Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Irish-born architect, of New York. Patrick Charles Keely (originally Kiely) was born in Thurles, Co. Tipperary,(1) on 4 August 1816.(2) He is said to have been educated at St Patrick's College, Thurles,(3) and to have worked under his father, a carpenter and builder(4) who has been credited with building St Patrick's College in 1829-37 and the Thurles Fever Hospital in 1838-40. In 1842, at the age of twenty-five, Patrick emigrated to the United States and settled in Brooklyn, changing the spelling of his name from Kiely to Keely. From the end of the 1840s until 1890, when he was incapacitated by a stroke, Keely was the leading Catholic church architect in the United States. He was also responsible for the enlargement of St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He died in Brooklyn on 11 August 1896.


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from J. Philip McAleer, 'Keely, "The Irish Pugin of America"', Irish Arts Review 4, no. 3 (Autumn 1997), 16-24, which is illustrated with six photographs of Keely's work.

(1) According to the article on Keely by Robert T. Murphy in Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects II, 556-7, he was born in Kilkenny.
(2) Dates of Keely's birth and death supplied by Kenneth Severens, citing 'BDAM'.
(3) Letter from H.L. McGill Wilson, 2222 Eye St NW, Washington, to AAI, 3 Mar 1951 (in Jones file).
(4) Perhaps John Kiely of Stradavoher Street, Thurles. who is listed as a carpenter and builder in I. Slater's National Commercial Directory of Ireland (1846), 316.