A Widow’s Memorial



Following last Wednesday’s post on Bellegrove, County Laois (A Landlord’s Legacy), this nearby church in Rathdaire was commissioned after John George Adair’s death in 1885 by his American widow Cornelia. Her rapacious late husband had not been a popular man; every time his grave was dug, dead cats and dogs were flung into it by the deceased’s former tenants as evidence of their hatred. Yet Mrs Adair persisted with creating this memorial to him, designed by James Franklin Fuller in an approximation of the Hiberno-Romanesque style, the Portland stone portal inspired in part by the remains of St Cronan’s church in Roscrea, County Tipperary. There’s an unquestionable incongruity between the peacefulness of this site, and the memory of the man who inspired its construction.


6 comments on “A Widow’s Memorial

  1. TobyC says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Thankfully they didn’t destroy that out of hatred.

  2. raymond blair says:

    I think the remains of Mrs Adair are buried there and if so that is not too incongruous as she did have a much better reputation for charity and benevolence than her notorious husband.

  3. sopwell says:

    This church has many similarities with St Michael and all Angels in Clane, which was also designed by Fuller at the instigation of Thomas Cooke Trench of Millicent. John Adair’s mother was a Trench and his cousin, John Townsend Trench, was the architect of Glenveagh mentioned in a previous post.

    • Deborah T. Sena says:

      Thanks for the referral, I wish there were more pictures of Clane to show the door detail. The big difference I see is the choice of materials for the quoin and trim being:
      “The chief material is the grey limestone of the neighbourhood, mostly from Mr. Henry’s quarry in the adjoining townland. The quoins and external dressings are of Cumberland red sandstone, the saving arches being of a black stone from Mr. Kirkpatrick’s quarry at Celbridge” (Co, Kildare Online History Journal), which give the overall structure a dark focus as opposed to the light and airy look above from using a lighter stone.

  4. Irene Wynne says:

    A beautiful entrance ! Thank you.

  5. teresastokes says:

    One by my great great grandfather Fuller which I had never heard of. Thanks for sharing!

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