New discoveries at St Patrick’s Church in Ardpatrick have left locals baffled about elements of the building’s history. During recent renovations at the church in the South Limerick village, it was discovered that it is likely the gallery was in fact a later addition to the building, contradicting the long-held belief that the gallery was built at the same time as the church in 1835.

Ardpatrick local Pat Casey, said there is a door on the outside wall in front of the stairs to the gallery. It (the door) was believed to have been ‘blind’ until the removal of panels inside that had been blocking the door, shows it was once in use.

“This indicates that the gallery may have been a later addition to the church,” Pat told The Avondhu. “When we took the paneling off on the stairs, it exposed the door. The thinking is that the gallery was a later addition to the church. Most likely this is it, but there is no record. No one seems to know a thing about it,” said Mr Casey.

It was thought originally that the door was just a design feature, put there to create symmetry between the three doors at the front of the church.

“The door was poorly blocked up. You could see the light through the close. We will never know for sure what happened. We would like if anyone did know anything about it, to let us know,” Pat added.

Refurbishments began on the church last spring and are now complete. It was painted inside and out and the statues on the altar were rearranged.

St Patrick’s Church originally had a tower. It was constantly leaking and all efforts to repair it failed. It was removed in the 1960s and the bell was brought to the side of the church. At this time also, the church, which is a sandstone building, was plastered.