Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect and builder, of Wexford. Richard Pierce, a son of RICHARD PIERCE [1]  RICHARD PIERCE [1] and Ann Kelly, was born in 1831, apparently some two years before his parents' marriage on 15 February 1833. He was involved in the erection of several Catholic churches, either as builder or as architect. He evidently fell out with his foreman JOHN KELLY JOHN KELLY , whose letter to the Irish Builder, describing PUGIN & PUGIN & amp; ASHLIN' ASHLIN' s church at Lady's Island, Co. Wexford, was published on 1 May 1863.(1) Pierce's lengthy response in the next issue was heavily sarcastic in tone. 'It affords me great pleasure,' he concludes, 'to know that the estimate which almost hit the mark is claimed to have been made by one who was trained in my employment, having been my foreman for several years at the Gothic churches of Wexford, Dublin, Portlaw, and Clonea; and if that be the fact, I am proud to find a pupil of mine acquitting himself so cleverly.' (2) In July 1859 his premises in Allen Street, Wexford, were damaged by a fire which was apparently caused by a glue pot having been left on the fire while the workmen had their breakfast.(3)  In February 1862 he was declared bankrupt.(4)

Pierce died in 1864 during the construction of his church at Headford, Co. Galway.(5) He had married Alice Armstrong in Wexford town on 9 May 1852 and was the father of two sons and five daughters.(6)

Addresses: Workshop: Allen Street, Wexford, 1859.
Home: Waterloo Place, Wexford, 1859.



(1) DB 5, 1 May 1863, 80.
(2) DB 5, 15 May 1863, 89.
(3) Wexford Independent, 9 Jul 1859.
(4) Irish Times, 22 Feb,22 Mar 1862. 
(5) Appendix by Celestine Rafferty to article by Barry O'Leary, 'Richard Pierce: Architect and Acolyte of the Gothic Revival', in Journal of the Wexford Historical Society No. 20 (2004-2005), 94 (photograph of cross on grave).
(6) Rita Curtis, 'St Fintan's Church' in Taghmon Historical Society I (1996), 14 (http://homepage.eircom.net/~taghmon/histsoc/vol1/14rita/14rita.htm); according to this source he also built Lady's Island church.

3 work entries listed in chronological order for PIERCE, RICHARD [2]

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Date: 1859-1864
Nature: New Gothic church for Fr Martin Fortune.. FS laid 30 Jul 1859. Opening ceremony Mar 1864 (St Patrick's Day). Cost £1,800 at time of opening. (Bell, 1865; new organ, 1867)
Refs: DB 2, 1 Oct 1860, 352; Wexford Independent, 3 Aug 1859, 16 Apr 1862,14 Jan 1863; The People, 31 Aug 1861, 12,26 Mar 1864,19 Aug 1865,17 Aug 1867 (information from newspapers kindly supplied by Conor O'Brien, Annacurra, Co. Wicklow); DB 4, 1 May 1862, 112;  Churches of the Diocese of Ferns (Booklink, 2004), 27(illus.).

Date: 1861
Nature: RP architect and builder of Scots Free Church manse for Rev. Mr Burns. Estimated cost: £600.
Refs: DB 3, 1 Jul,15 Aug 1861, 564,609

Date: 1863-1866
Nature: New Gothic, aisle-less church, for Father Peter Conway. Estimated cost: £2,000. Completed after death of RP under supervision of W.G. Murray.
Refs: DB 5, 1 Sep 1863, 149; 8, 15 Mar 1866, 78; B 21, 22 Aug,5 Sep 1863, 605,636;