Old Leighlin Antiquities

Historians have documented the importance of Old Leighlin and its antiquities in a number of important sources. Daniel Grose in his famous work of 1791 "The Antiquities of Ireland" refers to Old Leighlin as being situated "one and a half miles west of the River Barrow". He states that the Cathedral had been destroyed by fire and rebuilt by Donat, Bishop of Leighlin on the arrival of Henry 11. He also wrote that "The fame of St. Laserian made Old Leighlin anciently a considerable town".

Lewis's "Topographical Dictionary of 1837" refers to Old Leighlin which has "from a remote period been distinguished for its religious establishments". He mentions St. Laserian and his 1500 monks. He describes the Cathedral as "a plain ancient structure" situated in a secluded position. Its nave is 84 feet long and its chancel measures 60 feet in length. The Cathedral has a square tower "surmounted by a low spire". He also refers to the fire during the primacy of Bishop Donat and its subsequent rebuilding. Lewis writes about the handsome doorway and window and the interior containing "several ancient monuments". He briefly refers to the Holy Well as being "formerly much resorted to".

The Ordnance Survey Field Name Books for 1839 makes a brief reference to the Holy Well and says that "there is no patron held here now on St. Molaise's (St. Laserian's) Day which used to be celebrated on the 18th of April".

James Coyle in his work "The Antiquities of Leighlin" also refers to the Cathedral of Old Leighlin. He states that it is said to have been built by Donatus [Bishop Donat] circa 1230. It was built in place of the original structure which was made of wood and had been destroyed by fire. He also tells of the Gothic window "of superior workmanship". Coyle writes about St. Laserian's Well, mentioning that it is sometimes known as "St. Maloshog's Well". A great number of pilgrims visited this well in "former times". When abuses occurred, the local clergy suspended "the patron" in 1812. However people continued to place relics on the nearby hawthorn tree. Coyle writing in the 1930's states that there was a revival of devotion to this Holy Well , a committee was formed for its restoration. Bishop Foley solemnly opened the new Well with a large crowd of pilgrims in attendance.

In modern times, the "Archaeological Inventory of County Carlow" (published in 1993) includes references to the remains of the Cathedral of Old Leighlin . With regard to St. Laserian's Well, it states that "it is still venerated".

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