Saturday, 20 August 2011

The ones that got away - Goresbridge

This part of the Country, not uniquely but more than any other that I'm aware, has several examples of the estate town or townland named for the landlord family. Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, Castlebellingham, Co. Louth, and others throughout Ireland have to give way to Archersgrove, Archersleas and Archersrath, Aylwardstown and Ayresfields, Bagenalstown, Blanchfieldsbog, Blanchfieldsland, Blanchvilleskill, Blanchvillespark and Blanchvillestown, Broughillstown, Burtonhall, Castlegrace, Damerstown East and West, Dukespark, Fenniscourt, Goresbridge, and Graigue-cullen, Hacketstown, Maudlinsland, Moorestown, Mountloftus, Mountnugent Upper and Lower, Nashesquarter or Painestown.

Perched on the borders of Carlow and Kilkenny, Goresbridge, as you can imagine, was named for the Gore family who received a grant from Charles II of lands thereabouts forfeited by Catholics. The Gores were replaced in the 19th cent. by the Clifdens as the big people in the place. As is natural, the Church of Ireland building stands prominent and proudly, while the Catholic Church on 'Chapel Lane' is more modest of aspect.

As you can see from the simple style and humble proportions of the Church and even the graveyard in the Church grounds, this is a very early Church built c. 1815, according to Dr. Comerford's Collections during the Pastorate of Fr. Lewis Moore (1805-1818), while Goresbridge was part of Graignamanagh Parish. The three porches, identical to those in the other Church of the Parish at Paulstown, were added in 1933 to mark the Golden Jubilee of Ordination of a Fr. O'Brien.

The Brigidine Convent Building, founded in 1858, was once a fine edifice of two wings complete with pedimented gables but is now creeping towards dereliction. It was the place where the fine hymn to St. Brigid 'Far above enthroned in glory' was composed by Mother Cecilia, CSB. You can see something of past Brigidine glories here.

Aside from the stunning stained glass, what is outstanding about this Church is the retention of a useable traditional High Altar. The predella, the mensa, the tabernacle, even the six candlesticks have been retained - in total contrast with the other Church in the Parish, which is a cubist liturgical nightmare. The High Altar of white marble is surmounted by a pyramidal-domed tabernacle. the mensa is supported by four red marble pillars and centrally by a carved panel of Christ fallen under the weight of the cross. At either side, the reredos has a blue veined marble gothic panel with floreated edges. The view is largely obscured from the pews by the Novus Ordo Altar and ambo but at least there is an attempt to integrate them with the existing elements, without cannibalising them. However, neither the ambo nor new Altar makes any attempt to follow closely the style of the High Altar or even each other.


Bagenal Harvey said...

I was waiting for you to talk about the Leckys of Dunleckney, although, of course, the Leckys lived at Ballykealy, where the Patrician Brothers had their noviciate until the 1970s and the Bowles lived at Dunleckney. Ducketts Grove spung to my mind but, of course, that is merely the house and not the village.

I think Wexford could easily compete in terms of resident landlord families. You made an earlier reference to one in respect of Monasterevin Church.

Phographic Mementos said...

Interesting post

Anonymous said...

Strange that after such an obviously unartistic modification the traditional structures have been retained even down to the brass furnishings. A "cubist liturgical nightmare" has the advantage of aesthetic completeness. Can we see the structure in question? Anton.

local lass said...

The Church of the Holy Trinity hence the stained glass window representing the Trinity.