St Matthew's Church Crosskeys
was a chapel in the townland of Loonogs in the late 1700s and early
1800s. It was a thatched
chapel and the walls were built with poor quality irregular stone. Like
many of the chapels of this period it was used as a school during the
week. In 1837 Samuel Lewis, in his Topographical
present St Matthew’s Church was built in 1839. It was in the process
of being built when the roof was blown off by the ‘Big Wind’ on the
night of 6 January 1839. It
is a rectangular building with high Romanesque windows.
This church has served the people of the Crosskeys area ever
Michael Young was appointed parish priest of Denn in 1928 he reported
that the church was in a very bad state and it ‘presented the
appearance of decay and neglect.’
In 1929 the church was re-plastered inside and outside. New
windows were inserted the following year. In 1931 a new gallery was
added. The stations of the cross, which were made in
The work carried out on the Church included a new roof, new floor, new windows, and extended sanctuary area, the addition of a sacristy, belfry, toilets and car park. The beautiful stained glass windows were donated by the Sisters of Mercy, Ballinamore, as their convent was closing. Three new stained glass windows behind the altar were created by William Earley, a stained glass artist. His granduncle, of the same name, had created the other stained glass windows c.1918 for the Mercy Convent in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim. William Earley’s daughter, Jane, tastefully restored the stations of the cross and the statutes. Joe Sheridan installed all of the stained glass windows.
marble work was all done by Donald McDonald from Kilkenny.
He dismantled the
original marble reredos and side altars, cleaned them and carefully
rebuilt them. He also built
the new ambo, altar, presidential chair and baptismal font and supplied
the beautiful centre-piece for the altar depicting the presentation of the
child Jesus in the
The old bell, which was made in 1843, was restored and erected in the new belfry. Extensive car parking was developed along the road.
The church was rededicated by Bishop Leo O'Reilly on 7th December 2008.