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Our Lady of the Rosary Church | Church Ruins

Our Lady of the Rosary Church

Our Lady of the Rosary Church
© Our Lady of the Rosary Church

Our Lady of the Rosary church is situated on the Ennis Road. It was built in 1950 as a chapel of ease to St Munchin's parish church. The builders were P. Molloy & Sons. McCormick and Corr designed the church. At the time of construction, it was decided to erect a structure, which could be built quickly, and if necessary could be dismantled and re-assembled elsewhere as the area expanded. The church was designed in a long rectangular plan measuring 115 feet by 34 feet. It was constructed with a light steel frame and external weatherboarding. The roof is made from a steel-framed inclined lattice girder, which was assembled on the ground by welding.

Altar in Our Lady of the Rosary Church
© Altar in Our Lady of the Rosary Church

Bishop Dr. Patrick O'Neill opened the church in December 1950. The church was extended in 1955 and again in 1976 when a fire partially destroyed the sacristy area. Instead of timber, brick was used in the extension but to blend in with the existing building, the brick was covered over with creosoted weatherboard. Bishop Jeremiah Newman opened the new extension on April 29 1979 according to a plaque in the right porch. The architects were McMahon, McMahon & Hickey and the builders were the Lanigan Bros.

Our Lady of Fatima
© Our Lady of Fatima

Outside the church on the tower, there is a life-size statue in white teak of Our Lady of Fatima, carved by Oisín Kelly. The timber altar originally had a large dorsal in rich folds of maroon and gold hanging from a tester at ceiling level. The sanctuary area has since been modified to accommodate stained glass windows from St Mary's Convent. The stained glass window over the high altar depicts (from left to right) the biblical story of Suffer Little Children, the Assumption and the Sacred Heart and Margaret Mary. The window of the Little Children is to the memory of Margaret Kelly and was donated by her children. The window of the Assumption is to the memory of Mary Anne & Thomas McNamara, and was erected by their son Thomas.

Stained Glass Windows from the Sisters of Mercy convent
© Stained Glass Windows from
the Sisters of Mercy convent

Margaret and Marianne Kelly donated the window of the Sacred Heart and Margaret Mary to the Sisters of Mercy in December 1885. The Sisters of Mercy in St Mary's Convent gave these windows to Our Lady of the Rosary parish in 1993. Mayer of Munich made these windows.

In 1993, the silver hanging sanctuary lamp made by Br. Benedict Tutty was removed and so far it has not been possible to trace its present whereabouts.

On the front of the high altar, there are five panels, carved by Bríd Rynne. They are (from left to right) Abraham sacrificing the lamb, Manna from Heaven, the Last Supper, the Wedding at Cana and the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes.

Statue of Our Lady of the Rosary  Statue of St Anne  Statue of the Sacred Heart
© Statues in Our Lady of the Rosary Church

Behind the altar on the left, there is a statue of the Sacred Heart while on the right; there is a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary. Yvonne Jammet, a French carver who resided in Ireland, made these statues. Fr Seamus Power PP presented the Presidential Chair on the right in memory of his parents John and Lena Power.

In the right porch, there is a plaque to Christy Barry, who was parish clerk in the church from 1952 until his death in 1998. In the main porch, there is a plaque to Tony Doherty, who died on December 9 1963 in London. His colleagues in BOAC at London Airport erected the plaque to his memory. As a child, Tony had been an altar boy in the church.

Deposition from the Cross
© Deposition from the Cross

There is a plaster cast of the Deposition from the Cross above the main door of the church. The original statue was originally in the Tait Gallery in London but it was later transferred to Campion Hall, a Jesuit house in the UK. The sculptor of the piece was Andrew O'Connor. On the left wall of the church, there are five paintings by Fr Jack Hanlon. The paintings depict (from the back of the church) St Patrick, Pope Pius X, the Holy Family, St Brigid and St Oliver Plunkett.

Painting of St Brigid

Painting of the Pope   Painting of the Holy Family
© Paintings by Fr Jack Hanlon

Thomas Quinn made the baptismal font, which was designed by Liam McCormick. There is a depiction of John the evangelist by Oisín Kelly on this. The symbol of John the evangelist is a phoenix. Beside the baptistery font, there is a triptych stained glass window, which has the Baptism of Christ made by Evie Hone as its centerpiece. The other panels, made by John and Roisín Murphy, depict the Nativity and the Resurrection.

Baptismal Font in Our Lady of the Rosary Church
© Baptismal Font

To the right of the altar, there is a picture of the Immaculate Conception. The tabernacle is also situated to the right of the altar. The copper silver plated tabernacle was made by Br. Benedict Tutty of Glenstal Abbey. The cast decorative motif, which includes a ruby, has also been attributed to Oisin Kelly.

Tabernacle in Our Lady of the Rosary Church   Close-up of detail on the tabernacle
© Tabernacle

There is a chapel at the top of the church for choirs. A stained glass window of the Eucharist is at the front of this chapel. The craftsmen of Oberammergau who performed the Passion Play of 1950 carved the Stations of the Cross. The stations are in this choir chapel.

Stained Glass Window of the Annunciation Stained Glass Window of the Resurrection Stained Glass Window of the Bethrothal of Mary and Joseph

Stained Glass Window of the Holy Family Stained Glass Window of the finding of Jesus in the Temple Stained Glass Window of the Adoration of the Magi Stained Glass Window of the Eucharist 
© Stained Glass Windows in Our Lady of the Rosary Church

On the right of the church, there are six stained glass windows. They depict (from the back of the church) the Resurrection, the Finding of Jesus in the Temple, the Holy Family, the Adoration of the Magi, the Betrothal of Mary and Joseph and the Annunciation. The Abbey Stained Glass Company in Dublin made these windows. They were erected in the church in 1979.

Statue of Mother and Child
© Statue of Mother and Child

At the back of the church on the left, there is a statue of St Anne by Eamonn Costello while on the right, there is a statue of the Madonna and Child by Limerick man James Clancy. The vase beside the statue was part of the original furnishings of the church.

16th Century Spanish Crucifix. Photograph by Evan Morrisey
© 16th Century Spanish Crucifix
Photograph by Evan Morrisey

In the past, a late 16th century Spanish crucifix was over the high altar but now it is in the sacristy of the church. John Hunt Senior gave this crucifix to the church. Two carved figures, by Imogen Stuart, depicting the Annunciation hung on either side of the north entrance to the church. However, during renovations, these figures were taken down and misplaced.

'The Annunciation'. Photo by Evan Morrisey
© 'The Annunciation'
Photograph by Evan Morrisey

The church of Our Lady of the Rosary and its contents occupy a significant place in the history of Irish ecclesiastical art. The 'Shell Guide to Ireland of 1967' rates the church as "one of the more significant recent contributions to Irish Ecclesiastical Architecture and Art". The building is also a listed heritage building in the City Development Plan of Limerick Corporation.

Our Lady of the Rosary Church | Church Ruins

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