St. Peter's Church

John Wesley, founder of the Methodists, is said to have preached in only one Protestant Church. And, believe it or not, what remains of that Church, St. Peter's, is in Railway Street, Portlaoise. Indeed, St. Peter's and the adjoining graveyard can claim to have many distinctions, yet it is not one of the Board of Works' historic sites or buildings, nor is it on any Bord Fáilte tourist leaflet. St. Peter's was originally a Catholic Church and it was built during the reign of Queen Mary. During Queen Elizabeth the First's reign the church was adapted for use by Protestants. Between 1594 and 1607 there was no Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and no Bishops of Ferns and Kildare; these districts being inside the Pale.

The then Pope appointed Rev. Dr. Robert O'Lalor, D.D. - a Laoisman - Vicar-Apostolic and Archdeacon of Dublin, Ferns and Kildare. Dr. O'Lalor travelled widely performing his priestly duties (he was under the protection of the Earls of Ormond and the O'Moore of Laois). However, he was finally captured by the English and imprisoned in the Castle of Maryborough. His captors offered to make him Archbishop of Armagh and Bishop of Down and Connor if he would become a Protestant. He refused and was hung, drawn, and quartered in Maryborough in 1607. He was buried in the graveyard adjoining St. Peter's. A headstone was erected over his grave by his family.

previousPrevious - SS. Peter and Paul's Church
Next - Street Namesnext