This ornate and welcoming church is very spiritually important to its friendly town. It is filled with beautiful paintings, statues and stained glass.
The central building of St. John’s Parish in Tralee is the St. John the Baptist church. Visit a church truly beloved by its town and showcasing priceless, interesting artworks. The tower at St. John’s is startlingly tall, dwarfing everything around. Look up at the exterior filled with detailed carvings all the way to the cross atop the spire, 200 feet (60 meters) in the air.
The church’s stonework and stained glass attract admiration and visitors from all around. Just inside the entrance see two angels hewn from Italian marble, dating from 1918, kneeling to offer basins of holy water. All the way along the long aisle are stone arches and columns.
Look for Irish romantic-realist painter Seán Keating’s paintings marking the Stations of the Cross. The warmth of timber furnishings makes the interior seem cozier than other cathedrals of such size. Natural light streams through the beautiful windows to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. More statues decorate the walls around the church, including 13th-century effigies over the entrance.
Above the altar see a canopy of columns decorated with colorful mosaics reaching to the ceiling. This is in front of the Great Sanctuary Window, which requires a long gaze to take in its detail. Study the brightly colored work depicting Christ the King, St. John the Baptist and the Twelve Apostles, all with unique symbols.
Note that a church has stood on this site since medieval times. The existing church dates from 1861 and contains pieces of the chapel that stood previously on the same site. These include the Holy Water font, statue of Our Lady of the Wayside and the old gables.
Spend some quiet reflection inside St. John the Baptist church, as a break from your tour of central Tralee. Alternatively, attend a regular Mass and see the traditions of Irish Catholicism and listen to the restored 1909 organ. St. John’s Parish church is very close to the town center of Tralee and has ample parking on-site. Behind the church, stroll through the popular rose garden.