THE AUGUSTINIAN CHURCH
If you are looking for a place to visit in Galway that combines history, architecture and spirituality, you might want to check out the Augustinian Church in the city centre. This Gothic-style church, also known as St Augustine’s Church or the Middle Street Church, has been a part of Galway’s religious and social life for over 150 years. But its origins go back much further, to the early days of the Augustinian Order in Ireland.
The Augustinians are a Catholic religious order that follows the Rule of St Augustine, a 4th-century bishop and theologian. They arrived in Ireland in the 13th century and established priories (monasteries) in various parts of the country. Sometime before 1400, they built a priory at Ardnaree in Co. Sligo, and from then onwards they expanded into the Gaelic regions of Sligo, Mayo and Galway.
The first Augustinian church in Galway was built in 1500, just outside the city walls, on the site of the present Forthill Cemetery. However, during the Tudor Reformation, King Henry VIII confiscated the friars’ lands in 1546 and forced them to move to a site in Market Street, Galway. There they remained until the 19th century, enduring many hardships and persecutions under successive English rulers.
In 1855, with the help of Galway historian James Hardiman, the Augustinians began work on their present church in Middle Street. The church was built using Galway limestone and designed by William Hague, a prominent architect who also worked on St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh and St Patrick’s College in Maynooth. The church took four years to complete and was opened in 1859.
The Augustinian Church is a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture, with its pointed arches, lancet windows and spire. The interior features a high altar made of Caen stone, a pulpit carved from oak and marble, and a rose window depicting scenes from the life of St Augustine. The church also contains many beautiful stained-glass windows, some of which were made by Harry Clarke, one of Ireland’s most famous artists.
The Augustinian Church is not only a place of worship, but also a place of culture and community. The church hosts regular concerts, exhibitions and lectures, as well as providing pastoral care and social services to the people of Galway. The church is open to visitors every day and a guided tour of the church can be provided by appointment.
The Augustinian Church in Galway is a historical and cultural gem in the city. So whether you are looking for a quiet moment of reflection, a glimpse into the past or a taste of the arts, you will find it here. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover one of Galway’s hidden treasures!
Absolutely beautiful in every way. A lovely haven of tranquility and quietness to reflect on life right in the heart of Galway. A hugh Thank You to those who look after the needs of everyone who finds solace there.
A must visit for anyone seeking peace and tranquility from the hassle of life!.