With the magnificence of colour and symbol, this icon powerfully tells Nano’s story in a way that words simply cannot. 

The artist, Desmond Kyne, has chosen a youthful image of Nano Nagle to occupy the centre panel. Nano stands in calm majesty, suggesting both patience and endurance. The Sacred Heart is at the centre of the icon.

At Nano's feet is a group of children. Buildings symbolise the city of Cork, with the Southgate Bridge on the left and the Northgate Bridge on the right. These areas were the centre of Nano Nagle's ministry to children.

The side panels elaborate some events and symbols of Nano Nagle's life, including:

  • Spiral motif, the Celtic symbol of eternity and of God, the Father
  • The tabernacle, recalling Nano’s devotion to the Eucharist
  • A tiny window illuminating a cramped room, suggesting the poverty-stricken conditions of the cabin schools
  • Nano holding a book, symbol of literacy and learning, which she so highly prized
  • The four founding sisters, standing near a well of living water
  • The gallows, a reminder of the conditions under which the Irish-Catholic people lived during the days of the Penal Laws
  • Nano caring for the sick...she personally knew every garret and tenement in the city

Nano with her lantern, a symbol of her joyful spirit and devotion to the poor, to whom she brought God's love.