Pilgrimage Walk - Slí Nano

Saturday 19th May 2018

Celebrating the Tercentenary Year of The Birth of Nano Nagle 1718-2018

‘In the face of Impossibility, she chose to begin’R. Consedine

This pilgrimage is a wonderful opportunity to visit Nano Nagle’s Birthplace and surrounding areas, rich in history, heritage and natural beauty.


This pilgrimage is a wonderful opportunity to visit Nano Nagle’s Birthplace and surrounding areas, rich in history, heritage and natural beauty. An historic occasion, marking the tercentenary of Nano’s birth, this international event represents an opportunity to meet people and create memories while walking the ways of the young Nano, visiting local sites that marked her journey to become one of the most famous women in Ireland.

Along the pilgrimage, we will visit a number of stations of interest including Nano’s homestead through which flows the beautiful River Blackwater; the baptismal font where tradition holds Nano was baptised into the Catholic faith and the site of the hedge school where she likely got her early education. For those pilgrims who wish to journey further, there is the opportunity of a longer, more robust walk immersed in nature and the panoramic views from the Nagle Mountains.

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Both walks start from the Car Park, Nano Nagle Birthplace, Ballygriffin, Killavullen, Mallow; P51 CV91.

  • 10.30am Assembly and Welcome in Car Park
  • 11.00am Mountain Walk: Includes Nagle Mountains – this is an 8km, strenuous walk
  • 11.15am River Walk: This 4.4km walk, requires a moderate level of fitness and there are some uneven ground and steps.

Refreshments available in Killavullen Community Hall at end of walks


Participants must:

  • Have wind and waterproof clothing & wear suitable footwear.
  • Bring a bottle of water.
  • Children under 12 years must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Neither walk is suitable for buggies.

Participation in both walks is free of charge. Both walks are guided with stewards.

‘When you travel, a new silence goes with you. And if you listen, you will hear what your heart would love to say.’John O’ Donoghue
Whichever walk you choose is an opportunity to walk Nano’s paths and ways and be heartened by the landscape and beauty that inspired her to a life of wisdom, love and action. And, if you’re open to it, perhaps your pilgrimage will also inspire you to adopt her ways: courage, daring, pioneering.

Nano (Honora) Nagle was born in 1718 in the townland of Ballygriffin, near the village of Killavullen, in the beautiful valley of the Blackwater in County Cork. Her parents, Ann Matthew and Garret Nagle, were relatively wealthy Catholic landowners.

Nano and her six siblings received a basic education at home and in a nearby hedge-school at Monanimy Castle. Because of the Penal Laws, at age ten she was sent to a Benedictine convent school in Ypres, Flanders (then French territory) where the Nagle family had many relatives. On leaving there at age sixteen she continued her education in Paris. When her father died she was called home with her sister Ann and they were appalled by the poverty of the people. Defying the Penal Laws, she secretly set up a cabin-school in Cork’s Cove Lane (now Douglas Street), initially enrolling a class of thirty-five girls. The number of schools grew to seven (including two for boys). Nano, a powerful evangeliser, inspired by the compassion of the heart of Jesus, spent her life caring for the people of Cork. To ensure the continuation of her schools she founded her own congregation, the Presentation Sisters, in 1775. She continued her work and died on 26th April 1784.

The congregation of the Presentation Sisters has spread worldwide and in 2018 is celebrating the Tercentenary of Nano’s birth in creative and diverse ways. In Ballygriffin, this Pilgrimage Walk – Slí Nano is our celebration of Nano’s life and the work that continues in her name.

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