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Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Ballingarry, County Limerick
21827002
Front (north) elevation.
Reg. No.21827002
Date1870 - 1880
Previous NameSaint Mary's Roman Catholic Church
TownlandRYLANES
CountyCounty Limerick
Coordinates141392, 136459
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC SOCIAL
RatingRegional
Original Usechurch/chapel
In Use Aschurch/chapel
 
Description
Freestanding Gothic Revival Roman Catholic church, begun in 1872. Comprising eight-bay nave, transepts to west and east elevations, hexagonal turret to north elevation, gable-fronted porch and four-stage square-plan battered tower to west elevation, gable-fronted chancel with flanking chapels to south elevation. Four-bay side aisle, single-storey over basement sacristy and canted chapel to east elevation. Pitched slate roof with fishscale pattern, cast-iron ridge crestings, limestone brackets and limestone copings having cross finials. Limestone chimneystack to sacristy. Sandstone and limestone spire to tower having limestone turrets and cast-iron spire. Rusticated sandstone walls with tooled limestone quoins, buttresses to chancel and north elevation and inscribed limestone plaque to west elevation. Trefoil-headed lancet stained glass windows having limestone block-and-start surrounds and rusticated limestone voussoirs to nave, transepts and canted chapel. Paired trefoil-headed lancet stained glass windows with limestone block-and-start surrounds and rusticated limestone voussoirs to side aisle and sacristy. Trefoil opening to gable apex, north elevation with stained glass window and limestone surround. Trefoil-headed lancet stained glass windows to north elevation having share limestone hoodmouldings, limestone block-and-start surrounds and rusticated limestone voussoirs. Tripartite trefoil-headed opening to chancel comprising bipartite trefoil-headed stained glass windows with limestone mullions, quatrefoil openings over and shared limestone hoodmouldings. Quatrefoil opening to gable apex of chancel having stained glass window and limestone surround. Oculi to chapels, south elevation and shallow chapel, east elevation with limestone surrounds, voussoirs and inset sexfoil stained glass window having trefoil stained glass openings over. Oculi to transepts with limestone surrounds and inset multifoil stained glass windows having rusticated limestone voussoirs and quatrefoil stained glass windows with limestone surrounds over. Shouldered square-headed openings to west porch, north and south elevations having limestone surrounds and stained glass windows. Square-headed openings to turret, north elevation with limestone surround and fixed windows having oculi over with inset quatrefoil fixed windows. Quatrefoil openings to tower, ground floor north elevation having limestone surround, rusticated voussoirs and stained glass windows. Lancet stained glass windows with limestone surrounds to tower, first and second floors. Paired slightly recessed trefoil-headed louvered openings to tower, third floor having carved limestone surrounds with flanking Corinthian style engaged columns. Limestone gablets to spire having pointed arch openings with louvered vents, blind trefoil motifs over and cast-iron cross finials. Pointed arch openings to turrets. Pointed arch opening to north elevation comprising inset paired trefoil-headed openings having timber panelled doors with ornate cast-iron strap hinges, blind quatrefoil to tympanum, limestone hoodmoulding having foliate stops and Corinthian style columns with banded marble shafts. Limestone fonts flanking entrance. Trefoil-headed opening to tower, west elevation having timber battened double-leaf doors with cast-iron strap hinges, limestone surround, hoodmoulding having foliate stops and flanking Corinthian style columns with banded shafts. Trefoil-headed former door opening to west porch having limestone surround and rusticated voussoirs with stained glass window. Shouldered square-headed opening to sacristy having chamfered limestone surround and timber battened door with cast-iron strap hinges. Flight of limestone steps to entrance. Shouldered square-headed opening to sacristy basement having chamfered limestone surround and half-glazed timber battened door. Timber scissors truss ceiling to interior with foliate corbels. Pointed arch arcade comprising Corinthian style columns having marble banded shafts and carved limestone plinths. Compound Corinthian style columns to crossing. Pointed arch to chancel with ornate corbels. Mosaics to chancel. Marble reredos to chancel and flanking chapels. Trefoil-headed opening to sacristy having timber battened door with cast-iron strap hinges, render surround and hoodmoulding with foliate stops. Timber gallery to entrance. Geometric tiles to floor. Square-profile limestone piers to west having recessed blind trefoil motifs over recessed trefoil-headed panels, carved trefoils to caps with ornate wrought-iron double-leaf gates and flanking pedestrian entrances having single-leaf wrought-iron gates. Sandstone boundary walls with limestone copings and wrought-iron railings. Graveyard to north.

Appraisal

This fine late nineteenth-century church, prominently sited, presents a strong presence in the Ballingarry streetscape. It was built on the site of a previous T-plan Catholic chapel. The present church was dedicated in 1879. The coherent decorative scheme culminates in the elaborate tower, which unifies the Gothic style of the building. The church, with graveyard to north, provides the locality with a spiritual and physical focus. The rusticated masonry, popular in ecclesiastical architecture of the time, adds a textural interest balanced by the tooled limestone dressings. The interior reflects the Gothic style of the exterior and is also highly decorative having ornate tiling to the floor and sophisticated carpentry to the roof. The mosaics to the chancel walls and ornate corbels further enliven the interior. The arcade comprising finely carved marble columns, adds another element of richness and colour to the interior. The piers and gates to the front are highly ornate and continue the Gothic Revial idiom of the site.
 
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