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Galway – Currylea, Tuam

THE STORY OF OUR COMMUNITY

CURRYLEA, TUAM

The convent in Currylea was founded in 1973 from the Presentation Convent, St. Joseph’s Tuam, Co. Galway. The founding Sisters were – Margaret Mary Kavanagh, Teresa Mary Taylor, Regis Brannick, Ann Donoghue, Gertrude Morrin, Dorothy Somers, Rita Geraghty, Teresa Tierney, Anne Murphy, M. McElligott, Martha Greaney, Margaret O’ Brien, Barbara Raftery, Rita O’Toole, De Lourdes Monaghan and M. McDonagh. Presentation Congregation of the Tuam diocese was the initial benefactor.

The community was founded because a new Secondary School had been built on a new site. The boarders dining room and study facilities were on the new complex and this necessitated the Sisters going over several times each day to supervise. The site of the new convent is situated on the outskirts of the town with a river flowing in front, hedgerows and trees provide an abundance of wild life. There is a public swimming pool next door. The convent was built on a hill which entailed much excavation. The convent is attached to the school building and the red brick used (same as school) in such a way that it could be easily used as a school later, if needed. The building is two-storey with 12 bedrooms, chapel, library, dining room, kitchen, parlour and toilets. There have been no extensions to the convent over time

Early History of the Secondary School in Tuam: In 1882, a house at Bishop St. Gate, known as St. Joseph’s, became a Boarding House for pupils, beginning with 5 pupils. In 1897, three houses on Dublin Road, later St. John’s, were purchased for £300 to accommodate the increasing number of Boarders. In 1905, a building of St. Jarleth’s was used also and in 1956 the Protestant Bishop’s Palace was purchased – this is now known as “Joe O’Toole’s” Restaurant. In 1912 the school came under the Intermediate Board of Education and, with payments received, four new classrooms were added, together with a Library. From 1956, the old Primary school housed the Secondary School. The introduction of ‘free education’, announced in 1967, led to increased enrolment and to the building of the new boarding secondary school, Presentation College, in Currylea in 1971. There have been 3 prefabs added to the Secondary School over time.

Anecdotal early tales: The new convent accommodation was scheduled to be ready by 1st September 1973 but workmen were still on site and the place was very unfinished. The Sisters decided to hurry up matters and so arrived over with bed linen etc. and took up residence! For the first month or so, conditions were very primitive but they survived!

The Boarding school was phased out completely by 1990, as it was becoming increasingly difficult to supervise Boarding accommodation and, in any case, children had easier access to a greater range of local schools and there was a significant fall in numbers applying for boarding accommodation. By then the Boarding School had existed for nearly 100 years. At the time of the transfer of Secondary School to the new site, there were approximately 200 Boarders. The drop in numbers from the loss of the boarders had a significant impact on student numbers for a few years only, as day pupils quickly replaced them.

Sisters were involved in a range of ministries including the local Parish, Prayer Meetings, Rainbows, Marriage Encounter, Home/School Liaison, School Chaplaincy, Board of Management membership and teaching in a voluntary capacity in local Vocational School.

There were no houses founded from Currylea. In September, 2006 the Convent was closed. The closure of the Boarding School in 1990 was a factor, many Sisters had retired from teaching and it became too costly to maintain for the small number of Sisters remaining. In 2008, the building was leased to the secondary school.

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