Interior of Carlow Cathedral c. 1910
In the Irish Ecclesiastical Calendar, today is the feast of the Dedication of the consecrated churches of Ireland except cathedrals, which have their own individual feasts. In any Diocese, the numbers of consecrated churches would have been relatively low. In Kildare and Leighlin, it appears that, certainly until the 1950s, only four churches in the Diocese had been consecrated: Carlow Cathedral, Edenderry, Naas and Newbridge. However, I propose to look at the whole range of dedications throughout the Diocese. Those churches listed with an asterisk have a secondary dedication. Parishes are listed in brackets.
Blessed Virgin Mary
Of the 137 churches in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, it is unsurprising that more are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin under various titles than to anyone else, in fact, 37 Churches.
St. Mary is the most popular dedication with nine churches: Askinagap (Hacketstown), Ballyconnell (Clonmore), Bennykerry (Bennykerry), Broadford (Balyna), Clonaghadoo (Mountmellick), Edenderry (Edenderry), Raheen (Killeigh), Stratford (Baltinglass), Wolfhill (Ballyadams).
Next is the Assumption with six churches: Cathedral (Carlow), Paulstown (Paulstown), Rathangan* (Rathangan), The Heath, (Portlaoise), Tynock (Rathvilly), Vicarstown (Stradbally).
Then the Immaculate Conception with five churches: Allenwood (Allen), Ardattin (Tullow), Cappinan (Daingean) Knockananna (Hacketstown), Walsh Island (Clonbullogue).
There are five churches of Our Lady: Caragh* (Caragh), Killamote (Hacketstown), Naas* (Naas), Prosperous* (Caragh), Sallins* (Sallins).
There are three churches dedicated to the Holy Rosary: Abbeyleix (Abbeyliex), Lugacurren (Ballyadams), Tullow (Tullow).
There are two churches dedicated to the Holy Family: Askea (Askea), Kilshanroe (Carbury).
There are also churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mayo (Doonane); to Our Lady of the Wayside, Clonmore (Clonmore); Our Lady of Lourdes, Skeoghvosteen (Graiguenamanagh); the Nativity of Our Lady, Newtown (Kilcock); Our Lady of Victories, Kildangan (Monasterevin); Mary, Mother of God, Daingean (Daingean) and Duiske Abbey (Graiguenamanagh), being a former Cistercian Abbey, was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. An icon of Our Lady of Duiske hangs in the Church there, which may well be the present dedication.
Of all the dedications to God, the Sacred Heart is the most popular with eight churches: Arles (Arles), Borris (Borris), Clonbullogue (Clonbullogue), Rath (Emo), Stradbally (Stradbally), The Hollow (Mountrath).
The Holy Trinity and the Holy Cross have both three dedications.
Holy Trinity: Allen (Allen), Derrinturren (Carbury), Goresbridge (Paulstown).
Holy Cross: Killeshin (Graiguecullen), Myshall (Myshall), Ratheniska (Portlaoise).
Christ the King: Cooleragh (Cooleragh)
Once again, it is no surprise that, in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, that St. Brigid of Kildare, Muire na nGael, tops the list of dedications to saints.
Fifteen churches are dedicated to St. Brigid: Ballinakill (Ballinakill), Ballycomman (Daingean), Clane* (Clane), Clogherinkoe (Balyna), Clonegal (Clonegal), Croghan (Rhode), Curragh (Curragh Camp), Hacketstown (Hacketstown), Kildare (Kildare), Kill (Kill), Milltown (Allen), Rosenallis (Rosenallis), Shanahoe (Raheen), Suncroft (Suncroft), Talbotstown (Rathvilly).
The next most popular saint is St. Patrick with ten dedications: Ballymurphy (Borris) Ballyroan (Abbeyleix), Clane* (Clane), Johnstownbridge (Balyna), Killeigh (Killeigh), Mountmellick (Mountmellick), Newtown (Bagenalstown), Rathangan* (Rathangan), Rathoe (Ballon), Rathvilly (Rathvilly).
After that, St. Joseph, with six, narrowly beats two local saints, Laserian and Fintan, with five each.
St. Joseph: Ballinagar (Killeigh), Ballyadams (Ballyadams), Baltinglass (Baltinglass), Caragh* (Caragh), Prosperous* (Caragh), Tinryland (Tinryland).
St. Laserian: Ballinakellen (Bagenalstown), Drumphea (Myshall), Kildavin (Clonegal), Knock (Ballinakill), Leighlin (Leighlin).
St. Fintan: Ballinabranna (Leighlin), Ballyfin (ballyfin), Mountrath (Mountrath), Raheen (Raheen).
Saints Peter and Paul, either together or apart, have three, two and one dedication respectively.
Ss. Peter and Paul: Ballon (Ballon), Monasterevin (Monasterevin), Portlaoise (Portlaoise).
St. Peter: Rhode (Rhode), Two-Mile-House (Two-Mile-House).
St. Paul: Emo (Emo).
St. Michael has two dedications: Portarlington (Portarlington), Timahoe (Stradbally).
St. Anne has two dedications: Ardclough (Kill), Ballylinan (Arles).
The rest of the Saints (and Angels) have one didication each: Guardian Angels*, Sallins (Sallins); St. Conleth, Newbridge (Newbridge); St. Coca, Kilcock (Kilcock); St. Abban, Doonane (Doonane); St. Finian, Kilquiggan (Clonmore); St. Andrew, Bagenalstown (Bagenalstown); St. Benignus, Staplestown (Cooleragh); St. Brendan, Drummond (St. Mullins); St. Brochan, Bracknagh (Clonbullogue); St. Clare, Graiguecullen (Graiguecullen); St. Coleman, Kilclonfert (Daingean); St. David*, Naas (Naas); St. Fortchern, Rathanna (Borris); St. John the Baptist, Grange (Tullow); St. John the Evangelist, Killenard (Portarlington); St. Manman, Clonaslee (Clonaslee); St. Moling, Glynn (St. Mullins); St. Oliver, Grangecon (Baltinglass); The Irish Martyrs, Ballycane (Naas).
May the Saints of the Diocese and the Angels of the Churches of the Diocese pray for us!