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Augustinian church
© Augustinian church

The present day Augustinians church is situated on O'Connell Street in the City Centre. On the right as you enter the church there is the old lintel stone that came from the order's first chapel in Limerick at Fish Lane. The date 1633 can be seen on the stone along with the letters I.H.S. and the symbol of the heart from the crest of the Augustinian order.

Foundation stone in Augustinians Church
© Foundation stone in Augustinians Church

The O'Doherty family saved this stone in 1933 when the buildings in Fish Lane were knocked for new houses. The stone was kept in their stonecutting yard until two brothers Frank and Anthony McNamara brought it to the attention of the Prior, Fr Vincent Lyons in 1961. Fr Lyons bought the stone and in October 1962, it was inserted into the wall of the church.

Lintel stone in Augustinians church  Lintel stone in Augustinians church
© Lintel stone in Augustinians church

In the porch of the church, there are two holy water fonts from the church in Creagh Lane. These holy water fonts were in Creagh Lane from 1823 until the present day church was opened in 1941. Inside the church, there is a bookshop on the left and a Pastoral Centre on the right. Also on the right is a painting of the Ascension by Thomas Collopy, a Limerick man. This painting, which dates from 1782, originally hung in the chapel in Creagh Lane.

One of the water fonts from the church in Creagh Lane   Stained glass windows at back of Augustinians church
© One of the water fonts from the church in Creagh Lane
and Stained glass windows at back of Augustinians church

Above the main door of the church on O'Connell St., a large stained glass window depicts scenes from the life of St Augustine. The window shows (from left to right) his conversion, his consecration as a Bishop, writing his confessions and the Transfiguring Experience with his mother Monica. The window is dedicated to the memory of Fr Joseph Hennessey who was the main driving force behind the building of the church. Fr Hennessey died in 1941 before the church was completed in 1942.

Above the four main sections of the stained glass windows, are the symbols of the four Evangelists of the four Gospels which are (from left to right) the bull (Luke), the man (Matthew), the eagle (John) and the lion (Mark). Under the main stained glass sections of the window are smaller sections depicting a book and quill, the Sacred Heart, the crest of the Augustinian order, and the scales of justice.

Sections of Stained Glass Windows  Sections of Stained Glass Windows
© Sections of Stained Glass Windows

The crest of the Augustinian Order depicts a heart on fire, pierced by an arrow. This shows the passionate heart of St Augustine and a heart that is open to the pain of joy of loving and the use of love in the mission of an Augustinian. The open book in the crest represents the Bible, which was the inspiration of St Augustine's life.

In 1998, the seats at the back of the church were removed and an ornate screen was erected between the main body of the church and this reception area.

Adoration chapel  Chapel to St Jude
© Adoration chapel and Chapel to St Jude

Inside the church on the left, there is an Adoration chapel that was opened by Bishop Donal Murray on 24 May 1998. There is also a small chapel to St Jude, which was refurbished in 1998. There is a shrine to St Nicholas of Tolentine, who was an Augustinian priest. There is also a picture of Blessed William Tirry O.S.A. who lived in the 17th century. At the top of the church, there is a statue of St Joseph and there is an altar to the Sacred Heart.

Altar to Sacred Heart  Altar to Mother of Good Counsel
© Altar to Sacred Heart and Altar to Mother of Good Counsel

Inside the door on the right hand side of the church there is a shrine to Blessed Padre Pio. Further on up the aisle there is a statue of St Rita of Cascia. St Rita was an Augustinian sister who worked with the sick. She is also known as the Saint of the Impossible. Next there is an altar to St Monica that was donated by John and Joan Leonard. To the right of the main altar, there is an altar to the Mother of Good Counsel.

Altar in Augustinians church
© Altar in Augustinians church

Over the main altar in the church there are five different stained glass windows and they depict (from left to right) St Joseph, St Monica, St Patrick, Mother & Child and St Augustine. In 1998 a silver chalice was discovered in a cylinder at the back of a safe behind the main altar. According to the inscription, Dame Alice Nagle donated it to the Augustinians Sisters in Dublin in 1750.

Shrine to Padre Pio  Shrine to St Nicholas  Shrine to St Monica  Shrine to St Rita
© Shrine to (From left to right) Padre Pio, St Nicholas, St Monica and St Rita

The bells of the church are believed to be originally from London. An elderly officer was living in retirement in London and each evening he listened to the bells in a nearby church tower. Then one evening, the bells did not ring and he discovered that the tower was being knocked. So he bought the bells and moved to Ireland where he built a replica of the tower. Fr Larry A. Doyle heard the story and bought the bells for the new church in O'Connell St.. Each of the seven bells was given a name of dedication and a prayer so that the chimes of the bells may inspire the people who heard them.

The Augustinians have a graveyard in front of the Old County Courthouse in Merchant's Quay.

As well as serving the spiritual needs of the community, the Augustinians run a school for young people with special needs in St Augustine's Hall.

The present priory is to the left of the church. It was formally known as the 'Country Club', and came into the possession of the order in 1946. This structure was built in 1825. The Augustinians rented the ground floor of the premises in 1897 for £2,075 from Dr Pryce Peacocke for a lease of 999 years. The Augustinians had first option on the purchase of the premises and paid £15,000 for the building in 1946.

The old priory, situated at 119 O'Connell St, was sold to Mrs. Harrington for £7,800 to finance the purchase of the 'Country Club' in December 1946. The priory was officially opened on May 25 1948.

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