Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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Church of Our Lady & St David in Nass?

The main body of the church dates from 1827. The 60 metre spire was added in 1858 by J J McCarthy. . Its not known who the original architect was. Interestingly in his obituary it credits the architect JOHN JOSEPH O’CALLAGHAN as Naas church being among ‘the great ecclesiastical buildings in the construction of which he worked, however the dates for this just don’t add up.

The Church was dedicated by Bishop Thomas Keogh in 1949.


Careful now. .


An early image showing what was probably the original reredos.

Most recent renovations, carried out in 1985, incorporated the directives of the 2nd Vatican Council, by removing the high altar, side altars, altar rails, Pulpit, and beautiful Mosaic Floor.

The new Blessed Sacrament Altar, is a circle, with the Tabernacle as its pivotal point, denoting Christ as the Centre of the Universe.


Nice. .:rolleyes: for a nightclub maybe .

A detailed and painstaking history of the Church of Our Lady and St. David in Naas is contained in a “yearbook” which was written by the late parish priest, the Rev. P.J. Doyle in 1953. Not only does it record the entire history of the church in all its stages, but it also sheds valuable light on other aspects of the history of the parish.
Sometime before 1801 the de Burgh family of Oldtown donated a site for a new church at Abbeyfield. The approach to the new church was by Mill Lane, the former rear entrance to the convent grounds. However, the parish priest, Fr. Gerald Doyle, acquired additional land to give a frontage into the Sallins road. Fr. Doyle wished to preserve the name of St. David, in the title of the new church. The pre-Reformation church was already called after St. David, a name chosen by the Welsh Normans who had settled in Naas. Fr. Doyle decided on the combined title “Our Lady and St. David” which was also the title of the Augustinian Priory at Great Connell, near Newbridge.

The church was opened for public worship on the Feast of the Assumption, 1827. It is not known who the architect was; nor has the cost been recorded. But it is known that Fr. Doyle carried out a Herculean task in getting funds in those poverty stricken times. He went around the streets literally begging for money for his new church. The church tower was not begun until 1851, and was completed in 1858. The tower in transitional Gothic style is modelled on that of a 14th century English church. The architect of the tower was J.J. McCarthy, who was one of the Young Irelanders. The church bell was cast in 1855.

Fr. Doyle’s predecessor, Fr. James Hughes, revamped the interior of the church. The rough wooden supports of the roof were beautified, and the confessionals and a pulpit added. The pulpit was later sold to the administrator in Tullow where it was re-erected. Over the plain wooden altar an elaborate Gothic canopy in wood was constructed. The woodwork was executed by three Naas craftsmen, the brothers Michael and Paul Meade and Michael Hearn. The Meades lived in Sallins road, and Michael Hearn in 19 North Main Street.

Fr. Thomas Morrin, who in 1887 erected the first stained glass window, that of the Sacred Heart, in the church. It was made by a Frenchman and changed position at least once in the church. Fr. Morrin at the turn of the century erected two side altars dedicated to the Sacred Heart and the Virgin Mary. In 1901 he erected the stained glass windows over them- one representing Our Lord, and the other the Holy Family. They are made in Birmingham. The side altars were made in Dublin. Incidentally, the cut stone for the windows was supplied by Pearse of Dublin, the father of Padraig Pearse, the 1916 leader.
It is recorded that £150 was given towards the windows by James O’Hanlon, Poplar Square; Mrs. J. Burke, Main St., gave £100. Other large donations given to Fr. Morrin for additions to the church were from Edward Doyle, Tipper (£700) and the bishop, Dr. Comerford (£350).

The next work undertaken by Fr. Morrin was the addition of a chancel, including two sacristies, mosaic flooring, communion rails, a high altar, three stained glass windows, a heating system, and a statue of Our Lady in the chancel. The building contractor was James Hyland, Naas. The architects were Ashlin and Coleman of Dublin. Various firms, mainly from Dublin, carried out the work of installing the altar etc. The total cost of the work was £3,085 which was paid for by Fr. Morrin out of his personal means. (It is recorded that altogether Fr. Morrin gave £6000 out of personal funds to the parish for parochial works and this was an enormous sum in those days).
Fr. Morrin died in October, 1907, and was buried in the new cemetery, as it was known then (now St. Corban’s). Fr. Morrin had acquired the cemetery with his own money for the parish. He is commemorated by a tablet in the porch of the church. He died before the major works he had undertaken and paid for were completed. In addition to his many other works, Fr. Morrin provided the church’s first organ in 1890. He also had the mortuary chapel in the new cemetery built in 1907 at a cost of under £700.
The next P.P. was Fr. Michael Norris, who was aged 72 when appointed to Naas. Yet he ministered in the parish for many years. Fr. Norris in 1908 transferred the organ from the oratory of the Children of Mary to the west gallery. In 1910 he erected the stained glass window of the Assumption beside Our Lady’s altar. The Stations of the Cross were in very poor condition and they were replaced in 1914 with new oak frames being provided by Mrs. Mary Anne Doyle, Tipper. Handsome carpets, made at Naas carpet factory, were laid at the three altars. The church grounds were concreted. The Children of Mary’s oratory was extended; roof repairs carried out, and six stained glass windows, costing £200 each, and made in Germany, were erected.
The parishioners erected a statue of St. Michael in the church grounds to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Fr. Norris. Fr. Norris was succeeded by Fr. Patrick J. Doyle who had previously served in Knockbeg College. In November 1920, Fr. Doyle, was appointed curate in Naas.He served in that capacity until May 1938, when he was appointed parish priest.He said in his history of the parish: “On his appointment he found himself faced with grave financial difficulties, with war clouds already darkening the horizon. The World War with all its stresses began the following year. He found that there was not one penny in the parochial funds…” He went on to say how he rectified the situation “raised by means of two Carnivals and extraordinary offerings of the faithful”. By 1953 the parish was clear of debt.
What is probably little known about the church in Naas is that at one time it was without an organ. The original one became infected with woodworm and was disposed of. Fr. Doyle obtained one from an English organ-maker at a cost of £1,500. But that was not the end of the difficulty. It was hard to find place for the instrument. The organ was placed in the arch connecting the main gallery with the tower on a new level which extended over the existing floor. This meant that a choral gallery had to be formed. The construction work on that was in the charge of J.J. Noonan, Newbridge. The workers employed in the project were Matthew Corcoran, and his cousin, Joseph Ward, of the firm of Corcoran’s of Naas. The cost of the gallery was over £373, and the cost of ancillary electrical work was a little over £71. Because the gallery was above the level of the windows a roof-ventilator had to be installed at a cost of over £26.

So we don’t know who the original architect was. . But can anyone hazard a guess as to who was responsible for the more recent alterations?

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