Cathedral of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, Carlow

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Carlow Cathedral 2009 09 03.jpg

The Cathedral of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin located in Carlow town. The cathedral was dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1833. It is known for its beautifully detailed spire which makes it one of the highest points in town.

The Cathedral was designed by the architect Thomas Cobden (who had also designed much of the adjacent College),[1] it was the first Catholic Cathedral built in Ireland after Catholic Emancipation. The Tower and lantern is 46 metres high and was inspired by the cloth Hall at Burges in Belgium, building commenced on the Cathedral on the 7th of April 1829.

Across from the Cathedral is a much larger church called St.Mary's (Church of Ireland) which is not a Catholic church but was built to be one. The Cathedral is built beside St. Patrick's, Carlow College the former seminary of the Diocese, many students from the college were ordained in the Cathedral.

Controversy over Changes to the Altar[edit]

An action in the Supreme Court was taken by a parishioner against the Cathedral Administrator, Father John Byrne, and the trustees of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin in 1996 with the object of preventing the re-ordering of the interior in line with the changes recommended by the Second Vatican Council.[2] The action was unsuccessful and the changes, including the removal of the altar rails and pulpit, went ahead.

The 2013 Christmas Eve mass was broadcast on RTE and the Christmas Day Eurovision mass celebrated by Bishop Nulty was broadcast to Europe[3] from the cathedral. In 2003 the Easter ceremonies were broadcast to Europe from Carlow as well.[4]


  • Bishop James Warren Doyle
  • Bishop Patrick Foley
  • Bishop Thomas Keogh DD
  • Bishop Patrick Lennon DD
  • Bishop Laurence Ryan DD


  1. ^ St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church Carlow - Cathedral of the Assumption Rootsweb.
  2. ^ Irish Times, Cathedral alterations get go ahead, 1 Jan 1997. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  3. ^ Christmas Eurovision Mass, 25 December 2013.
  4. ^ Huge European audience for televised ceremonies Millions watch Easter ceremonies fromCarlow Carlow People, 25 April 2003.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°50′13″N 6°55′41″W / 52.83694°N 6.92806°W / 52.83694; -6.92806