History of St. Clare’s Church
St Clare’s Roman Catholic Church in Graiguecullen, Carlow, Ireland has a unique history. It was originally St Anne’s Church of Ireland, located on the Athy Road in Carlow town. St Anne’s Church was commissioned by Colonel Bruen of Oak Park. It was built on the Athy Road on the East bank of the river Barrow in 1852.St Anne’s Church was used by the local congregation during the following decades. However in the early 1900’s it was closed due to small numbers attending church services. At that time St Fiacc’s Parish Church on the west side of the River Barrow in Graiguecullen (then Graigue Carlow) was overcrowded and in poor condition.
The Parish Priest of St Fiacc’s was the Very Reverned M. H. Bolger, who had served as an army chaplain during World War 1. He was friendly with Henry Bruen of Oak Park, who had served in the Royal Artillery during World War 1. Henry Bruen was a descendant of the Bruen who had built St Anne’s Church. They were both golfing enthusiasts.
In 1926 it was announced that Mr Bruen had sold St Anne’s at a nominal price to Fr Bolger. St Anne’s Church was then dismantled and re-erected in Graiguecullen on the West bank of the river Barrow. Carlow engineering firm Thomas Thompson and Sons carried out the works. The building was completed in 1929.
The new Church, which is called St Clare’s, was opened and dedicated by MostRev Dr Cullen, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in the year 1929 On This Day.
History of Holy Cross Church
Holy Cross Church in Killeshin near Carlow town, Ireland, was completed in 1821 to the design of architect, Thomas Cobden. Cobden designed many public buildings, private residences and churches in the Carlow/Wexford area. In Carlow town these included the Roman Catholic Cathedral, St Mary’s Church of Ireland and Scott’s Church. Cobden lived in Carlow for a number of years. Holy Cross Church is described as a modest but spacious building in stone and brick. Located at the foot of the Killeshin hills it was described by Lewis as standing on an artificial mound. Its windows are Gothic in style and there are octagonal towers on each corner of the building.
The church was dedicated by the then Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, Dr James Doyle, also known as JK L (James Kildare and Leighlin). He had served with Wellington’s army during the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. As bishop he was a campaigner for Catholic Emancipation. Catholic Emancipation came about when the Catholic Relief Act was passed by the Wellington Government in 1829, eight years after Doyle had dedicated the Holy Cross Church at Killeshin
The foundation stone for Holy Cross Church, Killeshin was laid in the year 1819 On This Day.