Presentation Sisters, Millstreet

Since the Presentation Order arrived in Millstreet in 1840 the Sisters have so very generously provided all-important education at both Primary and Post-Primary level for generations of Millstreet people and beyond.  (The very fact that I can type this section of our Millstreet website is entirely thanks to the late Sr. Assisi Fitzgerald, a Presentation Sister from Tralee who spent her religious life in Millstreet Convent and  who was a true expert in teaching the art of typing!)  Their influence has been enormous on our local community as they shared the Christian vision of their renowned foundress,  Nano Nagle.

Our pictures relate to a special commemorative day in the 1980s at Ballygriffin near Mallow, the home of Nano Nagle.

We also view Sr. Celestine near the portrait of Nano.

In 1993 the “Cork Examiner” took the picture of the Millstreet Presentation Community as they watched Niamh Kavanagh win the Eurovision Song Contest.

We extend our heartfelt best wishes to the Presentation Community on the Order’s  Feast Day which in on Sunday, 21st November, 2004.

We thank Sr. Mercedes for the following text which provides an excellent insight into the spirit of the Presentation Order:

A Little Girl Grew Here

A little girl grew here

For her, brownstone house was home,

Its fireside love and peace.

The blossoming hedgerows sang freedom,

The rivers told stories of places far away,

While beyond, dreaming mountains called.

(R. Consedine 1983)

Nano Nagle, foundress of the Presentation Congregation

on 24th December, 1775

Nano belongs to Ballygriffin, Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland.   We know that she was born there in 1718, the eldest child in a family of seven of Garrett and Ann Nagle.   We remember them now.   A plaque marks the place where their home stood, looking out on the very beautiful landscape.   It is easy to believe that Nano would have been such a child of wonder as she played there and touched, tasted and smelled the various creations of the natural world around her.   It takes little effort to discover that, in the gentle care of her parents, she knew the happiness of childhood and by them she was taught to take her first steps in the love of God (T.J. Walsh).   She was of an exuberant, enthusiastic disposition, which proved too much for her mother sometimes!   Her father had other thoughts and declared emphatically “Poor Nano will be a saint yet” (Coppinger 1974).    It was in Ballygriffin also that Nano was nurtured through the uncertainties, sorrows, risks and dangers of 18th Century Ireland.   Must not a seed of grief have taken root in her heart, grief that even one of God’s children should be oppressed, deprived or hungry?

Who are you, little girl Nano?

What will you make of your inheritance?

Where will your heart find its pathway?

The seed sown in Ballygriffin and bearing abundant fruit later in her life, attracted Nano totally to the person of Jesus and revealed how sensitively and deeply affected she became by the awful situation of poverty of people around her.   Dr. Coppinger (1784) wrote of her:  “In her schools, ever laborious, patient, vigilant and judicious, she studied the dispositions of her pupils, the degree of capacity they possessed;  she adapted her instructions accordingly;  she watched their countenances which long experience had taught her to read, and proceed or turned back, or explained or repeated, as she found them impressed by what she said”.   What great gentleness and compassion from a heart with its roots in her Ballygriffin childhood experience!  Her way of relating to the children expresses the spirit of a woman aware of God’s love being poured into the hearts of all people by the Holy Spirit.

Presentation Sisters went “to the ends of the Earth” and responded to basic human problems.    Nano died on 26th April, 1784.   She had led such a life that it can only be done justice to by saying that it was the Gospels perfectly translated to practice.

Let us continue to pray for her Canonization one day.

Church Panorama – Part Two

On 1st August 2008 I again joined Foreman, Kieran O’Riordan to obtain even more extensive views from the very top of St. Patrick’s Church having climbed the nine levels of excellently constructed scaffolding. Also we had Pat O’Sullivan on video camera and Denis O’Shea on digital still camera recording the historic occasion from the first floor of Carnegie Hall …… really proving that we did reach the impressive heights including getting to ring the Bell of our Parish Church. The complete event was also recorded for LTV2. Our thanks to All who made this special occasion possible. (Seán Radley reporting for www.millstreet.ie from on high over St. Patrick’s Church, Millstreet)

Millstreet Panorama from Church…Part One

We bring you on a visit to view the excellent ongoing work presently being carried out at St. Patrick’s Church, Millstreet. Thanks to the very kind co-operation of Buckley Brothers of Ballydesmond …especially Tadhg Buckley… we join the ever obliging Foreman, Kieran O’Riordan (a native of Killowen, Millstreet) having donned my hard hat and hi-viz jacket to comply with health and safety rules. On this first visit on 9th July 2008 Kieran takes us to the top of the Church where some wonderful parnoramic views are experienced. We also note the splendid new developement next to the Church…the new Respond! Housing Association building programme at St. Joseph’s Gardens ( formerly Presentation Convent). On the various scaffolding levels of the Church we get a close-up of the highly skillful
work being undertaken especially on the roof of this hugely important building. The original Church was built in 1840 and reconstructed in the early 1930s. Our second trip on high took place on 1st August 2008 when some nine levels of scaffolding brought up to the very top of the cross and allowed us to ring the bell! The images of that trip will follow in Part
Two in a few days time. (Seán Radley reporting from the roof of St. Patrick’s Church)

Stained Glass Window – Ordination of a Priest

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This window was in the old church. It consists of two sections which coalesce to form one scene – the Ordination of a priest. The window is in remembrance of Rev. Jerome Harding who died on 16 Nov. 1876, aged only 28 years. He was curate in Cahirciveen but his people were from Millstreet. His remains were brought to Millstreet for burial and it was a massive funeral. The inscription at the foot of the window reads: “in memoriam reverendi jeremiae harding: obiit die novembris decimasexta mdccclxxvi” (“In memory of Rev. Jerome Harding; he died 16th Nov. 1876”). [read more …] “Stained Glass Window – Ordination of a Priest”

Stained Glass Window of Oliver Plunket

Oliver Plunket (East Aisle – first window on left up from door): St. Patricks Church, Millstreet

Oliver Plunket (1625-1681) was appointed archbishop of Armagh in 1669. The special cross he is holding in his left hand is a patriarchal or archiepiscopal cross. He was one of only two Catholic bishops in Ireland at that time and as a result he had a huge work-load – within the first few months of his appointment, he confirmed 10,000 people. He had good relations with the Protestant clergy and gentry. However, the panic caused by the false allegations of Titus Oates in 1678 resulted in his arrest. He was charged in Dundalk with plotting to bring 20,000 French soldiers into Ireland. He was imprisoned in Newgate in England until 1681. There was no basis whatever for the allegations brought against him but he wasn’t given time or opportunity to defend himself. He wrote a most interesting letter from prison a few days before his execution: “Sentence of death was passed against me on the fifteenth. It has not caused me the least terror or deprived me of even a quarter of an hour’s sleep. I am as innocent of all treason as the child born yesterday. As for my character, profession and function, I did own it publicly, and that being also a motive of my death, I die most willingly. And being the first among the Irish, I shall, with God’s grace, give good example to the others not to fear death. I expect daily to be brought to the place of execution where my bowels are to be cut out and burned before my face, and then my head to be cut off.” This is the barbaric death he suffered in Tyburn on 1st July 1684 – it is indicated in the lower part of the window. When this window was made, Oliver Plunket was “Blessed” but he was canonized in 1976 and his feast is on 1st July.

(The inscription at the foot of the window reads: “Erected to the memory of Denis and Margaret Crowley of Millstreet by their son Cornelius. 1944”)

by Msgr. M. Manning, P.P., V.G.

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The stained glass window was made by Clement Watson & Co of Youghal, one of three Watson windows in St.Patrick’s Church [ref]

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The stained glass window  was erected by Cornelius D. Crowley (1879-1972), of Finnstown House, Lucan, Co Dublin, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, and originally from Coole House, Millstreet. He was anxious to be remembered in his native Millstreet, and so in 1944 erected this window (and another at the same time) to his parents, Denis and Maria Crowley, in Saint Patrick’s Church, Millstreet, in 1944.

“At that time, Finnstown House was the home of my Great Uncle Con and Great-Aunt Hannah. Cornelius D. Crowley (1879-1972), of Finnstown House, Lucan, Co Dublin, and Roscrea, Co Tipperary, was originally from Millstreet, Co Cork. He was one of my great-uncles, a brother of my grandmother, Maria (Crowley) Murphy (1882-1953) of Millstreet, Co Cork.
For many years Con Crowley was a director of the Roscrea Meat Company with his brother Jeremiah D. Crowley of Wallstown Castle, Castltownroche, Co Cork – the other directors included Robert Briscoe TD and G Fasenfeld. After World War II, Con Crowley” – by Patrick Comerford

Liturgical Celebrations (Second Week of Advent: 5 Dec.-11 Dec. 2004)

Liturgical Celebrations (Second Week of Advent: 5 Dec.-11 Dec. 2004)


This is the second week of Advent and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Wed. (8 Dec.) is very appropriate as a preparation for Christmas. This Feast was made a Holyday of Obligation in 1708.

Monday (6/12/04): St. Nicholas Bishop of Myra (4th century): Myra is in south-western Turkey. Like some popular saints, there is hardly any strictly historical information about him. The whole tradition of Santa Claus in modern times is based on the folklore about him.

Tuesday (7/12/04): St. Ambrose (339-397): He was governor of Milan, a very important civil position when the Bishop of Milan died in 374. Ambrose wasn’t even baptised at that time but only was a catechumen preparing to enter the Church. At the meeting to elect a new bishop, a voice, said to be that of a child, kept shouting “Ambrose for bishop”. To his complete surprise, the whole crowd took up the slogan and although he tried his best to stress his unsuitability, he had no choice but to accept the position. Within a week he was baptised and consecrated Bishop. He sold all his belongings and gave the money for charity. As Bishop he did great work in organizing the diocese, protecting the Christian faith against various kinds of heresies prevalent at the time and writing very valuable theological books about important issues of the Christian faith. He also had an important share in the conversion of Augustine, another of the great Christian leaders of the early Church.

Wed. (8/12/04): The Immaculate Conception of BVM. This means that Mary by a singular grace was kept free from all stain of original sin from the moment of her conception. The doctrine was solemnly defined by Pope Pius IX on 8th Dec. 1854. Mary revealed herself to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes in 1858 as: “I am the Immaculate Conception”. Mary is the new Eve and her feast is particularly appropriate in the preparation for Christmas.

Thursday (9/12/04): St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548). Juan Diego was a native Indian. The name “Cuauhtlatoatzin” was the name he was given when he was born – it meant “the talking eagle” in his native language. He became a convert and was still under instruction when he had the vision. On his way to morning Mass on 9th Dec. 1531 he had a vision of Our Lady at Tepeyak, a hill north-west of Mexico city. She instructed him to ask the Bishop (Juan de Zumárraga) to build a Church on that site. The Bishop was sceptical about his story. Three days later she appeared to Juan Diego again and asked him to climb the hill and pick flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed and although it was winter time and the ground frozen, he found roses flowering. Our Lady asked him to take them to the Bishop as proof. He put them in his mantle and brought them to the Bishop. When he opened his mantle in front of the Bishop, the roses fell to the ground. What was more significant was that there was an image of his vision of Our Lady imprinted on his mantle. This image (Our Lady of Guadalupe) can still be seen on the mantle today in the Basilica at the hillsite at Tepeyak. The first foreign visit that Pope John Paul II made was to this site and he went there again for the beatification of Juan Diego (6 May 1990) and for his canonization (31 July 2002). He praised his humility – Juan Diego said to Mary: “I am a nobody. I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf.”

Sat. (11/12/04): St. Damasus: He was born around 304 and was Pope, (Damasus 1), from 366 to 384. He defended the Church’s teaching against Arianism and other heresies. He also insisted on the primacy of the Pope as successor of Peter and freedom from the domination of the Emperor in Constantinople. He commissioned St. Jerome to translate the Bible into Latin and this became known as the “Vulgate” and was accepted as official by the Church.

Liturgical Celebrations (Second Week of Advent: 13 Dec.-18 Dec. 2004)

Monday (13/12/04): St. Lucy (martyred 304): She died in Syracuse in the persecution of the emperor Dioclesion. Devotion to her goes back to the early Church and she is mentioned in the Roman Canon of saints. She is said to have been a wealthy Sicilian who refused marriage offers and gave her money to the poor. It is said that various attempts to kill her were made and she was finally killed by the sword. Like many popular saints, so many stories have been made up about her down through history that it is hard to find stricly historical details. In Venice, in a Church near the railway station, there is a partially incorrup body which is claimed to be hers. There is a popular song dedicated to her: “Santa Lucia”. She is also greatly honoured in Sweeden where her feastday (13 Dec.) used to be the shortest day of the year or the winter-solstice. This was before the reform of the Greagorian Calendar in 1582 when 10 days were dropped from the calendar – a reform that wasn’t accepted in Sweeden until 1753:

Santa Lucia, thy light is glowing

Through darkest winter night, comfort bestowing.

Dreams float on dreams tonight,

Comes then the morning light,

Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia.

Tuesday (14/12/04): St. John of the Cross (1542-1591): A Carmelite friar and virtual founder of the Discalced Carmelites. He was also one of Spain’s foremost poets and mystical theologians. He first thought of joining the Carthusian Order but was persuaded by Theresa of Avila to work for the reform of the Carmelite Order. Because of opposition to his work he was imprisoned and he wrote some of his finest poetry why he was in prison. He weas canonized in 1726 and declared a doctor of the Church in 1926.

17-24 Dec. 2004: These days are especially dedicated to the celebration of Christmas.

Tubrid Holy Well 2000 – Pictures

Tubrid Holy Well – a haven of peace – is situated 2km west of Millstreet Town. The picturesque spring well, reputed to be Ireland’s largest Holy Well, is visited annually – especially in the month of May – by thousands of people.

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One of the many groups of people who visit Tubrid
– Presentation Sisters from the South Western Province

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A section of the large crowd attending one of the Masses celebrated at the Holy Well with Clara Mountain in the background.

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Mgr. Manning, Fr. Buckley and Fr. Tarrant concelebrate Mass on the last Friday night in May, 2000 at the permanent altar near the Grotto at the Holy Well.

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Fr. Kevin Mulcahy (5th from left) with friends following his annual Mass (in June, 2000) for Students who were about to begin the Leaving and Junior Cert. examinations.

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Fr. Paddy O’Byrne accepts a copy of “Picture Millstreet” from Eily Buckley following his celebration of Mass for his many local friends and for a group of Americans with whom he was travelling. Fr. Paddy ministers in America.

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Jerry Doody sings superbly at the celebration of Mass at the Holy Well while (on right) John Anthony O’Sullivan, Ballydaly provides the excellent public address system.

Note: You can read the history and significance of Tubrid if you click on this link: http://www.millstreet.ie/blog/information/tubrid-well/