Catholic Church, Gorey - Wexford Guide and Directory, 1885

About “Wexford County Guide and Directory,” 1885

George Henry Bassett produced 7 Irish county directories in the 1880s: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Kilkenny, Louth, Tipperary and Wexford. Each provides useful history of the respective counties as well as lists of office holders, farmers, traders, and other residents of the individual cities, towns and villages.

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The directories are naturally an invaluable resource for those tracing family history. However, there are a few points to bear in mind.

  1. This online version of Bassett’s Wexford County Guide and Directory is designed primarily as a genealogical research tool and therefore the numerous advertisements in the original book, many full page, and quite a few illustrated, have been excluded.
  2. The text has been proofed with due care, but with large bodies of text typographical errors are inevitably bound to occur.
  3. Be aware that there were often inconsistencies in spelling surnames in the 19th century and also that many forenames are abbreviated in Bassett’s directories.

With respect to the last point, surnames which today begin with the “Mc” prefix, for example, were often formerly spelt as “M‘,”. For a list of some of the more common forename abbreviations used in the directory, see Forename Abbreviations.

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THIS church is a fine specimen of Pugin’s architecture, and is in the Norman-Gothic style—simple, but dignified in outline. It is built of irregular stone, with cut granite corners, and has a massive appearance. The tower rises from the junction of the cross, which is the form of the edifice, and is sturdy and battlemented. There is a small round staircase tower at the corner. A round bell tower, with high peak, is at the corner of the western transept. Over the doorway are the Esmonde arms, cut in stone, and the date of the building—1839. A stone cross, about twenty-five feet high, stands in the front yard. It was erected by Sir Thomas Esmonde, 1860, and is carved in the ancient Celtic style, in three granite blocks. The two lower bear the figures of saints, eight in number; and the upper one is in the form of an ancient cross, on which is the Crucified Saviour.

The interior of the church is imposing. No attempt at decoration has been made beyond the stencilling over the arches, and upon the wooden beams and ceiling. The nave is wider than is usual in buildings of a like proportion, and is floored with encaustic tiles. Three arched windows are over the door, and when these, with the aisle and transept windows, have been filled with stained glass, the general tone will be greatly improved. Three corresponding windows in the sanctuary were executed at Tours, and represent St. Patrick, St. James the Greater, and St. Michael, to whom the church and convent are dedicated, the parish being called Kilmichaelogue, signifying “Church of our dear St. Michael.” The pulpit is worthy of close inspection, being panelled with oak carving of great antiquity, procured by Sir Thomas Esmonde, the church’s benefactor, during his Continental wanderings. The bronze baptismal font and cross behind the altar, were the gifts of Mr. Stephen RaM.

The altar itself is of white and delicately-tinted marbles. It was the gift of Sir Thomas Esmonde, and rests on a tesselated pavement of black and white marbles. In the south transept is the organ loft and Altar of the Sacred Heart, presented by the community of the Loretto Convent, Gorey; a statue of St. Michael, presented by Michael Joseph Redmond; and a monument to Rev. Bartholomew Esmonde, of carved stone and polished white marble. At the end of the north transept is a monument to the Very Rev. P. Sinnott, V.G., parish of Ferns, and parish priest of the combined parishes of Gorey and Killanerin for thirty-one years; died 1845. The remains lie beneath the Apse, the place marked by an iron cross. A monument to Sir Thomas Esmonde, and his first wife, Dame Mary Esmonde, is facing the Altar of the Virgin. It was erected by Mrs. Margaret Somers, first Abbess of Gorey, 1855, according to the last wishes of her brother.

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