Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Queens County. (Co. Laois/Leix)
Page 1
Irish/English translations of ARLES:-
An Ard-lios:- "The High Ring Fort or The Fortified Hill"
An Ard-glas:- "The Verdant Hill"
Map of Queens County c.1563
(Notice the village of Arles, Balaing & Castleton.)

Arles Chapel
This picture is of Arles Chapel taken from Antiquities of Ireland ii, 1795.
This was the first Catholic church to be built in Arles
According to tradition it was built by a lady of the Hartpoles family.
It had a thatched roof and was built in the form of a cross
(see picture above).
In one arm of the cross was the tomb of the Grace family.

Copy of Griffiths Valuation map of Arles c.1850s

Copy of Ballynagall District GV map c.1850s

Sacrat Heart Church of Arles looking South towards Ballickmoyler & Carlow c.2021. Note the Turnstile into Church yard to the right of the gate.
Source Google image.

Parish of Arles

According to Rev M Comerford "Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin" Vol. 3 (1886).

In 1795 this structure was replaced by another church, which, in turn was replaced by the present beautiful church in 1868. The present church is a most impressive structure, whose height is accentuated by its elevated site. It is lavishly built, in cut limestone, which was quarried locally, The church was constructed by local tradesmen, stone cutters and masons.

The cost of building the chapel was in the region of about 3,000 which was provided by Mrs Grace and was built mainly by voluntary workers from around the parish including my family. This chapel replaced the one which was built in the early 17th century in the shape of a cross and had a thatched roof. (Picture above).

The Grace family were the descendants of William Fitzgerald, called Raymond Fitzwilliam, who accompanied Richard "Strongbow" de Clare to Ireland in 1170 and who got the name Raymond le Gros from his great size and strength. They got great grants of land in Ossory and were sometimes styled Barons of Tullaroan.

They came to Queens County over 200 years ago and settled in the ancient district of Shangana, which they styled Gracefield. They were a rich and enterprising family and worked a colliery for many years They also had a cotton factory which was later transformed into a corn mill. A descendent of the local Grace family, William Russell Grace founded the well known international company W.R. Grace & Company (1854).

One of them emigrated to South America early in the 1800's and was so successful in the shipping business that he established the "Green Line" shipping company. He returned to Ireland and invited emigrants from Laois, Carlow and Kilkenny to travel on his ships to South America where they would get employment.

The Graces of America now operate an air line known as Pan AGRA to South America. One of the family came to Ireland in the 1960's and became interested in Urney Chocolates Ltd.

The last member of the Grace family in Laois married a Captain White and the beautiful mansions and property passed to J.J. Parkenson, the famous race-horse owner. The place passed through many hands since including an Italian Countess who sold the mansion for the sum of 30,500 in the 50's.

In 1885 William was Mayor of New York and he accepted the Statue of Liberty from the French on behalf of the American people,

The circumjacent cemetery has been extensively used during the last two centuries for the interment of both priests and laity; of the former it is said that scarcely less than 40 lie at rest here.

Over the remains of a few of these appear the following inscriptions:-

"Here lieth the body of the Rev. Bryan Moore, who departed this life August 3rd, 1746, aged--." (Age obliterated; but as he is stated, in the Registry of 1704, to have been then "aged 49 and some months," he was therefore in his 92nd year at the period of his death.)

On the same stone:-

"Here lieth the body of the Rev. William Moore, P.P. of ----" (Name of place effaced.), "who departed this life the 19th of April, 1766, in the 66th year of his age. Requiescat in Pace."

"Here lieth the body of the Revd. William Keating, who departed this life November the 12th, 1755, aged 74 years. Req. in pace."

"Here lieth the body of the Revd. William Keating, who died November 12th, 1764, aged 44 years. Requiescat in pace."

"Here lieth the body of the Rev. Patrick Lalor, who departed this life, January the 11th, 1773, aged 33 years. Also the Rev. Felix Nowlan of Rarou . . County Carlow, who departed this life August 31st, 1794, aged 42 years. Lord have mercy on their souls."

"Here lieth the body of the Rev. James Wall, who departed this life the 27th of April, 1771, aged 49 years. Requiescat in pace.

"Here lie interred the remains of the Rev. Patrick Murphy, Parish Priest of Castle Carbury, County Kildare, who departed this life the 2nd March, 1794, aged 52 years. Requiescat in pace."

"Here lieth the body of the Rev. James Taaffe, who departed this life the 10th of February, 1763, aged 35 years. Requiescat in pace."

"Here hieth the body of the Rev. Michael Fleming, who departed this life the 30th day of January, 1823, aged 30 years. Requiescat in pace."

On mural tablets within the church, are the following:-

 "Here lie the remains of the Very Rev. Jeremiah Lalor, P.P of Killabane, and Penitentiary of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. Learned, pious, meek, and disinterested during life, he died poor, and lamented as a father by a grateful people, over whom he presided for 28 years. Born in 1754, he departed this life on the 1st January, 1821, in the 66th year of his age. R.I.P.

"Erected in memory of the Rev. James Doran, who departed this life, 9th January, 1845, aged 40. Requiescat in pace."

Another tablet has an inscription to the memory of the Rev. Henry O'Neill, C.C. of Arles, who died 12th of July, 1876.

Inserted in the floor, in front of the high altar, is a monumental brass to the memory of the Rev. James Bray, Administrator of the Parish, who died in February, 1879.

Rev E Lalor 1925-1937. I believe he was curate at Arles during this period. Our thanks to Niall Burgess who discovered this photo during his own research in 2013. In February 1937 he attended Frank Slaters funeral at Carlow Cathedral and is listed as the C.C. for Arles.
'Pray for the soul of Very Rev. Albert G. Byrne. Ordained 1908.
Parish Priest of Arles from 1941-1963'.
Rev. Daniel W. Cahill D.D. of Ashfield
Source: The Newspaper Book, A History of Newspapers in Ireland, 1649-1983. by Hugh Oram and, Irish Records by James Ryan.
The Leinster Leader can be seen online at:

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Michael Brennan July 2001. All Rights reserved