The Church of Saint Clare (Graiguecullen), a pearl of Gothic architecture, is the former Church of Saint Anna at Athy Road in Carlow Town.
History of St. Clare`s Church:
St. Clare’s Church was originally built in 1852 as Saint Annes Church of Ireland church. It was erected by Member of Parliament of Carlow, Colonel Henry Bruen of Oak Park estate in honour of his election victory of 1841. In 1927 after a period of disuse the church was sold to the Catolic Parish of Graiguecullen and stone by stone the church was brought across the river Barrow and rebuilt by local company Thomas Thompson. Opening in 1929 this church replaced the nearby earlier parich church which was located on the site now occupied by St. Fiaccs Parich Hall. St. Fiacc had established a monastery at nearby Sleaty in the late fifth century.
In 1893 the enclosed order of the Poor Clare`s came to the town, initially occupying a building on Wellington Bridge. They moved here into their purpose built Monastery in 1900 after local businessmen Michael Governey purchased this site for them. In 1909 Fr. Hugh Cullen was appointed parish priest of Carlow-Graigue and to honour his memory the name was changed to Graiguecullen.
Poor Clare Monastery:
The history of this church is also a symbol of a new era, the end of Protestant domination in Ireland. Saint Anne’s Church belonged to the Anglican, Protestant church, Saint Clare’s Church is a Catholic church. Near the church there is the Monastery of Poor Clares. Saint Clare, canonized in 1255, is not only the patron of Poor Clares, but also – underwear, embroidery machines, launderers, eyesighters, radio, television and painters.
The Poor Clare’s are living in Graiguecullen, Carlow for 100 years, located within the church grounds. The former home of the Poor Clares is on the Wellington Bridge on the River Barrow.
St. Clare’s Hospitality Kitchen:
There is also St. Clare’s Hospitality Kitchen located on The Waterfront, Mill Lane, Carlow Town (right opposite Carlow Castle). St. Clare’s Hospitality opened it’s doors in May 2015 serving food 3 days a week to those who needed it most in community of Carlow. The Kitchen operates 5 days a week – Monday to Friday – from 12.30pm until 14.30pm. All meals are provided free of charge, no questions asked. Donations are encouraged from those who have it to give as there is a donation box located on the premises. The Kitchen is run predominantly by volunteers and everyone is welcome to use service.
Location of St. Clare`s Church & Poor Clare Monastery: