Limerick girls’ school renamed in memory of Nano Nagle

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Attending the renaming of the school were Marion Cummins, principal of Colaiste Nano Nagle, Lelia Fitzgerald, chairperson of board of management, Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan, past pupil Noreen McManus and Mary Ryan, deputy principal. Picture: Gareth Williams
IT HAS been known as the Presentation and the Pres, but now the Presentation secondary school for girls has been renamed after Nano Nagle.

IT HAS been known as the Presentation and the Pres, but now the Presentation secondary school for girls has been renamed after Nano Nagle.

Some 310 girls attend the school, which can trace its roots back to 1837, and which will now be known as Colaiste Nano Nagle.

Speaking at the renaming ceremony, principal Marion Cummins said she believes it is important to commemorate and honour the life of Nano Nagle, who founded the Presentation Sisters.

Born into a wealthy family in north Cork in 1718, by the time of her death in 1784 she had set up a network of schools.

“With the forthcoming closure of two Catholic girls’ schools in the city, there will be a decrease in provision of Catholic education in Limerick, so it is important that we remain strong here in Sexton Street, and continue to carry on with the great work in the school,” said Ms Cummins.

The Salesians school is to close in 2015, and merge with St Nessan’s community college.

While the school’s population peaked in the 1990s - after they were granted permission to offer the leaving Certificate in 1955 -school numbers declined, but in recent years have climbed back to over 300 pupils.

Ms Cummins welcomed the recent announcement by Government to recruit some 1,700 teachers, but noted that Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan will faces some challenges ahead with the new Junior cycle programme, but added that she hopes that it won’t be “too long” before progress is made.

Lelia Fitzgerald, chairperson of board of management, said while “we have changed the name, the ethos of the Presentation order is still very much alive.”

Noreen McManus, a past pupil of the school and wife of wealthy philanthropist JP McManus, presented bursaries worth a total of €7,000 to three deserving students to start them off in college life - Ciara Judge, Anastasia Novakova, and Mariola Augustynek.

In a short speech at a podium in the PE hall, Mrs McManus jokingly remarked: “Hopefully if Jan does a little bit better, maybe I can do a little bit better.” Her husband, JP, who attended the nearby CBS school on Sexton Street, donated close to €2m to charities last year alone, and over some €56m since 2001.