+353 876 220 788

EIG Recommends

Bambidress - Made to order quality dresses


10% DISCOUNT if you
mention EIG or using
Promo Code EIG10

pay with Master Card
pay with VISA
pay with PayPal
Fedex courier service

Mountrath - Laois - Upr. Main St

old photo

Mountrath (Maighean Ratha - 'the fort in the bog') is a small town in County Laois on the N7 midway between Dublin and Limerick, exactly 60 miles from both cities.
In 2006 it had a population of just under 2,000. Mountrath was highly commended in the 2006 tidy towns competition.
The river that flows through the town is called the Whitehorse and gets it name from the white colouring that was present in its water from the whisky distillery that used to be in the centre of the town.


* Options may affect the price/weight of an article
Choose Quantity:

Price:  *

* Made to Order, will ship 5 to 10 business days after purchase

Photo Details

  • County: Laois
  • Town: Mountrath
  • Scene: Upper Main St
  • Date: 1910 (estimate)


  • Digitally remastered
  • 10' x 8' printed on quality photo paper
  • Also available mounted & framed, ask for details
  • Colour images can be printed in black & white if preferred.
  • Read about Mountrath below


Mountrath (Maighean Ratha - 'the fort in the bog') is a small town in County Laois on the N7 midway between Dublin and Limerick, exactly 60 miles from both cities.

In 2006 it had a population of just under 2,000. Mountrath was highly commended in the 2006 tidy towns competition.

The river that flows through the town is called the Whitehorse and gets it name from the white colouring that was present in its water from the whisky distillery that used to be in the centre of the town.

Near Mountrath on the N7 towards Portlaoise is a shapeless old Wish Tree in the form of a Sycamore tree called St Finton's Well. The original well was filled in, but the water re-appeared in the centre of the tree. Hundreds of Irish pennies have been beaten into the bark as good luck offerings, until they eventually killed the tree. Today is is a rotting stump.


In the beginning of the seventeenth century, Mountrath became the property of Sir Charles Coote, who, although the surrounding country was then in a wild state and overspread with woods, laid the foundation of the present town In 1628 Sir Charles obtained for the inhabitants a grant of two weekly markets and two fairs, and established a very extensive linen and fustian manufactory, which, in the year 1641, together with much of his other property here, was destroyed. His son Charles regained the castle and estate of Mountrath, with other large possessions, and, at the Restoration, was created Earl of Mountrath, which title, on the decease of Charles Henry, the 7th Earl, in 1802, became extinct. Newpark, adjoining the town, was the residence of the Earl of Mountrath. In 1831 the town contained 429 houses; iron was made and wrought here till the neighbouring woods were consumed for fuel. The Post Chaise Companion, published in 1805, states that 'Near Mountrath is an extensive bank containing, or rather, formed of excellent iron ore, within a few feet of the surface; here an iron and metal foundry has been established and wrought some years since with great success; but at present, from the scarcity of charcoal, on the destruction of the neighbouring woods, the furnaces are seldom employed; it is much to be regretted that such a valuable manufacture should be discontinued on the above account, as the country abounds with bogs, and charred turf might probably be substituted in the place of charcoal for most purposes.' Lewis (Top. Dict.), writing in 1836, says -

'An extensive factory for spinning and weaving cotton is carried on by Mr. Greenham, who employs 150 persons in the spinning mills, and about 500 in weaving calicoes at their own houses; the average quantity manufactured is from 200 to 250 pieces weekly. Stuff-weaving is also carried on extensively; there is a large brewery and malting establishment, and an extensive oil mill; and the inhabitants carry on a very extensive country trade.'

In the latter portion of the last, and the beginning of the present century, Orangeism was rampant in the town of Mountrath, and the Catholics were subjected to constant insults and acts of violence from the dominant faction. In every lease granted on the Castlecoote estate, on which the town was built, a clause was inserted prohibiting the letting, selling, or bestowal of ground for the purpose of erecting a Catholic Church. In consequence of this prohibition, the humble place of worship, used by the Catholics, stood upon a sand-bank, beside a tributary of the River Nore, at a place called 'The Brook,' just outside the town. Some of the old inhabitants remember to see men occupied in teeming water out of the chapel on Saturday evenings, in order that the people might be enabled to assemble there for Mass next day. About the year 1794, Dr. Delany, Bishop of the Diocese, who held Mountrath as a mensal parish, determined, if possible, to build a church for the parishioners. The Lord Castlecoote of the day was as much opposed as his predecessors had been, to the erection of Catholic places of worship. After commending the cause to Heaven by public devotions, the bishop made application for a site to a Mr. Hawkesworth, agent to Lord Castlecoote. This gentleman gave Dr. Delany a plot of ground, then in his own possession, and shortly after, through his influence with the proprietor, procured a lease for ever of it, as a site for a Catholic church.

On this site the church was commenced about the year 1795. The people, accustomed to the small thatched chapels of Penal times, often built of mud, were amazed at the extensive dimensions of the new foundation, and distrusting the possibility of completing it, came to call it 'Delany's folly.' It is related that a stalwart priest named Dunne, then doing duty in the parish, used to accompany the men engaged in drawing building materials for the chapel, armed with a stout blackthorn, to repel any hostile attempts on the part of the aggressive Orangemen. Dr. Fitzpatrick, in his Life of J.K.L., refers to an attack made in 1793 on the priests of the neighbourhood assembled in Conference at Mountrath, by a party of armed Yeomanry, the intruders supposing, or pretending to suppose, that the priests had met together for unlawful purposes. In 1808, Father Duane, administrator of the parish, a delicate timid man, had his house attacked at night by the Orangemen; he made his escape by scaling a wall, and took refuge under the arch of a bridge. The cold and wetting he endured there, together with the terror, brought on an illness from which he died. Curious to relate, the house then used as an Orange Lodge is now incorporated with the present convent.

  • The Annals of the Order of St. Brigid, from which some of the foregoing details have been taken, add - ' It may not be out of place to say that Dr. Delany became intimate with this family; in her last illness, Mrs. Hawkesworth became a Catholic. In the presence of her daughters and her son, who was a Protestant clergyman, she requested of Mr. Hawkesworth to have the Parish Priest sent for. They were thunderstruck at her request, which, however, was complied with, and the priest had free access to her while she lived.'

On the 18th of April, 1809, the Convent of St. Brigid, at Mountrath, was founded, three sisters proceeding thither from the mother house at Tullow (Annals of Order). Soon after, the Monastery of St. Patrick was established. Both convent and monastery have now large communities, chiefly employed in carrying on the great work of Catholic education. At present the Sisters are engaged in erecting a fine imposing building for the accommodation of their numerous resident pupils.

The church, erected by Dr. Delany, proved defective in the foundation; in consequence of this, the Rev. James Dunne, PP., came to the determination of building a new church. The work was begun soon after his appointment to the charge of the parish in 1857, and he had the consolation of seeing it completed before his death in 1867. The extraordinary exertions made by Brother John, of the Mountrath Monastery, mainly contributed to the success of the undertaking. This zealous religious travelled through a great portion of North America, Australia, New Zealand, and California, soliciting alms for the purpose; his exertions resulted in his being enabled to transmit the large sum of £4,000, over and above his expenses. The new church of Mountrath is one of the finest parochial churches in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. Several priests were interred in the former church; through the pious care of a recent pastor, the preservation of the inscribed tablets which marked their last resting places, has been secured by their being set in the wall of the new church.

A painted window, and a massive marble altar of Our Lady, have been erected in this church as memorials of the affection and veneration of his flock for their former pastor, the Rev. James Dunne. Another gracefully designed marble altar has been lately raised as a memorial of the Rev. Andrew M'Donald, P.P. Amongst the parochial church plate is a very massive and beautiful chalice, the gift of Bishop Delany, bearing the following inscription:- ' In honorem Sanctissimae Sacramenti Eucharistiae suis impensis hunc calicem fieri curavit Reverendissimus Daniel Delany, epus. Kilds. et Leighs. Donoque dedit parochiae de Mountrath, 1789.