number of the following were born or served in Carlow)
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
this date is incorrect is shown as follows:-
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.
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.
“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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
was succeeded as P P. [P.P. – sic], by
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
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 Mario Corrigan at October 31, 2006 09:54 PM