Kilkenny, Carlow, Portlaoise

Presentation Sisters arrived in Kilkenny following an invitation from Dr. James Lanigan, the Bishop of Ossory. Isabella McLoughlin and Catherine Meighan travelled from Kilkenny to Cork in October 1797 to train in South Presentation Convent. The journey took them a week, travelling in a stagecoach known as ‘The Fly’. In 1800 the women, now Sr Joseph and Sr de Sales, returned to Kilkenny to establish the convent there. Initially, they lived in a two-storey house on James’ Street. Like many of the early convents the building served as both convent and school. In 1817 two additional floors were added to accommodate additional sisters and classrooms. 

Above: Postcard of Presentation Convent, Carlow
Above: Postcard of Presentation Convent, Kilkenny

Kilkenny convent was successful in attracting women to join them. This increase in numbers allowed the convent to expand and establish new foundations. The first of these was in Carlow where Dean Henry Staunton, President of Carlow College and Dr Andrew FitzGerald, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin actively encouraged the sisters to move there. In January 1811 three nuns from Kilkenny moved into a convent on Tullow Street. The building was later demolished and Carlow Cathedral built on the site. In 1873, the nuns moved to a much larger building, which is now Carlow County Museum and Library. 

Top right image: Frontispiece of Carlow Convent’s illustrated annals
Above: Postcard of convent, chapel and garden, Kilkenny
Above: Interior of Portlaoise Convent Chapel

In 1824, Sr Magdalen Breen and Sr Angela Mooney moved from Carlow to Portlaoise (then Maryborough) following an invitation from James Doyle, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin who promised a portion of his annual income to the convent. Rev O’Connor donated his residence to the sisters which was previously a bridewell and contained part of a tower house. The first school was in cellars under the parish church which were so damp that several of the young nuns who taught there became ill and died.

Above: Presentation Convent, Portlaoise, Co. Laois

Family Tree Kilkenny