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Parish Churches

ST. Mary’s Roman Catholic Parish

Former Church

Samual Lewis;

".... the chapel is situated on the site of an old abbey near the churchyard, and near it is a parochial house for the priest ...."

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, 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 be confirmed

Not visible from street level, but taken from within convent, a stone may be found on the east 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 anno Domini, 1815.

This stone was originally set in the former Church, and had been properly transferred to the new church.

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….”

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 .

St Mary's Parish with Poor Servant's Convent & Old Monastery
from Fr Francis Devas SJ, DSO, OBE, Mother Mary Magdalen, 1927

More to come

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