“It is 300 years since Nano Nagle was born in 1718 so we felt it was important that we would mark it, mark the significance of it,” Sister Bride Given said. “She was an important person for the history of Ireland, of education and of women and deserves a good celebration.”
Nano Nagle was a pioneer of Catholic education in Ireland, at a time when the penal laws denied access to education for most in Ireland.
She opened her first school in 1754 with about 30 students. It was on Cove Lane, on what is now the site of South Presentation convent.
“In the face of fear, she chose to be daring,” Sister Goretti O’Callaghan told the congregation at North Cathedral, where celebrations began with presentations from seven primary and secondary schools around Cork.
“She was a great educator and she believed in education as the key to a better life for the people of Ireland so we involved all the schools we could,” she said. “Our hope is that they will remember it and be inspired by Nano Nagle to think, what can they do to create a better world.”
Last night’s walk brought to life the reality of Nano’s daily journey on foot when visiting the students of her seven schools.
Sister Emer Madigan addressed the pilgrims near Cross Street, the location of one of Nano Nagle’s schools.
“There have been huge preparations and the teachers have done tremendous work,” Sister Given said. “It has all fit together seamlessly. The children enjoyed it which was important.”