THE STORY OF OUR COMMUNITY
Knockmay Community was established on 19th September, 1986 by Sr. Kathleen Hallinan, Provincial Leader, at the request of the Presentation Sisters, Portlaoise and the then County Manager, Mr. Deegan, who was keen to have Sisters in deprived housing estates in the town. The founding Sisters were Srs. de Sales Egan (Kilcock), Pius Madden (Carlow) and Carmel O’Connor (Mountmellick).
Knockmay housing estate is on the outskirts of the town of Portlaoise. In 1986, it comprised 150 families with children, mostly at Primary and pre-school level. The estate had an unemployment rate of 70%.
The location of the community was at No. 17, Parnell Crescent (one of 6 rings or sections). Accommodation comprised 3 bedrooms, and the house was a two storey, semi detached residence.
The County Council in Portlaoise gave the house to the Sisters for a nominal rent and in 1990, it was bought by the Province. In 1988, Community Centre was opened and used for childcare and homework for children. In 1991-1992, Cookery Courses were introduced for women as well as budgeting and art classes for children. In 1993, this house was extended to include a Prayer Room and Kitchen.