Clare County Library
Clare Genealogy

Kilrush Convent of Mercy 1854

Source: Mercy Archives, Limerick and Clare Examiner, Cork Examiner,
Clare Journal and Ennis Advertiser
Date: May 1854
Transcription: Dr. Paul O'Brien

In May 1854, a public subscription list was opened to fund the construction of Kilrush Convent of Mercy. The appeal was published across several newspapers and stated that 'our secretary be directed to open a subscription list, where on shall be enrolled the name of every subscriber to this glorious undertaking - which list shall be carefully preserved, printed and handed down to posterity, as a lasting record of the zeal of God's honour on the part of those who should assist this noble work' (1). The committee tasked with coordinating the fundraising efforts comprised the local clergy and leading merchants - typical for the period.

The list of subscribers ranged in rank from the Lord Bishop of Killaloe, and the landed gentry to servants, saddlers, and builders; donations reflected one's financial situation. In addition, the hierarchy of society was reflected in the position of one's name on the published list. The geographical distribution of those who contributed to the appeal included individuals from towns, villages, and townlands across County Clare. Throughout the fundraising appeal, the list of subscribers which included one's name, address, and sum contributed was printed in the local newspapers. Subsequently, the list was collated, and the complete Kilrush Convent of Mercy subscription list was preserved and is stored at the Mercy Congregational Archives, Catherine McAuley Centre, 23 Herbert Street, Dublin.

Following the successful appeal, Kilrush Convent of Mercy was built on a site donated by Col. Vandeleur. The builder, James Joseph McCarthy, was awarded the contract in 1860; construction began in 1862 and was completed in 1864. The convent took the form of quadrangle, with convent on west side, schools and chapel on east side, House of Mercy, and offices on the north and west sides (2).

List of subscribers (.xlsx format)

Compiled by Dr Paul O'Brien, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.
28 September 2020

(1) Limerick and Clare Examiner, 10 June 1854
(2) Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720-1940


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