The site acquired for the church was part of the farm of St. Dympna’s
Hospital, Carlow. Askea Church was opened in a ceremony performed by
Bishop Patrick Lennon. The first resident priest in Askea from 1976 was
Fr. Francis MacNamara C.C. Holy Family Church served as a relief church
for the Cathedral Parish, which in the previous twenty years had
experienced a considerable population growth. Most Rev. Laurence Ryan
constituted Askea as a new parish in 1990. It continues to be a mensal
parish, like the Cathedral, with an Administrator leading the parish on
behalf of the Bishop, who is technically the Parish Priest.
The church is of a unique architectural style, oval in shape. The
image, which inspired its design, is the Old Testament moving Tent,
which contained the Ark of the Covenant during the period after the
Exodus, when the people of Israel wandered through the desert towards
the Promised Land. Thus the roof is of a particularly unusual design.
The tabernacle is a scale replica of the building. The seating
arrangement accords with the curvature of the outside walls and slopes
towards the sanctuary. The resulting effect is one of greater
participation in the liturgy. The baptistery and the tabernacle areas
balance each other on either side of the altar area. Thus great
prominence is visually given to the two Sacraments (Baptism and
Eucharist), through which members are imitated into the family of the
The Stations of the Cross are unusual in that they are painted
directly on to the brickwork. The artist was Willie Early.
Repairs were made to the roof in the late 1990s. The interior of the
church has been completely refurbished during Jubilee Year 2000.
The roof has also been recently been
repaired and the whole roof is now sheeted in copper!