Dr Joseph Kirwan
1843-1846 “The Faithful Companions of Jesus”, a French order of nuns came to Oughterard by invitation from Dr Joseph Kirwan. Their stay in Oughterard was short lived, because of the abject poverty of the people.
The Sisters of Mercy
The society deemed it an unsuitable place for the order. The Sisters of Mercy replaced them in 1858. Funds were scarce at first and classes were held in out buildings but by 1863 there were 367 children on the school roll.
The convent attic is a nursery roost for Leisler Bats. The wooded areas around the convent and interconnecting hedgerows and tree lines along the trails are important feeding and commuting.
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The Galway Vindicator of February 4th 1843 reported on the dedication of what is described as “The Nunnery”. Apparently the reporter arrived early in order to get detail on the area before the arrival of the large congregation of priests and local parishioners, including the then bishop of Galway – Doctor Browne.
He was given a tour of the convent, formerly the residence of Doctor Davis, MD, Oughterard, by the Superior whom he described as a polite French woman. He went on to congratulate Doctor Kirwan P.P. Oughterard on the fine church and his neat cottage on what was previously bare rock.
Jim Fahy 14/1/2020
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