Following extensive refurbishment and the completion of the bell tower and spire, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kingscourt was blessed and officially re-opened by Bishop Michael Smith on Sunday 5 February 2012.
The music for the ceremony was provided by the parish and children’s choirs, directed by Derek Eakins and assisted by St Mary’s Brass and Reed Band. Young parishioners were to the fore in the celebrations, with Caitriona Cunningham and Terry O’Reilly as readers while the Prayers of the Faithful were led by Confirmation pupils from all four schools.
The homily was preached by Fr Padraig McMahon, Cathedral Administrator and a native of Kingscourt. Reflecting on the occasion, Fr McMahon said:
“A lot has happened since the doors of this church opened 140 years ago. We can only imagine the cares and concerns that have occupied the minds and hearts of those who have prayed here during world and civil wars, during depressions, recessions and times of plenty. One thing has remained constant – God’s presence. Stones and slates are mere materials that stand around us. It takes faith and trust to turn them into a place of prayer and into a house for God’s people.”
The parish hosted a reception of all who joined in the celebrations in the Matt Talbot Hall after the Mass.
The design team was headed by local architect Niall Smith and the main contractor for this major project was Tommy Mulvany of Beauparc.
The Church of Immaculate Conception was opened in 1872. William Hague, one of the leading architects of his time, designed the Church. Fr Flood oversaw the completion of the building, the sanctuary and high altar, by 1885.
In 1946, Fr Marry commissioned Evie Hone to design a window depicting scenes from Apparition of Our Lady at Fatima in 1917. Evie Hone was one of the best artists working in stained glass in Ireland at that time. Art critics acclaimed the work as “probably the most varied and generally satisfying composition we have yet seen from Evie Hone.” The next windows to be commissioned were the work of Harry Clarke Studios. Later, the project to install the rose window during the Jubilee year 2000 was conceived as paying tribute to the sacrifices and generosity of those, who in times of hardship, contributed to the building of the Church.
With the completion of the bell tower and spire in 2012, the grand design of William Hague for the Church of the Immaculate Conception has come to its full realization.