29 June 2017
By Bryan T. Smyth
Heritage centre in South Presentation Convent, set to open its doors on 5th July 2017
Work on the redevelopment of the historic 18th century site of the South Presentation Convent and School is now complete and it will be open to the public on Wednesday, July 5th.
The unexpected oasis in the centre of bustling Cork City is now known as Nano Nagle Place, so named as it is the iconic birthplace of the Presentation Congregation, founded by Ireland’s first global social pioneer Nano Nagle, celebrating her vision of empowerment through education, community inclusion and spiritual engagement for a contemporary world.
The wider campus now houses an impressive heritage centre, tranquil gardens and Nano Nagle’s tomb (free to the public), a garden café (opening autumn 2017), a design shop, education spaces, the Lantern Project and Cork Migrants community inclusion projects, a small resident community of Presentation Sisters, and the beautifully regenerated 1779 convent building which now holds the archive of the Congregation.
The heritage centre engagingly describes life in 18th century Cork before going on to explore the story of how Nano Nagle worked tirelessly to help and educate the poor and disadvantaged. Visitors can also interactively discover how the Congregation she founded in Cork, the Presentation Sisters, has travelled across the globe to continue her work.
Speaking about Nano Nagle Place, Chairman of the board, and previous Lord Mayor of Cork, Jim Corr says: “The Board, the Presentation Sisters and the staff and volunteer team are really excited to warmly welcome people to the beautifully restored 18th century convent and contemplative gardens at the heart of the historic South Parish neighbourhood. Community, education, culture, spirituality and nature are all core to our vision and we can’t wait for everyone to discover so much of what is great about Cork right here at Nano Nagle Place. We would like to thank the local community for all their help, support and patience during the construction phase.”
Ahead of the opening CEO of Nano Nagle Place, Shane Clarke shared his excitement and hopes for Nano Nagle Place, “The restored beauty of the buildings, the tranquillity of the gardens and fascinating and engaging heritage centre telling Nano Nagle’s inspirational story are testament to the vision of the Board and the Presentation Sisters. Alongside a wonderful team of staff and volunteers, I am extraordinarily proud and excited to be entrusted with opening Nano Nagle Place and welcoming Corkonians and the wider world to this urban oasis in the heart of Cork city”.
Work began on the redevelopment in 2014 and took just over three years to complete. The plans, which were officially announced in February 2014, were designed to preserve the heritage, ethos and philosophy of Nano Nagle and her pioneering work in educating Cork’s poorest citizens.
Nano Nagle Place also houses a small resident community and in November 2016, three Presentation Sisters moved into the newly renovated residency. Speaking about the redevelopment Sr Emma Rooney, recently moved from Newfoundland, Canada said, “They have really done a really fantastic job as the place was old and tired while now it’s a place that can be shared with Cork and where history can live on. The Presentation Sisters, associates, teachers and students from Ireland and abroad consider South Presentation as a very special place and regard Nano Nagle’s tomb as an important shrine. The vision to renovate this amazing place was to put wisdom into action. However, we don’t see it as ours alone, but as a place of inspiration to share with the whole community.”
About Nano Nagle Place
Plans for a new lease of life for the historic 18th century site of the South Presentation Convent and School were unveiled at an official launch in February 2014. The €10.5 million redevelopment of the South Presentation site, which has since been renamed Nano Nagle Place and was designed to preserve the heritage, ethos and philosophy of Nano Nagle and her pioneering work in education for the poor and underprivileged.
Work on phase one of the development is now complete and it will be officially open to the public on Wednesday, 5th July. Phase two will see the completion of the Western Apex on the corner of the site. Planning Permission was sought and granted for the development of an educational facility and work is currently underway.
An agreement is in place with an educational tenant whose ethos and activities are compatible with the elements already developed. Finalisation of matters regarding use of this portion of the site will take place over the next six months and an official announcement will be made in due course.
Nano Nagle Place is a registered charity (20077921) and is working towards full compliance of The Governance Code, a code of practice for good governance of community, voluntary and charitable organisations in Ireland.