Poor Clare Monastery

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, ScotlandGlasgow Road North

Poor Clare Monastery – Blantyre

Poor Clare Monastery - Blantyre

The Nunnery was in Thornhill Avenue, down the entrance to the Dandy. Formerly known as Thornhill Villa, a Mansion at the time, it was once owned and lived in by James Kelly of Celtic F.C. Fame, who also owned the Kelly’s Corner Bar and Blantyre Engineering. A close neighbour at Priory House in Thornhill Avenue was John McCaffrie, owner of McCaffrie’s Pub in Springwell.

The Dandy was a Bridal Path and right of way from Glasgow Road all the way to the Mill Village and the Clyde, and was a popular walk for families and young couples. The tree-lined Avenue had some prestigious homes as mentioned above, and I can recall the banks either side being filled with Bluebells.  Bluebells in the Dandy

I don’t know the circumstances of how Thornhill Villa became the Poor Clare Order Monastery, but if I were to hazard a guess, James Kelly may have bequeathed the property to the Order.

Poor Clare Nuns in GardenIn 1952 our Monastery in Cork, Ireland, was bursting at the seams so it was decided to find a new monastery in the Diocese of Motherwell, Scotland. Five Sisters from Cork were warmly received into the Diocese after a long over night sail on the boat from Dublin. Their first house was in Blantyre where, over the years, the community gradually increased. In 1973, we moved to a new purpose built monastery attached to St. Bride’s Parish Church in Bothwell where we participate in the daily mass of the Parish. Two of the Sisters who originally came from Cork, Srs. Paschal and Jarlath are still with us, regaling us with stories of ‘the good old days,’ when the hardship involved in a new Foundation was lightened by joy and laughter.

Poor Clare Monastery - Blantyre

As a boy, I used to deliver groceries in the early Sixties and had to put them in a ‘half-barrel’ and ring the bell. The barrel would be swivelled inside, and the groceries removed and then returned with a sum of money to pay for the groceries and my tip. Never was there a word said.

Poor Clare Nuns - Blantyre

Pictured here in 1972 is a wonderful, happy photo of the Poor Clare Nuns in Blantyre, a year or so before they moved to Bothwell.
In 1973, Bishop Thompson (of Motherwell) decided it was best that the Monastery be moved next to St Bride’s Parish in Bothwell because he could foresee a time when he would not be able to spare a priest to celebrate Mass. Bishop Thompson

The property was acquired by the Doonin family in 1973. Gary Doonin remembers a couple of graves being removed from the bottom of site about 1998/1999.


Photos by James B Brown and poorclaresscotland.co.uk


If you have any Photos… Send them to Bill

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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