An article by Sr. Carmel Raftery, Tercentenary Project Team
A commemorative ceremony to mark the coming of the first Presentation Sisters to the town of Athenry was carefully planned for the 11thMay in Abbey Row where the Sisters operated their original school. This event was to be held outdoors on the actual school site but torrential rain put paid to that.
However, due to the skill and ingenuity of Jason Cotter and Gerry Ahern, Plan B was quickly activated and from the alternative of the convent parlour we were able to continue electronically. Though we had barely standing room, because of all the equipment and the many guests the ceremony proceeded in a calm and orderly way.
The various speakers who addressed us were all loud in praise of the four valiant Sisters who came from Tuam to Athenry in 1908 and proceeded by carriage to Abbey Row, where after whitewashing the walls of the original building, began their mission of education.
Special attention was given to the fact that the Parish Priest of the time, Canon Canton actually vacated his own house and handed it to the Sisters while he and his sister moved to rented accommodation in the town. He later was to build them a new school before building his own house.
Education evolved from then on, through Secondary Top to full Secondary, growing and expanding all the while right up to our own day.
Preparation is now under way to meet the demands of the 21st century, as students and teachers of Presentation College look forward to entering a sparkling, new and modern college to continue to keep the flame of Nano Nagle’s famed lantern burning brightly.
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