Main Record - County Westmeath
|St. Anthony's Roman Catholic church, Friary Lane, Athlone, County Westmeath
|Date||1930 - 1935|
|Previous Name||Franciscan Friary|
|Categories of Special Interest||ARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC SOCIAL|
|In Use As||church/chapel|| |
Detached seven-bay basilica-plan Roman Catholic church, built c.1931, with four-stage round tower with conical stone roof attached to south and flat-roofed side aisles with clerestory above. Apsidal chancel to east. Steeply pitched natural slate roof with stone parapets to gables and cross finial above. Constructed of Ardbraccan ashlar limestone with ashlar Hiberno-Romanesque detailing. Paired round-headed openings to nave, triple round-headed openings to clerestory above. Rose window to nave gable with raised Greek cross motif to centre in recessed Romanesque arch on blind Romanesque arcade. Triple-light opening to chancel apse. Central pedimented Romanesque doorway to centre with timber double doors. Timber double doors to side aisles with Romanesque surrounds. The interior has round-headed arches dividing the nave from the side aisles with Celtic interlacing to soffits. Harry Clarke Studio stained glass windows. To the south side of the front forecourt is an arcade with panels outlining the history of the Franciscans in Athlone. Set back from road in own grounds with Franciscan Friary to south. Bounded to front by cut stone plinth wall with metal railings and ashlar gate piers.
A very fine example of a twentieth century interpretation of the Hiberno-Romanesque revival, with good stonework and stained glass and some bold features overlaid on more traditional elements. This impressive building was built to designs by Jones and Kelly in 1931 and is based on the early medieval Romanesque church of St. Cronin's in Roscrea, which has been the model for a number of revivals of the style. It dominates the south part of the east bank of Athlone and remains an important and attractive landmark. It is appropriate that such a church is found in Athlone so close to the important early medieval monastic site at Clonmacnoise.
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