Sinead Dooley officially opened A Bower For Sisters at Áras an Chontae Tullamore Nov 14th.
The exhibition runs until December 1st at Áras an Chontae, Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland.
Photographs by Tom O'Hanlon of the Tullamore Tribune
‘A Bower for Sisters’ by Tullamore native Aisling O’Rourke documents the final few months of Our Lady’s Bower Boarding School and Convent in Athlone, Co. Westmeath.
Established in 1884, it’s understood when Jean Baptiste Debrabant decided to build Our Lady’s Bower Convent and Boarding School, he used the designs from his home in the south of France to save costs in this new venture.
In June 2014, the last 11 boarders sat their Leaving Certificate exams and the school shut its doors for the last time, the La Sainte Union order of Roman Catholic Nuns could no longer afford to keep it running and pay for the care of an ageing population of sisters. The 130 year old facility was one of the last boarding schools to exist in Ireland.
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 will be opened by Sinead Dooley on November 14th at 18.00. The exhibition runs until December 1st.
‘A Bower For Sisters’ the photobook was designed and self-published in 2015 in collaboration with Read That Image and is published in an edition of 500 hand-bound copies.