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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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Leap

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Skibbereen

The thriving town of Skibbereen is the capital of West Cork, centre for all the agricultural, industrial and tourist activities of a wide region.

Skibbereen located on the bank of the River Ilen is the ‘hub’ of West Cork, it is the ideal base from which to discover the choice of beautiful fishing villages – all within 10-15 minutes’ drive. Mizen Head, Baltimore, Glandore, Union Hall, Ballydehob and Castletownshend – all quaint and remarkably unspoilt. There is also Carberys Hundred Isles, some of the islands such as Sherkin and Cape Clear just minutes by boat from Baltimore in West Cork.

Skibbereen is situated just 1hr 20 minutes from Cork or 2hrs from Kerry.
Skibbereen things to see and do:
Skibbereen Heritage Centre located in the restored Old Gasworks Building riverside in Skibbereen town is where you will find a number of interesting Exhibitions including, The Great Famine Commemoration Exhibition and The Lough Hyne Interpretative Centre.
Follow the Skibbereen Trail, a historical walking tour of old Skibbereen and visit sites which have direct links with the Great Famine. Include the West Cork Art Centre, a focus for many of the activities of local artists, craftspeople and writers who have come to live in this area.
In the immediate area, there is an 18-hole golf course, game and sea angling, coarse fishing, walking and cycling, scuba diving and sites of international archaeological interest. Experience on a boat trip some of West Cork’s now renowned sea life activity Dolphins, Whales and more, who seem to favour our Irish waters. Also nearby is Lough Hyne, Irelands first Marine Nature Reserve.

How to find Lough Hyne
Lough Hyne can be found just a 10 minute drive from Skibbereen town centre. Wonderful to explore in all weathers but particularly on a fine day. The area is popular for Kayaking, Snorkelling, exploring the Marine Life, swimming, forest, road walking and more. From Skibbereen town centre you will follow the N71, then 2nd exit at the roundabout following the R595 and at the next roundabout again take the 2nd exit and then the next left, slight right, left again at arrive at Lough Hyne West Cork.
Find out about the history, folklore and formation of this renowned natural phenomenon at Skibbereen Heritage Centre. But Skibbereen, the town, has more to offer. When the Irish Famine took its toll in the mid 1800’s, the town of Skibbereen was one of the worst affected in all of Ireland, a fact testified by the mass graves at Abbeystrewry, where almost 10,000 are buried. This era is remembered in The Great Famine Exhibition at Skibbereen Heritage Centre. There are also guided historical tours around Skibbereen so why not explore its history. Skibbereen Festivals include Skibbereen’s annual Carbery Agricultural Show in July. The West Cork Garden Trail is held annually throughout June and you can find local gardens to visit i.e. Pinetree Lodge Garden, Drishane House & Gardens Castletownshend and Glebe Gardens Baltimore.
Cycling in West Cork and the Skibbereen area
There are 3 main routes such as the 3 hour Atlantic Coastal Loop taking in many of West Corks beautiful headlands, the 3 house Baltimore Loop, and around the Lough Hyne area, and finally the Mount Kid Loop a 3 to 4 hour cycle taking in Roaringwater Bay, Mount Kid and back to Skibbereen. If you have not brought your own bicycle you can hire a bike in Skibbereen town and away you go. Cool off at the local Tragumna Beach for all those swimmers and paddlers. Drive up to Toe Head and take in some wonderful views.

Skibbereen’s Farmers Market held every Saturday morning in Skibbereen’s town centre is a delight, where you can purchase local produce such as fruit, vegetables and herbs, freshly baked breads and cakes, local West Cork Honey, cheeses (such as the well-known award winning Gubbeen Cheese) and organic meats, and locally caught fish, what could be better, and local crafts such as Bog Wood Sculptures, Hand Crafted Furniture from Irish Timber and Local Pottery.

With 26 pubs in the town and award winning restaurants scattered all around, there is also plenty to do in the evening. Skibbereen truly offers the visitor an a la carte menu, with something for everyone’s taste – great places to visit, superb shopping, boating, cycling, whale watching, rowing, not to mention the famous Olympian rowing local stars the O’Donovan brothers, excellent accommodation, a wide selection of Skibbereen pubs and restaurants and that relaxed atmosphere that has made West Cork famous throughout the world.
Local towns, villages and islands close to Skibbereen:
Ballydehob
Baltimore
Union Hall
Leap
Glandore
Castletownshend
Schull
Rosscarbery
Sherkin Island accessed by boat from Baltimore
Cape Clear Island accessed by boat from Baltimore
Heir Island accessed by boat from Castletownbere
Long Island accessed by boat from Schull

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Union Hall

Nearly hidden in its own harbour, this small port of Union Hall has always had a strong seafaring tradition and now provides a safe shelter for its own active fishing fleet as well as anchorage to pleasure boats, and calm water for skiing, diving and canoeing.

The new causeway leading into the village creates a natural lagoon and the sweep of homes and shops surrounding it lend a vision of brightly coloured ribbons on the water’s surface.

A left turn off the causeway leads to Keelbeg Pier. Depending on the season, angling and deep-sea fishing are popular and many return year after year to enjoy the bounty of the sport.

Boat hire for visiting some of the off shore Islands is available locally, and the entire village and surrounds offer choice for a leisurely stroll or a serious hike. Union Hall is a remarkably Irish village with its roots steeped in history. Archaeological remains dot the area. Castle ruins and forts can be searched out, and a Holy Well dedicated to St. Brigid remains a yearly pilgrimage made by many devotees on the first day of February.

Drombeg Stone Circle is only a short distance from Glandore. In latter times the village had its share of admirers, and in the 1700’s was lauded by the great patriot dean of Ireland, Jonathan Swift. More recently it was chosen by the director / producer Lord David Puttnam as the venue for one of his latest films “War of The Buttons.”

There are two provision shops, a craft shop, a knitwear shop, a bureau de change / post office, numerous B&B’s and an excellent hostel built in the old stone schoolhouse which also plays host to Sunday evening Traditional music sessions featuring some of Ireland’s top talents, tapas and wine. Good craic and entertainment are the norm at the local pubs and the Union Hall Festival is held yearly in June, featuring games and water sports of all kinds.

Union Hall is just one hour’s drive from Cork taking the N71 you will be driving through Innishannon, Ballinascarty, Clonakilty and Rosscarbery . Union Hall is a very peaceful town in West Cork, a great place to enjoy some walks such as a stroll along Tra Lan Beach Walk and a one hour walk in Rineen Wood Walk. Enjoy the Beaches and Coves in Union Hall such as Keelbeg Strand and The Cusheen out by the Reen Pier, and the beach at Carrigillihy.

While you are staying in Union Hall why not enjoy a visit to Skibbereen and the beautiful area of Lough Hyne, travel on to Castletownshend of Somerville and Ross history, and on to the seaside town of Baltimore for some Whale and Dolphin watching and the lovely Ballydehob.

Likewise, a drive into Bantry town is just 40 minutes from Union Hall, where you can enjoy some shopping and a visit to Bantry House afterwards, or take in some of the wonderful walks in Bantry and its surrounding areas including the Sheep’s Head Peninsula walk, the Knocknaveagh and Vaughan’s Pass walk starting from Bantry town square and the Abbey and Rope Walk Loop. Union Hall offers lots of water based activities such as Kayaking, and Sailing.
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Friends of St Barrahane’s Music

2019 FRIENDS OF ST. BARRAHANE’S CHURCH FESTIVAL OF MUSIC
Finola & Denis Quinlan
Anne Fleischmann
Adam Gadd
Thea & Hans Ekker
Brita & Thomas Drewes
4 anonymous donors


FRIENDS SCHEME

€100 entitles a Friend to reserve two seats (24 hour notification required and tickets also have to be purchased).
€150 per couple entitles Friends to reserve four seats (24 hour notification required and tickets also have to be purchased).
Friend’s names will be listed on our concert programmes and also on our website, unless otherwise instructed. Subscription is valid for one calendar year.

Please contact us by email or phone if you require more information.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks for your continued support and interest.

Yours sincerely,
Reverend John Ardis, Hon. Chairperson

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Castletownshend

Castletownshend village sits on the north side of Castlehaven Harbour in the parish of Castlehaven, which owes its name to the castle that protects the haven. Anciently it was called Glanbarrahane, named from a deep rocky glen dedicated to St. Barrahane, a local 5th century hermit saint.

The attractive village of Castletownshend is situated on the coast about 8km from Skibbereen. The village developed around the castle, which was built in the mid 1600s by the Townshends and is the seat of the family. The steeply inclined main street runs down to the castle, the quayside and the harbour

A unique feature of Castletownshend is the two sycamore trees growing in the roundabout in the centre of the village. The present sycamores replace two trees planted in the 1800s. There are many buildings around the village of interest, a very pleasing village to explore not forgetting the Castle and local church.

Take time out after the village to make your way to the Knockdrum Stone Fort, a reminder of times past, a rewarding sight along with the views from here, just a half mile out of Castletownshend

Castletownbere has some great walks in West Cork to enjoy such as Dunboy Woods and Bullig Bay Coastal Loop Walks, Eyeries Coastal Loop Walks at Creha Quay and Coastguard Loop walks. The wonderful Sheeps Head Walk and Ahakista Trail take in the beautiful Sheeps Head Peninsula area with the Lighthouse Loop Walk and Poets Way Coastal Walk and nearby the Ardgroom Pulleen Coastal Walk. Walking on Bere Island, an island just off Castletownbere reached by a short ferry journey, is worthwhile to take in the beauty on the island, and walk the Arnakinna, Rerrin and Doonbeg Bere Walking Routes.

If you are looking to explore towns and villages close to Castletownshend you can visit, Skibbereen, Leap, Rosscarbery, Clonakilty or Drimoleague and Bere Island just a short boat trip from Castletownbere

Village Church Saint Barrahane’s Church Castletownshend (Church of Ireland) stands on a hill with wonderful views overlooking the village and it is located close to the castle. It contains beautiful stained glass windows by Harry Clarke and many historic relics and memorials to the families of the village. Of particular note are three large stone tablets, which tell the history of the founding families, many of whose members are buried in the peaceful graveyard attached to the church.

Somerville and Ross Somerville and Ross were the pseudonyms of cousins Dr. Edith Somerville (1858-1949) and Violet Florence Martin, pen name Martin Ross (1862-1915), who wrote a series of humorous novels and short stories. Most of their books were set in a background of West Cork at the turn of the century and told of the experiences of an Irish Resident Magistrate. Their best known writings were first published in 1928 under the title The Irish R.M. Complete and later Experiences of an Irish R.M.

The Irish R.M. and The Real Charlotte were serialised for television in the 1980’s. During their life together the cousins resided at Drishane House on the outskirts of Castletownshend village. Violet Martin died in 1915 from the effects of a riding accident some years earlier. Edith Somerville continued to live at Drishane between her travels abroad until her death in 1949 at an advanced age. Somerville and Ross are buried in the graveyard at the rear of St. Barrahane’s Church, marked by two simple headstones. In the church is the organ Dr. Somerville played for many decades.

Castletownshend has beautiful Pubs for a pre- or after concert drink where you have a good chance of meeting the artists too:

Lil McCarthy’s, intimate, with a beautiful garden

Mary Ann’s Pub & Restaurant, dinner reservation advisable, Tel.: +353 (0)28-36146

For accommodation there are various B&Bs:

The Castle Guesthouse, Tel.: +353 (0)28-36100

Seaview, Tel.: +353 (0)28-36129

Atlantic View, Tel.: +353 (0)28-36440

Sandycove house, Tel.: +353 (0)28-36223

For more information contact:

Skibbereen Tourist Office: Tel.: +353 (0)28-21766, Fax: +353 (0)28-21353

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Glandore

Glandore or the Irish version, Cuan Dor – Harbour of the Oaks. Due to its location, Glandore was one of the earlier settlements in West Cork. The Norman’s built two castles there in 1215. They were later taken over by the O’Donovan Clan and have been inhabited continuously up to the present day. 

Glandore Harbour is a haven for sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing and fishing. It is home to a very active sailing club, you can watch the local dinghy fleet race in and around Glandore Harbour. A wide choice of angling activities can be enjoyed in the area. Sea angling can be arranged locally with boat owners who are certified by the Department of the Marine.

Glandore is a very pretty village, its great water side setting makes it a very popular port of call for the yachting and boating enthusiasts with some excellent restaurants and hostelries. Offering beautiful views across to Union Hall. Locally you can visit the lovely villages of Union Hall, Leap and Castletownshend.

There are many very attractive local walks available allowing you to experience the beautiful West Cork countryside. Canoeing, cycling and golfing are all available in the area.

Glandore is the ideal place to be on a Summers Day just to stop and take some time to enjoy the view and have a glass of something refreshing or a bit to eat. 

The position of this West Cork village, in the path of the Gulf Stream ensures a mild climate all year round, consequently its flora is diverse and of great interest, as plants are found in bloom here, out of season. The very attractive Church of Ireland (built 1860) with its quaint entrance gate, through the rock is a much photographed feature.

An important event in the development of Glandore began in 1824, with the arrival of James Redmond Barry. He was a very philanthropic landlord, who developed the fishing, got the pier built as well as a boatyard in Union Hall. He established schools to teach fishing and domestic economy. He built a hotel (The Glandore Inn) in 1828 and organised the first Regatta in 1830.

A school was built in 1835 as well as an Agricultural school at the model farm in Ards. Despite his efforts, Glandore was one of the worst hit areas in West Cork, during the Great Famine, losing 45% of its population. William Thompson, the philosopher and one of the first Socialists, is another famous name associated with Glandore.

Glandore village in West Cork is located just over one hours drive from Cork City, so if you are picking up your Car Hire at Cork Airport and planning on touring West Cork, do include Glandore village and then proceed on to the surrounding towns and villages such as Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Baltimore and Ballydehob, Bantry. Durrus and Kilcrohane out on the Sheeps Head Peninsula.

Glandore Harbour Yacht Club is where to go if you are looking for sailing and training in the use of dingies, Keel boats or cruisers, during the Summer months.

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