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St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend

St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend, Co. Cork, Ireland.

In the Parish of Castlehaven.

History.

This parish first appears in the decretal epistle of Pope Innocent III (1199) as Glenberchin.

In the visitation book of 1615 it is called Glenbarahan.

The patron saint has been identified with Berehan, son of Man of Sil Ludach Laidhe.

The eastern gable of the original Church still stands in the old graveyard at Castlehaven, at the south-western end of the harbour.

Owing to a movement of the Protestant population eastwards to the village then forming, now called Castletownshend, a petition was sent in 1756 to the Lord Lieutenant and his Majesty’s Privy Council of Ireland asking permission to build a church more in the centre of the parish “owing to the danger of shipwreck suffered by the devout on their way to church in winter”.

This petition was granted the same year by the Lords Justice and Council of Ireland and a church was built on the existing site in 1761. An acre of land for the church and graveyard was sold to the parish by Richard Townsend for the nominal price of five shillings.

This Church cannot have been well built or maintained as there is an entry in the minute book of the Select Vestry, dated 19th April, 1824, which reads: “Resolved that from the ruinous state of the present Church it is absolutely expedient that a new one be built.” The present church was therefor built on the same site, in 1826, at a cost of £1,384. 12s3¾d.

On December 16th 1976 a service of thanksgiving was held for the 150 years of use of the present Church. At this sesquicentenary service, the sermon was preached by the then Primate of all Ireland, the Most Reverend Dr. G. O. Simms. There was a large congregation of many denominations.

Patronage.

The ancient patrons of the living were the chiefs of the O’Driscoll Clan. After the rebellion in1601 and subsequent flight to Spain it was granted alternately to the Bishop of Ross and the British Crown. This arrangement continued until the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1870.

Building.

The architect was James Pain, Provincial Architect.

The Church is built of stone from Horse Island. This is the larger island at the mouth of the harbour. For some unknown reason it was most clearly stated in the specification that no American timber was to be used anywhere in the Church. Originally it had the high box pews, each with its own door, that were normal at the period. These were replaced by the present pews in 1889.

Church Approaches.

There are fifty-two steps up to the Church, one for every Sunday of the year. The iron arches and handrail are of local craftsmanship, the former in the memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Chavasse and the latter in memory of the Vice-Admiral Boyle Somerville, C.M.G. and Mrs. Somerville of the Point House.

Church Doors.

The outer Church doors, erected in 1950 and made of teak, are in memory of the Very Reverend Harry Becher, late Dean of Ross and Mrs. Becher. He was Rector of this Parish from 1891-1914. The inner doors erected in 1948 are of oak and are in memory of Major Henry Chavasse of Seafield.

The Porch.

Here is an oar from a ship’s boat of “SS Lusitania” sunk by enemy action in 1915, not far from the harbour. It stands here in memory of the many drowned passengers and crew who were brought into the harbour.

Windows.

The East Window:

This represents the Blessed Virgin and the Child Christ. On their right are the Three Kings with their gifts of gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. On the left are the Shepherds with St. Joseph in the background. The three Saints in the headlights are St. Brigid, one of the patron saints of Ireland, St. Fachtna, founder of the diocese of Ross, and St. Barrahane, patron saint of this parish. The window is by Harry Clarke of Dublin (1889-1931) one of the greatest glass craftsmen of modern times. It was substituted (by permission) for an earlier window that was erected in 1872 by Thomas Somerville, D.L. of Drishane House, in this parish, in memory of his wife, Henrietta Townsend of Castletownshend. The present window was given in the year 1915 by the grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Somerville to the memory of their grandparents.

Window in the South Wall of the Chancel:

Here is a small window of exceptional beauty also by Harry Clarke. It is in memory of Sir Egerton Coghill, Bart., of Glenbarrahane, himself a painter, and represents St. Luke the Apostle, patron of painters. Note the head of the Blessed Virgin sketched on the palette in the Saint’s hand. Round the central figure in miniature are the figures of St. John, St. Fidelis (name-day saint of Sir Egerton), St. Barrahane holding the Church and St. Cecilia seated at her organ.

The Eastern Window on the North Side:

This is a memorial to LT. Col. Thomas henry Somerville Drishane. It represents Archangels Gabriel ad Michael (the Messenger of the Lord and Captain of the Heavenly hosts respectively). The details of the wings, armour and vestments are worthy of note, especially the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The window is by Powell of London.

The Eastern Most window on the South Side

Is in memory of the Colonel’s wife Adelaide, born Coghill. It represents Hope and Charity and is also by Powell.

Second Window on the South Side:

This is a memorial to Sir Joscelyn Coghill, Bart., and to his eldest son, Lieu. Neville Coghill, V.C., who died saving the colours of his regiment, the first Battalion of the 24th Foot (which later became the South Wales Borderers), at the battle of Isandlwhana against the Zulu’s. The two figures are those of St. Patrick and St. George. Between them may be seen the Irish Sea. This is another Powell window.

Third Window on the South Side is in memory of Colonel Kendall Coghill, C.B. a veteran of the Indian Mutiny. On the left can be seen St. Louis (Louis IX, King of France), an ancestor of Colonel Coghill. Over the head of the Saint are the poor men who used to fed at his table and, in the headlight is the ship in which he sailed to the east to fight the infidels, and the angels who guarded his ship. On the right is St. Martin of Tours, patron of soldiers. He was met by a poor beggar asking for clothing. St. Martin promptly cut his cloak I two with his sword, giving half to the beggar who kneels in the foreground. In the headlight can be seen the flaming sword of St. Martin. The window is also by Harry Clarke.

The bronze chandeliers, also the stone tablet on the North Wall are in memory of Dr. E. Œ. Somerville, Litt. D. The latter was designed by W.H. Sharpington. Both were subscribed for by the Doctor’s many American admirers.

Dr. Somerville is buried on the bank at the east end of the Church. Her grave is marked by a rough country stone, which she had chosen herself. Her lifelong friend and collaborator, Violet Martin (Martin Ross) lies beside her.

A symposium of the life and work of Somerville and Ross was organised by the parish in 1984.

The Chancel.

The holy table is of oak and very ancient, the greater part being worked with an adze and not a plane. The reredos will repay examination. On the right are the soldiers sleeping outside the empty tomb. Below the retable are two men in prayer.

The Holy Table and reredos had previously been in the hall of Shanacourt, a house in the village. Their earlier history is unknown but some believe they came from the original Parish Church. The whole is of great antiquity and was presented to the Church in memory of Violet Martin, by her friend and cousin, Dr. E. Œ. Somerville.

The Cross on the Holy Table was presented in 1964 in memory of Capt. Henry Owen Dabridgecourt Becher. It was made by Egan of Cork. Previously Canon 36 of the Church of Ireland forbade a Cross in this position.

The Floor Mosaic was designed by Dr. E. Œ. Somerville. It is based on Celtic symbols and decorations and includes the fish (the primitive symbol of the holy name), and two representations of the Ardagh Chalice. It was laid in 1925 by Rust & Co. of England. Most of the gold mosaic had to be replaced in 1964.

The Baptistery.

This is on the north side of the Church. It was originally the private pew of the Townshends of the Castle and the present Vestry was their anteroom. The font cover is in memory of Mrs. Judith Isabel Chavasse of Seafield. It is a copy, made in Rosscarbery, of an ancient font cover in St. Mary’s Collegiate Church, Youghal. Around the baptistery are stalls, which bear the arms of some incumbents of the parish. Two boards bearing their names hang in the baptistery. The cushions were made by the ladies of the parish. The large marble memorial on the west wall is a history of the Townshend family. It was erected in 1903 by Mrs. Geraldine Henrietta Townshend Mundy. (N.B.  Since 1870 some branches of the Townsend family have spelt their name Townshend.)

The Organ Loft.

The Organ, which was built by Foster & Andrews of Hull in 1872 and installed at a cost of £168.0.6d., carries a plaque stating that Dr. E. Œ. Somerville acted as organist for seventy years, from 1875 to 1945. It was restored in 1957 in memory of Jane Townsend of the Red House.

June 1996.

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Past Concerts

The 2007 – 2012 concerts

THE 2012 CONCERTS
  12 JULY
OLGA SOLOVIEVA – PIANO, WITH THE RTE VANBRUGH STRING QUARTET
  19 JULY
THE WEST CORK CHORAL SINGERS, MUSICAL DIRECTOR DIANA LLEWELLYN
EMMA NASH – SOPRANO, ILSE DE ZIAH – CELLO, KATY SALVIDGE – RECORDER, ANABELL ADAMS – ACCOMPANIST
  26 JULY
FINGHIN COLLINS – PIANO
  2 AUGUST
THE GATO AZUL: FRANCESCO TURRISI – ACCORDION & PERCUSSION, LUCAS GONZALES – GUITAR, MICHAEL COADY – DOUBLE BASS
  9 AUGUST
MIRIAM ROYCROFT – CELLO, RÉAMONN KEARY – PIANO

THE 2011 CONCERTS

  21 JULY
THE PUIJO CHAMBER CHOIR FROM FINLAND
  28 JULY
THE DEGANI ENSEMBLE WITH CARA O’SULLIVAN, SOPRANO
  5 AUGUST
REBECCA ČÁPOVA, PIANO
  11 AUGUST
THE LISTENERS WITH LASAIRFHIONA NI CHONAOLA, SINGER FROM THE ARAN ISLANDS
  18 AUGUST
SYLVIA O’BRIEN, SOPRANO AND HANNA SHYBAYEVA, PIANO

THE 2010 CONCERTS

  22 JULY
CHRISTOPHER MARWOOD, CELLO AND JAN ČÁP, PIANO
  29 JULY
CATHERINE LEONARD, VIOLIN AND HUGH TINNEY, PIANO
  5 AUGUST
FIACHRA GARVEY, PIANO
  12 AUGUST
FIDIL, AIDAN O’DONNELL, CIARÁN Ó MAONAIGH, DAMIEN MCGEEHAN
  19 AUGUST
THE THREE IRISH TENORS: DEREK MOLONEY, CIARAN NAGLE, DOMINIC MCGORIAN

THE 2009 CONCERTS

  23 JULY
THE SYRIUS TRIO: ELIZABETH COONEY – VIOLIN, JANE CORDS-O’HARA – CELLO, DOMENICO CODISPOTI – PIANO
  30 JULY
ANÚNA, MICHAEL MCGLINN – CONDUCTOR
  6 AUGUST
ELIZABETH COONEY – VIOLIN, REDMOND O’TOOLE – GUITAR
  13 AUGUST
TRIOCCA: RÍONA Ó DUINNIN – FLUTE, GERALDINE O’DOHERTY – HARP, NANCY JOHNSON – VIOLA
  20 AUGUST
FINGHIN COLLINS – PIANO

THE 2008 CONCERTS

  24 JULY
ENSEMBLE AVALON: IOANA PETCU-COLAN – VIOLIN, GERALD PEREGRINE – CELLO, MICHAEL MCHALE – PIANO
  31 JULY
‘IN THE ROMANTIC TRADITION’: PHILIP MARTIN – PIANO, PART OF HIS SPECIAL 60TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION TOUR
  7 AUGUST
TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC NIGHT: GARRY WALSH – FLUTE, WIHSTLE, VOCALS, NIAMH NI CHARRA – FIDDLE, DONNACHA MOYNIHAN – GUITAR
  14 AUGUST
‘MUSIC FROM THE 17TH CENTURY’
THE EARLY MUSIC ENSEMBLE ‘BEYOND THE PALE’: JAMES TAYLOR – HARPSICHORD, MARJA TUHKANEN – BAROQUE VIOLIN, ILSE DE ZIAH – BAROQUE CELLO, CONOR O’CONNELL – RECORDERS
  21 AUGUST
SEBASTIAN MILLETT – CELLO, CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR – PIANO

THE 2007 CONCERTS
  19 JULY IRISH MUSIC NIGHT
IRISH TRADITIONAL MUSIC INSTITUTE, MUSICAL DIRECTOR DEIRDRE O’BRIEN VAUGHAN, TOGETHER WITH , CRAN, MASTERS OF IRISH MUSIC AND SONG
  26 JULY
THE CARDUCCI QUARTET: MATTHEW DENTON – VIOLIN, MICHELLE FLEMMING – VIOLIN, EOIN SCHMIDT-MARTIN – VIOLA, EMMA DENTON – CELLO
  2 AUGUST
REBECCA ČÁPOVA – PIANO, EMMET BYRNE – OBOE
  9 AUGUST
‘BEYOND THE PALE’, THE EARLY MUSIC ENSEMBLE: JAMES TAYLOR – HARPSICHORD & ORGAN, MARJA TUHKANEN – BAROQUE VIOLIN, ILSE DEZIAH – BAROQUE CELLO
  16 AUGUST
DOLCE DIVAS: DEIRDRE MOYNIHAN – SOPRANO, PAULINE FRIZELLE – MEZZO-SOPRANO, BEBHINN NI MHEARA – PIANO
  29 SEPTEMBER EXTRA CONCERT IN ABBEYSTREWRY CHURCH, SKIBBEREEN, 8.00 PM
CALLINO QUARTET: SARAH SEXTON & MICHAELA GIRARDI – VIOLIN, REBECCA JONES – VIOLA, SARAH MCMAHON – CELLO

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Festival History

PURPOSE AND HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL


Purpose of the Festival:
1. promoting high quality classical music, old and new
2. giving enjoyment to locals and tourist
3. providing a stage for artists, established as well as aspiring ones, especially from the Cork School of Music


History:
The Festival of Classical Music was started in 1980 by Michael Sokolov-Grant with the help of Angela Eborall in the historic St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend, Co. Cork with the purpose of providing music on summer evenings, and has taken place annually ever since.
The Church was built in 1826, on land donated by the Townshend family.
From street level to the door it has 52 steps, one for each Sunday of the year. The seating capacity is around 200.The Church has three wonderful stained glass windows by the renowned Irish artist Harry Clarke (1889 – 1931).


The writer Edith Somerville, who played the organ for seventy years, is buried in the graveyard alongside her cousin Violet Martin, with whom she formed the literary partnership of “Somerville & Ross”, writing such works as The Irish RM.

Many distinguished musicians have played at the Festival over the years, including:


David Agnew, Anúna, Benjamin Apple, The Carducci Quartet, Kenneth Edge, The Callino Quartet, Finghin Collins, The Contempo Quartet, Elizabeth Cooney, The Crawford Piano Trio, Thérèse Fahy, John Finucane, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gerard Gillen, Evelyn Grant, Camilla Griesel, Ivan Ilic, The Irish Guitar Quartet, Brigid Knowles, Catherine Leonard, Philip Martin, Mel Mercier, Natalia Milstein, The Máirtίn O’Connor Trio, John O’Conor, Geraldine O’Grady, Micheál O’Suilleabhain, Cara O’Sullivan, Redmond O’Toole, Gerald Peregrine, Ioana Petcu-Colan, Alex Petcu, Maurice Seezer, Peter Sweeney, Hugh Tinney, The RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet…

Students from the Cork School of Music who have also played a significant role in developing the concerts include:
Aoife Burke, Elizabeth Cooney, Sophie Creaner, Ed Creedon, Cian Ducrot, Eoin Ducrot, Jonathan Freeman-Atwood, Brendan Garde, Elaine Kelly, Christine Kenny, David Kenny, Catherine Leonard, Tríona Milne, Siún Milne, Hugh Murray, Tom O Drisceoil, Conor Palliser, Caoimhe De Paor, Ioana Petcu-Colan, Nicky Sweeney…

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Sponsorship 2019

2019 SPONSORS OF ST. BARRAHANE’S CHURCH FESTIVAL OF MUSIC AND THE BARRAHANE MUSIC SERIES
Union Hall Smoked Fish
Wolfe & Co., Solicitors, Skibbereen
Field’s SuperValu, Skibbereen
The West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen
West Cork Music, Bantry
Clona Decorators Ltd. Clonakilty
SPONSORSHIP SCHEMEOur summer Festival in the past comprised six concerts during July and August at St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend but last year, however, we made a big change by adding seven extra concerts as the Barrahane Music Series, and using the additional venues of Abbeystrewry Church and Christ Church, Glandore.

This turned out to be a great success that we endeavor to continue this year but staging quality concerts of classical and Irish traditional music is expensive. The money is raised mainly by ticket sales and grants when available. The average attendance is 70 -100 people but the profits, if any, are small after paying the musicians’ fees ranging from €600-2500 and all other expenses such as advertising posters and signage, piano hire, printing of programmes, hiring of porta-loos and so forth.

The programme for this year will start with a special project:  The Dawn of Romanticism.
It is a series of 3 different concerts by the pianist Fionnuala Moynihan and colleagues on Friday 3rd, Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of May.

Another very special concert will be on Saturday 8th June. John O’Conor will give a solo piano recital in Memory of Mrs. Angela Eborall, who sadly passed away last year. She was one of the founders of this Festival and the one who over many years made it such a success.
In July there will be a performance by the rising star, violinist Patrick Rafter in Glandore.
Pianist Thérèse Fahy and The Prism Ensemble (all members of the National Concert Orchestra) will perform in Castletownshend at the beginning of August and on the 15th of August there will be a lively concert by the Cork based Musica Orchestra. A full programme schedule is be available on our website.

The purpose of the St. Barrahane’s Church Music Festival is:
• promoting high quality classical music, old and new
• giving enjoyment to locals and tourist
• providing a stage for artists, established as well as aspiring ones, especially from the Cork School of Music.

To help with these expenses, last year we introduced two schemes, a SPONSORSHIP Scheme, which is the reason for this letter, and also a FRIENDS Scheme. For the Sponsorship Scheme, we are seeking a donation of €250 in support from local enterprises to cover the six summer season concerts in July and August.

This entitles a sponsor to:
•The Company logo/name displayed prominently at the concert venue.
•The Company logo/name on all our publications and brief message if available.
•A full page on our website and/or links to yours.
•Verbal acknowledgement before commencement of all the concert.
•Invitation to a Sponsors/Friends Reception during the Season.
•Reserved seats (but not free) if attending any concert – 24 hour notification required.
The Future: The costs of staging concerts continue to increase. We have a constant battle to keep down our admission price while at the same time maintaining the high quality of performers and concerts. If we are to remain viable, your support would be invaluable and very much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Reverend John Ardis,
Hon. Chairperson