Newtown – An Baile Nua
St. Patrick’s Church
Patrick’s Church is an early nineteenth-century
church built in the Gothic-revival style. It has
been described as a reduced version of Cobden’s
Carlow Cathedral and is regarded as one of the
finest Gothic barn-type churches in Ireland.
The granite-built church dates from c. 1830 and
has a T plan. The attractive, three–bay exterior
has a large central window flanked by quatre-foil
windows over doorcases. In the centre of the
façade is a mosaic of the Blessed Virgin, dated
1954, celebrating the Marian year. Above this is
a bellcote which in turn is surmounted by a
cross. The bell dates from 1900 and was cast by
a Dublin foundry.
The interior has retained its three galleries
and simple Gothic reredos . The decorative
plasterwork on the ceiling is particularly
eye-catching and is believed to be the work of
Italian refugee artisans who were working
locally in Fenagh House at the time the church
was being built. The decoration features the
motif of the grape and the grain.
The stained glass windows are by Joshua Clarke
who was the father of Ireland’s most famous
stained glass artist, Harry Clarke. His vibrant
piece depicting St. Patrick, the church’s
patron, is of significant artistic merit.
Source: Carlow – trails of the
St. Patrick’s Church, Newtown 2004
“Very fine and important gothic church. T-shaped
with a low ceiling; long transepts; very fine
granite decorations, crenellations, pinnacles,
beilcote, and crosses; two door cases with
quarterfoil over; transepts also decorated;
three galleries; simple gothic reredos (similar
to Ballon) contemporary with the church; good
plaster work on the ceiling, with pretty good
label-stops on the moulding on the windows
(similar to Clonegal). This is one of the finest
gothic barn-type churches in the country”.
The ceiling immediately catches the eye and the
motif of grape and wheat – ‘Ears of wheat so
fine and the grape that forms the wine’ – is
particularly appropriate- It is reputed to be
the work of an Italian refugee of the last
century. Tradition has it that he was afterwards
deported to his native country while engaged on
a similar contract in a Galway church. Great
credit is due to our local painter, Percy Ryan
for the very fine job of work done in restoring
its natural colours when the church was
re-decorated a few years ago. (Extract from a
report on Newtown Church prepared by two
architectural historians for the Irish Episcopal
Commission for Liturgy and passed on to our late
Parish Priest by Fr. Sean Swayne its National
Mainly oral tradition
According to Mgr. Conway it was burned in 1798.
Martin Brennan states that in 1819 School was
taught in the Roman Catholic Church in Newtown
as there was no school until 1834. Stone work in
two buildings similar and said to come from the
locality (Gorman’s lane in Kildrinagh). The
church was supposed to be a barn-type Church.
Sean Swayne quoting an Architectural Historian
says that it “is one of the finest barn-type
gothic Churches in the country”
JAMES Murphy, Newtown died 15th May
1848 (Buried near vestry door) He is reputed to
have been a great help transporting granite
stone to the rebuilding of the church burned
down in 1798.
Comerford in 1886 states “the chapel of ease in
Bagenalstown at Newton was built in recent
times.” It is believed that the galleries and
side aisles etc., were added at that time.
Italian refugee artists are reputed to have done
the ceilings. They also did Fenagh House.
The bell was erected c.1900 as
inscription on bell reads “M. Byrne, Bell
founder, James St. Dublin. Gift of John McGrath
Esq. Nurney 1900 Rt. Rev. Monsignor Burke P.P.
The roof was repaired and raised a little as
timbers show around 1930 by a man named Broughan.
In 1950’s the Mosaics at the back of the altars
and on outside were added. Ryders, originally
from Myshall are reputed to have made the
Confession boxes at the turn of the century.
Newtown Church Bell
The following inscription is engraved on the
bell on St Patrick’s Church Newtown:
“M. Byrne, Bell Founder, James Street,
Gift of John McGrath, Esq. Nurney 1900
Rt. Rev. Monsignor Burke P.P. V.B.”
The bell itself weighs 10cwt. and the tongue 3
Acknowledgement for information to Tom Kehoe
Newtown for Contact Magazine in the 1970’s
The Chalice in St Patrick’s Church Newtown
James Hughes, son of Martin and Catherine,
Kildrenagh, Bagenalstown Parish, born 1853.
Ordained to the Sacred Ministry 1878. Appointed
Secretary to Bishop of Salford, England, for a
very short time, later recalled to serve P.P.
Myshall, died in August 1906, aged 53.
Fulfilling his dearest wish that his Chalice – A
Gift from his parents for Ordination, be
returned after his death to St. Patrick’s
Church, Newtown, where it remains 128 years in
Divine use in this year 2004.
Fr John Hughes, brother of Fr. James C.C.
Ballyadams predeceased Fr. James, having died
1897; both Priests are buried in the Family
Graves in Newtown, beside the Church as by their
own wish. May they Rest in Peace.
Having given the history of the Chalice in
Newtown Church, the beautiful Sanctuary Lamp is
also due special mention. To the very day it is
now 100 years lighting The Tabernacle August
1904 and donated by Fr James Hughes two years
before his death to the Memory of this Parents.