New era for Kenmare Convent as council purchases prime site

l-r: Jason McGuiness, Rachel O'Sullivan, Julia O'Sullivan, Fr. Tom Crean, Sister Julie, Bishop Ray Browne, Sister Concepta, Fr.George Hayes,Fr John Kerin, Pavel Kaczmarek at the Mass of Thanksgiving for the Sisters of St Clare at Holy Cross Church, Kenmare on Sunday. Photo by Tatyana McGough

Sinead KelleherKerryman

This week marks the end of an era for the Sisters of St Clare in Kenmare as the final Nuns depart the town after more than 160 years.

The final three Nuns have now left their Convent just outside the town but while this moment is tinged with sadness, a new chapter is in the pipe-line for their former abode as the council is set to buy the building and adjoining lands.

The site, just a short distance from town, is a prime location and Cathaoirleach of Kenmare Municipal District Patrick O’Connor Scarteen says that the building and the site will be available for a ‘multitude’ of uses.

The Sisters of St Clare moved to the new Convent site over 20 years ago, leaving their former building where Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine now stands.

Approximately five acres of land adjoin the property and both will be used for key developments in the town. Parking is being mooted for the land given the ongoing problem the town has experienced in recent years and the building could be put to community use. “The council have agreed to purchase the site. It could tick a lot of boxes if we get it right as there are a huge range of possibilities,” said Cllr Scarteen.

He said it is fitting that the prime site would fall into council hands and back into the community – in keeping with the support the Poor Clare Sisters gave the town.