ST. Mary’s Roman Catholic Parish
When describing the Catholic Church (Chapel) of Carrigtwohill, Samuel Lewis has got it wrong once again. The Church was
not situated on the site of the Old Abby, but within its own grounds, as is clearly demonstrated by the two
following maps. The Abby had its own laneway leading to the Abby ruins, which still exists to this day. The
‘Churchyard’ presumably refers to the Protestant Church.
".... the chapel is situated on the site of an old abbey near the churchyard, and near it is a parochial house for
the priest ...."
Care has been taken to ensure the same area, as near as possible, has been selected. In doing so, naturally, the
scale would not be correct. Both include the ‘Glebe’ which is used today as a carparking area for the church.
The Church Samuel Lewis describes was first identified by the map used for the Griffith’s Valuation of 1852 for Cork. From
this map it may be observed the Church was much smaller, and in a slightly different location when compared to Father Richard
Seymour’s Church identified by the circa 1890s OSI (Ordinance Survey Ireland) map. Both show the Parish Church standing
within its own ground.
The ‘Corner-stone’ of today’s Roman Catholic Church of St Mary’s was laid down, 4th November 1869, by Bishop
of Cloyne, Dr William Keane; the foundation stone having been laid a week earlier. Its construction works were undertaken
by Mr. Newsted of Fermoy, estimated to cost £2,500, by Parish Priest, Father Richard Seymour, who commenced subscriptions
by contributing £100, with additional funds being provided by the local community, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.
This church was erected on the site of the former, then almost totally in ruins, itself erected in 1812 on the site
held in perpetuity by Thomas Forrest who became owner of the land by the sale of Lord Barrymore’s Estate. Date to
Not visible from street level, with photograph taken from within convent, this stone was originally set in the
former Horgan Church, had been properly transferred to Seymour’s new church, may be found on the eastern gable
wall below stained glass window above high alter bearing the inscription;
“Sacred to the memory of
THOMAS FORREST, ESQ.,
Donor in prosperity of the Enclosure
in which this CHURCH is built;
and a munificent subscriber
to the building A.D., 1815.
Cork Examiner 5th November 1869
“…. No parish possessed a pastor of greater zeal or devotion to the interests of his flock than the Rev. Richard
Seymour, P. P. of Carrigtwohill, and with an equal desire to make respectable provision for the service of religion,
he set about commencing the erection of a new church, on the site of the old one….” Cork Examiner, 5th November 1869
Bishop Keane commented;
“…. You have given your subscriptions freely, willingly, generally; and I heard with great pleasure, more than once,
that since the subscription list was opened, several of the farmers have come in and paid down the whole amount of
what for them was a proportionate share. I heard also, with very great pleasure, that some of those who do not join
you in prayer – whose religious convictions are different from the Catholic faith – have also contributed largely. Two
living in the parish have each given so large a sum as £100...”
Cork Examiner, 2nd December 1870;
“A relic, not less interesting, is the stone, to be found in the western wall of the church, beneath the statue of
Our Blessed Lady. It was originally placed by the late well-known Father Matt. Horgan, in the porch of the old parish
church; and it may be considered as suggesting the name for the new edifice, since it bears, in the Irish character,
Under the protection of
The Blessed Virgin.”
First Mass and Consecration
Although the new Church was consecrated 14th May 1872, this was not when the first Mass was celebrated
by Richard Seymour. That took place the previous day. Unfortunately, the alongside article does not have a source
reference, so will need to be checked again.
Two days later the Cork Examiner published a long and detailed account of the consecration ceremony, which has been fully transcribed by members of our committee. Being far too lengthy to include here it may be viewed separately .
More to come