Some history of the churches of Clara and Horseleap parish

Details from the past and the development of the parish of Clara & Horseleap.

1400The first Church on record was St. David’s Church, Ardnurcher, Horseleap. It was head of a rural deanery. During the Reformation, the church was taken over by the Church of Ireland. 
1682/’85The church was returned to the Clara Catholic diocese. At a later date, the Church reverted to Church of Ireland.
1770Due to the strong presence of the British military forces in Ireland- whose objective, at the time, was to remove all allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church- Mass was celebrated, under cover, in the Erry Hill’s, in defiance of the establishment of the day. 
1780Mudwalled churches were built in Aughamore, Clara and in Horseleap.
1780The Parochial House was reported to have been in bad shape, nothing is known of its location. 
1788A Church was built on River Street, Clara. The church later became a Parochial Hall and was used as a theatre, the premises is in use today as a Family Resource Centre. 
1791The Holy Water Font at the shrine to Our Lady, at the entrance to the Church carpark, was inscribed by Rev. James Daly 1791. Records suggest that it was moved from the old church on River Street. Fr. Daly became Parish Priest in 1793.
1815The church was enlarged to house the increase in the population of Clara.
1808A cruciform church was built in Streamstown, and a few years later the ruin of the church was roofed and used as a sawmill.
1809A church built in Horseleap {a plain building}. 
1824Fr. Barry purchased Chapel Hill, as a site for a new Roman Catholic Church for Clara.
1837Progress commenced for building of the church on Chapel Hill.
1850The church in Horseleap was renovated.
1846Trees were planted on Chapel Hill.
1861Fr. Barry PP died. His successor, Fr. Corcoran, abandoned the plan to build a church on Chapel Hill in favour of a site in the town.
1865The church in Horseleap was dedicated to Sts. Peter & Paul.
1874The foundation stone for the present Roman Catholic Church in Clara was laid by Bishop Nulty of the Diocese of Meath. The Parish Priest at the time was Fr. Corcoram, who was a native of Rahan, who feared that the church would not be completed, due to insufficient finances. The Franciscan Brothers came to his aid and collected money from various sources. Two brothers committed themselves to the “winds and the waves” to collect money in America to assist with the project.
1882On the 18th March, Fr. Corcoran died before the church was completed. 
1883On 14th October, the church was dedicated to St. Brigid. 
1886On the 28th of March, the High Altar was consecrated by Bishop Nulty.
1929On the 29th of October, the completion of the church tower and spire commenced.
1931The building of the Church was by now completed and Fr. Bracken was Parish Priest at the time.
1933Houses and gardens were bought from William Dillon by Fr. McCullen to make a car park at Clara church.
1935The mortuary chapel was erected as a memorial to Fr. Bracken.
1935The bell tower was built at Horseleap church. 
1950The entrance gate and railing were erected at St Brigid’s Church, Clara, at the princely sum of £230.
1954On the 8th December, the shrine was built, featuring a statue of Mary Queen of the World. The statue was made Carrara marble at a cost of £120. The total project cost £1065 3s 6d. 
1964On the 28th June, the last Mass was celebrated in Horseleap church. On the 29th of June, the church was demolished. 
1965On the 26th of March, the foundation stone for the new Horseleap church was laid by Bishop Kyne.
1965On the 5th of September, the new church in Horseleap was consecrated and dedicated and consecrated by Bishop Kyne. The total cost of the church was £35,829 10s 9d.
1972The church in Clara was renovated by Fr. Donal Crilly. The old Stations of the Cross were retained. Mass was celebrated in the GAA Centre during the renovations. 
1973On the 8th of July, the church was reopened. The new altar was consecrated by Bishop John McCormack.
1976On the 3rd of June, Fr. Jack Fallon, CSSP, was ordained. The first Ordination to take place in Clara’s church.
1990The Franciscan novitiate at St. Anthony’s closed. The order donated their altar to Clara church. That altar is now used as the tabernacle altar.
2000Fr. Burke set about another revamp of the church. Mass was celebrated in the parochial hall until the work was completed. 
2001On the 20th of May, the church was rededicated by Bishop Michael Smith.
2003On the 3rd of June, Fr John Hogan, a native of Clara, was ordained for the diocese of Meath. 

St. Brigids Church in Clara was designed by J.J. O’Callaghan who also designed Killarney Cathedral. Clara church is the same design as Killarney Cathedral but on a smaller scale. It was built at a cost of £5,651 16s 2d. The spire and tower cost £9,260.

There are 10 Joseph Gabriel Mayer {Munich} windows in Clara church, and 2 by William Waile’s (an understudy of Mayer’s){Newcastle Upon Tyne}. Stained Glass by Mayer and Co.

Views: 60

Upcoming Events