Rahan, County OffalyCounty formerly King's CountyCounty Offaly

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Killina Presentation Convent founded 1817 by Maria O'Brien
Killina Presentation Convent founded 1817 by Maria O'Brien

The Presentation Sisters came to Killina in 1817 having been invited by a woman called Maria O’Brien, the daughter of a wealthy Dublin merchant. Moved by the terrible poverty of the local children she was determined to improve their life through education. She herself had established her own school in 1812. Maria O’Brien issued an invitation to the Presentation Sisters at George’s Hill in Dublin and she provided funds and land for a convent. The Bishop of Meath, Bishop Plunkett supported the project by granting permission.

The first sisters to arrive were siblings, Sister Mary Angela and Sister Mary Teresa Biggar who travelled along the Grand canal from Dublin to Killina. Maria O’Brien supplied the sisters with a school house which she extended to allow for living accommodation. The two sisters quickly got to work and by September 1, 1817 they had opened a school for 100 pupils. Second level tuition began in 1948 and in 1951 the first students sat the Intermediate certificate followed by the first Leaving certificate exam in 1953.

Maria O’Brien whose foresight made it all possible, died in 1827. She had entered the convent herself and spent the last 5 years of her life there. Over the years the Presentation Sisters have made an enormous contribution to the educational and spiritual life of the people of Rahan.