A very generous anonymous donor saved the famine-era St. Brigid’s Church in New York City’s East Village from the wreakers ball. The Gothic-style church was designed by Patrick Keely – a Tipperary man – who moved to New York as a young man had a long and distinguished career as an architect. The work of building the church was carried out by Irish craftsmen who had fled the great hunger in Ireland. St. Brigid’s became a haven for the Irish-American community, and later for all nationalities that have called the parish home.
Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston Massachusetts
The renown architect who also designed the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston has an even more local Lowell connection as the designer of St. Patrick’s Church in the Acre along with St. Michael’s Church in Centralville, the Immaculate Conception Church on East Merrimack Street and the demolished St. Peter’s Church once located on Gorham Street on Chapel Hill. Reading an article about St. Brigid’s on the news site IrishCentral.com brought back memories of the brouhaha, angst and actual demise of St. Peter’s. The other Lowell Keely churches remain. Over the years they have been maintained – not without struggle – and continue as places of worship for the faithful. The Immaculate Conception – whose cornerstone was laid in 1871 – is currently undergoing an over $2 million restoration and renovation looking toward the future.
On his blog LowellIrish, historian Dave McKeon tell of the story of Keely and St. Patick’s here: http://irishlowell.blogspot.com/2012/03/man-who-built-dreams-patrick-keely.html
Read about the saving of St. Brigid’s Church here: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Anonymous-20-million-donation-saves-church-built-by-Irish-immigrants-186680391.html
Learn more about Patrick Keeley and see a list of the churches he designed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Keely