Firefighters contain blaze at old convent site in Dunmanway

March 18th, 2023 8:33 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Firefighters are trying to contain a fire in outbuildings near the old convent in Dunmanway.

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Within an hour a fire that had the potential to destroy an old convent, chapel and secondary school in Dunmanway was brought under control on Saturday night.

Firefighters from Dunmanway and Clonakilty were quickly on the scene of the fire, which is believed to have been started in the old school dormitory, and they worked in a highly coordinated and effective way to contain the blaze.

It is also understood that a crew from Bandon were able to assist in this fantastic team effort, which resulted in the preservation of much of these historic buildings.

Their quick and professional response also helped to preserve the offices of Cahalane Brothers Limited, a well-known contracting firm that had already redeveloped one third of the site to a very high standard as their base of operations.

The property comprises a former Daughters of Charity Convent building, a chapel, and a former secondary school.

The alarm was raised at about 6.30pm and within an hour much of the work to isolate and quench the fire.

The matter is to be investigated by the gardaí but Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said: ‘Everyone is relieved this evening that these historic structures have been saved in Dunmanway. Great credit is due to the firefighting teams who continue to put their lives at risk to save the structures, and lives, at risk.’

Local Cllr Deirdre Kelly (FF) told The Southern Star: ‘The sight of the convent on fire this evening is very sad to see.

‘Many of us went to school in the convent and have many happy memories of the place. Our thoughts now are with the fire crews.’

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