Saturday, 14 September 2019

How Templeglantine
grew up around the
church built in 1829

The Church of the Holy Trinity, Templeglantine, was built 190 years ago in 1829 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Patrick Comerford

During the commemorations of Max Macauliffe and his contribution to Sikh life in Templegalntine earlier this week [11 September 2019], I also visited to Church of the Holy Trinity, across the street from the community centre and the school once attended by Max Macauliffe.

The name Templeglantine (Teampall an Ghleanntáin) means ‘the church of the little glen,’ although it is also known locally as Inchebaun or An Inse Bhán, meaning the ‘White River meadow.’ The village is on the N21 from Limerick to Tralee, five miles south-west of Newcastlewest.

Templeglantine is a chapel village that grew up around the church built 190 years ago in 1829 by Father James Cleary, who was Parish Priest of Monagea. Templeglantine parish was created in 1864 following the transfer of Father James O’Shea to Rathkeale. He had been parish priest of Monagea, and Templeglantine was a part of Monagea parish until this change.

The O’Macasa family ruled the area until the 12th century when they were replaced by the FitzGerald family, Earls of Desmond. After the defeat of the Desmond FitzGeralds in 1583, this part of West Limerick passed to Sir William Courtenay and the Earls of Devon.

Inside Holy Trinity Church, Templeglantine (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Westropp describes an old church ruin in Templeglantine. The site of this church is now surrounded by Templeglantine graveyard. The east end of the church was levelled before 1840. The remainder of the church was defaced and overgrown with ash and thorn.

The walls of the church were about 6 or 7 feet in height, according to Westropp. While the ruins of the church no longer exist, a small wall has been built to show the site of the west gable of the church. The church was originally about 70 ft by 30 ft.

According to Tadhg O’Maolcatha, there was a thatched Mass House at Roche’s Cross in Meenoline before 1829. Earlier still there was an Abbey in Templeglantine West.

The gallery and west end of Holy Trinity Church, Templeglantine (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Holy Trinity Church in Templeglantine is one of the oldest churches still in use today in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Limerick. An inscription on the wall says the church was dedicated to the Holy Trinity in 1829. The baptismal font and the holy water fonts in the porch are presumed to date from 1829. The year 1829 also marked the passing of legislation on Catholic Emancipation.

This is double-height, gable-fronted church, with a three-bay nave and a later porch, built in the 1930s, a single-bay chancel, a two-bay single-storey sacristy, and a single-bay lean-to and flat-roofed extensions.

The church retains many attractive architectural features, including the dressed rubble stone walls with limestone quoins, and the numerous window styles, including unusual bipartite windows. The use of tooled limestone to the window surrounds and hood mouldings enhance the appearance of the church.

The stained-glass window of Saint Patrick in Holy Trinity Church, Templeglantine (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Inside, the well-maintained interior has a finely carved marble reredos. Behind the High Altar, the stained-glass window depicts the Holy Spirit and the Body and Blood of Christ.

There are stained-glass windows of Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid at the back of the church, and a stained-glass window in the gallery of Christ gathering or minding his flock.

The wooden medallion of the Holy Trinity by Fergus Costello (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

The wooden medallion of the Holy Trinity on the north side of the nave was commissioned in 1999 to mark the millennium in 2000. The medallion is the work of the liturgical artist Fergus Costello at his studios in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary.

At the centre of the medallion, a motif from the Book of Kells shows unending circles, without beginning or end, as a symbol of Divinity. The Father is represented by the all-seeing eye; the Son is represented by the Cross of Redemption; the Holy Spirit is represented by the Dove.

The Dove is carved in pine; the all-seeing eye and the cross are carved in bog oak and bog yew wood that is probably thousands of years old.

The Stations of the Cross date from around 1946 when they replaced the original Stations of the Cross. The church also has a silver chalice from 1796, predating the church.

The porch was built in the 1930s through a donation from parishioners who had emigrated to America.

The free-standing belfry in the grounds of the church (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Bridget (Sexton) Kiely of Glenshesk donated a bell to the church in the early 20th century, and it was mounted on the west gable. By the mid-1950s, the bell was taken down for safety reasons, a new free-standing belfry was built in the church grounds, and the old bell was sent to the missions in Africa.

A large stone statue of the Virgin Mary was erected in front of the church in 1995. It was sculpted from limestone and is the work of the sculptor Annette McCormack from Newbridge, Co Kildare.

The stained-glass window of Saint Brigid in Holy Trinity Church, Templeglantine (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

A new graveyard behind the church opened in September 1983. Before that, the only graveyard in the parish had been in the grounds of the old church in Templeglantine West. That graveyard is said to have been in use for around 800 years, but the oldest headstone is from 1866, in memory of Michael Gallwey RM.

The community centre across the road was officially opened in 1977 by Bishop Jeremiah Newman, and was the venue for this weeks commemorations of Max Macauliffe.

Today, Holy Trinity Church, Templeglantine, forms a pastoral unit with Tournafulla and Mountcollins.

Holy Trinity Church, Templeglantine, is one of the oldest churches in use in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

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