St Josephs Church

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On June 4 1881, a curate from the parish of St Nicholas east, named Father Lally was made parish priest of Rahoon, a large parish with no parish church. He set about collecting funds to build one and did quite well, because on June 22 1882, the foundation stone was laid. and he started to have the church built by direct labour. A few months later, the work had to be suspended when, on October 1, a hurricane blew down one of the walls, but they managed to start up again the following March. The church was consecrated on February 7, 1886 by Dr Carr, Bishop of Galway. Dr McCormack of Achonry delivered a homily in which he appealed for funds and sponsorship. In fact funds were so low that people were charged to attend on that day.The church was designed by William Hague in a style described as English ornamental Gothic and is built of rusticated limestone. It has a high pitched roof and aisles with buttresses, small pointed windows, and a portal door with carved tympanum at the west end. The interior has arcades with polished granite columns and foliate capitals and a hammer beam roof. St Joseph’s became internationally famous in 1920 when one of the curates, Fr Michael Griffin, was abducted and murdered by the Black and Tans. They wrongly assumed he had heard the last confession of Patrick Joyce who was executed by the IRA, and they tried to extract details of the confession out of him before killing him. His funeral Mass was celebrated in the church and the funeral procession was attended by thousands of people and hundreds of clerics, in spite of dire warnings from the authorities of the day