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Catholic Church of Saint John the Evangelist, Dublin Road, Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
12000178
Representative view of church.
Reg. No.12000178
Date1900 - 1910
Previous NameN/A
TownlandGARDENS (ST. JOHN'S PAR.)
CountyCounty Kilkenny
Coordinates251033, 156084
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC HISTORICAL SOCIAL TECHNICAL
RatingNational
Original Usechurch/chapel
In Use Aschurch/chapel
 
Description
Detached four-bay double-height Gothic Revival Catholic church, built 1903-6/8, comprising four-bay double-height nave with four-bay single-storey lean-to side aisles to east and to west, single-bay double-height lower chancel to south having single-bay double-height apse on a polygonal plan, single-bay single-storey flanking chapels continuing into single-bay (three-bay deep) single-storey over part-raised basement sacristy to south, and single-bay three-stage truncated entrance tower to north on a square plan having single-bay two-storey gabled flanking bays. Pitched slate roofs (lean-to to side aisles; half-polygonal to apse) with terracotta ridge tiles (rolled lead ridges to apse), cut-limestone coping to gables having cross finials to apex, gabled bellcote to side aisle to south on stepped buttress (with trefoil-headed aperture, and cut-limestone coping to gable), and cast-iron rainwater goods on limestone ashlar eaves having consoles. Roof to tower not visible. Coursed rock-faced cut-limestone walls with limestone ashlar dressings including stepped buttresses (gabled clasping buttresses to corners) having crocketed polygonal finials, moulded stringcourses to each level, trefoil-headed panelling to top stage to tower having engaged colonette mullions, and moulded course over (originally to support projected upper stage and spire). Trefoil-headed window openings (some paired; some paired in bipartite arrangement in pointed-arch frames having quatrefoils to arches; some in tripartite arrangement in pointed-arch frames having hexafoils to arches) with cut-limestone sills, cut-limestone surrounds having chamfered reveals, chamfered mullions and tracery, hood mouldings over, and fixed-pane fittings having leaded stained glass panels. Pointed-arch window opening to second stage to tower on limestone ashlar trefoil-headed arcaded apron with grouped (four-part arrangement) cinquefoil lights having hexafoils over, cut-limestone surround having polished pink granite Corinthian colonette reveals, mullions and tracery, moulded archivolt rising into crocketed ogee hood moulding, and fixed-pane fittings having leaded stained glass panels. Cinquefoil window openings to apse in pointed-arch frames (having trefoil and quatrefoil lights to arches) with cut-limestone block-and-start surrounds having chamfered reveals, hood mouldings over, and fixed-pane fittings having leaded stained glass panels. Shouldered square-headed door opening in pointed-arch recess with three cut-stone steps having iron railings, cut-stone colonette reveals supporting decorative rebated archivolt having hood moulding over, timber panelled double doors having wrought iron hinges, and decorative carved overpanel. Full-height interior open into roof with glazed timber panelled internal porch, tiled floor incorporating Celtic-style mosaic panels, timber pews, pointed-arch arcade to side aisles on clustered colonettes having moulded plasterwork archivolts, timber panelled pipe organ to north on pointed-arch tripartite arcade, groin vaulted ceiling having plasterwork ribs, exposed timber roof construction to side aisles on cut-stone corbels, pointed-arch chancel arch on clustered colonettes having moulded archivolt, Gothic-style altar furniture, decorative Gothic reredos (incorporating niches with statuary having sproketed finials over, cinquefoil-headed intermediary panels having colonette reveals, carved tableau panels, and decorative cresting), and polygonal ceiling having plasterwork ribs. Set back from road in own grounds with landscaped grounds to site incorporating tarmacadam forecourt.

Appraisal

A monumental church in a robust Gothic Revival style built as the O'Loughlin Memorial Church by the O'Loughlin family of Sandfords Court (not included in survey) on a site donated by James Butler (1844-1919), third Marquess of Ormonde to designs prepared by William Hague (c.1840-99) as executed under the supervision of William Henry Byrne (1866-1917) forming a landmark in the townscape of Kilkenny: a stout entrance tower makes a pronounced impression in the skyline with the lack of ornamentation to the summit indicating that the additional stage and spire projected by Byrne in association with William Hogan (n. d.) was never executed. Exhibiting high quality stone masonry throughout the juxtaposition of rock-faced cut-limestone with smooth limestone ashlar produces an appealing pattern despite a monochrome palette while finely-carved accents including an elaborate doorcase, north window, sproketed finials, and so on, all enliven the external expression of the composition. A well-preserved interior scheme having apparently escaped the alterations frequently undertaken post-Second Vatican Council (1963-5) incorporates a range of features displaying expert craftsmanship including carved timber fittings, decorative plasterwork, delicate stained glass panels, and so on: the construction of the roof meanwhile identifies the technical or engineering significance of the site.
 
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