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The National Inventory Of Architectural Heritage describes the church as follows:
Saint Mary’s Catholic Church is a fine and imposing building of social interest as the ecclesiastical centre for the Catholic population in the locality.
Built almost immediately following Catholic Emancipation in 1829, the church is somewhat typical of the churches built in that period with a confident primary front of considerable ornamentation in contrast to the treatment of the remainder of the walls that are simpler in form and appearance.
The church has been very well maintained over the years and retains many important early or original salient features, including slate roofs with cast-iron rainwater goods.
The cut-stone work to the elevation to south-west is a good example of the high quality of stone masonry practised in the locality and this is especially evident in the carved detailing, such as the doorcase, that has retained a crisp intricacy. The interior is similarly intact and incorporates features of considerable artistic merit, including delicate stained glass windows, a fine plasterwork ceiling, and an ornate carved timber reredos to the altar. Set in its own grounds, the church is fronted by a simple gateway that again reveals high craftsmanship, together with early examples of iron work.
Saint Mary's Catholic Church is a prominent landmark in the locality, forming an imposing feature on the streetscape of Mill Street, and is identified in the landscape by the soaring tower that also provides incident to the skyline.
These photographs date from 2016 and I have visited the immediate location at least six times since then.
It may surprise many visitors to discover that Maynooth College has its own graveyard. The cemetery can be found past the Junior Garden on campus.
The statue is based on a photograph taken during the Pope's visit in 1980 and to some degree it marked the beginning of a very rapid decline of organised religion in Ireland. According to a 2012 WIN-Gallup International poll, Ireland had the second highest decline in religiosity from 69% in 2005 to 47% in 2012, while those who considered themselves not a religious person increased 25% in 2005 to 44% in 2012. The poll also showed that 10% of Ireland now consider themselves convinced atheists, which is an increase from 2005.
The town is just inside the western edge of The Pale. It has, at either end of the main street, Maynooth Castle and Carton House, two former seats of the Dukes of Leinster. The castle was a stronghold of the 16th century historical figure Thomas FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Kildare who was better known as Silken Thomas. The castle was overrun in 1535, after the rebellion of the Earl.
The most important historical buildings in the town are those of St. Patrick's College and some which antedate the foundation of the college, while others are in the late Georgian and neo-Gothic revival style. The "new range" of buildings was erected by A. W. N. Pugin in 1850 under a commission from then college president Laurence F. Renehan, while the College Chapel was designed and completed by James Joseph McCarthy during the presidency of Dr. Robert Browne in 1894.
Conolly's Folly is within Maynooth's extensive town boundaries.
There are three old monastic settlements in the vicinity of Maynooth, including Laraghbryan and its cemetery, Taghadoe and its Round Tower and Grangewilliam (Donaghmore).
Maynooth Pound is a rare example of a surviving pound which has existed since the 18th century. The existing walls were built in 1822 although the pound is older than that. Historically, stray animals were impounded here to be returned to their owners for a fee or sold at auction if not claimed. Recently the pound was renovated and is now a place of recreation by the Lyreen River.
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