This was the parish church of Holycross from 1832 to 1975. Fr. Laffan was the PP in the early 1800ʼs.
He got the site at a token rent of a shilling a week from the the protestant Armstrong family of Farney Castle. This shows the good relations that existed between them and their Catholic neighbours. The building is a ﬁne example of a rectangular barn church. It was dedicated to St. Michael the Patron of the parish. Fr. Laffan had made allowances to add transepts later if they were needed eventhough in the 1830ʼs the population of Holycross was 4,000.
Only a few short years later the tragedy of the Great Famine decimated the population so there was never a necessity to extend the church.
The large window to the front was a copy of the west window on the Abbey. The two smaller front windows were copies of the lovely ‘Flame Windowʼ in the north transept of the Abbey. These, sadly, were changed in the 1970ʼs when the church was adapted as a Community Centre. A porch was added to the front at that time.
The Abbey had been restored for use as the Parish Church in 1975. A ﬁnely carved wooden altar from the barn church is now in Ballycahill. The reredos have lovely gilted ﬁgures of the four Evangelists.
On the west side of the Community Centre is the railed-off grave of Michael Power and his wife Ellen Desmond. The headstone is a ﬁne Celtic Cross.
Michael Power built a distillery in Holycross in 1838. It was successful until the Famine and Fr. Matthewʼs Temperance Movement ensured its demise. It is obvious that wherever you go in the village the stones have a story to tell.
While the famous Abbey in Holycross commands a lot of interest from locals and visitors alike , the Community Centre has a long and distinguished story to tell in this historic village.
Any group that would like to take ‘A Village Walk’ through Holycross or through the Abbey should contact 086 1665869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours of the Abbey continue every Wednesday and Sunday at 2pm.
The Tipperary Star
Supporting the history and heritage of Tipperary.