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History & Heritage > Churches > The Sacred Heart Church

The Sacred Heart Church

In 1896  a movement was inaugurated in Sligo to erect a Diocesan memorial to celebrate the memory of Most Rev. Dr. Laurence Gillooly late Bishop of Elphin who had an Episcopate of thrity nine years. During this time he is accredited with the programme which completed the Cathedral in Sligo, St. Mary’s College, Sligo, thrity new Churches, five Convents, fifty Parochial Residences, and numerous schools at a time when the country was beginning to recover from the effects of the famine.

The memorial was to take the form of a new Church in Roscommon town close to Bothargarbh near Gallowstown where he was born in 1819. Mr. P.J. Kilgallon, Abbeyville, Sligo provided the architectural design and it followed the general lines of the Gothic style consisting of nave, chancel, transepts, side aisles and a clock and bell tower which would eventually rise to one hundred and seventy feet surmounted by a copper cross erected with due ceremony in June 1916.

The foundation stone was laid on St. Patrick’s Day 1897 by the Bishop of Elphin Most Rev. Dr. Clancy on land donated by the nearby Sisters of Mercy. The contractor was Mr. Thomas Fee of Longford, the blue limestone coming from Tremane outside the town, the grey sandstone for the door jambs and windows from Dungannon and the sand from Mount Prospect also near the town.

When the Church was completed in 1916 even though it was open for the public use in 1903, there was general acclaim and considered to be an edifice of outstanding beauty and religious symbolism where architecture and art combined to create an atmosphere of great reverence and sanctity. Extensive mosaic work was carried out by Russian artists and copies of Italian Masterpieces are incorporated into the Alter front and the Organ Gallery. Much of the money for construction was given by benefactors from North and South America. The Rose window above the organ depicts the patron saint of very diocese in Ireland.

Further Reading Sources:
See publications section of website
Sacred Heart Church 1903 - 2003

Roscommon Association Yearbook 1993
  • Page 22: Roscommon R.C. Church by T. Neilan with extracts from M.Geraghty’s Souvenir Book
Roscommon Association Yearbook 2002
  • Page 26: A Gift to Roscommon from the Pampas by Martin J. Kelly
  • Page 29: The Sacred Heart Church, Roscommon by  Bridie Kirrane

Roscommon Life 2004/2005 (incorporating Roscommon Association Yearbook)

  • Page 94: Sacred Heart Church centenary celebrated