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Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, Adare, County Limerick
View from south-west.
Reg. No.21824046
Date1220 - 1860
Previous NameN/A
CountyCounty Limerick
Coordinates146555, 146199
Original Usechurch/chapel
In Use Aschurch/chapel
Freestanding Roman Catholic church, restored in 1811 and in 1852-53, incorporating fabric of an earlier abbey, built c. 1230. Comprising gable-fronted nineteenth-century nave with recessed lower gabled-fronted thirteenth-century nave to south having nineteenth-century gabled porch to south elevation. Square-profile two-stage tower rising from central section of south nave. Two-bay single-storey sacristy with pitched roof to north-east corner of north nave with three-bay two-storey pitched-roofed block attached to west. Gable-fronted chapel to east of north elevation. Pitched slate roofs with terracotta ridge crestings and dressed limestone copings, carved limestone cross finials to gables. Cut limestone battlemented parapet to south nave and to tower with carved limestone eaves course. Cast-iron rainwater goods. Snecked cut limestone walls to north nave, porch and gabled chapel, with cut limestone buttresses. Rubble limestone plinth wall to east elevation. Rubble limestone walls to south nave and tower, walls to tower with batter. Rubble stone buttress to south-west corner and south-east and north-east corners of nave. Rubble limestone walls to sacristy and cut limestone walls to block to west of sacristy. Pointed arch opening to west elevation of south nave with carved limestone Y-tracery, hoodmoulding and stained glass window. Carved limestone sill incorporating carved limestone pointed arch panel below having trefoil figure motif carved in relief. Pointed arch openings to south elevation with cut limestone surround, carved hoodmouldings and elaborate Y-tracery and stained glass windows. Round-headed openings to east bays of south elevation with dressed limestone surrounds and stained glass windows. Triple lancet openings to east elevation with carved limestone trefoil-headed surrounds and sill course, cut limestone relieving arches above and stained glass windows. Pointed arch openings to west and north elevations of north nave and to west elevation of chapel with elaborate carved limestone tracery incorporating trefoil and quatrefoil motifs and carved limestone hoodmoulding. That to west elevation having stained glass window, those to chapel and north elevation with quarry glazed coloured glass windows. Those to north elevation and chapel having cast-iron sill guards with decorative heads. Pointed arch opening to east elevation of north nave with elaborate carved limestone tracery incorporating trefoil and quatrefoil motifs, carved limestone hoodmoulding and sill course and stained glass window. Four trefoil-headed openings to sacristy with chamfered dressed limestone surrounds, quarry glazed windows and cast-iron sill guards with decorative heads. Trefoil-headed opening to block to west of sacristy with dressed limestone surround and fixed window. Arrow slit and square-headed openings to tower with cut limestone surrounds. Pointed arch door opening to porch with timber battened double-leaf door, chamfered carved limestone roll moulded surround and hoodmoulding with finial. Door flanked by trefoil recessed panels with carved hoodmouldings and stops. Pointed arch recessed panel above door with chamfered dressed limestone surround and carved trefoil motif in relief. Double font to interior of porch with carved canted basin on plinth with trefoil headed recesses above divided by carved column. Carved limestone benches to interior of porch. Pointed arch opening to interior of porch with timber battened double-leaf doors and dressed limestone surround. Pointed arch opening to west elevation of north nave with timber battened double-leaf doors having elaborate cast-iron strap hinges. Carved limestone surround incorporating flanking triple columns and roll mouldings. Dressed limestone gable above with decorative carved limestone copings with carved limestone floral motif stops. Shouldered square-headed door opening to sacristy with dressed limestone surround and timber battened door with cast-iron strap hinges. Pointed arch opening to block to west of sacristy with pointed arch timber battened half-glazed door and carved limestone hoodmoulding. Interior having exposed rubble stone walls. Pointed arch colonnade dividing nave aisles with carved limestone columns and capitals. Elaborate altar with carved marble altar table, brass screen behind and painted barrel vaulted ceiling above. Carved and rubble stone vaults within tower. Timber vaulted ceilings to aisles, trusses supported on carved limestone brackets. Carved marble pulpit with quatrefoil recessed panels and carved base. Carved limestone baptismal font behind cast-iron screen with painted lettering and cross and floral motifs. Carved timber gallery with cast-iron screen in front. Pointed arch opening to sacristy with timber battened door and dressed limestone chamfered surround. Cut limestone boundary walls with cut limestone copings. Dressed limestone square-profile piers with caps and cast-iron gates.


This church incorporates much of the fabric of an earlier monastery, which was founded in 1230 and is the only monastery of the Trinitarian order known in Ireland. The Trinitarian order was founded in France at the beginning of the twelfth century with the purpose of rescuing hostages taken from the Crusades in the Holy Land. A panel from the stained glass window above the altar shows a monk about to redeem a hostage. The original monastery housed a range of monastic buildings: an inner cloister, enclosed on four sides by a church, a dining area, dormitories and workshops. The monastery fell into disrepair in the sixteenth century following the dissolution of the monasteries. In 1852 Lord Dunraven had the church repaired and expanded to fill the space which once contained the medieval cloister. The architect Charles Hardwick, who carried out the restoration, added the convent to the north, the chapel and the porch. The church as it currently stands, presents an imposing and prominent feature on the main route into the town from the east, which is further outlined by the tall nineteenth-century nave and tower. The multiple phase construction is a notable feature, which adds much of historical and architectural interest to the site. The ornamentation in façade is focussed mainly on the openings, where fine stone work and artistic interest are evident in fine stone crafting such as the floral motif stops and elaborate and varied window tracery. The interior retains much of interest, including well executed furniture such as the altar screen, font and pulpit as well as early stained glass examples and the painted and timber ceilings.
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