St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, 1823

This drawing of the Collegiate Church was done in December 1823 (at about 2pm according to the clock ) by EW Thompson. It was presented to the vestry by another EW Thompson of Tullymore, Broughshane, Co Antrim, in 1947.

The artist was standing in Shop Street, and by leaving out what is Eason’s corner today, he gave himself licence to include more of the church grounds than he could see at any one time from that angle. The corner of the wall facing us is that of Church Lane and Shop Street. The Tholsel, or Town Hall, was situated on this corner. It had recently burnt down and some of the stone was removed to build the facade of the Bank of Ireland at the top of Eyre Square. You can still see the old Tholsel arches there. The rest of the stone was probably used in building the wall we see, thus helping to widen the street. There are railings now where you can see the gate at the church end of the wall.

Just behind the Shop Street section of the wall is where the “Stannins” or “Arches” is today, between Thimble Castle and Church Lane. It was originally an arcade of stalls that stood on the 70 feet of frontage, and which was to be 12 feet high.

As we look at the church, the Lynch Transept is on the left, the Chapel of the Knights Templar is in the corner, and the Sanctuary is on the right. Some of the windows are slightly different today. The tower we see was not part of the original church but was constructed in the 15th century. In the mid-19th century, the top part was removed and changed to the steeple we know today. In the 1960s, it was re-plastered so the original masonry is no longer visible.

The buildings we see to the right of the drawing were on the church side of Lombard Street, ie, opposite Herterich’s. The 1820 Logan map of Galway shows a number of buildings on that site, one of which was where the Lynch window is today.

For a long time, the wall on Church Lane was seven or eight feet high. Coming up to the Quincentenary, it was lowered and the railings that had once surrounded Eyre Square were place on top. This opened up part of the centre of the city and made it a lot more attractive. It also allowed the general public to see and appreciate the antiquity of the graveyard around the church.


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