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Plans to convert former convent in Dungannon for community use

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Plans have been lodged for the refurbishment of a former convent in Co Tyrone. (stock photo)

Plans have been lodged for the refurbishment of a former convent in Co Tyrone. (stock photo)

Plans have been lodged for the refurbishment of a former convent in Co Tyrone. (stock photo)

Plans have been lodged for the refurbishment of a former convent in Co Tyrone.

It comes almost eight years to the day after the Sisters of Mercy departed the Dungannon premises they had called home for more than a century.

A listing on Northern Ireland's planning portal explains that the parish of Dungannon is seeking permission to restore, alter and reconfigure the existing Sisters of Mercy convent, adjacent schoolhouse and surrounding car park and gardens on Northland Row.

The parish hopes these premises will be transformed into mixed use facilities, including community use, parish use, offices, cafe/restaurant, children's nursery and ancillary spaces.

The Sisters of Mercy first came to Dungannon from Dundalk in 1894, thanks to an invitation from the Right Reverend Monsignor Dean PJ Byrne.

Under the first Mother Superior, Sister Kevin McGrath, the original residents of the building on Northland Row were Sisters Gabriel Clarke, Claver McGivern, Benignus Farrell, Josephine Carey and Borgia O'Beirne, later joined by Sisters Philomena Boyle and Catherine Plunkett.

The architectural firm behind the proposed redevelopment is Moneymore-based Manor Architects. It says the proposal will see the strategic regeneration of the site and buildings to provide a mixed use complex, including interpretive displays and trails, community spaces, wellbeing, offices, events spaces, cafe and parish archive and library.

With the community and parish at the heart of the scheme, the existing chapel will be retained to accommodate weddings, masses and funerals.

The architects have also made it clear the history and heritage of the building and the story of the nuns is something Manor Architects, Dean Kevin Donaghy and the parish committee are keen to promote and safeguard.

One of Manor Architects' directors, Johann Muldoon, said: "This is the type of project every architect wants to work on. Dean Donaghy and the parish committee are committed and devoted to the project."

Belfast Telegraph