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Inchydoney holiday home visits were a real treat for city nuns

October 21st, 2021 7:05 AM

By Siobhan Cronin

Presentation Sister Lelia Finn, pictured with fellow sisters in Inchydoney enjoying the sisters’ visit to their holiday home in West Cork. The photo is part of an exhibition of pictures of the Presentation Sisters, entitled Not to Make a Noise About It, which is on display at Nano Nagle Place in Cork, by photographer Clare Keogh.

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BLACK and white photos of the Presentation Sisters on holiday in West Cork form part of a new exhibition featuring pictures of the order.

This year Nano Nagle Place in Cork is marking 250 years of convent life and the exhibition entitled Not to Make a Noise About It pays tribute to the Presentation Sisters who still live and work there.

It features portraits of the sisters by renowned photographer, Clare Keogh, along with archival images of the sisters chosen to illuminate aspects of their life and work. A website with further images and audio recordings of the sisters talking about their lives and work has been designed to accompany the exhibition, which will continue until December at Nano Nagle Place.

The exhibition features images of sisters who have spent much of their lives at ‘South Pres’ school and will be familiar faces to past pupils and South Parish residents alike.

Sr Lelia Finn was principal at Ballyphehane Secondary, and in Sexton Street in Limerick City, and her reminiscences relate to her earliest years of convent life, including the holidays the sisters enjoyed in Inchydoney, where they could sea swim, an activity she still enjoys today.

‘For health reasons, a house was bought in Inchydoney, it was just before we entered so when we came to the convent it was already established,’ Sr Lelia explained.

‘So every summer, in turn, groups of nuns could go down there. Well, you talk about heaven, well, first of all I loved living in the sea, and I hadn’t been swimming in the sea for a few years now. Oh! And to be near the sea and to be in it – the freedom! We used to be wildly excited before we went. We were still wearing the habits going down there, they were a bit modified, and we still had the veils on our heads. We used to walk the roads there. Oh, to be out on a country road!’

Photographer Clare Keogh said she hoped the photos and interviews would stand to acknowledge ‘these extraordinary women who would count themselves as anything but’.

‘By examining the individual sisters’ stories, we get a greater sense of the Presentation order and its work,’ she added.

For more see nanonagleplace.ie and nottomakeanoiseaboutit.squarespace.com/

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