Carlow Cathedral
Location: Carlow Co.Carlow

Listing Description

Carlow Cathedral of the Assumption was completed in 1833 to replace the existing church which was demolished however, part of its transept walls were retained and incorporated into the new gothic designed structure. Thomas Cobden was the main architect. The magnificent tower and lantern, reaching 46 metres, was inspired by the cloth Hall at Burges in Belgium. In the early 1780's Dean Henry Staunton erected a parish chapel on the site of the present Cathedral . This chapel was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of the Assumption and stood on a plot of ground leased from Mr. Edward Halfpenny . By the late 1820's it would appear that the chapel in Carlow was not big enough to cope with the numbers using it. On Easter Monday, 7th April 1828 the first stone was laid in the area in front of the existing chapel. The building project ran in to difficulties with flooding. Thomas Cobden was then asked to draw up specifications which would overcome these problems. Cobden's plans were dated June 1829, the estimated the cost of labour 3,917pounds 0 shillings and 9 pence. On completion the Cathedral was very simply furnished. John White a carpenter constructed a lot of the woodwork in it, though Cobden himself didn't think it was possible to construct the alter railings. The only surviving original items of furniture are the bishop's chair and the original stalls. The successful completion of the building work in 1833 represented a magnificent achievement for the people of Carlow and the diocese who contributed the most of the final cost of the building - £9,000. Many changes came over the years to how the Cathedral looked. In 1997 the architect Richard H. Pierce was asked to do up the Cathedral. Pierce himself says that all his changes have been based as closely as possible on shapes and patterns which existed in Cobden's time.


Tourist and Visitors


Opening Times

Opening times vary

Sunday Masses:
Sat. Vigil:- 6.15pm (’As Gaeilge’ 1st & 2nd Sat. Oct. to May)
Sunday:- 8.30am 11.00am 12.30pm & 7.00pm
Weekday Masses:
Monday to Friday:- 7:30am & 10.00am
Saturday:- 10.00am – Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Holy Hour: Every Friday - 7:00pm


College Street Carlow

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