Ballinabranagh – Baile na mBreatnach
The early nineteenth-century 13. St. Fintan’s Catholic Church is a fine example of a double-height single-cell ‘barn-style’ space lit by round-headed windows. The gables are adorned by squat columnar granite pinnacles. The fanlit entrance doorway, set in a granite architrave, echoes the contemporary taste in domestic architecture. Features of note include the marble altar which was presented to the church by Cardinal Moran (see Ballinkillin entry on St. Laserian’s Trail).
The interior was re-ordered in 1983 when the porch and the choir gallery were removed. A new granite altar and unusual baptismal font were installed.
To the left of the church, in the car park, can be seen the tiny schoolhouse where John Conwill, a local teacher, taught John Tyndall between 1836 and 1838. Tyndall was an internationally famous scientist whose work in the 1860s on the absorption and emissions of gases and vapours opened up the debate on the greenhouse effect. He is best remembered for his 1850s invention, the Light Pipe, the basis of Fibre Optics. He stayed in regular contact with his former teacher until Conwill’s death. Other famous figures taught by Conwill include Cardinal Patrick Moran and the brothers Patrick and John Foley who became respectively Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin and President of Carlow College.