OUR LADY'S NATIVITY CHURCH

OUR LADY'S NATIVITY CHURCH [LEIXLIP COUNTY KILDARE]

The Catholic Church of Our Lady's Nativity, originally built as a simple barn-like single-cell church typical of those built immediately following Catholic Emancipation in 1829, has been extensively renovated in the late twentieth century leading to the loss of some of the original form and fabric.

The church is of considerable social and historical interest as the ecclesiastical centre for the Catholic population in the locality and attests to the growing confidence of that community following Emancipation. The original form of the church is still recognisable in its present state and is distinguished by fine, if reserved, detailing, including cut-stone dressings to some openings, traceried timber windows and an attractive bellcote to the gable that identifies the church in the landscape.

The stone and render detailing is a good example of the high quality of stone masonry and craftsmanship traditionally practised in the locality (and is continued within the church in stained glass windows of some artistic merit), and is a feature missing from the later ranges (possibly built to commemorate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the church) that are of little inherent architectural merit. The church is attractively positioned on an elevated site, emphasising its importance in the locality, and is accompanied by a small-scale building to north-east, the original purpose of which is uncertain, but which retains some of its original form and fabric. Announcing the entrance in to the grounds on the side of the road is a fine gateway to south-east that, again, is indicative of the high quality of stone work in the Leixlip and which retains early cast-iron gates.

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