Over the past 3 years we have been delighted to host a Baroque Christmas in our stunning Goldie Chapel with Ensemble Dagda, an early music ensemble comprising James Taylor on harpsichord, Caitriona O’Mahony on baroque violin, Norah O’Leary on baroque cello and soprano Gemma Magner.


In addition, since the restoration of our beautiful 1847 organ, it also features in the programme. Ensemble Dagda perform a mix of Irish and international early music for the Christmas season, from The Wexford Carol to pieces from Handel’s Messiah. With ‘A Baroque Christmas’ Concert Online – we continue our Christmas tradition in a new way.

We invite regulars and new audience members alike to join in our Baroque Christmas tradition.

On Culture Night, and in collaboration with Munster Literature Centre, poet Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin read from her book ‘The Mother House’, winner of the 2020 Irish Times Poetry Now Award in Nano Nagle Place.

Please enjoy this wonderful recording of Eiléan filmed by Colm Walsh.


As we begin to ‘Resurrect’ live music this Culture Night, we couldn’t help but feel it was the perfect time to release this work by Heinrich Biber – the eleventh sonata ‘The Resurrection’ from his Mystery Sonatas, each of which tells the story of a different mystery of the Rosary. Performed here by Caitríona O’Mahony (baroque violin) and James Taylor (organ) from the beautiful Goldie Chapel at Nano Nagle Place.

This is the final stage on our journey through some of the most iconic and emotive works in the seventeenth-century repertoire. Biber’s writing, with the violin in array of different scordatura tunings, is an evocative and visceral depiction of an intensely human story. The Resurrection is possibly the most iconic of these sonatas, when Biber demands that the middle two strings of the violin be literally crossed over each other – moved from their normal place on the instrument so that a cross forms below the bridge and above the fingerboard. This is also the most explicitly religious music of the set. Elsewhere Biber uses baroque dances as the sections within each sonata, but in the Resurrection, the long central section is based on an Easter hymn tune ‘Surrexit Christus Hodie’ (Christ is risen today), probably dating back to the 14th century.

The most famous programmatic works for violin before Vivaldi’s Seasons, Heinrich Biber’s Rosary Sonatas survive in a beautiful display copy, presented to his patron, Maximilian Gandolph, Archbishop of Salzburg. The engravings which accompany each sonata give them the titles now commonly used. They were possibly used in Rosary prayer and may have been linked with the Salzburg devotional confraternities of the seventeenth century . The engravings were used in printed material of the Confraternity of the Rosary, and they are similar to the paintings which line the walls of the Grosse Aula of Salzburg University, where the Confraternity of the Assumption of the Virgin prayed their regular Rosary devotions. Both groups came under the protection of Archbishop Maximilian, and Biber may even have been a member.

Biber’s fame seems to have lasted beyond his lifetime, with Charles Burney writing in the eighteenth century, ‘Of the violin players of the last century, Biber seems to have been the best, and his solos are the most difficult and most fanciful of any music I have seen of the same period.’  His particular style of sonata-writing unites an earlier style of stylus fantasticus writing with more regular dance sections, his frequent use of ground basses providing more harmonic unity to writing than common in the early Italian sonata.

You’ll be able to enjoy a full online performance of the 5 sonatas and Passacaglia in the Glorious Mysteries over the coming weeks – drop us your email at https://bit.ly/eastcorkearlymusicnews to be notified, or follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EastCorkEarl…

We are very grateful for the support of Cork City Council Arts Office which has made this concert possible.

Thanks to Max le Cain & Chris Hurley of Cork Film Centre http://www.corkfilmcentre.com, and sound engineer Joe Cusack for their hard work on creating this online concert for you to enjoy from home.

The concert was curated by Caitríona O’Mahony, in association with East Cork Early Music (www.eastcorkearlymusic.ie), and is possible due to the generous support of Cork City Council Arts Office (www.corkcity.ie) and Nano Nagle Place (www.nanonagleplace.ie)

We were delighted to celebrate Culture Night 2021 with a selection of events on site and online. Our fantastic museum was open with our wonderful ‘Changing Habits: 250 Years of Convent Life’ exhibition on display.

We launched a new exhibition of photographic portraits of the Presentation Sisters by Clare Keogh entitled “not to make a noise about it” which pays tribute to the Presentation Sisters who still live and work here.

We had beautiful flower boutonniere with Marie using fresh flowers, grasses and silk ribbons as part of her Dragon’s Tail art project.

In collaboration with Munster Literature Centre, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin read her poems from her book ‘The Mother House’, winner of the 2020 Irish Times Poetry Now Award.

We concluded our series of Heinrich Biber’s Mystery Sonatas in partnership with East Cork Early Music Festival. Caitriona O’Mahony (violin) and James Taylor (organ) performed the Glorious Mysteries live on the night, while a virtual concert was also released.

Cork Printmakers ‘Inflorescence’ exhibition in The Print Gallery was also on show. The exhibition explores themes of biodiversity, botany and ecology. The exhibition takes inspiration from its location within the gardens of Nano Nagle Place as a historic site of contemplation and reflection.


To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the convent building at Nano Nagle Place, take a step back in time with music of the same year – 2 of the three concertos from Maddalena Lombardini’s Op. 2, published in 1771. Cork’s specialists in historically-informed music play on authentic instruments from the beautiful Goldie Chapel at Nano Nagle Place.

The concert was curated by Caitríona O’Mahony, in association with East Cork Early Music , and is supported by Cork City Council Arts Office and Nano Nagle Place.

The works seemed particularly apt to celebrate an anniversary for Nano Nagle. Like Nano, Maddalena created an unusual path for a woman of her day, striking out as a professional musician, and religious orders also played a large part in her early life. Born in Venice, Maddalena Lombardini was a product of the ospedalì, girls’ orphanages which specialised in teaching music (famously the Ospedale della Pietá where Antonio Vivaldi taught). Showing considerable talent at a young age, she was granted permission to study with the famous violinist Giuseppe Tartini, and travelled to take lessons with him in Padua. In a period in which female opera singers were common, professional female violinists were rare – most of Lombardini’s contemporaries either left the ospedale to marry, or stayed in it to pursue music. Lombardini chose both – when she came of age at 21, she received her maestro licence, and married fellow violinist Ludovico Sirmen, the couple setting off to tour Europe as a pair of virtuosi, often playing double concertos. Lombardini published two sets of solo violin concertos which survive and gained significant popularity – enough that they were adapted into a set of harpsichord concerti by composer Tommaso Giordani (who was later Music Director of Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin) shortly after their publication. Her duets are similarly charming works in the classical style, with much swapping of melodic material between the 2 violins.

Maddalena Lombardini (1745-1818)

Violin Concerto Op. 2 No. 1 in B Flat Major (Soloist: Caitríona O’Mahony)

i. Moderato – 00:39

ii. Andante – 07:17

iii. Rondo Allegretto – 11:13

Violin Duet Op. 5 No. 6 in C Major (Violins: Marja Gaynor, Caitríona O’Mahony)

i. Allegro – 18:40

ii. Allegro Brillante – 27:02

Violin Concerto Op. 2 No. 3 in A Major (Soloist: Leonie Curtin)

i. Allegro – 32:45

ii. Adagio – 40:02

iii. Rondo Allegretto – 44:35

Leonie Curtin, Caitríona O’Mahony, Marja Gaynor – violins
Cian MacGarry – viola
Norah O’Leary – cello
James Taylor – harpsichord

Thanks to Max le Cain & Chris Hurley of Cork Film Centre http://www.corkfilmcentre.com , and sound engineer Joe Cusack for their hard work on creating this online concert for you to enjoy from home.

A great fun video dance lesson made by Caitriona O’Mahony for Cruinniú na nÓg 2021 at Nano Nagle Place

A beautiful trailer made by Cork City Arts Office and Linda Curtin for Cruinniú na nÓg at Nano Nagle Place 2021


End the year 2020 with ‘An Eighteenth-century Welcome’ concert recorded live in the Goldie Chapel at Nano Nagle Place, with performances by Fiona Kelly on Flute and Jean Kelly on Harp. This is the last event of 2020 at Nano Nagle Place, and offers a welcome to the coming year.

Kodály Duo for Violin and Cello Op. 7, performed by Siún Milne and Aoife Nic Athlaoich in the Goldie Chapel at Nano Nagle Place.

Join Evelyn Grant as she introduces a musical reflection on Nano Nagle Place with flutist Fiona Kelly, harpist Jean Kelly and spoken word artist Raphael Olympio, recorded in the beautiful Goldie Chapel at Nano Nagle Place.

Cork Migrant Centre (CMC) (a Nano Nagle Place (NNP) project) and Cork Printmakers unveiled a significant Black Lives Matter artwork in response to the killing of George Floyd at Nano Nagle Place in the summer of 2020. They wanted to mark that tragic event and also to express their own experiences of racism in Ireland. Working with artist Kate O’Shea, they created 3 stunning murals for front windows of Nano Nagle Place. The launch featured short dance performances, spoken word and hip-hop plus speeches from the artists themselves.

The messages contained in this impressive artwork were created by young people of CMC Youth Initiative, a group which nurtures the resilience of young teenagers living in or just transitioned from Direct Provision centres in Cork. This collaborative artwork by CMC Youth Initiative is a means of creatively expressing their emotions following the murder of George Floyd in America and the recent global surge of the Black Lives Matter movement. Here in Ireland, many young people – not just those from refugee and migrant backgrounds – feel a sense of isolation at times in a country where racial abuse and institutional discrimination is not being tackled effectively.

The artwork was created over a matter of weeks, in collaboration with artist Kate O’Shea of Cork Printmakers and the teens’ mentor DJ Stevie G.
The young artists are: Aaliyah, Amaka, Clare, Colman, Daniella, Elton, Eman, Esther, Ethen, Faith, Isabel, Josh, Josias, Julie, Kimberly, Kimberly, Lilian, Mia, Mira, Muzi, Nanette, Nanette, Rachel, Reem, Sarah, Shaun, Shewa, Sumaya, Ugonna. Through Zoom and WhatsApp brainstorming, the teens were encouraged to generate ideas through drawing, painting, and writing. The resulting artwork features a mixture of graphic design, portraits, text, and words of solidarity from these young people, culminating in a simple but strong message:

“Black Lives Matter – End Direct Provision”.

The artwork also includes contributions from the Climate Youth Artivists, who use their own creativity to provoke change on a number of issues. Recent and ongoing work by them includes the much publicised “Black Lives Matter – End Direct Provision” mural that went up this June on the prominent Sullivan’s Quay.

For the last few years, a number of young people from migrant communities and Direct Provision have been working on multiple artistic projects such as the Hip Hop Teens, led by choreographer Andrea Williams and Stevie G. This has seen an output of numerous high-profile dance performances along with an exhibition and short film at last years’ Indie Cork Film Festival in conjunction with The Glucksman and Shane O’Driscoll of Cork Printmakers.

The launch of this artwork comes in the wake of a recent CMC Youth Initiative Against Racism webinar, where a number of these articulate young people and their mentors engaged frontline service providers in a conversation about positive change for multicultural Ireland. The group has already received proactive communication from several significant bodies, including the Ombudsman for Children, who delivered their own Direct Provision report on Tuesday, 7th July 2020.

The young artists and their mentors had this to say about working on the artwork:

“My name is Elton Sibanda from Drishane Castle. This piece of art was inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests all over the world and it was also inspired by the equality of black people and white people.”

“My name is Ugonna Dur from Cork. My picture was inspired by the diversity of humans and how we all have the same colour blood. My other picture is in Japanese and when translated into English means ‘we are one person’, meaning no matter the differences we are all still one species: human.”

REM, young artist, said: “I’m trying to show kids protesting peacefully in painting not in real life; unfortunately, they are used to racism through experience.”
Cork Youth Artivists, said: “The system that causes the climate crisis is inherently racist. Justice must be achieved in all ways and all of us have the power within ourselves to challenge authority and demand change.”

Dr Naomi Masheti, Coordinator of the Cork Migrant Centre (at Nano Nagle Place), said: “Today this visual signalling of solidarity with BLM movement puts into action the words of the founder of Nano Nagle Place, Nano herself – ‘Deeds not just Words’ and that is the message we are sending out to individuals, organizations and policy makers. And for the young people here today ‘Young Black Lives Matter: Decisions that affect them should have their voices front and centre.”

Kate O’Shea, artist, said: “I feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to work with the words and drawings of an incredibly articulate group of young people. This is their artwork and their words which I helped to put a structure to. It is important that these voices are given prominent platforms within our cities. It is time to listen to these voices and those who have spent years struggling to End Direct Provision in Ireland.”

Aideen Quirke, Director Cork Printmakers, said: “Following the youth webinar organised by Cork Migrant Centre, myself and the team at Cork Printmakers have been spurred into action to tackle the issue of racism and discrimination faced by young people and their families and loved ones in Ireland. As part of Cork Printmakers ongoing partnerships with Cork Migrant Centre and Nano Nagle Place, we are delighted to be involved with this artwork and will continue to use creative means to take action on the #BlackLivesMatter and #EndDirectProvision campaigns. We have been really inspired by the stories and words of these young artists, but also angered by the discrimination faced by people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. By collaborating with these young people, we hope to express solidarity and support with this campaign and call for everyone to join us in making Ireland a safe, creative space for young people, irrespective of their background.”

Stevie Grainger, DJ and mentor, said: “This is an amazing project from Nano Nagle Place that gives a voice to those who need to be heard most, the young people. It’s a wonderful extension of the work myself, Andrea, Naomi & all the mentors do with the teens and it was incredible working with Kate and Aideen of Cork Printmakers and also the young crew at Climate Youth Artivists.”

This video captures their dance performance during the launch event.

This year Nano Nagle Place is marking 250 years of continual use as a convent. As part of our summer exhibition, we worked with seamstress Sam Wynn to recreate styles of habit that we did’t hold in our archive.

Using a book of rules that described how much fabric was to be used in the habit, and how it was intended to look, Sam was able to remake the habit which the Presentation Sisters began wearing in 1805 until it was modified 1943, when the decision was made to remove the train at the back of the skirt. Along with this oldest style of habit she made a postulant’s dress, which we also didn’t have the oldest version of, a 1950s habit, and a post Vatican II habit.

Hear Sam talking about her work on Changing Habits here …

Nano Nagle Place welcome some new faces to our front windows!

The residents of one of the oldest parishes in Cork, South Parish, are celebrating local lifelong learners through the launch of a photographic exhibition. South Parish Learning Neighbourhood, as part of Cork Learning City, launches its Faces of Learning photographic exhibition, consisting of a series of striking black and white portraits by photographer Eddie Hennessy.

These are portraits of local learners who recognise South Parish as their own ‘Learning Neighbourhood.’ The exhibition features an inclusive mix of people who have embraced the idea of lifelong learning and have participated in courses and learning events locally.

Paula Mc Carthy, principal of St Johns Central College and chair of South Parish Learning neighbourhood said “South Parish Learning Neighbourhood is one of Cork’s newest learning Neighbourhoods and we are delighted to be launching our new Faces of Learning Exhibition. This exhibition celebrates lifelong learners of all ages and abilities from our neighbourhood. The people featured all have a learning story to tell and these stories combined have a powerful inspirational impact for others.”

Cork is an UNESCO Learning City, which means the city fosters and celebrates lifelong learning and social inclusion. The Learning Neighbourhoods Programme is integral to making Cork a Learning City and there are currently five areas in Cork that identify as Learning Neighbourhoods: South Parish, Mayfield, Ballyphehane, Knocknaheeney and The Glen. Each neighbourhood has an ongoing commitment to learning, providing inclusive and diverse learning opportunities for whole communities through partnership and collaboration. The programme is a collaboration between Cork City Council, UCC, MTU Cork and Cork Education and Training Board (CETB).

South Parish Learning Neighbourhood is one of Cork’s newest learning Neighbourhoods. Situated in a historic part of Cork’s city centre the neighbourhood benefits from having lots of great learning locations including Cork City Library, MTU Cork Crawford College of Art & Design, Gael-Taca, Meitheal Mara Teoranta, O’Sho, Nano Nagle Place, The Lantern Community Project, Cork Migrant Centre, Cork Centre for Architectural Education, Notes to Cork, Munster Literature Centre, Sean Carroll & Sons Silversmiths, Cork Flower Studio, Altrusa Literacy Scheme, Food Forest and St John’s Central College.

Everyone is invited to view the exhibition at a range of public venues throughout South Parish over the coming weeks and months. Posters will appear on Notes to Cork billboards and in shop windows on Douglas Street, and Nano Nagle Place will host an exhibition of The Lantern Community Project’s ‘Crochet Ladies’ across their front windows.

In April 2018 in Cork city women from all over the world gathered to celebrate the birth of a woman who inspired each one of them to become a Presentation Sister. This is their founding story …

Presentation Sisters on Nano Nagle Bridge
Presentation Sisters on Nano Nagle Bridge

Three hundred years ago in 1718 a valiant woman was born in north Cork. She was born to a wealthy Catholic landowning family at a time when to be wealthy and Catholic was a difficult position. The Penal Laws, which had been introduced at the end of the 17th century, had the express intention of dismantling the Irish Catholic power base. Under these laws Catholics would become too poor and too ignorant to present any challenge to the status quo in an Ireland now ruled by the Protestant ascendancy.

Nano’s family sent her away to school on the continent (an act that at the time was itself illegal). When Nano returned home to Ireland after twenty years abroad she was horrified by the ignorance and poverty of the Catholic underclass. She made up her mind to make a difference and secretly opened a Catholic school near her home on Douglas Street, in the South Parish of Cork City. Thanks to her determination and the backing of her family she was soon running seven schools across Cork City, unusually for the time, five of these schools were for girls. Nano was empowering the women of Cork through education to practice their religion with pride and better their lives through skilled work.

In 1775 Nano founded a new and quite radical religious order to continue her work, the Sisters of Charitable Instruction of the Sacred Heart, later the Presentation Sisters. Their first convent was on Douglas Street, where a Presentation Convent still stands today. This religious order was tasked with educating poor children across the city of Cork and tending the needs of the poor, just as Nano ‘the Lady with the Lantern’ had done for many years. Nano’s sisters were not ‘enclosed’, they could leave the convent to perform their works of education and charity. Nano’s order at first struggled, but in the years after Nano’s death her congregation went on to found convents and schools across Ireland and across the world.

Students from Presentation School Middleton lead the procession with the spectacular lantern they made in art class
Students from Presentation School Middleton lead the procession with the spectacular lantern they made in art class

Last week, sisters from New Zealand to Zambia, India, Rhode Island and Manchester among many other places made their way to Cork. In a sense they came home, to where the story of the Presentation Sisters began. They visited the newly regenerated buildings of the South Presentation Convent and schools, now called Nano Nagle Place, a beautiful heritage, education and spiritual oasis in the heart of Cork City. They visited the many charitable projects that the Presentation Sisters are still engaged in across the city.

On Wednesday 25th April Cork’s North Cathedral was brought alive with the story of Nano by children from Presentation Schools. The sisters then set out across the city led by a beautiful lantern. They walked in the footsteps of Nano as she made her daily journey across the city to visit her schools. The sisters stopped along the way to reflect on Nano, at Nano Nagle Bridge, at St. Finbarre’s South, Nano’s parish church. The walk culminated in the beautiful Goldie Chapel at Nano Nagle Place were more Presentation students celebrated the work of the order throughout the world

Nano's story brought alive by Presentation students in Cork's North Cathedral
Nano’s story brought alive by Presentation students in Cork’s North Cathedral
A celebration of Presentation communities all over the world in the beautiful Goldie Chapel at Nano Nagle Place
A celebration of Presentation communities all over the world in the beautiful Goldie Chapel at Nano Nagle Place

It was a week of emotion, devotion, reflection and remembrance. It will live on in the memories of all those who were a part of this special celebration.

We’re delighted to share this video of Nano Nagle Place, featuring MC Ger Canning, blessings by the three Bishops of Cork and speeches by Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, former President of Ireland Dr Mary McAleese, Congregational Leader of the Presentation Sisters Union Sr Mary Deane and Chairman of the Nano Nagle Place Board Jim Corr.

You might enjoy reading about the launch in both The Irish Examiner and The Irish Times

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