Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles – A Short History

04 Dec 2007


A Short History

by Rev Christy o’Dwyer

The success or otherwise of any cathedral, church or other renovation is rightly
judged by its fidelity to its original design and significant features. On this
score the present renovation of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles comfortably
passes the test. Both internally and externally the recent substantial renovation
works have succeeded in highlighting and enhancing the beauty of this most impressive
Romanesque building which owes its existence primarily to the vision and energetic
efforts of Dr Patrick Leahy, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly from 1857 until 1875.

The Cathedral of the Assumption stands on a site which has ecclesiastical associations
since the beginning of the 14th century when a Carmelite Priory was established in Thurles.
About the year 1730 a humble thatched chapel was erected in the vicinity of the former
priory, courtesy of the generosity and goodwill of the local Mathew family. For the
next eighty years this simple structure served the needs of a poor Catholic Community
then slowly emerging from a long winter of suffering and discrimination. During the
years C.1804 -1807, at a cost of over (stg)