« Co. Kildare Online Electronic History Journal Home »


Leinster Leader 8th August 1959
Celbridge Church
Centenary Celebrated
One hundred years ago the dedication of St. Patrick’s Church, Celbridge, took place.
On Sunday the people of Celbridge, with their clergy rejoiced at the 100th anniversary of this memorable event when Solemn High Mass was celebrated by Very Reverend John MacLaughlin, P.P., at which the Archbishop of Dublin, Most Reverend Dr. J. C. McQuaid, D.D., Primate of Ireland, presided. The special sermon was preached by Right Reverend Monsignor Boylan, P.P., V.G., Dun Laoghaire.
The deacon at the Mass was Rev. J. Corbett, .C.C. Celbridge, and sub-deacon, Rev. R. Neville, St. Wolstan’s. The Master of Ceremonies was Rev. E. Cotter, C.C. Assistants at the Throne were Very Rev. J. Cannon Kelly P.P. Marino: Very Rev. J. Canon Purfield P.P. Rolestown and Very Rev. D. Canon Keogh P.P. Dundrum.
The Archbishop on his arrival at the church, was received by a Guard of Honour of school children. The town was gaily decorated with flags and bunting.
The attendance also included Very Rev. Monsignor J. O’Regan, Chancellor Archbishops House: Very Rev W. J. Byrne P.P. Rathgar: Very Rev. J. Doyle, P.P. Clane: Very Rev. W. Matthews P.P. Kill: Very Rev. W. O’Riordan P.P. Maynooth: Rev. D. McMahon Archbishop’s House.
Rev. J. S. Barnard . C.C.  Ballyfermot: Rev. T.P. Callan .C.Arklow: Rev. E. O’Connor C.C. Donabate: Rev. T. Curley C.C. Balbriggan: Rev. D. Begg C.C. Leixlip: Rev. N. Martin C.C. Dun Laoghaire: Rev. P. Randles C.C. Mourne Road Dublin: Rev. J. Loughran C.C. Lucan: Rev. T. Carroll C.C. Rev. J. Whelan C.C.
There was an overflow congregation for the ceremonies, which were broadcast to the people in the grounds. Later a Te Deum was sung and solemn Benediction imparted in the church.
The sermon
Right Rev. Monsigner Boylan said “The parochial records show that the population of this parish was much greater a century ago than it is to-day. The yearly average of baptisms was then about 110 as compared with 25 or 30 in recent years. Marriages were then twice as numerous as now. “Yet the old Church was very small, not more than 60 ft. by 20, whereas the dimensions of the present Church are 127 by 53. The overcrowding at the Sunday Masses in the old church must have been very uncomfortable. Moreover the old Church is said to have been squalid and miserable in appearance. From the Church   records we learn that the Parish Priest paid only
£8. 12. 9 for its demolition.
            “The new Church, like the tiny ancient chapel at Ardrass, was
to have St. Patrick as its Titular; and it was hoped that it would
be ready for blessing and dedication on the Feast of St. Patrick in 1859”
“The completion of the Church however, took two years and three months and the ceremony of blessing was fixed for the Feast of the Holy Trinity, June 19th 1859, a day that must surely seem most fitting when one remembers how often and with what deep reverence St. Patrick used to ponder on the Mystery of the Truine God.
“Those who had not seen the gradual growth of the Church were quite amazed when they came to assist at its dedication. The graceful beauty of Mr. McCarthy’s design was rather breathtaking something without parallel at that time in any country district of the Diocese.
“Today we are gathered here with our Archbishop humbly to thank Almighty God for the blessings He has bestowed on this parish in, and by means of this parish  in and by means of this Church of St. Patrick during a hundred years. One of the chief blessings has been a succession of zealous and energetic Pastors. Thirteen pastors have held office here since this Church was blessed and their loving cares for this House where God’s glory dwells is reflected in the admirable condition of St. Patrick’s.
“The work of Father Edward Dunne, who was Pastor here from 1912 to 1922 was perhaps peculiarly outstanding. Many here will probably remember it. He built its specious and well-planned Sacristy; he provided a new Communion Rail and Confessionals; he erected a Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, and greatly improved the appearance at the Church generally. Father Dunne’s successors maintained, each in his own way the tradition of loving and lavish care to this stately Church.
            “During the past two years a Sacristy for the Alter boys and a Mortuary Chapel inside the Church have been provided: a new wiring and lighting system has been installed: extensive repair work on the roof and walls has been done, and complete interior and exterior decoration of the Church has been carried out.
            “The Church then, which a century ago was the object of general admiration is today more elaborately equipped and more artistically impressive than ever. And it must be remembered that the parishioners have always supported most gladly and most generously everything undertaken by their Pastors for the maintenance and improvement of their Church.
            “In 1859 this Church was a proud profession
 of the people’s faith. To-day, in its persisting and carefully tended beauty it is still an imposing Credo in stone; but it is also in the perfection of its condition, a symbol and token of the people’s gratitude for the countless graces imparted to them in this Holy House.”
            “Round this House of Prayer a parochial life of genuine spirituality has grown up and flourishes. The Sodality of the Sacred Heart, the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, the Perpetual Novena and all the other pious organisations and devotional activities customary in our parishes are here at work.
            “Through the influence of Father Wheeler who so loyally assisted Father Byrne in building this Church, the Sisters of the Holy Faith came to Celbridge in 1878, and are still carrying on their great apostolate with splendid success in our midst.
St. Wolstan’s.
            “Through the inevitable development of the poor law system in early twenties the parish lost the companionship and splendid example of the Sisters of Charity of the St. Vincent de Paul, but the Sisters have not been forgotten, and the influence of their kindness seems still to be felt among the people.
            “In 1956, at the request of the Archbishop, the Sisters of the Holy Faith established a boarding school at St. Wolstan’s – thus dramatically reinstating that ancient house as a centre of prayer and teaching and religious life.
            Religious life which flourished at St. Wolstan’s 700 years ago is now flourishing there again. Surely the finger of God is manifest in this.
            “Recently the spiritual resources of the parish have been further increased by the establishment of St. Raphael’s under the direction of the Hospitaller Brothers of the Order of St. John of God
            “We may truly say that the history of this parish in the hundred years since this Church was built is a story of never ceasing divine blessing.
            “Let us all join with our Chief Pastor in offering heartfelt thanks to God for the graciousness of Hid Providence and the boundless abundance of His mercies and let us pray that he may continue to manifest His favour to those who come to worship before His face in this His House.

To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of St. Patrick's Church Celbridge and to promote the History and Heritage of County Kildare for Heritage Week we republish (as our 450th EHistory article) a report from the Leinster Leader of 8th August 1959 on Centenary Celebrations of Celbridge Church.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2