Carlow was an important town in the Middle Ages. And his parish church stood then in the place currently occupied by St. Mary`s Church of Ireland. Also called the parish church of the Virgin Mary.
Therefore St. Mary`s Church of Ireland is in a place that has been of great religious significance for centuries. In 634 there was the Abbey of St. Mary and a very old church. Then, during the reign of Elizabeth I, Marys Abbey came into possession of the Protestant community. Then, the ruins of the church existed in 1786. Hence the name St. Mary’s Church, which has been preserved for subsequent Churches. So, the current St. Mary’s Church is the third in the same place.
The current building dates from the beginning of the 18th century. And its tower was added in 1834, during a major renovation supervised by architect Tomasz Cobden.
St. Mary`s Church of Ireland is the tallest building in Carlow town.
What`s more, the tower is 210 feet high, for comparison the Carlow Cathedral Tower is only 46 feet high.
The sacristy of the Virgin Mary Parish is in possession of the oldest books in Ireland.
The Church has two entrances, one from Haymarket and the other from Church Street. It is surrounded by a high wall, both gates are closed on weekdays. However, behind the wall in front of the entrance to the church are numerous gravestones. The oldest grave in existence at the current St. Mary’s Cemetery dates from 1707 and is a tombstone erected in memory of Benjamin Bunbury of Killerig in Carlow.
Besides, the church is a mix of classic and gothic styles. The interior has preserved traditional galleries and several sculptures by the important neoclassical architect Sir Richard Morrison. Its interior can be admired in several different colors.