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Towns of Laois


French Church. Portarlington

Huguenot cross

From the 16th to the 18th century the name Huguenot was applied to a member of the Protestant Reformed Church of France, historically known as the French Calvinists.

In 1590 a colony of Huguenots was established in the ancient village of Swords near Dublin and they became noted for their knowledge and skill in the manufacture of linen. In 1666 there were numerous Huguenots from France, of wealth and importance living in or near Dublin. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Duke of Ormonde, asked the Archbishop of Dublin to select a suitable consecrated place of worship for the Huguenot congregation and he named St Mary’s Chapel belonging to St Patrick’s Cathedral, the established Protestant Church of Ireland. This was granted for the purpose proposed on December 23,1665.One important proviso being that "the French congregation should be bound by the discipline and canons of the Church of Ireland under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Ireland" The official opening on April 29,1666 had in attendance the Duke and Duchess of Ormonde, the Lord Primate of Ireland, the Lord Archbishop of Ireland, the Lord High Chancellor of Ireland, the Council of State and numerous other high officials as well as many ladies. The service and sermon were in French and the Archbishop of Dublin gave the Benediction in French. The grant was renewed over many subsequent years until 1816.After 150 years services in French were discontinued.

Source - Dot Clayworth

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