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Our History

Diocese of Achonry


The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy live and work in seven towns in the diocese of Achonry. In 1885 shortly after the Famine the Sisters first came to this small rural diocese in the West of Ireland. On June 5th 1855, sisters Aloysius Martyn and De Sales Coppinger came from the Convent of Mercy, Tuam to start a community of Sisters of Mercy in Swinford, Co Mayo. A newly built Convent was ready to receive them. Schools were started. A Primary School under the National Education Board began in 1856. later, in 1906, a Secondary school was established, and this included a Boarding School by 1912. In 1925 St Anne's Public Laundry was set up to give employment locally. Since coming to Swinford the Sisters had been visiting the local Workhouse, and in 1883 Sr Xavier Henry became Matron there. Later the Workhouse became a District Hospital and Sisters worked there until very recently. Brabzon Park House and land was purchased by the Congregation in 1916, where up until 1974 a Rural Domestic Economy School gave education to young women interested in farming and catering.

From Swinford the Congregation spread to other locations both within and outside the diocese of Achonry. Ballymote Convent was founded in 1902, Colloney in 1909; Ballisodare in 1942, Gurteen in 1954, Ballaghaderreen in 1971 and Foxford in 1994. these Communities are all within the Diocese.

In 1960 six Sisters went to teach in the Diocese of Jeffderson city, Missouri, USA. From 1983 to 1995 Sisters from Achonry Mercy, worked in Palmerstown, Dublin, and in 1984 four Sisters joined Missionaries from the USA, who were working in Peru, South America. Sisters from the diocese still work in Missouri and Peru.

Map of the Diocese

Achonry | Ardagh & Clonmacnois | Clonfert | Elphin | Galway | Killala | Tuam

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