Welcome back to my weekly post: Why Nenagh! This week is going to be a predominantly a picture Posting, because quite simply I think these pictures can tell their own story. I’m looking at the two main churches of Nenagh town, because I reckon the buildings themselves are fantastic and to be able to visit them and to take in their surroundings is another reason to visit Nenagh town. First up is the old Church of Ireland. It is situated at the end of Kenyon/Barrack Street, with the square tower dominating that area of the town. According to the Ormond Historical Society, there are records of a church on this site going back to 1615. This square tower was added to an existing building in 1760 and a new church was added in 1809. This remained the Church of Ireland place of worship until a brand new building was erected in 1860 on a new site at what is now known as Church Road. (Since we have already discussed about Nenagh being a town where the streets have more names, does anyone know of another name for this road?)
The existing Church of Ireland rests nicely along Church Road, with the Nenagh Castle and the Roman Catholic Church situated alongside.
And so to St Mary of the Rosary Church in Nenagh town. Although there exists a second Roman Catholic Church in the town that is situated behind the hospital, there really is no comparison with regards their standard of architecture. St Mary’s was built in 1895 and the architect was Walter G Doolin.
It was constructed by John Sisk and he used Lahorna stone and Portroe slate with the Portland stone of the arches being the only imported material that was used. Some examples of the designs that are found around the buildings itself can be seen in the some of the images that appear here. According to the Buildings of Ireland website, this church is a ‘detached cruciform-plan‘ church and it comprises of a gabled entrance front with corner turret and flanked by five-stage tower with spire to the south. The Buildings of Ireland report goes on to say that: ‘this church is an excellent example of large scale Gothic Revival architecture of the late-nineteenth century in Ireland. The exterior is notable for the finely-carved ashlar dressings, gargoyles and elaborate west-front doorway. The interior of the nave revives the quatrefoil columns found in some thirteenth-century Irish and English west country Gothic parish churches and its columns and pointed arches are of Portland stone. A series of fine mosaics executed by Oppenheim in 1911 culminate in the chancel of the church.”
I couldn’t finish this post, without commenting on the fact that back in the 1990’s the Ardcroney Church of Ireland was taken apart brick by brick and rebuilt in Bunratty Folk Park – since seemingly this was done by numbering the bricks, I suppose this would have been some sort of a very intricate jig-saw puzzle. Anyways, if you do travel to Bunratty in the County of Clare, which is well worth a visit at any time of the year and it is about 45 minutes drive from Nenagh town, don’t forget when you view the small Church of Ireland, that it is an architectural delight from North Tipperary! Till next week so, when I will be looking at some of the fine draperies in Nenagh town.
Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee