St. Clare’s Church at Graiguecullen is a pearl of Gothic architecture. And it is the former Church of Saint Anna at Athy Road in Carlow Town.
History of St. Clare`s Church:
St. Clare’s Church was initially built in 1852 as Saint Annes Church of Ireland church. And then, it was erected by the Member of Parliament of Carlow Colonel Henry Bruen of Oak Park estate, in honor of his election victory of 1841. Next, in 1927 after a period of disuse, the church was sold to the Catholic Parish of Graiguecullen. And then, stone by stone the church was brought across the river Barrow and rebuilt by local company Thomas Thompson. So, opening in 1929 this church replaced the nearby earlier parish church, which was located on the site now occupied by St. Fiaccs Parish Hall. What`s more, St. Fiacc established a monastery at nearby Sleaty in the late fifth century.
In 1893 the enclosed order of the Poor Clares 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 honor 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, and a Protestant church and 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, eyesight, radio, television, and painters.
In addition, the Poor Clares lived 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:
Moreover, 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 its doors in May 2015. And, it serves food to those who need it most in the community of Carlow. So, the Kitchen operates 5 days a week – Monday to Friday – from 12.30 pm until 14.30 pm. Moreover, all meals are provided free of charge, no questions asked. But, donations are encouraged from those who have them to give as there is a donation box located on the premises. Besides, the Kitchen is run predominantly by volunteers and everyone is welcome to use the service.
Location of St. Clare`s Church & Poor Clare Monastery: