Nano Nagle Centre

Entered off Douglas Street in Cork city, the South Presentation Convent and schools have organically grown and developed over 250 years since its foundation by Nano Nagle. The site resembles the medieval plan of a Camillo Sitte town, due to an organic expansion of the convent to include convent buildings, chapels, schools, a graveyard, gardens and a collection of intimate spaces and passages on a bewildering array of levels.

To preserve the heritage and ethos of Nano Nagle, the Presentation Sisters decided to develop the site, preserving its historic heritage, creating a place for contemplation and reflection and developing a new sustainable resource to share with the Cork community.

Presentation Sisters



Completed 2017

Landscape masterplan

The masterplan unites several historic buildings through a common landscape treatment. The pedestrian circulation is achieved through a central spine route through a sequence of mixed-use buildings. The landscape scheme comprises a seating courtyard, the new tomb of Nano Nagle, a contemplative garden and a garden responding to a new cafeteria by JCA. The project is an addition to the Cork City historic trail.

Main Contractor
PJ Hegarty


Water feature consultant
Fountain Works

Paved forecourt to Douglas Street

The visitors route is organized as a spine through the site and unfolds as a compelling narrative or journey starting on the paved forecourt to Douglas Street enhancing the public realm and hopefully adding an impetus for a needed improvement to the street itself.

The ‘spine’ route continues threading its way through buildings and spaces, some the results of massive excavations, making new spaces, revealing new vistas and enclosures.

Contemplative garden

The paving of the main route softly begins to fragment with pockets of planting appearing within it as one descends to the spiritual centre of the site; the contemplative garden.


Contemplative garden

Large red sandstone inserts invite a reflective moment standing amongst the frothy chamomile. The presence of water, strategically located benches and tactile finishes help create a really special ambiance

Water rill

By the tomb of Nano Nagle, we have used a massive limestone slab size to subtly signify the otherness of the space and allow the tomb, the stained glass artworks and the water to prevail emotionally.

The central spine ends in a small cafe framed by lush planting and vistas to the original convent gardens, left largely unchanged, with novices walk, sitting niches and statues.

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