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Our History

Glance into the past.......

The Convent
The history of the Bay as well as St. Mary's Harbour is steeped in nearly 500 years of sea havesting tradition! Fishermen from the Basque region, France, Portugal and the British Isles all plied their trade in this deep water bay. The capelin and cod caught in Newfoundland's waters allowed Great Britain to rise to the enormous global naval power and colonizing empire that it was. Through the recent ages, St. Mary's maintained parallel economic history and population expansion and contraction with the rest of the island. Typical of colonizing countries of the day, Britain drew as much profit as possible from the island and the souls living here and returned very little support (unless it was to protect profitability). Notably, the St. Mary's Bay regional roots lie in France and Portugal before being permanently settled during the Atlantic conflict by mostly Irish, Scot and British merchants and fishermen.

In 1775 Nano Nagle, known as "The Lady of the Lantern" founded the Presentation sisters in Ireland. In 1833, four of her loyal followers left their communities in County Wexford to answer a call from Bishop Fleming from Newfoundland to begin a school for poor girls in St.John's. In those the support of the church and the work of the Sisters was absolutely essential to the island folk. In spite of the hardships of an austere existence and the harsh discipline and strict religious piety of the church, Newfoundlanders preserved, able to help each other and work together under circumstance (a trait still very much a part of their culture).

The Convent
In 1859, St. Mary's own convent (now The Claddagh Inn) along with others on the southern shore was founded and the sisters served the communities for well over a hundred years. You can take a walk and visit the Nun's cemetery just next to the Inn today. The original convent building in St. Mary's was replaced in 1971 and in 1990 it was purchased by a local businessman and his wife (who's father helped build the building) and served for a short time as an Inn and then an adult learning facility from 1992-94 and then back to service as an Inn in 1995. In 2002, Adrian and Shirley Yetman remodelled the building adding en-suite rooms, the rich deep mahogany wood tones and trims and hand laid floor thus creating "The Claddagh Inn".

In 2011, the Inn underwent yet another transformation keeping the Irish-Newfoundland theme when your hosts Patrick and Carol Monsigneur both RCAF retired purchased the property. Now completely updated, the Claddagh offers a peaceful, "homey" and old world environment with improved multimedia convenience, organic amenities and spa inspired linens. They also added an adjoining owner's suite and constructed an Irish-Canadian guest pub "Padraig's Folly" and offer it's peaceful comfort to guests from around the world.

Enjoy a gourmet meal, relax in the Pub for a pint or a dram and fall asleep to the soothing sound of the waves lapping the shoreline and the foghorn calling the sailors safe.

Legendary Coast of Eastern Newfoundland

Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador

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