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Parish Churches

ST. Mary’s Roman Catholic Parish

Former Church

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 Abbey, but within its own grounds, as is clearly demonstrated by the two following maps. The Abbey had its own laneway leading to the ruins, which still exists to this day, with the ‘Churchyard’ presumably referring 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 St Mary's Church. The first is an edited extract used for the valuation’s maps created using data compiled between 1829 and 1842. The second, is one, held at the Poor Servants of the Mother of God central archives in Brentford, London, and has been used here with their kind consent.

OSI Map pre 1850
PSMG Convent Archives

The Church Samuel Lewis describes was identified by the valuation maps which were also used for the Griffith’s Valuation of 1852 for Cork. The Valuation ‘House Book’ of 26th November 1847, gives the of the original ‘Chapel’ dimensions as; Length 80’, Breadth 43’ 6”, Height 17’ 6’. From this map it may be observed the Church was in a slightly different location when compared to Father Richard Seymour’s Church identified by the Convent' site map. Both show St Mary's Parish Church standing within its own ground.

Laying Foundation

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. Parish Priest, Father Richard Seymour, commenced subscriptions by contributing £100, with additional funds being provided by the local community, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

The Corner-stone inscription has been kindly transcribed and translated as following tabulation.

Actual Inscription Abbrevation Expanded Translated
A. M. D. G.
SUB PROTEC ET INVOC
B MARIAE SEMPER VIGINIS
POSUIT GULIELMUS EPPUS
PRIDIE NONAS NOV 1869
AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM
SUB PROTECTIONE ET INVOCATIONE
BEATAE MARIAE SEMPER VIRGINIS
POSUIT GULIEMUS EPISCOPUS
PRIDIE NONAS NOVEMBRIS 1869
TO THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD
UNDER THE PROTECTION AND INVOCATION
OF BLESSED MARY EVER VIRGIN
PLACED (by) WILLIAM BISHOP
THE DAY BEFORE THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER 1869

Seymour’s church was constructed on the site of the former erected in 1815 by the then Parish Priest, Father Matt Horgan, the remounted Historian & antiquarian, which by now was almost totally in ruins. Its ground having been held in perpetuity by Thomas Forest (Forrest) who became owner of the land by the sale of Lord Barrymore’s Estate (Date to be confirmed).

It was recently realised the alongside bell used for the Sisters’ Day and Boarding School now located on the wall of their New Convent Home, was most likely the one placed upon Father Horgan's church, but there is now way of knowing for sure. It inscription reads;

“W Seymour Maker Cork 1819.”

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 the stained glass window above high alter bearing the inscription;


“Sacred to the memory of
THOMAS FOREST, ESQ.,
Donor in prosperity of the Inclosure
whereon 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, an inscription:-

"To God,
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 .

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