Church of the Assumption,Jordanstown - Page 4
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In 1901, John Cosgrove, who died in that year, left £100 in his will for the erection of new altar rails in Jordanstown chapel.[26]  The marble rails arrived by train to Enfield railway station, where they were collected and brought by horse and cart to the church.  Because of their weight, extra horses were required to get the cart up Clifford’s Hill at Kilcorney (between Bailey’s and O’Gorman’s).  A plaque with the following inscription was erected in the church:

Altar Rails in Jordanstown ChurchAltar Rails in Jordanstown Church

Pray for John Cosgrove, Rathrone, Donor of this Altar Rails.  Died March 20th 1901.

A strip of red carpet used on the kneeling area of the altar rails, was hand-made by Mrs. O’Brien, Ballinaskea. 

 

The remains of three parish priests were buried before the high altar in the church.  They were Fr. Robert Tuite in 1842, Fr. Richard Ennis in 1854 and Fr. John Masterson in 1878.  Another parish priest, Fr. Hugh McEntee was buried in 1906 in the church grounds to the northeast of the church.

 

On Sunday, December 30, 1906, a fund-raising concert was held in Jordanstown Church.  Fr. Thomas Gilsenan, P.P. was one of the principal organisers and the money raised was used to buy instruments for Enfield Brass Band and to defray the expenses of the bandleader and a dancing teacher.  The children of Baconstown National School played a leading role in the concert, with the senior boys dancing an eight-hand reel and other pupils singing in harmony.  A comedy play Handy Andy was performed and the programme also included a pianoforte selection by Kathleen Brogan, Trim, the song Rory O’Moore by Patrick Hudson and renditions by K. Cosgrave, K. Hudson, Miss Clancy and Thomas McLaughlin.  The concert was considered a very worthy event and there was an excellent attendance in the church, despite inclement weather and the fact that the roads were almost impassable.[27]

 

When Fr. Gilsenan came to Enfield in 1906, he found Jordanstown Church in a dilapidated condition and in urgent need of repair.  The ceiling was in a crumbling state and the roof sagged in such a way that it was in danger of falling in at any moment.[28]  On St. Patrick’s Day, 1907, he issued an appeal to his parishioners for the funds needed for renovation.  It was expected that they would contribute about £500, but they gave twice that amount.  Contributions also came from other priests and from friends outside the parish.  The national schoolteachers of the surrounding parishes ran a raffle to raise funds.[29]   A noted architect, Thomas McNamara, 50 Dawson St., Dublin, drew up plans.[30]  The church was re-opened on St. Patrick’s Day, 1908 and an article in the Irish Builder and Engineer publication gave the following account:

The church, which is practically re-built, is of a most graceful design and reflects considerable credit on the architect, Mr. McNamara, of Dublin.  The designs of the architect were entrusted to a well-known Dublin builder, Mr. Hanway, of North Great Georges Street and in the hands of that contractor the structural alterations were carried out in a manner that has evoked the admiration of all.[31]

 

The walls of the church were raised and a new roof put on.  A chancel arch was erected, the interior of the church was decorated, some new pews were provided and old ones were renovated.[32]  An article in a local newspaper at the time suggested that a stained glass window of the Sacred Heart was installed during the renovation period and historian Fr. John Brady also suggested that stained glass windows were fitted in 1908.[33]  However, expert opinion on stained glass windows advocates that the four windows surrounding the sanctuary were fitted prior to 1900 and were most likely installed in the years indicated by the dates beneath the windows.[34]   The stained glass expert contends that it is most likely that the church was originally fitted with sliding sash windows, which would have rotted over a period of time.  As funds became available or as donors came forward, these windows would have been replaced with stained glass and leaded windows, even if the church was in a state of disrepair.[35]  Notwithstanding the fact that the fabric of the church was in poor repair in 1906, the windows could have been in good condition and it may be that for the re-opening of the church in 1908, one window was re-installed and gave the newspaper reporter the impression that it was a new window.

 Stained Glass Window, Jordanstown ChurchStained Glass Window, Jordanstown Church Stained Glass Window, Jordanstown ChurchStained Glass Window, Jordanstown Church

The church was thronged for the re-opening ceremony, at which Solemn High Mass was celebrated.  A choir under the direction of Mrs. Conway (a teacher in Longwood National School) sang at the Mass.  Professor Peter Coffey of Maynooth College and a native of the parish of Enfield, acted as master of ceremonies and Fr. J.J. Poland, C.C., Mullingar, delivered the sermon.[36]  He was presumably invited to fill this role as he had a reputation as an eloquent preacher and an entertaining speaker.  Fr. Poland congratulated the priests and people of the parish upon the renovation of their church, which, he said would stand for years to come as a memorial of their faith and generosity.

Stained Glass Window, Jordanstown ChurchStained Glass Window, Jordanstown Church Stained Glass Window, Jordanstown ChurchStained Glass Window, Jordanstown Church

Fr. Gilsenan addressed the congregation and congratulated his parishioners on the sacrifices they had made for their parish church.  He said that they were a generous and noble-hearted people and that:

the priests and people of Jordanstown had very good reason to feel joyous and grateful that day.  St. Patrick’s Day, 1908, should be a memorable day in the annals of their parish.  Their beautiful church, as it now stood, reflected upon their generosity and also upon the architect and the contractor.[37]