Viscountess Ema de Vesci organised a major renovation of the modern Church of Ireland church in the 1860s, which resulted in the dismantling of the older church except for the bell-tower and spire and the complete rebuilding of the structure under the direction of architect Mr. Thomas Wyatt. The stained glass windows in the new building, examples of the work of the renowned stained glass artist Mr. Henry Holiday, are particularly beautiful. The rector of Abbeyleix during many of these changes was Rev. William Wingfield who having been installed in 1836 served the parish with distinction for 44 years, until his death in 1880.
Rector Patrick Harvey shows Fiona Clooney the grave where Titanic victim Henry Gillespie’s parents are buried. Henry’s body was never recovered but his name lives on because it was added to his parents gravestone as seen in this short film.
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