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PostIreland Travelogue, Chapter 3: Nano Nagle (Patrick Mears, -Germany, 08/31/23 3:48 am)
Greetings from Dunmore House, situated on Clonakilty Bay just south of the town of Clonakilty, County Cork. This town by all appearances is still "owned" by the honored and respected Michael Collins (1890-1922). Tomorrow we will switch our temporary residence further south to Galley Head Lighthouse, which is perched on a bluff over the southwest coast of Ireland in County Cork.
Yesterday produced a much-savored surprise. While on the train from Dublin to Cork, Connie's neighbor recommended that we visit "Nano Nagle Place" in an old and rough-around-the-edges neighborhood in Cork City near Elizabeth Fort and St. Finbarr's Cathedral. We lacked knowledge of this "Place" and of its namesake, "Nano Nagle." Yet when we arrived there, we were treated not only with a history lesson about Cork City and Ireland during the 18th century, but also with an unforgettable tale of incredible emotional and religious strength.
Nano Nagle's first name was "Honora," but her family promptly gave her the nickname of "Nano." She had been born in 1718 in the village of Ballygriffin, County Cork, and because her Roman Catholic family resided in the valley carved out by the nearby Blackwater River, Nano and her family members were considered to be "Blackwater Catholics." Because this group was concentrated in this then-remote area of Ireland, they were relatively untouched by the English Penal Laws directed against Irish Roman Catholics during the 18th Century. If you are interested in learning more about this esoteric yet fascinating subject with a special emphasis on Nano and her family during this difficult time for Irish Catholics, please consider reading the Internet post below, authored by University College Dublin Professor Katherine O'Donnell:
Despite having enjoyed a relatively charmed life in her youth and adolescence, Nano later experienced a religious conversion, whereupon she took the vows of the Order of the Presentation Sisters and moved into what was then a wretched neighborhood of Cork City. There she devoted the rest of her life to teaching and caring for the desolate poor of the city, by educating them on how to survive and to thrive independently in an environment that had previously cast these souls aside.
JE comments: Let's honor Honora! Her backstory is complex (see above), but the Nagles were one of the few still-thriving Anglo-Catholic families remaining in Ireland.
Pat, you and Connie have taught us a great deal of Irish history. Connie will certainly have a lot of anecdotes to include in her upcoming book. Enjoy the rest of your sojourn--when do you return to Heidelberg?