While the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Kiltartan Gregory Museum is celebrated this August, it is also the month that marks the closing chapter for the Sisters of Mercy in Gort. With the sale of the convent on Bridge Street imminent, the remaining sisters will depart the convent in mid-August, bringing to an end over 160 years of service to the people of Gort. Among them will be Sr. de Lourdes Fahy, local historian and founding member of the Kiltartan Gregory Museum.
Sister de Lourdes research and writings
It is due to Sr. de Lourdes’ research and writing that we have both an account of the history of the Sisters of Mercy in Gort in Near Quiet Waters, as well as a history of the parish of Kiltartan in Many Leaves, One Root. The latter tells how Sir William Gregory and his wife Lady Gregory were on friendly terms with the local priests and the Sisters of Mercy. Sir William subscribed to the founding of the convent in 1857, and several years later, the school became the source of local economic benefits with the establishment of an industrial department. Operated on a co-operative basis with local households, it produced an astonishing range of clothing, household products and vestments and was a source of badly needed funds to the area. Later, Lady Gregory helped them with the establishment of a needlework industry in the Convent Schools in the 1890s. A quilt manufactured in 1900 is on display at the Kiltartan Gregory Museum, which shows the beautiful art of needlework being achieved at the time.
So we await the next re-incarnation of what is likely the oldest building in Gort, built by John Prendergast Smyth, Lord Gort, in 1770. And we bid farewell to its longest occupants, the Sisters of Mercy, and with them our own Sr. de Lourdes Fahy. We ask that they bring with them our greatest affection and gratitude for their contribution to the people of Gort, past and present.
Image by David Murray - South Galway Vision
Lady Gregory, An Irish Life by Judith Hill.
Launch of Near Quiet Waters; Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy website, (www.sistersofmercy.ie)