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Religious Orders

Ardmore Memory and Story - The Village

8. Religious Orders
As stated elsewhere (the account of Ardmore School), Mrs Barry had brought the nuns to Ardmore, in April 1900. They were installed in Monea Lodge on Tower Hill (now home of the McCarthy family) and in 1923, she bought the house now known as Stella Maris, for the Cappoquin nuns (her sister was one of them). It is now the property of the Irish Mercy Sisters in general, and various orders take turns in renting it during the summer, for instance, the Cahir Mercy nuns and the Clonakilty Mercy nuns.

The Presentation nuns, Carrick-On-Suir were the next order to buy a house of their own, Duffcarrick. We remember, as small children in the early 30’s the nuns being quite apprehensive about crossing the road. The house is still their property.

In the 1950’s and ‘60’s, Ardmore became very popular with religious orders, mostly nuns. There were Christian Brothers too; I remember a group from Waterford staying in Melrose; also an English group. They must still have been in black, as some English person staying in Tigaluinn got permission to park a car there and asked “would all the parsons mind”.

The Dungarvan Mercy nuns bought the new extension of Coláiste Deuglán but sold it after a few years. It is now the Round Tower Hotel, at first the property of Michael Ronayne and now of Aidan Quirke.

The Bon Secour order bought Quarry House, formerly owned by Sir John Keane of Cappoquin; the nuns are still the owners. The Thurles Ursuline nuns bought the former Garda Barracks (before this, the residence of the Cottons). The Thurles Presentation Order bought Ard Carraig on the Cliff, a house originally built to store material during the building of the pier in 1908.

Other orders who frequently came to Ardmore in the past and rented houses are the Ferrybank nuns, the Clonmel Presentation sisters, the Mountmellick nuns, the Kildare Presentation nuns, the Callan Mercy nuns and the Brigidines from Mountrath.

The nuns went swimming at the far end of Ardmore Strand, also in Curragh Strand, so that at one stage, it was referred to as the nuns’ strand. They wore home-made voluminous bathing costumes, which were a great source of curiosity and amusement to irreverent teenagers, who were also genuinely interested in the many layers of underwear worn by the sisters.

A problem frequently encountered by Miky Moloney post master at this period, was correspondence addressed to say “Sr. Evangelist, Presentation Convent, Ardmore” the writer not realising there were probably five or six Presentation Convent communities in Ardmore.

The number of sisters is now much diminished, but they still come in quite appreciable numbers, a gentle pleasant presence among our holiday makers.

Author: Siobhan Lincoln

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