Mary’s - BRIEF HISTORY
St. Mary's Church, situated in the centre
of the town, is an imposing edifice of the early Gothic style
of architecture. It was designed by Mr W. M. Hague a well
known and highly distinguished Dublin artist. The task of
carrying through the erection of this building fell to the
lot of the then parish priest Reverend Thomas Fitzgerald (1872
His appointment to the parish of Kiltoghert
in 1872, Canon Fitzgerald found himself faced with the task
of erecting a suitable parish church in Carrick-on-Shannon.
St. Mary's stands upon the site of an earlier small chapel
erected in 1807. The site was given by Charles Manners St.
George, the local landlord, who contributed towards the decoration
of the church and built the gallery at his own expense. A
beautiful painting of the Nativity by the Swedish artist Karl
Gustau Plagemann was presented to St. Mary's by a member of
the St. George family. An appeal for funds in April 1873 resulted
in contributions by the parish of £2,100. The building
was all but completed when it was entirely wrecked by a hurricane
that swept the country on 19th January 1875. The indefatigable
pastor set to work again without delay and had the satisfaction
of having his church solemnly dedicated by the Bishop, Dr.
Woodlock, on 19th October 1879.
Canon Fitzgerald was succeeded by Canon
Hoare in 1887 (afterwards Bishop of Ardagh). With the characteristic
energy that marked his long life Cannon Hoare threw himself
heart and soul into the work of embellishing and completing
the sacred edifice. Before his death in 1927 Bishop Hoare
had arranged for the installation of the magnificent stained
glass window behind the high altar, depicting the birth, crucifixion
and resurrection of Jesus.
Canon Gilligan (1896 - 1915) is remembered
as a skilled craftsman, a crackshot and an enthusiast for
aquatic sports. He had a famous houseboat called "The
Gipsy" on which he once entertained his friend of college
days, Cardinal Logue.
Canon O'Reilly (1915 - 1932) by the directions
of the Bishop, Dr. Hoare, set about the work of completing
St.. Mary's Church by the addition of the massive and graceful
tower the now adorns it. The tower was completed in 1925 at
a cost of £6,000. Soon afterwards thesplendid organ
was installed, a gift of Mr. P. Barrett, a business man from
During his time as parish priest Archdeacon
Donohoe (1932-1955) carried out extensive improvements both
to the interior and the exterior of the church which added
considerably to the beauty of St. Marys. Soon after his arrival
he had all the old trees and shrubs which impeded the view
of the Church removed and replaced by stone flags and rockeries.
He was responsible also for the laying of the beautiful sanctuary
floor, a gift from the late James Mulhern, Carrick-on-Shannon.