Changing Habits: 250 Years of Convent Life – 1 August – 30 November 2021, Nano Nagle Place

July 29, 2021 |

This summer Nano Nagle Place will launch an exhibition that celebrates the continued use of the site as a convent for 250 years. ‘Changing Habits: 250 Years of Convent Life’ will chart the construction of our oldest building, built in 1771 by Nano Nagle as home for the Ursuline Sisters she had invited to Cork from Paris. The exhibition will then chart the foundation of the Presentation Sisters and the changing ways of life on the site up to the present day.

Using the rich archival records of the Ursuline and Presentation Sisters, this year’s exhibition will also include artefacts from the collection of objects held by the Presentation Sisters.

We are also working to recreate items that do not form part of the collection, such as a complete set of habits. The oldest kind of habit, worn by the Presentation Sisters from 1805, changed very little for 140 years. Several changes then came in quick succession. The habit was made shorter, the huge sleeves were made detachable, and the bandeau and the guimpe, once made of starched linen, changed to celluloid.

As part of the exhibition this year, we have worked with dressmaker Sam Wynn and the resident Sisters here, to recrate what the ‘changing habits’ look like over time.





We have also commissioned illustrator Brian Gallagher to create images of parts of the history of the site for which we have no photographs. These include the Ursuline Sisters arriving, Nano with the Ursulines as they ran the site as a boarding school, and postulants, novices and Sisters in the garden in the mid 19th century. We hope that those visiting will enjoy the exhibition as much as we have putting it together. It has been a fascinating process.




You can read more about this in an article published by the Echo Live by clicking here

Tickets for this exhibition are available online on the Nano Nagle Place website;

Submitted by: Dr Danielle O’Donovan, Programme Manager at Nano Nagle Place