The Curragh
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St.Brigidís Church
The Curragh

Garrison Church for the Defence Forces Training Centre

On the 6th May 2001 St. Brigidís Garrison Church The Curragh was rededicated and blessed by the Most Rev. Laurence Ryan Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin.
 

The past:

In celebrating the re-opening of St. Brigidís Church we are mindful of the association of the Curragh with early Christian Period of our history in which St.Brigid played an important role. However there is no evidence of a church existing at any time on the plains of the Curragh until the first permanent Military Camp was constructed in 1855, when 2 Churches, to serve the needs of the Protestant and Catholic Communities, were built. The plans and specifications of the churches are in the ďNarrative of OperationsĒ by Lieut. Col. H.W. Lugard, the officer responsible for the building of the Camp. The churches were identical in construction with external dimensions 114í2Ē x 63í8Ē. The contract rate for each church was £2,253 but the actual cost worked out at £2,668.2s.6d each.
 

St Pauls Church The Curragh Pre 1900.   Note: No Watertower  St. Brigid's Church The Curragh Pre 1900  Both St. Brigid's & St. Paul's Churches The Curragh Pre 1900
 

The two churches were located in the centre of the Camp Ė East and West of the Clock Tower. The East Church was Catholic and was located where the Girls National School now stands. The West Church was Protestant and was located where the present Catholic Church was built. Initially the churches were known as the East Church and West Church. The writer was unable to discover when the churches were dedicated but by 1893 the East Church was known as St. Brigidís and the West Church St. Paulís.
 

  Curragh Altarboys the Curragh 1920s /30s The Old St.Paul's, now St. Brigid's church the Curragh 1930's Old St.Brigid's church from the Clock Tower Pre 1900
 

When the signing of the Treaty and the withdrawal of he British Forces from the Curragh Camp on 16th May 1922, the Churches of St. Paul and St. Brigid continued to serve their respective communities. The following year St. Brigidís Church was destroyed by fire and St. Paulís, which had been closed for some short time, became the new St. Brigidís Church. St. Brigidís church continued to function from the previous St. Paulís Church until 21st February 1948. Old age and deterioration due to dry rot had rendered the church dangerous foe use and forced its closure. St. Brigidís moved to a new location adjacent to the Swimming pool where it shared the old school of Equitation with the Army School of Physical Culture. This ďtemporaryĒ arrangement was to last for eleven years until the new Church of St. Brigidís was rebuilt and opened on 8th November 1959.
 

The New St. Brigid's church under construcrion 1959
 

The Present Church:

On Sunday 8th November 1959, The Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Keogh blessed and dedicated the new St. Brigidís Church, Curragh Camp.

Built of steel portal frames, with portal brick cavity walls and a cpooer roof, the church had seating accommodation for 1,400. The Bell Tower rises to a height of 165 feet and the bell is from the old church.

The Tabernacle roof and sides, sheeted in copper, with white enamel applied to the doors suggesting Manna, is by Brother Benedict Tutty,  O.S.B. Glenstal Abbey.

The magnificent Stained Glass Windows over the main entrance are the work of Mr. John Murphy, National College of Art. The subject is the Lamb of God and the River of life.

The Stations of the Cross are by Imogen Stuart, who was born in Berlin, but lived in Dublin for the greater part of her life. The stations are carved in teak.

The Crucifix over the main alter is by Patrick Pye, a Dublin artist. The Crucifix is of timber, treated with gesso and painted in temporal gold lea, suggest both the suffering Christ and the Christ who embraces the world.

The two-manual Pipe Organ was built by R.E. Meates & Son Ltd. and is serviced regularly by Richard Meates Junior to this day.

The Statue of St. Brigid & Children can be seen over the main entrance. The statue is eight feet in height and was carved in teak by the late Oisin Kelly.
 

The Altar

A feature of recent refurbishment is the crafting of the wooden altar, ambo, chair and altar furniture by the qualified craftsmen from McDermott Workshops. The altar is 7í x 7í and is made from American White Oak. The base consists of two double curvatures. There are 124 individual ribs of oak, all individually glued and screwed. All tanks and high praise go to Pte. Colm Walse, Pte. Dermot Ging, Pte. Timothy Tuohy and Pte. Michael Smith.

Mass Details

Weekdays            10.00am
Saturday               Saturday               10.00am
                             
07.00pm (Vigil mass for Sunday)

Sunday                  09.00am (Hospital)
                             
10.00am
                              11.30am

Confessions

Saturday              10.30am