A former school and convent is to be transformed into a €10m heritage site honouring the founder of the Presentation order of nuns.
Cork City Council has given permission for the development on the grounds of the old South Presentation convent and school in the city’s South Parish area, where Nano Nagle’s tomb is located.
She founded the order in 1775 and the project team hopes the Nano Nagle Place heritage centre can be completed in time for the 300th anniversary of her birth in 2018.
It will include a heritage centre, an archive building, and a cafe in the gardens around her tomb, which already receives several Irish and overseas visitors every day. The aim is to make the centre an addition to Cork’s tourist trail, being just a short walk from the city centre.
At the official launch of the plans in February, congregational leader for the Presentation Sisters Union, Sr Mary Deane, said their dream is that it will continue to be a vibrating hub of the life and spirit of Venerable Nano, “fanning the flame of peace, hope, and faith into the future”.
A company was set up to oversee the project and registered as a charity, featuring lay people and four Presentation sisters.
The planning application submitted to Cork City Council in March sought permission for the work on the site of almost three acres, to include changes of use to parts of the central convent building and the former Douglas St primary school building to an archive facility.
An 1865 chapel will be used to host the heritage centre, and a new building of up to four storeys was proposed for third-level educational use at the western end of the grounds, fronting Evergreen St, Abbey St, and Douglas St.
The centre is expected to be a community resource as well as a visitor attraction, with ministerial residential use to be retained in part of the convent buildings.
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