In 1829 Catherine O’Neill of Skibbereen was the foundress of the Bandon Presentation Convent. Initially, she taught in her house in Hill Terrace. As pupil numbers grew, Catherine sought a site for a convent and school.
The Duke of Devonshire responded generously by giving her a five acre site at Coolfadda, on the North side of the river for a nominal sum. From 1829 until the present time, the work of Catholic Christian education has continued, influencing thousands of young people in the greater Bandon area. Primary education still flourishes on the original site, beside the Sisters’ residence.
In 1991, because of inadequate space on the site at Coolfadda, Colaiste na Toirbhirte, the Secondary section of the School, moved across the river to Ard Aoibhinn at Cloughmacsimon. At the time of purchase from the O’Kelly family, it was discovered that the current 12 acre site was once the property of Catherine O’Neill, foundress of the Bandon Presentation Convent!
Colaiste na Toirbhirte today is conscious of being in continuity with a great Presentation tradition. Foundation stones from the original 1865 building on the Northside now occupy pride of place beneath the central symbol of a Celtic Cross on the School’s street.
History was made in 2001 when the Presentation Sisters appointed the first lay Principal in the school, while they continued to act as Trustees of the school.
It is with a confident step that Presentation College, Bandon faces into the 21st century, secure in the knowledge that it always was, and will continue to be, in the forefront of secondary education in the country.