The Killina Presentation Resource Centre is located in a former convent building, near the banks of the Grand Canal, in Killina, County Offaly. The building’s intriguing story began with the arrival of The Presentation Sisters to Killina in 1817.
The Convent building is steeped in history and has been an integral part of life in the area for over two centuries. It was founded by Maria O’Brien in 1817 who owned Rahan Lodge and vast areas of land in the locality.
Formerly, the Lansdowne Estate and owned by a British Prime Minister, William Petty in the 1700s (though it is believed he never visited the area), the estate later became known as Sherlocks. Sherlocks is a name that still resonates in the area to the current day and was home to David Sherlock, an MP for Offaly and Home Rule supporter from 1868 to 1880. He had a huge influence on politics in Offaly during that tumultuous period in which constitutional politics vied with violent means for an end to British rule John and David Sherlock were nephews of Anna Maria O’Brien, a sister of Maria.
Moved by the poverty of the locals in those pre-famine years in the early 1800s, they initially set up a school for children in 1812 and then invited the Presentation Sisters to set up a community in Killina. This was duly established in 1817 and Maria O’Brien later joined the order herself, serving for five years until her death in 1827.
Apart from their pastoral role, the sisters played a pivotal role in education in the area for generations. They provided primary education for many locals and this eventually led to the formation of the ‘Presentation Sisters Secondary Top’ in the 1960s, which later became a full secondary school. The Presentation Girls National School amalgamated with the local boys’ school in 2009.
Many nuns spent most of their life in Killina, including Sister Oliver Wrafter, an Offaly person of the year who there from when she joined the order in 1941 until its closure in 2019.
The vast local history of religious heritage and everyday life of Rahan will be celebrated in a museum in the new community resource centre.
This magnificent building and grounds will now be home to The Killina Presentation Resource Centre, providing our local community with the opportunity to develop and grow through the provision of facilities and essential services.