part of the massed accordion band of Ireland, held in the indoor arena better known to us as the venue for the Gladiators.

The girls of the band have enjoyed a great friendship also with the elderly of St Fiacc's House and the Day Care Centre, with the patients of St. Dympna's Hospital and the Sacred Heart Hospital and of course have a very special relationship with the Wheelchair Association in Carlow.


The bands achievements are far too much to mention. Their many awards including many All Ireland awards are proudly displayed in a specially made cabinet in Scoil Mhuire. The band have travelled around the entire country to compete in the various events. All of this could not have happened without the vision and commitment of Sr. Anna. I know that all the past pupils have great memories and extend great admiration and gratitude to Sr. Anna for the wonderful gift she has given them.


The following are just a few quotes from these same girls as printed in the 21st. Anniversary celebration book.

"Someone once wrote, if one is interested in music, rather than becoming bored, the likelihood is that you have an embarrassment of riches. I joined the Scoil Mhuire Band and have enjoyed a great wealth of friendship in this band of music makers."

"My most cherished memories must be of the many friends I made, through the band."

"The reward of being able to play was worth all the hard work and enthusiasm needed."

"Take pride in today's accomplishments for they lead to tomorrow's successes."

"The experience which we got from our years in the band is irreplaceable."

"Words cannot express my gratitude to Sr. Anna for her friendship, kindness and the glorious gift of music which she has given to all Scoil Mhuire Band members and the people of Carlow."

Many of these same girls have successfully pursued a career in music, something which they may never have done but for the formation of the Presentation Band almost 30 years ago. I know that along the way Sr. Anna has received the help of many people, including parents.

Format of Presentation of Award

Sr. Anna, you have enriched the band members and their families and the people of Carlow with a lifelong gift of music playing, listening and enjoyment and a sense of pride of achievements for almost 30 years. You have invested 30 years of hard work and dedication to the benefit of thousands of Carlovians. The gift and scroll in recognition of Sr. Anna's achievements and also the honour of been nominated Carlow Person of the Year for 1997 was presented to her.

The first official picture of the Senior Presentation Band, taken in 1969.
Included are: (Front) Breda Dowling, Loretto Moran, Eileen O'Reilly, June McKenna, Majella Fitzpatrick, Hannah Donovan, Mary Hennessy, Margaret Brennan. (seated) Josephine Byrne, Mary O'Neill,
(Second row) Maria O'Leary, Lisa Keating, Claire O'Shea, Mary Lyons, Catherine Hendrick, Ina Kirwan, Celine Maguire, Noelette Lawler, Dolores Moran, Mary Doran, Sheila Maher, Mary Holohan, Margaret Murray, Noeleen Kelly,
(Back row) Anne Marie Byrne, Eileen Doran, Katherine Moran, Maura Kinsella, Carol McKinley, Angela Stenson, Breda Kinsella, Mary Nolan, Bernadette McDermott and Geraldine Moore.

The 1973 Presentation School Band:-
Left to Right (1st Row) Bernadette Rossiter, Marissa Fitzpatrick, Angela O'Leary, Anne Whelan, Claire Keating, Margaret Maher, Carmel Kirwan, Mary Amond, Mary Fleming.
(2nd Row) Patricia Dooley, Anne Marie Lawler, Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Mary Clare Dempsey, Deirdre Dempsey, Bernle McGrath.
(3rd Row) Patricia Corcoran, Claire Fitzpatrick, Lily Murphy, Michelle Dempsey, Elizabeth Dwyer, Anne Kirwan, Mary Delaney, Mary Olwill.
(Back row) Maria Doyle, Mary Kananagh, Colette Hendrick, Geraldine Maher, Nora Holahan, Mary Claire Whelan, Eleanor Amond.

The 1983 Presentation School Band:
Left to right (Back Row) Anne Hayes, Therese Boyle, Patricia Gurhy, Martina Murphy, Karen Hosey, Claudette Murphy, Aileen Hughes, Worsen Doyle, Ruth Gurhy, Martina Whelan. (3rd Row) Maura Quinn, Karen Farrell, Fiona Gavin, Bridget Sheehan, Margaret Kehoe, Mary Purcell, Audrey Halpin, Jeanette Hogan, Fiona Doogue, Natalie Murphy, Lorna Smith.
(2nd Row) Valerie Nolan, Ashling Long, Jacqueline Oglesby, Ashling Darcy, Martina Lawler, Ruth Hynes, Mary Mulligan, Michelle Barry, Julie Doyle, Mary Neville, Sharon Eyres, Mary Doyle, Teresa Kehoe.
(Front Row) Irene Kelly, Majella Keating, Anne Marie McDonald, Mary Sheehan, Catriona Murphy, Jacqueline Sheehan, Mabel Nolan, Nuala Foley.

Senior and Junior Primary Band, 1993

Sorry but there were no names published with this photo.

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