By Sean Ryan - 11 July, 2015
A historic link between a Mercy convent and a Co Kerry town will come to an end this September.
The Sisters of Mercy have decided to close their convent in Balloonagh just outside Tralee.
The historic building was completed in 1858 and since then has been home to the Sisters of Mercy many of whom were linked to education in Tralee.
Currently 16 nuns remain living in the convent, many of whom are elderly with the oldest thought to be aged 95 years.
Some of the nuns are understood to have lived at Balloonagh for more than 50 years.
It is understood that the nuns are to be moved to new locations in Tralee town including units in Oakview village as well as units in the grounds of Our Lady of Fatima Home in Oakpark, Tralee.
According to the Mercy Congregation some of the sisters will also move to Mercy convents in Killarney and Mallow. However, it is understood that all the nuns will have moved from the convent by the end of September.
Speaking about the closure of the convent to local radio station Radio Kerry, Fr Patsy Lynch of Our Lady and St Brendan’s Parish Tralee that the closure of Ballyloonagh Convent was “a very sad day for the people of Tralee”.
He added, “It is a very sad end for the convent. The sisters have done tremendous work particularly in the areas of primary and secondary education over the years.”
Balloonagh Convent and the surrounding complex is owned by Mulchinock Trust which is under the remit of the Diocese of Kerry.
While no arrangements have yet been put in place on the future use of the convent Fr Lynch confirmed that “the ultimate decision will be made by the Bishop of Kerry Dr Ray Browne”.