The Presentation Convent, Kildare town
The Kildare town Presentation Convent, on the Convent Road, which has been in Kildare town since 1830, is due to close its doors.
The announcement was made by Parish Priest Fr Adrian Carbery at mass last Sunday.
The nuns have been a longstanding fixture in terms of education in the town over the years, and news of the closure has come as a shock to many.
Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, TD, said the nuns educated three generations of his family. “I was completely unprepared for the announcement when it was made at mass,” Deputy Ó Fearghaíl said.
“The nuns have been here since 1830. I don't know the exact numbers now, but many of them are elderly but still very active in the community.”
He added that they were the primary educators in the town for years, in both primary education and in the Presentation Convent secondary school. The primary schools have since amalgamated, as have the town's secondaries to form Kildare town Community School.
“The school was ajacent to the convent first and then the new school was built on the Grey Abbey road in the 1970s, before the current school was built six or seven years ago. The nuns educated me, and my mother and my grandmother and my wife's mother. Loads of families would have been educated by them over the years.”
When contacted by the Leader about the move, the nuns asked for some time to get used to the idea themselves.
Meanwhile, the Mercy Sisters in Rathangan also closed its convent doors earlier this year after 142 years. The order wants to sell the convent. The two remaining local sisters, Sr Rosarii and Sr Bernadette, were relocated to Dublin.
Their enormous contribution to the Rathangan community was honoured at a special reception at Rathangan Credit Union on Saturday, August 12 last.