Parish History

To download and read a summary document of the Parish History entitled A historical perspective of the parish of
St Mary’s and Ladychapel <<click here>>.

The document, written by Peter Nevin and edited by Willie Homles is both insightful and informative.  Any person with a connection to the parish of Maynooth and Ladychapel will take a great interest in its content.  Many thanks, to both of them for the document.

Outlined below is some of the information contained within the document.

The Parish name in Irish “legend Nuadu” or “Nuadha of the Silver Hand”, the pagan god, is king and leader of the divine race when they arrive in Ireland. From him Maynooth (MayNuadhad, ‘Plain of Nodens’) derives its name.

The following is an historical account of the parish of Maynooth using the positions of the Parish Priest and Curate to reference the main historical events within our parish:

1172: Strongbow was granted Leinster as tenant–in–chief of the king.

1176: Maurice Fitzgerald receives the territory of which our parish lies from Strongbow.

1176: Castle of Maynooth is built by Maurice Fitzgerald who attached a private chapel to it.

1179: St Laurence O’Toole gets jurisdiction of Diocese of Dublin from Pope Alexander III extended to include Glendalough. Mentioned in this confirmation by Pope Alexander III in 1179 is to Marchus Bishop of Glendalough is Laraghbryan, Confey and Taghadoe but no mention of Domnach mar Maighe Nuadat (Maynooth).

1200+: Maynooth Castle is built where two small streams meet, the Lyreen and the Joan Slade by Gerard Fitzmaurice, first baron of Offaly or by the grandson of Maurice Fitzgerald, named Maurice Fitzgerald

1216: Both Dioceses are united (Dublin and Glendalough) Our territory included in Glendalough comes into the Dublin Diocese. Included in this territory is Laraghbryan, Confey and Taghadoe.

1248: First notice of a Chapel in Maynooth. Grandson of Maurice, also called Maurice had it erected into the prebend of the Cathedral of St Patricks by Archbishop Luke.

Stated in the Crede Mihi ( in Alan Register 1200) assigned to William Bishop of Glendalough included in the lists of the denary are the following churches of our district in 1200:

Salta Salmonum – LeixlipTach

To – Taghadoe

Lairbrun – Laraghbryan

Mainoth – Maynooth

Dovenach Mor – Vicarage

Confie – Confey

1248: Maynooth elevated to a prebendal dignity. Taghadoe granted to All Hallows by Maurice Fitzgerald 2nd Baron of Offaly. Held until suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII when the patronage went from Catholic Church to Dublin Corporation. In his grant though, Maurice reserved to the church Ladarach Brin (Laraghbryan) and to the chapel of Maynooth the Bishop secured the appointment of a resident priest.

1277 – 1410: Disputes over parochial boundaries. Adam Taylor : prebendary of Maynooth, Thomas Hunt : Vicar of the Church

1416 – 1430: Adam Taylor listed in the prebendaries of Maynooth.

Maynooth and Laraghbryan union of prebends in the person of John de Sandford subsequently Archbishop. The list of prebendaries now were:

1248: Richard De Carven : Rector of the Parish : 1st prebenadary

1268: John De Sandford, Subsequently Archbishop1310 : Alexander De Bicknor

1331: Henry Moton1398 : Nicholas Walsh

1411: Anthony de St Quentin (Presented by the Crown)

1416: Adam Taillour

1428: Thomas Barby

1430: Adam Taillour

1441: Thomas Chard

1529: Edward Dillon

1534: John Bayly Chaplain presented by the Crown

1535: Richard Johnson, Presented by the Crown. He was reappointed prebendary at the dissolution (1546) and after at the Restoration in 1555.

The ivy covered tower attached to St Mary’s Protestant Church is all that remains of the ancient college of St. Mary of Maynooth which was founded and endowed by Gerald 8th Earl of Kildare and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. In 1518 the 9th Earl presented a petition to the then Archbishop of Dublin (William Rockeby) 1511 : 1521, for license to found and endow a College at Maynooth. The College of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

1535: Maynooth town is burned and Maynooth Castle is taken by storm by Sir William Skeffington and later by Lord Leonard Grey.

Church Suppression starts in 1538 and the next note on the parish is found in the Will of Fr Bayan in 1604. Our parish did not suffer from the confiscations that followed on the flight of the Earls and the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity. Breaches in the ranks of the clergy were filled by foreign Orders. One of note was the College of Salamanca founded in 1592 directed by the Jesuits. From it came Fr John Copinger (priest Leixlip).

1603 – 1633: Carton House is built by Sir William Talbot.In 1739 Robert 19th Earl bought back the lease from the Ingoldsby family who had purchased it in 1703 and remodelled and extended it.

1604: A Fr Boyan served the district up to his death in 1604

1614: Following the Synod of Kilkenny a fixed pastor is assigned to our district. This is probably Fr John Copinger.

1629: Richard Boyle married his daughter to his ward, the young Earl of Kildare and remodelled Maynooth Castle for them. Work was completed in 1635

1630: An account of the state of the churches in our region is documented from a visitation of the Protestant Archbishop Bulkeley:–

Leixlipe : Church and Chauncel in ruins…. all parishioners bar one or two families are Catholic

Confie : Church and Chauncel in good repair…. all parishioners are Catholic

Teagtoe : no returns

Laraghbrine : Church in good repair, Chauncel missing its roof, tithes worth £100 p.a. are owned by prebend of Mynothe Mr John Parker

The Catholic church was receiving some slight tolerance, as written by the Catholic Archbishop Dr Fleming (1632), exercising religious practice in private houses.

The Countess Elisabeth Nugent, (Marquis of Kildare) wife of Gerald 14th Earl, allowed Kildare Castle to be used as a head quarters of the Catholic Clergy. She demised Kilkea Castle to the Jesuits in 1634, was involved in the rebellion in 1641 and was subsequently outlawed for high treason.

1639: Fr John Copinger dies

First Parish Priest of Maynooth is Fr Laurence Walsh. Both he and Patrick Walsh rifled and spoiled Maynooth Castle. Edward Fitzgerald, John Fitzgerald, Christopher Fitzgerald and his sons James and Edward and 100 men took possession of the Castle and Park.

1641: George the 16th Earl of Kildare resides in Castle until 1641 civil war

1647: General Owen O’Neill took Maynooth Castle : Castle was dismantled

1640: 1669 Next Parish Priest is Fr Laurence Archibold, he was also the Prebendary of Maynooth became Vicar General of the Diocese but replaced as VG by Fr Edmund Reilly. Fr Laurence returned to his parish in 1650

1688: Next Prebendary of Maynooth was Daniel Mooney. Another connection to Maynooth is Archbishop Peter Talbot. His brother Richard, Earl of Tyrconnell, lived at Carton. Archbishop Talbot died in Dublin Castle after two years’ incarceration in 1680.

1697: The next valid record is in 1697 and gives the Parish Priest as Fr John Duff.

1731: Report on the State of Popery in Ireland notes the Parish Priest of Maynooth and Curate of Leixlip ( as both parishes were considered one) two Jesuit fathers.

1740: Connolly’s folly (obelisk) built by Mrs Catherine Connolly to provide employment after the famine 1739 : 1740 and to close a vista at the back of Castletown House. Ground it is built on did not belong to the Connolly’s but to the earl of Kildare.

1757 – 1780: Leinster Arms Inn is built as a ballroom and then an Hotel

1755 – 1777: Fr Clement Kelly (PP Maynooth) 5th son of Richard Kelly of Maynooth, and Fr Birrell ( curate Leixlip). Fr Kelly was born near Maynooth in 1708, entered society in Milan in 1725, died in Maynooth 1777. Buried in Laragh Bryan. He erected a new house and chapel at Maynooth . Birrell was born in 1712, entered society of Palermo in 1732 died in Kildare in 1784.

1795: Maynooth College founded

1796: Royal Canal comes to Maynooth thanks to the influence of the 2nd Duke of Leinster.

1777 – 1821: The next note is of a Parish Priest in Maynooth named Fr Andrew Ennis. He was PP in Finglas for 3 years. Fr Bartolomew Sheridan was ordained in Maynooth College 1814 and was curate in Maynooth up to 1822, succeeded by Fr Patrick Smith, but he was recalled to Sandyford the following year 1823.

1827: The decree of the Council of Trent for the Reformation of Marriage was published in the archdiocese of Dublin on the 1st Sunday of Advent and was in full force by January 1828

1821: Fr Patritius Brenan prebendary of Maynooth. He had been PP of Celbridge.

1822: Foundation of Maynooth Presentation Convent by Mother Augustine Drumgoole along with Mother Andrew McKeever and Mother Peter Fitzharris and Sister M. Aloysius. They took possession of the Charter school at the entrance to the town, which was founded in 1738. This school came into the possession of the good daughters of Nano Nagle and the foundation stone was laid by the Marquis of Kildare in 1826. The convent was named Nazareth by Mother Andrew McKeever.

1831 – 1835: Fr Patrick Savage came from the pro–Cathedral, was chaplain to loretto Convent Rathfarnham. Died 1835 aged 40. His Curate Fr Michel B Kelly succeeded him.

1835: Fr Michael B Kelly was PP for one year and moved to Lucan, then St Audeons High St in 1847 and finally PP in the Naul in 1850. He remained PP into old age, retired and died in 1883.

1835 – 1840: The present Catholic Church is built.

1836: Fr John Cainen (PP) and Fr Patrick Fleming (CC).

Grounds of Church and Parochial House donated by Bartle Ellis whose son William and daughter in law are interred in the grave in the railed–in part on the right hand side, inside the entrance to the Church ground. His family were related to Cardinal Cullen who was related to Mother Agnes Gertrude Chamberlaine, Mother general of the Sister’s of Charity ( they owned among other places the house opposite the old Castle gates)

At this time it is known the population of Maynooth was 2000

1834: Leixlip Church is built. The old chapel of Maynooth was converted and used as a boy’s school about the same time.

1840: The famine hit the Maynooth population, but there are contradictory accounts. The population of the county in 1841 was 114,488 and had fallen to 57,737 in 1936. In 1839 there were 2056 population in Maynooth, in 1939 this was 846.

1845: The Midland Great Western Railway Company bought the Royal Canal so that they could build the railway beside it

1867: Ladychapel Church is built

1887: Laundry started in the convent

1902 : Ogham stone found in the churchyard of Donaghmore Maynooth by Lord Walter Fitzgerald

1916: Fifteen men from Maynooth, led by Domhnall Ua Buachalla (last Governor General of the Irish Free State (1932 : 1937) took part in the Easter Rising.

1920: During the war of independence the court house was burnt down by the IRA to prevent its takeover by the black and tans.

1961: The Cattle Mart started and became one of the largest in the country.

1961: the Canal is officially closed to navigation

1967 c Opening of Maynooth College to lay and religious students.

1977 – 1978 : Old bus shelter and toilets were built.

Christmas 2005: The parish Internet website is created and officially launched.