A Bower For Sisters runs until December 1st at Áras an Chontae, Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland.Read More
Tullamore native Aisling O’Rourke brings her moving photographic exhibition to Áras an Chontae, Tullamore. ‘A Bower for Sisters’ documents the final few months of Our Lady’s Bower Boarding School and Convent in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The exhibition will be opened by Sinead Dooley on Tuesday 14th November at 18.00.
The exhibition will be on show until Friday 1st December opening Monday to Friday 9-4pm. All are welcome
A canteen of cutlery, old desks and the benches from the common room. The contents of Our Lady’s Bower Convent laid bare for hopeful Antiquers looking for a piece of history, or even, dare I suggest, a bargain.
This weekend, three years after the boarding school, which was once my home, closed down it’s contents are up for auction. The sisters have moved on, the building will soon have another name and in time it’s original purpose forgotten.
As I scroll through the catalog of contents, I get an unexpected glimpse of Sr Christopher’s desk, solid and formidable to this day, the memories flood back.
I still remember my first meeting with the Matriarch of the boarding school. At the time I remember thinking how much the scene reminded me of Maria meeting with Mother Abss in the Sound of Music and “How do we solve a problem like Maria” plays in my head.
Regal and imposing Sr Christopher was a woman to be respected and impressed by. She had studied law but dedicated her life to the education of Bower Girls. I wonder what she’d make of the school being separated bit by bit this weekend.
A set of china for £40 pounds a box of cameras for £100, the artefacts from one of the oldest Boarding schools in Ireland are making their way to new homes. They carry with them the stories of young girls and women struggling to find their place in the world, but who for a short time found solace in the sanctuary of Our Lady’s Bower.
2017 saw us pay our respects to Sr Christopher and it seems, the school she cared so much for.
A Bower For Sisters has now featured in the Irish Times on Midlands 103, in the Westmeath Independent, Westmeath Examiner and Offaly Independent.
The support for the project has been fantastic and there's still time to order your copy here.
A Bower For Sisters has been a labour of love and a work in progress since January 2013. After countless hours of work the photobook has now been launched.
On Wednesday the 9th of December 2015 we welcomed approximately 100-150 people to the Library Project in Temple Bar to launch the photobook.
It proved to be an extremely successful night, despite the poor weather and former Bower girls from the 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's attended in what became a mini-boarders reunion.
Former Bower girl, presenter and adventurer Teena Gates brought us down memory lane with her found memories of life in Our Ladies Bower.
A special thanks must go to Sr Eileen for representing the La Sainte Union order on the night and the last 11 boarders who also joined in the celebrations.
Thank you to everyone who turned out on the night and all those who have supported the project since the beginning, it wouldn't have been possible without your help. And don't forget you can still order your copy of A Bower For Sisters here, it's proving to be extremely popular. A Bower For Sisters can now be found in homes across Ireland, Florida, Seattle, London, Ontaria and Madrid.
Photographs from the night are provided by Rua Photography's Emilia Krystofiak
Our guest speaker on Wednesday night in the Library Project Temple Bar will be former Bower girl, Broadcaster and adventurer extraordinaire is Teena Gates.
It promises to be a great evening find out more details about launch night here.
A Bower For Sisters has arrived in Dublin. The books were printed and bound by hand in Poland. I'm delighted with how the finished product looks and feels. Here's a quick selection of how the book looks.
There's just a few days left before we officially launch A Bower For Sisters. Pre-Orders have been coming in steadily, orders yours here.
Just over a year since the boarding school shut its doors, ‘A Bower For Sisters’ is being launched, giving an intimate look at the now historical Our Lady’s Bower Boarding School and Convent.
Former pupil and Tullamore native Aisling O' Rourke said she decided to publish this book to provide an insight into life at the Boarding School:
“In ‘A Bower For Sisters’, I aim to pay testament to a part of our history which is now gone, to pay tribute to the work of the La Sainte Union sisters, and in some small way ensure Our Lady’s Bower Boarding School is not forgotten in the years to come.”
'A Bower for Sisters' by Aisling O' Rourke will be launched by former Bower girl and well known author, adventurer and presenter Teena Gates, in The Library Project, Temple Bar, Dublin, on the 9th of December at 6pm. Details of the launch are available on www.abowerforsisters.com and here.
‘A Bower For Sisters’ was designed and self-published in collaboration with Read That Image and is published in an edition of 500 hand-bound copies.
In 'A Bower for Sisters' Aisling O' Rourke sensitively documents the final few months of Our Lady's Bower Boarding School and Convent in Athlone, County Westmeath in the Republic of Ireland, before it closed its doors in June 2014.
'A Bower For Sisters' Photo Book will be launched in The Library Project, Temple Bar, Dublin at 6pm on the 9th of December 2015. The launch will include a pop-up exhibition of the work and a special guest speaker on the night. Further details are available here.
In advance of the book launch 100 copies are being sold at the special rate of €21. By pre-ordering 'A Bower for Sisters' you are also assisting with the making of this book.
To pre-order your click here.
All 500 copies will be hand-numbered by the artist. Books will be delivered in early December.