St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Rathvilly

By admin • August 21st, 2018

Exterior of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church

In the early medieval period Rathvilly was on the route of one of the five ‘great roads’ believed to radiate out from Tara. The Tripartite Life of St. Patrick records that while the Saint was in Leinster, he converted a local king to Christianity at Raith Bhiligh. The king was called Criomhthann, an ancestor of the Uí Cheinnselaig, who became kings of South Leinster in the seventh century. Criomhthann’s baptism is traditionally believed to have taken place at the holy well dedicated to St. Patrick which is situated close to the town.

Interior of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church

Rathvilly today is an attractive small town clustered around the picturesque old bridge and watermill on the River Slaney. St. Patrick’s Catholic Church was designed by William Hague in the late nineteenth century. It was built from granite quarried locally. It is considered a very fine French, gothic-revival building and the interior contains many of the original features. Make sure you find the eye-catching mural depicting the baptism of Criomhthann by the national saint.

Mural in St. Patrick’s Church depicting the baptism of Criomhthann by St. Patrick


St. Mary’s Church of Ireland Church GPS: 52.877167, -6.698113

Directions to the next site

From Rathvilly leave the N81 at Cuckoo Corner onto the R726 for Carlow. At the junction with the R727 turn right. At the junction with the R418 turn right and then immediately left onto the R726. Continue until a left turn signed to Sion Cross. Bennekerry Church is on the left. Distance 16km.


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