The convent community circa 1909, amongst which are Sr Bonaventure who inspired Mary Perolz, and Sr Michael O'Brien, first cousin of Michael Collins. Reproduced with the kind permission of The Presentation Sisters Congregational Archives.

The everyday lives of 1920

Centenary commemorations in Ireland tend to focus on political and military history, but this autumn a new exhibition at Nano Nagle’s Place will explore the everyday life of Cork in 1920.

You may not think of Nano Nagle’s Place as a so-called house museum, but in 1920, as a revolution raged outside its walls, the adjoining South Presentation Convent was home to 44 sisters.

The new exhibition not only focuses on the lives of some of these sisters, but on the many children they taught in their schools. These were boys and girls from infants to adolescents, many of whom went on to lead extraordinary lives.

Using the extensive collection of school registers held both in the archives in Nano Nagle Place and at North Pres, the exhibition offers a rare insight into the homes and lives of children who were enrolled in Presentation schools during 1920.

The registers tell extraordinary tales of lives lived in the city, whether above a shop, in a laneway house or a tenement, or in a ‘model house’ like those seen at Prosperity Square and Hibernian Buildings.

The exhibition also looks at the constant threat faced by Cork’s citizens as tensions mounted and violence spread, culminating in the burning of the city in December 1920.

To experience this unique take on Cork’s revolutionary year, visit the museum at Nano Nagle Place from Tuesday to Sunday, 11am-5pm. Tickets can be booked in advance via

Admission to the museum is timed so that household groups can enter at 15 minute intervals, with a time limit of two hours.

Special admission rates are in place for the duration of the exhibition: €5 per adult, €4 for concessions, and children under 12 years go free.

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