County Galway

Share This:
Convent of Mercy, Gort
Convent of Mercy, Gort

This was originally known as Bridge House and  is probably the oldest inhabited building in Gort. It was erected c. 1770 by John Prendergast Smyth who later acquired the title Lord Gort. He lived here until 1816 when he went to live in the newly-built Lough Cutra Castle.

It was inhabited for some years by Dr. W. Mulville. From 1850 to 1852 it was used as an Auxiliary Workhouse for the girls of the Gort Workhouse .

On the 5th of November 1857 the Sisters of Mercy came from Carlow to establish a convent. They used the existing building - the three-storey portion facing the street, now a protected structure - and soon added the remainder. 

The story of the Convent is published in the book Near Quiet Waters. 

Type of Building:

Religious Institution


  • looking for information on Fahey/Fahy family.   i am a direct descendant.


    Tuesday 19th January 2021 04:55PM
  • I was wondering if Sister Fahey  from the Sisters of Mercy  is descended  from  any of the family FAhey born  Crow st. Gort.     the family John and Mary Fahey had ,, in no order   Thomas. Michael. John. Mary. Patrick. Bridget and Martin.              Sisteer ajey are you a descendant from any of this family or their descendants please..   If you have done any research , like me,   you may have followed one member down the ages, I have followed 2 of them and i am a direct descendant of one of the females.       My maiden name is Eastham.      Please, please could you answer me as to who, or that you are not a descendants.                                        

    Thank you.        Margaret  France



    Thursday 28th January 2021 07:42PM
  • Sorry Margaret, I'm not related to you. My folk did not reside in the town of Gort.

    If you could supply me with some dates it would help me to look up some sources for you.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    de Lourdes Fahy

    GortGalway, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 31st January 2021 07:26PM
  • Thank you so much for youe reply even though we are not related.   I know the name Fahy and Fahey can be one and the same or completely different so i took a chance.    

    In the 1851 Census all the Fahey family were living in  Crow st. Gort so i was presuming that they had always lived there.      The only dates i have  are of Patrick, son, born 1812,   and  his sister 

    Bridget born 1815.     I think Patrick and Martin wwent to USA   and that both died there  but actually only sure about Patrick as i have seen a headstone on a friend`s search site.   On.   no proof.


    ly told that Martin went USA.     sorry aboout the spacing, not very good with tthat aspect or how to print larger.

    Back to Bridget,   She moved to Co. Roscommon  ( she had a son Henry }   no idea where he was born, and a daughter Agness     born  1839-1840  CAsstlerce   , borony, Demesne.

    Bridget and Agnes  later came over to Lancashire with Thomas McMahon .    @1860 and Thomas and Agnes married  1861.   Bridget had come to Lancashire with them.   No idea what happened t

    to Henry.

    Thomas was born 1833 in Collon, Co. Louth.   no idea how thomas Mcmahon and Briget and Agnes came to be together.

    I have no dates for the other family of John And Mary FAhey   but would to know if there are any of their descendants coming down the line.

    One of Thomas` and Agnes`s daughters , Margaret  married Robert Eastham,    My paternal grandparents.    I am an only child and i am trying to find my past for my greatgrandchildren.    Their her

    heritage also.      If you can help in any way it would be marvelous.           thank you.





    Monday 1st February 2021 03:06PM
  • Dear Margaret,

    I'm afraid I cannot be of much assistance to you. The reason is : The  church records of births, marriages and deaths for Gort parish only commence at 1854. 

    The  Civil records begin at 1864.

    You mention the 1851 census. Actually that census was one of thousands of documents  which were burned during the Civil War in Ireland in 1922.  Maybe the Fahey family had made a copy of the census for their own family.

    Have you ever thought of doing a DNA test?  The people who "match" you  might be able to help you. I would recommend doing it with  Search for it in Google.

    Sorry again for not being able to help you.

    Best of luck,

    de Lourdes Fahy (Sr.)

    GortGalway, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 1st February 2021 04:07PM
  • thank you and yes,  i have done a DNA test  which is almost proceced.   I expected resullts later this month,   but if others have not done it, i won`t find them.  I really don`t understand it at all.  just not good with understanding tecnology terms.  but thank you.   margaret.


    Tuesday 2nd February 2021 02:00PM
  • My Hanberry cousin (my 3rd cousin 2x removed, my grandmother's 3rd cousin) was Sister Oliver (Mary Hanberry) who lived at this convent in Gort. She was born 6 NOV 1916 in Dereen, Galway and died 6 JULY 1994 at Convent of Mercy, Gort, Galway, Ireland. Did you know her Sr. Fahy? I do not know if we are related on my Fahy/Fahey line but possibly way back. My connection to Sister Oliver is on my Hanberry line not my Fahey/Fahy line. :) Anna

    Anna K

    Sunday 25th July 2021 07:48PM
  • So sorry , i am not related to Sister ahey /Fahy   my Fahey ancestors are from Gort  Galway   and i have found no record of Hanberry in my Family Tree on Ancestry..       

    Margaret M France



    Monday 26th July 2021 10:33AM
  • Anna K - we must be connected, Sr Oliver was my aunt - my mother's sister, I would love to learn how we are connected. I wasn't aware of a Fahey link


    Friday 6th August 2021 09:46PM
  • Hi, Patricia:

    My great x2 grandmother was Catherine Mary "Kate" Nestor, she was born in Gort. She was the daughter of Michael Nestor and Catherine Hanberry/Hansberry. She married Daniel Wolfetone Fahey (son of Thomas Fahey and Anna "Annie" Joynt). My connection to you and Sr. Oliver is on my Hanberry/Hansberry line.

    Anna K

    Saturday 7th August 2021 05:05AM
  • Hi Anna
    I wonder if it's the same line? There are several branches of Han(s)Berry's around Gort. I would be very interested as I have my mother's line but no Nestor's or Fahey's. Did you ever meet Sr Oliver, she was a great one for the ancestors. I have a Meaney family tree she gave me. My grandfather John's mother was Mary Meaney married to Terence Hanberry. Mary died young and Grandad was brought up in Derreen, he had one sister who died age 2.


    Sunday 8th August 2021 03:57PM
  • Hi, Patricia;

    This is what has been pieced together based on DNA, shared DNA matches with each other, and research (by me but also by other Hanberry/Hansberry cousins).

    Father Hanberry and _____ Glynn (her maiden name as Glynn was based on the reserach of another, but DNA backs up a strong Glynn connection) they had at least the following children:

    1. Catherine "Kate" Hansberry born about 1820 in Gort, Galway, Ireland (possibly in Derreen) and died before 1879 in County Galway, Ireland. She married Michael Nestor, the son of Michael Nestor and Bridget ____. After her death her husband Michael Nestor came to the USA and lived with his daughter (my ancestor) Catherine Mary "Kate" Nestor Fahey (Fay) and her family. 

    2. Michael Hansberry born 1825 in Gort, Galway and died 10 March 1867 in Mobile, Mobile, Alabama. He married Mary Ann Hanlon, the daughter of _____ Hanlon and ____ Cuney from County Galway. I am a DNA match to descendants of this line.

    3. Peter Hansberry born about 1826 in Dereen, Gort, Galway and died in Pennsylvania. He married Margaret Donnady/Dormady. (I am a DNA match to descendants of this line).

    4. Julia Hansberry born about 1829 in Gort, Galway and died 5 March 1869 in Mobile, Mobile, Alabama. She married Martin Hanlon, the son of ____ Hanlon and ____ Cuney. He was a sibling of Mary Ann Hanlon that married Michael Hansberry. (I am a DNA match to descendants of this line).

    5. Patrick Hansbery born about 1835 Derreen, Kilbeacanty, Galway and died County Galway. He married B. Monaghan. This is your line --Terrence Hansberry who married Mary Meany is their son. I have DNA matches to descendants of this line.


    Possible childen of this couple:

    Thomas Hansberry born 1832 in Tubber, Galway and died 16 February 1910 in Corrofin, Clare. He married Catherine Walsh.

    Bridget Hansberry - died young.


    There is also a DNA connection to Michael Hansberry/Hansbury born about 1800 in Gort, Galway and died 1875 in Tuam. He married Mary Shaughnessy. He may have been an uncle and brother to Father Hansberry/Hanberry. I am a DNA match to descendants of this line.


    I am in the USA, and sadly, no I never got to meet Sister Oliver.

    Although DNA is not as perfect as having church or other records would be, the church records don't go back that far. But it proves that we are al of of the same Hansberry family. 

    Let me know what you think. Thanks :) Anna

    Anna K

    Sunday 8th August 2021 05:08PM
  • Hello, My name is Philip Heavey and I am looking for information on a family member that was a Sister of Mercy in Gort.  My mother grew up in Gort (Emer Heavey (nee O'Connor) and her mother's sister was Sr. Mary Colman Neylon.  I am looking for any information that may be available about her.  I know that in the 1960's she was sent to Florida for a few years to a new Sisters of Mercy convent near NASA to teach the children of Astronauts.  This plus any other info would be great if availble.  I also know that Sr. Colman passed away on 20 October, 1993.

    Thank you in advance,

    Philip Heavey

    Philip Heavey

    Tuesday 12th April 2022 05:42PM
  • Dear Philip,

    There are several variations of the surname. "Nilan" is the one used in the 1901 and 1911 census, both of which are online. The D.E.D. district is Beagh and the townland is Laghtyshaughnessy. It is misspelt in 1901 where they put n instead of t.

    Other versions of the surname are Neylon, Neylan, Neilan, etc. 

    Agnes Nilan was the youngest in her family. She was born to Susan Brew and Martin Nilan on 24 April 1898. 

    She entered St. Vincent's, Convent of Mercy, Newtownsmith, Galway City. I haven't got the date of her entry but girls were 18 years or more when they entered a convent. She did not enter the Gort Convent.


    She spent most of her life teaching in Primary School here in Galway. In 1964 she led a group of four Sisters Merritt Island, Florida.  She spent a few years there, I'm not sure how many.

    She died in St. Vincent's Convent on 20 October 1993. She was interred in the cemetery of the Sisters of Mercy, Forster St., Galway.


    The biographical details of the Sisters, e.g. reception and profession dates are in our national archives, Dublin. 

    I entered the Convent of Mercy, Gort in 1954 and when that convent closed in August 2021 I was assigned to St. Vincent's, Galway. 


    With every good wish,

    de Lourdes Fahy (Sr.)

    IrelandXO Moderator DC

    Friday 15th April 2022 01:22PM

Some communities associated with this building

Close this