The Abbey Church
When the monks from Maredsous arrived in Glenstal in 1927, one of their first priorities was to erect a church, in which they could perform, in a worthy fashion, the Divine Office. However, financial restraints forced them to build a simple chapel, which was completed in 1932, and sufficed for their needs until the 1950s. The architect of the new church was Dom Sebastian Braun, The contractor was Mr. P. Cullen and the foreman Hughie Smith. The foundation-stone was laid on 14 October 1951, during the priorship of Dom Bernard O’Dea. The church was completed and blessed by Archbishop Kinane, on 24 June 1956, during the priorship of Dom Placid Murray. Soon after this, the monastery was made an abbey, and the first abbot, Dom Joseph Dowdall, elected on 11 April 1957.
The church has undergone several adaptations, to fall into line with the recommendations of Vatican Council II. With the introduction of Concelebrated Mass, the ten side chapels became redundant, while the High Altar was placed in a more prominent position. Under the direction of Jeremy Williams, the interior of the church was painted and given a new look. The ceiling received a very interesting colour scheme, while the area around the organ was also much enhanced. Altogether, the church now has an appealing appearance, though undoubtedly it will undergo further changes as time goes on.