The Presentation Order of nuns was invited to establish a convent in Carlow town, Ireland in the early 1800’s. Kilkenny born priest Andrew Fitzgerald knew about the work the presentation sisters were doing in Kilkenny City. He was a professor in Carlow College at the time and decided to invite the sisters to establish a community in Carlow town.
The Presentation Sisters (Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) were founded in the city of Cork by Nano (Honora) Nagle in 1775. Nano Nagle, who was educated in France, was born into a wealthy family in Ballygriffin, Cork, Ireland in 1718. The Presentation Order established schools with the aim of educating mainly the poor and the needy. Today schools established by the Order are found in 24 countries around the world.
The three founding sisters who came to Carlow from the Kilkenny Presentation Community were: Sr. Frances de Sales Meighan, Sr. Magdalen Breen and Sr. Catherine Madden. They opened their first school in the basement of a house on Tullow Street in Carlow town. Enrolment grew quickly and in 1819 a school to cater for 130 pupils was opened on College Street. The number of pupils continued to grow and by 1837 more classrooms were added to cater for an enrolment of over 300. Schools at the time, including so called hedge schools, charged around 20 pence weekly for tuition in English, Arithmetic and Writing. However the Presentation School provided free tuition.
The school continued to grow eventually becoming part of the Irish National School system and a new building was opened on Tullow Street in 1899. The school catered for primary school girls only until 1947, when it became a ‘secondary top’. This meant it provided education for girls to Intermediate level. It eventually became a Secondary School for girls in 1971. In 1960 the primary school moved to a new building on the Green Lane. The secondary school became co-educational and moved a new purpose built secondary school in 1982.
The Presentation Order arrived to establish their school in Carlow town in the year 1811 On This Day.
Veils by National Library of Ireland on the Commons