Sunday, 14 June 2015

Pilgrimage to Athlone

This was the first time that we had made a pilgrimage to Athlone.  The magnificent Church of Ss. Peter and Paul, sometimes known as the Cathedral of the Shannon, is a major landmark at the central point of Ireland, at the main crossing of the Shannon, which divides the Country roughly in half, east and west, by the main road between Dublin and Galway that joins the east coast to the west and divides the Country roughly in half, north and south.  The town straddles two provices (Leinster and Connacht), two Counties (Westmeath and Roscommon), and two Dioceses (Ardagh & Clomnacnoise and Elphin).

The Church was completed in 1937 and, like many post-Independence Churches, is in a fusion of styles - Galway Cathedral being the high point of the fusion movement - Doric and Baroque.  The Doric is most obvious in the stark exterior, a restrained Baroque more notable in the interior that has a range of marble features, still complete.  Several fine Harry Clarke windows are in place.  It is one of the most complete and most harmonious Churches in the Country, being built and decorated to a single design in one project.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Athlone Abbey (Walsh)

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy chapter lix, p. 623 ff:

Athlone, situated on the river Shannon. A market-town and parliamentary borough, rendered famous through its vigorous defence against the arms of King William III., the "Absalom" of England, and gives the title of earl to the family of Ginckle.

A Cistercian abbey was founded here, in the twelfth century, which was called de Innocentia.

A.D. 1216. King John, by a grant, dated the 30th of May, gives to this abbey four carucates of land, in the fee of Lagscueth, in exchange for the site on which he erected the castle of Athlone, and granted to the said monks the tenth of the expenses of the aforesaid castle.

A.D. 1279, King Edward I., on the 6th of June, granted to this abbey the weirs and fisheries of Athlone, and the toll of the bridge; also eight acres of arable land, at the yearly rent of £12.

A.D. 1455, died the abbot Thomas Cumin, a man celebrated for extensive knowledge and unexampled wisdom.

In the time of Queen Elizabeth, this abbey was in the possession of Sir Kichard Bingham, knight, first commissioner of Connaught, together with three chapels in the barony of Athlone, Gama, Kiltoame,
and Drayme, collectively worth 70s. Irish money.

Twentieth of Queen Elizabeth, a grant was made to Edmund O'Fallon, of Athlone, of a mill, on the water of Clonekille, in this county, and two other mills above the bridge of Athlone, with a castle on the east end of the bridge, and a small piece of land adjacent to said castle, lately built in the county of Westmeath, to hold the same at the annual rent of 12d. Irish money. And on the 5th of August preceding, another royal grant was made to said Edmund, of a stone house, and two gardens tliereunto belonging, with two other houses on the south side of the said castle, and an eel-weir on the river Shannon — all parcels of the property of this abbey.

In the ninth of King James I. it was found, that a house and garden thereunto annexed, in the town of Athlone, parcel of this abbey, annual value, besides reprises, 12d., was, by a grant trom the crown, in
the possession of Edward White, late of Ballynderry, in this county.