October 31, 2006


Chapter 23 of the An Tostal Programme of 1953 lists the Parish Priests of the parish of Kildare from 1704 until the arrival of  the Very Rev. Peader MacSuibhne on 13th December, 1951.
FROM 1704
1704—FATHER JAMES FITZGERALD, aged 63, was regis­tered in 1704 as P.P. Kildare and Dunmurry. Ordained in 1669 at Dublin by Dr. Patrick Plunkett, Bishop of Meath.
            1704—FATHER CONLY GEOGHEGAN, aged 36, residing at Tully. P.P. of Rathangan, Tully, Feighcullen and part of Kilmeage. Ordained in 1689 at Kilkenny by Dr. Phelan, Bishop of Ossory.
1731—A return of 13th Nov., 1731, states: “In the parish of Kildare there is a Mass-house, and the present priest being being [sic] an old infirm man has lately got a coadjutor but there is no private Popish chapel, no Popish school, no reputed nunnery or Friary. I am told that itinerant friars often preach here. In the parish of Tully there is neither mass-house nor private Popish chapel, no Popish school, no reputed nunnery or Friary. The people of this parish hear Mass at Kildare, the priest of Kildare being priest of Tully also.” And again: “The priest of Kildare officiates at the Mass-house of Rathangan which has been built about 30 years.”
1753—Lately died REV. MR. SIMON FITZPATRICK, Parish Priest of Kildare—Pue’s Occurrences, 20th, Oct., 1753, Archiv. Hib. XVI p.84 [. – sic] In the Catholic portion of the graveyard attached to the Protestant Church at Rathangan is a tombstone facing west inscribed: This stone, erected by Rev. Simon Fitzpatrick, in memory of ye deceased bodye of John James and Catherine Fitzpatrick deceased 1711. Father Fitzpatrick is probably buried here with his family. Mr. Michael Dawson, Rathangan, is a kinsman.
1756—“FATHER ROBERT ELLIS, P.P., died 6 May 1756 suddenly—Faulkener’s Dublin Journal,8th, May, 1756. There is a tradition that Father Ellis officiated in Kildare in the time of Bishop Keeffe. A Father Ellis lived in Kill in 1731.
1779—FATHER PHILIP ROUSE, P.P. He is buried in Kildare Cathedral burial-ground, a few yards from the grave of Father Terence Nolan, P.P., beside the old Cross. Father Rouse’s tomb reads:
Here lies the dust of Philip Rouse, whose wealth
Was lent to Church and poor to purchase bliss
His flock with zeal he taught whilst he had health,
In truth    and friendship never was remiss.
Died April 18th, 1778, aged 66
That this date is incorrect is shown as follows:-
A silver-gilt chalice at Kildare is inscribed: Donum Rev Philippi Rouse, Paroeciae Kildare. Ora pro eo 1779. A similar chalice at Rathangan reads: Donum Revdi Philli Rouse, parochiae de Rathangan. Ora pro eo A.D. 1779.
            2 Father Rouse was one of five members of the Kildare Chapter who in a document issued from Kilcock 4th Sept., 1778, postulated for the appointment of Father Fleming, O.P., as Bishop of Meath. The signatories were William Dunn, V.G. of the Bishop of Kildare, canon and P.P. of St. James’ Clane, Richard Reilly, S.T.D., Archdeacon of Kildare and P.P. of the parochial Church of the Assump­tion at Kilcock, Dominic Dempsey, canon of Kildare and P.P. of the parochial Church of St. Michael of Cadans­town (sic), John Kenny, P.P. of the parochial Church of the Holy Trinity of Carberry, and “Philippus Rouse, canonicus Kildariensis, parochialis ecclesiae B.V.M. de Kildare, etc., parochus.”—Arch. Hib. VIII. 211.
3 “Died in Kildare, Rev. Dr. Rouse, Romish clergyman”—Dublin Evening Post,7th, April, 1779. Reference by Fr. J. Brady, Meath. Fr. Rouse was a benefactor of the Irish College, Paris in 1781, that is by his will (Fr. Boyle, p. 225). A brother of Fr. Rouse who took part in the Rising of 1798 eluded his pursuers by hiding in a crop of rye in a field now owned by Wallpapers, Ltd., but then owned by the Rouse family beside the present Pigeon Lane.
            1798—REV. EDMUND BURKE, P.P., KILDARE. A native of Hophall, Portlaoise. Left Ireland in 1787 and after­wards became bishop of Halifax, Nova Scotia. He died 1820, aged 78.
1803—REV. TERENCE NOLAN. The extract from Topham Bowden, who travelled in Ireland in 1790 shows that before that year Fr. Nolan, P.P., through the liberality of the Duke of Leinster had built a very handsome chapel, and had acquired the parochial land from the Duke for himself and his successors forever. Soon after 1790, the old parochial house, now a garage, was built by Mr. Bergin, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Higgins. Mr. Charles C. Bergin has a detailed statement of the account of the building of the house. The Higgins and Kellys were other prominent Kildare families. A Mr. Kelly owned the ground on which the Presentation Convent and St. Brigid’s Church are built. Fr. Anthony Higgins, P.P., Caragh, 1790-1831, whose nephew was his C.C. in 1820, was from Kildare. [c.f. also Fr. Anthony Higgin [Higgins – sic], O.F.M., Prior of Grey Abbey, 1717]. The Higgins family are buried in the centre of Tully graveyard near the Kellys.
A silver gilt chalice in St. Brigid’s Church, inscribed, Rev. P. B., July 30, 1792, belongs to Fr. Nowlan’s period. It is said that Fr. Nowlan and the Protestant Rector were instrumental in saving each other’s life during the 1798 Rising. Fr. Nowlan died about 1803, and lies beneath an uninscribed stone at the foot of the ancient Cross in the Cathedral graveyard.
1819—REV. MICHAEL CORCORAN, a native of Laois, was P.P. Balyna before he came as P.P. to Kildare. He became Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, 12 March, 1815, and went to reside in Tullow. He retained Kildare as his parish until his death in 1819.
          1815-20—FR. MATTHEW FANNING was administrator. He became administrator of his native parish of Raheen, Laois, in 1820. P.P. Raheen, 1820 to his death in 1837.
            1820-64—FR. PATRICK BRENNAN, Adm. Kildare 1820-22. P.P. Kildare 1822 or 1823 till his death, 24 June 1864. A native of Carlow town, he was first bursar of Carlow College. He was Penitentiary of the diocese. He founded and built Presentation Convent, Kildare in 1829. He built St. Brigid’s Hall, now the Infants’ School. He built St. Brigid’s Church in 1833. He is buried in front of the High Altar outside the Sanctuary gate. There is a hand­some mural tablet with sculptured figure by Farrell.
            l864-67—REV. JOHN DUNNE, D.D., former Professor and President of Carlow College. A native of Ballinakill, Laois, he was a grand-nephew of Dr. Dunne, Bishop of Ossory, and son of John Dunne who, with Dr. Doyle, gave evidence before a House of Commons committee in London. He was a fine classical scholar. He built the present parochial house, but did not live in it. He died 25 July, 1867, the third anniversary of his appointment as P.P. There is a mural tablet with a sculptured likeness over his grave in St. Brigid’s Church.
            1867-80—REV. JOHN NOLAN, a native of Myshall, took an active part in building Baltinglass Church. P.P. Killeigh, 1859-67. He founded and built the Mercy Convent, Rathangan in 1877. He built the Convent School wing in Kildare in 1869. He added the conservatory to the Parochial House. In 1871 he erected the mission Cross between the Church entrance gate and the gallery-steps. He died 3 December, 1880 at the residence of his brother Fr. Thomas Nolan, P.P., Abbeyleix. There is a mural tablet over his grave in St. Brigid’s Church.
            l880-86—VERY REV. JAMES B. KAVANAGH, D.D., succeeded. He was Professor in Carlow College, 1850-64 and President, 1864-December 1880. He erected the three marble altars in St. Brigid’s Church to the memory of his predecessors.
            He built the present sacristy and had the Nuns’ side-chapel erected. It was probably he who heated the Church. In 1884 he brought the De La Salle Brothers to Kildare. Through the liberality of William and Francis Lee he built the present Boys’ School, the ground floor as a school and the upper storey as a Town Hall, and also the Brothers’ residence. On the 5th October, 1886 he was killed by a small marble statue which fell from the high altar just as he had said 7.30 Mass. There is a mural tablet over his grave in St. Brigid’s Church. The four stained windows in the Sanctuary as well as the altar-rails were erected to his memory.
            1886-1901—DR. MICHAEL J. MURPHY was appointed P.P. Kildare and V.G. on 25 October, 1886. A native of Co. Kilkenny he was appointed Professor in Carlow College, 1 September, 1871, and Vice-President, December 1880. In Kildare he erected the four stained windows in the Sanctuary, the altar-rails, a new ceiling in the Sanctuary, two confessionals, the Calvary in the grounds (his own gift to the parish in honour of his silver jubilee, 1896), the new clock in the tower (gift of the parish on the same occasion), the Lourdes Grotto, (gift from Miss Broom) the two porches, the Stations of the Cross. He tiled the Sanctuary, carried out the decorative work in plaster in the Sanctuary, as well as the decoration of the Church. He purchased the present Crib in 1894, and had the pulpit designed by Buckley, Youghal and executed by Wespalier. In Rathangan he erected the High Altar, and the Stations of the Cross. On 25 January, 1901 he was appointed P. P. Portlaoise. He died, 24 March, 1941.
            1901-26—VERY REV. PETER CAMPION succeeded. To ensure safety, he had the statues of SS. Patrick, Brigid. Conleth and Lazarian taken down from the Church Tower, [. – sic] In December 1917, the Boys’ School building was almost totally destroyed by fire. Fr. Campion had the property vested as a school and obtained a grant for its restoration. He added the stairs annexe. He had two plots, one in front of St. Brigid’s Church and the other in front of the present C.Y.M.S. Hall, enclosed with an iron railing and planted with evergreen trees. In 1902 the Hospital was re-opened and the Infant Girls’ School wing was built. In these two projects Fr. Campion was ably assisted by Fr. John Delany, C.C., afterwards Monsignor and P.P. Rathvilly. Fr. Delany lived in the house in which Mr. Hector Thompson now lives. When he left, he was replaced by Fr. J. Gorman, C.C. who, came from Rathangan and at Fr. Campion’s request, lived with him at the Parochial House. Fr. Campion died 26 August, 1926 and is buried at Tully. Bishop Foley had died a month earlier and the parish remained vacant during the vacancy of the See.
            1927-’47--VERY REV. JOHN KANE, P.P. came as P.P. in August 1927. He had been P.P. Allen 1920-27. During his pastorate the new ceiling was erected over the nave of St. Brigid’s Church. The De la Salle Secondary School was erected and a new wing added to the Convent School. The old Power station was acquired, and opened as a C.Y.M.S. Hall, and St. Brigid’s Park acquired and opened. Fr. Kane died 13 October, 1947 and is buried in the New Cemetery.
1947-51—VERY REV. JAMES FOYNES, P.P. came as P.P. in November 1947. He had been Professor and Bursar in Carlow College from his ordination in December 1915 to his silver jubilee day, 19 December, 1940, when he went as Administrator to Tullow.
During his pastorate he made a large addition to the de La Salle Brothers’ residence. He repaired the exterior of St. Brigid’s Church, and renovated the interior of the Parochial House. In 1949-50 the spacious new C.Y.M.S. Hall was built and equipped. Fr. Foynes died 12 November, 1951. [, -sic] and is buried in the New Cemetery.
Father Foynes was succeeded as P P. [P.P. – sic], by Very Rev. Peader MacSuibhne, who came on 13th December, 1951.
[Pue’s Occurrences = Magazine; Faulkener’s Dublin Journal = Faulkiner’s Dublin Journal (newspaper); Archiv. Hib. = Archivum Hibernicum (Academic Journal); (sic) under 2 FATHER ROUSE after Cadanstown is actually part of the text and probably indicates that it should read Cadamstown; I’m not sure what the cf – cross reference here to Fr. Higgins of Caragh means; was it a note from one of the authors that was to be checked later or were both men related – this cf note is later used in the chapter on the parish priests but in reverse – again without explanation; interchanges Nolan and Nowlan; interchanges De La Salle, De la Salle and de La Salle – Mario Corrigan]

Chapter 23 of the An Tostal Programme of 1953 lists the Parish Priests of the parish of Kildare from 1704 until the arrival of  the Very Rev. Peader MacSuibhne on 13th December, 1951.

Posted by mariocorrigan at October 31, 2006 09:54 PM