Contents of historic convent are going under the hammer
Statues, church brass, bookcases, mahogany dining tables and Victorian chaise longues will go under the hammer at the Mercy Convent in Balloonagh, Tralee.
Since Wednesday, hundreds of people have been through the doors, doing their homework ahead of tomorrow's auction, or simply in for one last nostalgic look at the convent that first opened in 1858.
The 17 remaining nuns have already relocated to various houses around the town. Sr Dorothea Foley said it was particularly sad for some in her community, who have spent 50 years in Balloonagh.
"It's lovely to have people visit and remind us of their years in the school and the influence the sisters had on their lives, but of course, there's also sadness that we're leaving what was home," she said.
"The way we feel about it is that we're grateful for the years we lived here, but we're also grateful to have a new roof over our heads."
Denis Lynes, of Lynes & Lynes in Cork, who is handling the auction, said it had generated a great deal of interest from overseas as well as from all over Ireland.
The donation of a number of pieces to the St Vincent de Paul Society has comforted the sisters.
"That was a source of great happiness and peace and a lot of these items have already been distributed and that's a great comfort to us because our ministry was to the poor," Sr Dorothea added.