It was here in the vicinity of Brown’s Hill that Nano had another of her schools on the north side of the city. The third school on this side of the river Lee was situated in North Abbey Street. The supposition is that one of her schools here was for girls, and the other for boys.
Just a few hundred metres up Shandon Street, at the junction with Blarney Street, is the reputed site of a shop in which a very singular event occurred. Nano had to beg for funds for her schools and one of her regular donors ran a shop at that site. The Presentation Annalist tells the story.
Having arrived one morning at a certain shop, the owner of which was one of those from whom she experienced great generosity and kindness, she was most contemptuously repulsed by his shop-man, who rudely ordered her to wait until she could see his master. From seven until nine she waited with untiring patience, sitting behind the shop door on a bundle of skins. When the gentleman was up, and had appeared at breakfast, a formal complaint was made him of the importunity of an old mendicant, who had taken her place in the shop, and who could be induced to leave, until she had seen him. He was requested to go without delay and tur her away. Having heard the length of time she had waited for him he drew the curtain and, looking into the shop, to his great horror and consternation, who did he behold in this humble position, but the woman, who, of all others on earth, he venerated most, and exclaimed, ‘O. that is Miss Nagle’. Covered with shame and confusion he went to meet her, loaded her with apologies and kindness, redoubled the donation which she came to beg, and which, in any case, he would have given her.
Over to our left, near Dominic Street, is the site of a former Dominican Church in which Nano and her brothers sometimes worshipped. Among the treasures in South Presentation is a tabernacle which was presented to the Dominican Fathers at that church, by the Nagle family.
Also to our left is the famous St. Anne’s Church, (C of I) renowned for its Bells of Shandon, it four-faced liar clock and its pepper-canister tower.
Before we cross North Gate Bridge there is an anecdote worth retelling. Teresa Mulally had written to Nano from Dublin, and enquired after the health of her eyes. In her reply to Teresa on 29th July 1780 Nano wrote:
As you were so good as to desire to know how my eyes were, that were so many months sore, I, thank God, got the better of them. And I must tell you how I was cured, which, though I believe few will try this (cure) that had such a wonderful on my. One of the coldest days last winter and a most sharp piercing wind – and I find nothing affected them so much as wind – though I thought I might on account of them, plead some excuse, yet at the same time it was not giving food example not to go through as much as the others and I walked to the school at North Gate, and, so far from having any bad effect on them I did not find them any worse, b … vastly better. And ever since, thank god, (they) have continued so. I think any little labour I have the Almighty has given me health to go through it: and if I did not make use of it in His service He may soon deprive me of it.
Just across the river, to the left, is the site of North Gate Prison; in her will Nano left a sum of money for the debtors in that jail and also for those in South Gate Prison.
As you walk along North Main Street look out for the many narrow laneways that lead off the street; there are plaques on the footpaths indicating these and naming some of them.
Sr Emer Madigan, pbvm