IrelandGenWeb-L ArchivesArchiver > IrelandGenWeb > 2006-10 > 1159806346
From: "Jean R." <>
Subject: [IGW] Description, 1888 - St. Brigid's Church,Kildare/Cathedral of St. Canice, Kilkenny (LOVETT)
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 09:25:46 -0700
SNIPPET: Per Richard LOVETT, English traveller to Ireland in 1888: "The trip from Dublin to Bantry is made by the main line of the Great Southern and Western Railway as far as Cork, and by this route some very beautiful country and some famous places are seen. Kilkenny and Cashel, Kilcolman and Youghal, Cork and Queenstown, the Golden Vale and Bantry Bay all lie either in our path or can be seen with a very slight expenditure of time and trouble. The first stopping-place of the fast express is at Kildare, the Church of the Oak, the place where, under the shelter of an oak many centuries ago, St. Brigid built her cell. She was born near Dundalk, about 450 A.D., and founded in 484 a great religious house at Kildare, consisting of both monks and nuns. It is said that from the sixth to the thirteenth centuries, a fire, lighted by Brigid, was kept burning. The site of the cell in which it burned is still pointed out. She died about 525. For ages past a cathedral, dedicated to her, as stood on an elevated site in the town. On the dissolution of the religious houses it fell into a ruined condition, but in recent years attempts have been made to restore, or rather to rebuild it. The tower has been rebuilt and the nave is roofed in. The choir is now used as a parish church; but although much has been done to the nave and tower, they are yet very far from completion. Close by the church stands the round tower. It has been restored at the top, but unfortunately a turreted parapet has been substituted for the correct conical roof. The tower is in good preservation, is 130 feet high, and has a doorway which exhibits unusual features of interest. It is about fifteen feet from the ground, and consists of three concentric arches, ornamented with fine zig-zag mouldings. From the churchyard a fine view to the north and west is obtained, a conspicuous feature being the Chair of Kildare, a limestone mass on the hill called Grange. Kildare is a junction for Carlow, Kilkenny and Waterford. The old town of Kilkenny is well worth a visit, because of its fine situation on 'The stubborn Newre, whose waters gray, By faire Kilkenny and Rossepointe boord,' because of the part it played in Irish history, and because of the architectural treasures it yet possesses. Well situated on an elevation overlooking the Nore, stands the castle which was originally built by William, Earl of Pembroke, 1195. It was purchased by James Butler, third Earl of Ormonde. In 1399 Richard II, was entertained here, and in March, 1650, Cromwell captured it. Within very recent years it has been thoroughly restored, although for centuries very little of the original building has been in existence. Kilkenny in its name commemorates one of the early Christian teachers. The name means the Church of Cainnech or Canice, who was born in 517, and died in 600. He was also venerated in Scotland, under the name of Kenneth, and several churches in Argyleshire are named after him. The Cathedral of St. Canice is one of the best in Ireland, and, though named after the saint, is of course of a much later date. It was begun about 1180, and completed in the course of the next century. It is 226 feet long and 123 feet wide at the transepts. From the juncture of the nave and transepts a low but massive tower rises. The cathedral has a very fine western door; it contains many tombs, especially those of members of the Ormonde family. Near the south transept rises a round tower, perfect, with the exception of the conical roof. Several Parliaments met here, the most notorious being that which passed in 1367 what were known as the Kilkenny Statutes, one of which enacted that marriage with the 'mere Irish' was treason, and that any one using the Irish dress or language should forfeit his lands!"