First Mountbolus Church
One of the few blessings enjoyed by the parish during the 18th century was peace and, as a result, the population, so greatly reduced during the preceding century by war and devastation, began to increase. This was probably one of the reasons why it was decided, during the second half of the century, to build a new and larger church in place of the old one in Rathkerragan. It was no longer necessary for Catholics when they worshipped God to hide away in inconvenient and inaccessible places, approached only by Mass paths, lest they give offence to the authorities, and so for the new building they secured the present church grounds in Mountbolus and erected it inside the gate on the right-hand side. This church had a thatched roof and it survived till it was replace by the present building in 1837. The only relics of it still in existence are a holy water font and a silver chalice. The font has an inscription which may indicate the year in which the church was built : Michael Duigan - Annabrack - his gift 1774 ; while the chalice is inscribed : The gift of Mrs. Mary Molloy to the parish of Gortacor, 1781.
Whatever year the church was built, it was not a recent erection when Bishop Plunket visited the parish in 1780, for he usually mentioned such details in his pastoral notes
Fr. Cogan tells how in the penal days 'there was a chapel at Rathkerrig a wild mountainous place; next on the present site of Mountbolus, followed by the present handsome chapel of Mountbolus.' This latter chapel 'was built by Rev. Walter Lynch, assisted by his curates for the time being. . .' The date of erection and the nature of its predecessor may be seen from the note in one of the parochial registers: 'Dec.31. 1837. Cash for thatch, timber etc. etc. of old chapel £9..3..10.'
Church of St. Brigid, Mount Bolus
A contemporary account of the building of the present church describes it as 'a beautiful oblong edifice, one hundred and twenty feet by forty, thirty feet in height, adorned by a beautiful French vestry, which cost £1,200, subscribed by the parishioners, save £316, the charitable bequest of the late William Molloy, Esq., of Cork. The altar, ornaments and vestments were presented by the worthy family of Broughall Castle.'
The chapel was seated and repairs to the roof and windows were effected by Fr. Flood during 1863-7. A new floor was set down and new windows were erected by Fr. O'Reilly between 1916 and 1921.
In 1967 a new roof was put on Mount Bolus church and in 1984 the church was remodeled, with new seating, heating and the removal of the old altar rails. The statues and walls were painted and the work, which cost £125,000 was carried out by Guinan Brothers of Derrydolney. It was rededicated by Most Rev. Michael Smith on 29 April 1984.
The church was carpeted during 1993 and was redecorated most recently in 1998.
In August 1997 a new organ was purchased for the church and has proved to be an invaluable addition to the celebration of the liturgy. The two manual, 56 stop Hymnus III organ which uses the most up to date digital oversampling, was manufactured by Albhorn. It replaced the Harmonium bought thirty years previously during the time of Fr. Joseph Mooney.
During the year 2000 the stained glass windows in the Church were restored by Abbey Stained Glass Studios and the entire Chruch was stormglazed. (See link to windows below)
Because of the close association of St. Brigid with Killoughy and Ballyboy, the church in Mount Bolus is dedicated to St. Brigid.
Description of St. Brigids Church, Mountbolus
Like all churches, St. Brigids Church, Mountbolus is not merely a functional place where people can gather to celebrate the Sacraments. The church tells the story of the people who built it and adorned it. It is a testament to their faith, a faith that they have handed down to us and that we celebrate and hand on in our time. Following the example of the great Cathedral Churches of Europe even small country churches make full use of the visual senses to lead us into wonder and awe in Gods presence. The church in Mountbolus is no exception as everywhere you turn there are images that inspire, educate and lift the soul.
It is commonplace in churches to dedicate fittings to the memory of deceased relatives or friends. However, during the restoration of the church in the 1980s it was decided not to place new plaques on new or restored fittings as all parishioners had made donations towards the cost of the works. It can be said therefore that the church is a memorial to all the people of the parish, past and present.
Church Yard and Related buildings
Image of the Church Interior before 1919
Some of the Parishioners then
Image of the present Church Interior
Another image of the present Church