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Modern improvements – 1823

Connaught JournalGalway

St. Nicholas' Church Galway Wikimedia Commons
St. Nicholas’ Church
Wikimedia Commons

5th June, 1823

It has been thought expedient to place upon the levey book a good round sum
for the erection of two Galleries in the Church of St. Nicholas. One Gallery
is finished, at least the heavy work has been gone through, and has cost the
inhabitants of this miserable place some – (we do not know how many)
hundreds. The other Gallery will, we hear, be as expensive, if not more so-
and will be erected in the identical spot in which the former Gallery stood,
which was taken down a few years back.

Thus it was with us in Galway.  We have, as the proverb says, “a time to gather and a time to scatter- a time to build up and a time to pull down.” If a Gallery was considered at all necessary in this beautiful building why was the old one taken down?

It certainly was not removed through any apprehension of its falling, for the
work and materials were found to be excellent; no – this was not the reason
of its disappearing.  The Parish saw, that instead of its being at all
useful or necessary, it was calculated for very bad purposes, being nothing
less than a perfect nuisance, and a lurking place for abomination of every
description – a mere profanation of the House of God. In this assertion we
are borne out by every person with whom we have communicated; and, while all
see that it is an unnecessary expence to the Parish, none have had the
firmness to come forward and oppose the impost.  Our astonishment at this is
very great; but we must confess that it is wonderfully increased at hearing
that it is intended to remove, or take down, the handsomest ornament in the
Church, for the purpose of making way for this Gallery.

We here allude to Lynch’s Altar. The new Gallery cannot be built so as to avoid disturbing this venerable remnant of antiquity, as the old one was, but Lynchs’ Altar – the finest specimen of mechanism in the entire building.   Lynch’s Altar, which has stood the test of so many centuries, and even commanded the protection of a Gothic infuriated Soldiery in the general destruction of Church property and ornaments, must be now set aside, removed or taken down- and by whom?  By men who ought to be enlightened – who pretend to taste and judgment, but who do not seem possessed of any strong claims on either. The large tomb will be (we hear) also removed. We shall merely ask – will the
descendants of the LYNCH family suffer this to pass without an observation?