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Image of the River Blackwater - near Ballygriffin, Mallow, (Co. Cork)

A woman of our times

A total of 102,500 people attended the first day of the 2019 National Ploughing Championships, a figure confirmed  by the National Ploughing Association (NPA). This figure  is substantially up on the 97,500 attendees that attended day one of last year’s ‘Ploughing’.

Today, those who attend experience everything from farming to fashion, artisan foods to top-of-the range machinery, as well as livestock displays and ploughing competitions – showcasing Irish food, farming and culture. There are almost 2,000 exhibitors welcoming, meeting and greeting all comers.

Once again this year we are present at this ‘National Ploughing Event’ sharing Presentation Life through the work and experience of Mount St. Anne’s Retreat and Conference Centre (Killenard), Portarlington, Co. Laois and the education experience of Presentation (Boarding) Thurles.

If you are planning to be attend come along and say ‘hello’ – we are in The Hub Area at Stand #44.

Nano Nagle – a woman of our times

Nano Nagle (born in 1718) spent her early childhood in the beautiful countryside of Ballygriffin amongst the breath-taking scenery of the Blackwater Valley.  However, 18th century Penal Ireland was a challenging place and as a result of a change of family circumstance at Ballygriffin (1727-8), Garret Nagle (Nano’s father) had to part with his eldest daughter who was sent to be educated in France.

On her return to Ireland as a young woman, a bolt of silk that Nano Nagle had bought in Paris went missing.  Her sister Ann admitted that she had sold it so that she could buy medicine for a poor family. This action resonated deeply with Nano, and was one of the impetuses that resulted in her forsaking her hectic social life in the city of light, to establish over time, seven schools in the slums of Cork city in defiance of the Penal Laws which forbade Catholic education. Nano’s teaching work had started out in a mud cabin on Cove Lane (Cork City).  Her ventures also involved in later years, looking after the elderly and destitute of an over-populated Cork city.  But by 1778, despite being astute with money, her demanding role as educator of the poor, resulted in her being in debt having spent most of her family fortune on maintaining her schools.  She had to beg for support – some were happy to donate, and others looked down on her for her illegal work.

Nano’s Legacy

This pioneering woman need not have worried.  Her legacy continues to evolve and inspire practical action wherever there are Presentation people (locally and globally) who continue to provide welcoming support for those kept poor, regardless of their backgrounds.  A place where they can voice their hopes and fears and realise their own particular contribution towards a better world.

“To say that Nano Nagle was primarily ‘about education’ or about ‘street children’ or ‘about the West Indian mission’ is to do her no favours.  She was primarily and consistently ‘about the gospel’.  […] The Gospel was Nano’s preoccupation and her focus.  From this came her passion for justice, for healing, for liberation, for ‘any service … in any part of the globe’ “.*


“And so, the Presentation Congregation was born. From the free gift of one woman of herself, to God and to people enslaved not only economically but also socially, culturally and politically, came a family of women called to be freed by the Gospel to freedom for the gospel, not only in principle but in practice, throughout the five continents”. **

Additional information 

For further information on Nano Nagle see: HERE  

If you missed it first time around – you can watch the RTE Nationwide Programme on Nano Nagle filmed in Nano Nagle Place (Cork City), first shown in October 2018.   The programme gives a real sense of who Nano Nagle is today and her legacy.  See link to RTE Player – HERE

Note: The quotations used above are from  ‘Nano Nagle And An Evolving Charism’:  *Pg 228: Mary T. O’Brien, pbvm; **Pg 172, Anne Codd, pbvm


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