Here is a painting of Nano Nagle as a child by artist Ella Yates. It depicts Nano at her home in Ballygriffin, Co Cork, climbing trees and enjoying her childhood.
By all accounts Nano was a spirited and mischievous child who enjoyed the benefits living by a river in the countryside.
Her parents often despaired of what the future might hold for their eldest, but her father is quoted as saying that Nano would be a saint someday.

Young Nano loved learning and God. They were two things that were dangerous for Irish people at the time. The Penal Laws meant that Irish people were not allowed to practice Catholicism or be educated.

So despite being from a relatively wealthy family Nano’s primary education took place in a hedge school beside her home. A hedge school was a secret school, often outdoors where children learned lessons while someone kept a lookout for approaching soldiers of the Establishment.

Every morning, Nano would climb over the site at her home in Ballygriffin into a nearby field with a ruined castle and there the master would teach a group of children their lessons.

When Nano was old enough her family smuggled her to France where her education continued under the Benedictine Nuns at Ypres, Flanders (then, French territory). Remarkably, this was Nano’s first taste of a real classroom environment, and the feisty young lady found it a very different experience from learning out in the fields of Cork!