1863 – Saint Brigid’s Church, Killeshandra, Co. Cavan

Architect: William Hague


Incomplete as designed and illustrated, Hague’s fantastically ornate spire wasn’t constructed and was capped off at the top of a simplified version of the tower. Finished in local stone with limestone dressing. Internally the massive seven lancet eastern window has the central lancet closed up to carry a crucifix. The interior is much remodelled.

“The new Church of Killeshandra stands upon a commanding site, near a village of the same name, in the county of Cavan, and is intended to supply the place of the present dilapidated and unsuitable edifice which forms the parish church. The foundation stone of the new building was laid by the Right Rev. Dr. Brown, R.C. Bishop of Kilmore, with the usual ceremonial, in May last, and the works are now far advanced.

The plan comprises nave and side aisles, north and south transepts, chancel, with chapels on the north and south sides, sacristy on the south-east side, and two porches leading to aisles at the west end. The tower and spire are situate at the northeast angle of the building, and will form an important feature in the design when viewed from the main road, which passes by almost parallel with the east end of the church, and at a short distance from it.

The total internal length, from west to east, is 95 feet ; width across nave and aisles, 50 feet ; and across transepts, 70 feet. Thechancel is 25 feetwide in the clear, and the side chapels are 12 feet each. The height from floor of nave to ridge of roof is 50 feet; and the height to top of wrought-iron cross on spire, 135 feet.

An arcade of five bays of moulded arches (resting on cylindrical shafts) and piers divides the nave and chancel from aisles, transepts, and chapels on either side ; and in the spandrils of the arches are circular quatrefoil recesses for medallions. The shafts between nave and aisles are of polished Kilkenny marble, with moulded sandstone bases set on square tall plinths of dark grey stone, and sandstone caps with square abaci hereafter to be carved.

The principal entrance is at the west end, through a boldly-treated doorway, with recessed jambs and shafts of Cork red marble, resting on moulded bases, with carved caps sustaining a deeply-moulded and enriched arch. The other entrance-doorways, in porches, Ac., have square heads, the arches inclosing stone tympanumsfor sculpture.

The tower opens into north transept and chapel through moulded archways formed in the thickness of the walls, and will display a stone groined ceiling under bell-ringers’ floor.

The roofs will consist of wrought and framed trusses open to the ridge, with curved and moulded braces resting on corbels. The chancel and chapel roofs will be panelled and moulded between the trusses, which are carried on marble shafts with caps and bases set on stone corbels. A double truss divides the chancel from nave in lieu of the usual chancel arch. All the roofs will be boarded on the back of rafters, and varnished. Between the boarding and slating a layer of felt will be introduced; and the slating, banded in colours, will be surmounted at ridge by a foliated crestiDg of wrought and galvanized iron.

The flooring, altars, railing, and other works necessary to complete the building, will be proceeded with gradually, as the funds permit.

Local stone, disposed in various colours, as obtained in the neighbourhood, is being used for the general walling; forming a contrast with the external dressings of light grey limestone. Sandstone, from the Dungannon quarries, has been used for the interior works, with marble shafts for nave piers and chancel roof trusses, Ac. The tracery in windows will be Caen or Dungannon stone. The carving will be done hereafter.

The floors are intended to be formed of Yorkshire paving, with black and red tiles in passages of nave and aisles ; and the chancel and chapels will be laid with encaustic tiles, in patterns. The altars and reredos will be executed in Caen stone, with marble shafts, panels, Ac. All the glazing will be done in tinted cathedral glass, set in lead lights, diamond shaped, with coloured borders.

Mr. W. Hague, jun., of Dublin and Cavan, is the architect; and the works are being carried out under his superintendence by Mr. J. Higgins, the clerk of works, no builder being employed.” Published in The Builder, November 15 1862.