18 July 2021
By Tom Collins
Next month, Nano Nagle Place will launch an exhibition that will celebrate the continued use of the site on Douglas Street in Cork as a convent for 250 years. Changing Habits: 250 Years of Convent Life will chart the construction of the oldest building, built in 1771, by Nano Nagle as home for the Ursuline Sisters she had invited to Cork from Paris. The exhibition will then chart the foundation of the Presentation Sisters and the changing ways of life on the site up to the present day.
Using the rich archival records of the Ursuline and Presentation sisters, the exhibition will also include artefacts from the collection of objects held by the Presentation Sisters. The Exhibition will feature recreations of a complete set of nuns’ habits through the years. The oldest kind of habit, worn by the Presentation Sisters from 1805, changed very little for 140 years. Several changes then came in quick succession. The habit was made shorter, the huge sleeves were made detachable, and the bandeau and the guimpe, once made of starched linen, changed to celluloid. Dressmaker Sam Wynn, and the resident sisters here, have created what the ‘changing habits’ look like over time.
Illustrator Brian Gallagher has been commissioned to create images of parts of the history of the site for which there are have no photographs. These include the Ursuline Sisters arriving, Nano with
What is Nano Nagle Place?
The Ursulines ran the site as a boarding school, and postulants, novices and sisters in the garden in the mid 19th century.
Nano Nagle Place celebrates Nano Nagle’s educational, community inclusion and spiritual vision for contemporary world. Officially opened in December 2017 by ex-President of Ireland Dr Mary McAleese, Nano Nagle Place includes a fantastic heritage museum dedicated to the life of Nano Nagle; sensitively resorted architecture from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries; beautiful hidden gardens; the fabulous Good Day Deli café; a Cork focused design and gift shop; the grave of Nano Nagle; an archive for the Presentation Sisters; accommodation for three resident Sisters; and, rooms available for community, charity and business meetings. The Lantern and Cork Migrants community development projects also call Nano Nagle Place home and are testament to the vision of Nano
Who was Nano Nagle?