Father Mathew in Navan 1842

fr matthew



St. Patrick's Day 1842

The Tablet, 26 March 1842


About four o'clock p.m.

on the eve of St. Patrick's Day,

Father Mathew (pictured left)

and the venerated Bishop of the diocese,

Dr. Cantwell,

arrived at Navan, and proceeded to the residence of the

Very Rev. Dr. O'Reilly,

Roman Catholic rector.



At this time triumphal arches had been erected at every entrance to the town.

Immediately after the midnight hour had passed, the opening of Ireland's festival day was announced by a flourish of music.  About nine o'clock in the morning the town presented a rich sylvan scene.  Every house was covered with a profusion of laurel, the emblem of a nation's triumph.  At twelve o'clock the noble temple dedicated to the Most High presented a most cheering spectacle.  The space reserved around the sanctuary was filled by the families of as many of the respectable gentry around the country as could find accommodation.

It was estimated that about 8000 persons were congregated within the walls of the sacred edifice.  The Very Rev. Dr. Barry was the officiating priest; Very Rev. Dr. M'Evoy, deacon ; Rev. Mr. Kealy, sub-deacon, and Rev. Mr. Jones, master of the ceremonies.  His lordship, the Right Rev. Dr. Cantwell, Rev. Dr. O'Reilly, Rev. Mr. Power, and several other clergymen surrounded the sanctuary.

Immediately after the conclusion of the High Mass, the Very Rev. Mr. Mathew ascended the altar, taking his text from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews,

"Remember your prelates who have spoken the word of God to you ; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." — ch. 13, v. 7.

The very reverend preacher proceeded to deliver a glowing eulogium on the first apostle of Ireland.  He then gave a bright and a happy picture of that flourishing state of religion which won for Ireland the proud title of the "Island of Saints."

Touching on her partial fall from virtue through the agency of the demon of intemperance, he pointed out with prophetic foresight her restoration to happiness and to virtue, through her abandonment of that vice.  He then directed attention to the ruins of the ancient temples of our religion, and reverted to the many splendid buildings now raised throughout the land, and fixing upon that in which his auditors were then assembled, pronounced a well-merited compliment on the venerated prelate, and the zealous pastor, under whose auspices this noble building was erected by the piety of the parishioners, and the liberality and munificence of her Dissenting brethren.

The eloquent appeal was responded to by the generous contribution of upwards of £120 in aid of this temple of the Lord.  The Very Rev. Apostle of Temperance then proceeded to deliver the pledge in the church.