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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Presentation Convent

Tullow Street, Carlow

Source: Carlow in Old Picture Postcards by Michael Purcell 1994IRL ISBN 90 288 5962 4 /CIP

Presentation Convent

Further down Tullow Street we come to the Presentation Convent for this 1895 view of the convent front. To the left in a pointed niche is a statue of Christ the King. The features on the building are clear to he seen and need no elaborating from me. The picture is a typical example of the value and quality of the Lawrence Collection of photographs. The collection covers the period from about 1870 to 1911.

The main photographer was Robert French, who was commissioned by the Dublin firm of William Lawrence to take pictures of cities, towns and tourist attractions. The National Library of Ireland acquired the collection of 4,000 photographic plates in 1942. To avoid repetition I do not acknowledge each photograph reproduced in this volume from the Lawrence Collection, but they can be identified by the white epigraph stating place name. number, and the initials W.L. which appear on Collection photographs.

Source: National Library of Ireland.

Presentation ConventThis is the opposite view, some forty years later, of picture number 6. The 1863 photographer would have stood at the tall building on the left to take his shot. In the early part of this century the building was known as Bolgers Hotel. Smyths boot shop with the K-sign can he seen at the top of Lower Tullow Street. To the right we see the newly-built J. McDonalds public house and grocery which replaced the Cather Inn. Today it is one of the oldest established business premises in Carlow still in the same trade as it was in 1668. Crossing College Street we have a good view of the Presentation Convent rebuilt in 1877 with pointed hell tower. Alongside is the Convent National School built in 1899; it was demolished in 1993. On the bottom right we catch a glimpse of a cobble pounder used to compress the cobble stone channel.

Presentation Convent, Tullow Street. Carlow c1906 postcard.
Source: eBay 2008.

Window detail, former Presentation Convent, Carlow

The former Presentation Convent is situated at the junction of Tullow Street with College Street. The prominent Gothic Revival window consists of a two-tiered arrangement of stained glass. These tiers are divided by a stone tripartite panel with carved detail. The window has perpendicular tracery with angel lights on either side of the central panes of the upper and lower tiers. It also features a hood mould overhead and block and start dressing on either side. The stained glass is for the most part of simple geometric design throughout.

Source: Ask about Ireland

The Presentation Convent and School on Tullow Street, Carlow. Photo taken c.1999
(now closed)
County Museum

County Museum’s new premises in the remainder of the former Presentation Convent, College Street, Carlow Town.

The new development involves the restoration of the former Presentation Convent on College Street, Carlow Town. The building is in a prime town centre location and is part of a complex that already houses the Co. Library, Archive and the Tourist Office. The vision of is to create a central cultural complex in Carlow town that provides easy access to cultural

Photo: Carlow County Museum.

The Presentation Convent

1811 The Presentation Sisters were established. Their convent, primary and secondary schools, were formerly in Tullow Street

From the early 1800's to the end of the century a family called Calbeck lived in what is now Moyle Park House. Mrs. Calbeck, who was a Catholic, established a school for the local Catholic children - no education whatever was available to them at the time. Around 1850, however, her daughter, who had taken on the good work of her mother, realised that she was unable to continue, so she contacted the local parish priest, Fr. Moore, and offered him £2000 to build a convent and school if he could procure an Order of Sisters who were devoted to education. He contacted Presentation Convent, Carlow and four Sisters took up residence in the newly built convent on Dec. 8th 1857. Two hundred children enrolled at the school on the first day and within a year the number of Sisters had increased to, eighteen.

How the Presentation Convent looked c.1860.
Source: The Nationalist 1984


May 30, 2006


Chapter 18 Part 2 of the An Tostal Programme for 1953 is dedicated to the Presentation Convent.

The Presentation Convent

Patrick Maher of Kilrush in Suncroft Parish with his brothers, Thomas and William, made an offer to Fr. Patrick Brennan, P.P., Kildare, to found a Convent of Presenta­tion Sisters in Kildare for the education of poor female children. In July, 1829, Father Brennan arranged with the Bishop, Dr. Doyle, that the foundation should be made. The ground on which the convent and Parish Church stand was for disposal and Father Brennan purchased it from Lewis Kelly for £100, aided by Messrs. Maher, Cullen, and Verdon. Father Brennan had the purchase enclosed with a stone wall. A house, garden and school were provided and furnished with every requisite for the Sisters who were to be sent there by the Bishop.

He drew up a lease of the land and houses for three Sisters named by him to the Bishop. These were Sister Angela Mooney, Sister Augustine Maher and Sister Clare Dillon. Sister Angela was sister of Father Mooney, P.P., Rosenallis (1847-76), who built Capard Church in 1863. Sister Augustine was sister of Father James Maher, P. P., Carlow Graig and aunt of Cardinal Cullen. Sister Clare was from Portlaoise and was aunt of Cuffe of Cuffes, Salesmen, Dublin.

Father Brennan reserved a rent of £18 for himself and his successors on condition that the convent would give back portion of the land as a site for a future Parish Church. Sister Angela Mooney was appointed first super­ioress of Kildare by J.K.L. in the Carlow Convent Chapel in the presence of the community and of Sister Augustine Maher, and Sister Clare Dillon who had been professed that day. On Thursday in Easter Week, 1830, at 5 p.m. they arrived in Kildare. A few days later the Sisters opened their school to a small number of pupils. The cottage which housed these pioneer Sisters was on the edge of the road, where the boundary wall stands. A new convent was built in 1839. It was blessed on 22nd, August of that year, and after Mass had been celebrated in it the Sisters took up residence in it. Owing to the increasing number of pupils, Father Nolan, P.P., had the schools adjoining the Convent built in 1869.

In 1854 Sister Catherine Cullen left Kildare to assist in establishing a Presentation Convent in Mountmellick. In 1874, Mothers John Byrne, Paul Fay, Evangelist Kelly and Stanislaus Dunne left Kildare with Mother Xavier Byrne of Presentation Convent, Mountmellick to make a foundation in the far-away mission of Wagga, New South Wales. Their labours were blessed by God as shown by the numerous Presentation Convents now in Australia.

In 1881 the Sodality of the Children of Mary was estab­lished in Kildare Convent Schools by Dr. Kavanagh, P.P., The Infants’ School wing was added in 1902. The architect was Mr. Francis Bergin, and the builders, Messrs. D. & J. Carbery. The late Bishop Cullen with the unanimous consent of the ten Presentation convents in his diocese had all the convents amalgamated. He blessed and opened a Mother House and Novitiate at Mount St. Anne’s, Portarlington. The Second Mother-General was Mother Angela Mooney of the Kildare Convent, grand niece of the Foundress. In 1937, to provide for the increased number of pupils -over 500 were now on rolll, a new wing was added. At present there are 660 on roll.

Chapter 18 Part 2 of the An Tostal Programme for 1953 is dedicated to the Presentation Convent.


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