Thursday, 20 April 2017

Latin Mass in Ballyhea for Easter Monday

Ballyhea lies just south of Charleville, Co. Cork, in the lea of the Ballyhoura Mountains and along the waters of the Awbeg River, the tributary of the Blackwater once immortalised by Edmund Spenser as "gentle Mullagh".  On Easter Monday morning, some members and friends made their way to the Parish Church of St. Mary for the offering of the almost monthly Traditional Latin Mass there.










Tuesday, 11 April 2017

And Symbols Glorious Swinging Uproarious...

"...On this I ponder where'er I wander and thus grow fonder, sweet Cork, of thee; with thy bells of Shandon that sound so grand on the pleasant waters of the River Lee..."

So runs one of the most famous hymns of the Corkonian faith and the Easter Vacation brought me back within the sound of Shandon bells. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Lenten preparations in some of the Churches in the centre of Cork City. As you would expect, most of them have retained the loss of the striking symbolism of veiling statues from after the second last Sunday of Lent (Passion Sunday). However, there are signs of a change in the air.

Cork, of course, led the way in the restoration of the Latin Mass with a daily Mass, albeit very discreetly, long before the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Today, the City boasts not only the Sunday Mass in Ss. Peter and Paul's but even a daily Mass during Lent supplemented by Tenebrae each of the three days of the Triduum and the full Holy Week Ceremonies.

However, it is more interesting to see the veils assumed in two other Churches in the City. The Dominicans of Pope's Quay also had the Office of Tenebrae, partly in Latin, with the hearse of fifteen candles left in the centre of the Sanctuary. They also veiled the Altar Cross. This beautiful Church is one of the first that I meet as I come into the City. It contains the tablet: "The Dominican community of Cork inscribe this stone in testimony of their gratitude to Kearns Deane Esq., architect, who with unexampled generosity and public spirit designed this building and directed the progress of its erection, 1832.” The consecration in October 1839 was attended by Daniel O'Connell, barrister and statesman, who had spearheaded the campaign for Catholic Emancipation only ten days before. The crisp ionic portico stands in contrast to the high gothic flourish of the Capuchin Holy Trinity Church on the South Channel of the Lee.



The Franciscans on Liberty Street may have built in the Byzantine style but they veiled the crosses of both the high altar and side altars very much in the Roman manner this year. The Church has the greatest area of mosaics of any church in Europe outside of Rome. The central dome has the feel of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The Church is famous for the gifts of wedding rings by the women of Cork for the tabernacle.






Finally, I took some shots of Ss. Peter and Paul's. The gorgeous Gothic Church hidden away behind Patrick's Street is the first collaboration of George Ashlin and Edward Pugin.


Sunday, 19 March 2017

St. Lachteen and the Boggera Mountains

In a previous post I wrote about the sights and sites of the valley between the Boggera Mountains and the Nagles Mountains through which the Martin River flows south to Blarney and the Clyda River flows north through Mourne Abbey towards Mallow.

In this post I'd like to take you on a visit to one of the valleys of the Boggera Mountains to the north and west of Blarney. The Martin River meets the River Shournagh at St. Ann's just west of Blarney and shortly thereafter their mingled waters join the River Lee near Ballincollig. One branch of the old Muskerry Railway (1893-1934) used to follow the line of the River Souragh to Donoughmore and it is effectively in the traces of that line, going upstream from Blarney, that I am going to take you today.

Just north of where the Shournagh flows through St. Ann's, it passes through the townland of Loughane West, the site of the old Parish Church of Matehy. I don't mean the present St. Joseph's. One story of this site relates to the long era of the Penal Laws, when Catholicism was illegal and persecuted. As the Priest was celebrating Mass, a soldier entered and, before any of the congregation could react, drew his sword and cut off the Priest's arms. He rushed out of the Church and rode away down the hill. The horse stumbled beneath him, threw him to the ground and he was killed. A companion buried him in the grave yard of Loughane. The following morning, the people found that the dead soldier had left the grave yard, crossed the River, mounted the hill and lay buried instead in the grave yard of the Church at Matehy.

Farther up the river about half a mile north of the village of Donoughmore is the site of St. Lachteen's Well. The Holy Well is said to have dried up and appeared instead at Ballyglass near Lyradane because a woman once washed her clothes in it. The original well was the site where St. Lachteen preached to the people of the area, using the dripping waters of the well to illustrate the dropping down of God's mercy. The Corkman Lachteen had been directed by his guardian angel, Uriel, to the monastic school of St. Comgall at Bangor, where he studied for the Priesthood. The Saint lived near Donoughmore at the beginning of the 7th century. His pattern day is 19 March, on account of which the present well is known interchangably as St. Joseph's Well or Tobar Laichtin. The unfortunate modern Parish Church at Stuake is named for St. Lachteen. Built in the 1990s, it replaced a beautiful Church from the 1830s. It is certainly my least favourite Church in the County.

St. Lachteen also founded another monastery at Kilnamartyra about 8 miles to the west, set between the Sullane and Toone Rivers. Cill na Martra is actually the Church of the Relic, referring to St. Lachteen's hand was venerated. The 12th century 'shrine' or reliquary of his hand, Lámh Lachtaín, was kept locally by the Healy family until the 19th century, when it was sold and came to the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin and I think it's now in the National Museum of Ireland. As you can see, it is in the form of an arm with a fist, which is very worn on account of the custom of taking oaths on it. The beautiful old Church of Kilnamartyra (1839) is also dedicated to St. Lachteen.


Passing on through Gowlane Cross, you pass Uctough Mountain, which is the source of the River Shournagh. Next it passes through a very wide moorland, which is probably about 1,000 feet above sea level and as the road turns west to Nad, on the north face of the Boggeras, it passes the great Bweeng Mountain. The River Nad becomes the River Glen and, at Fr. Murphy's Bridge, you suddenly leave the mountains and enter the broad valley of the River Blackwater that sweeps eastward towards Mallow and Fermoy, then on to Lismore and Cappoquin, before turning sharply south and into the ocean at Youghal.

[First Published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Blog in March, 2010]

Saturday, 11 February 2017

St. Gobnait of Ballyvourney

Twin towns fascinate me. I don't mean towns twined with foreign towns but two towns that are so close to each other that as they grow, they grow until they are almost one town. In Cork we have two good examples, Enniskean and Ballinkeen on the road to Bandon (where even the pigs were Protestant, it used to be said) and Ballyvourney and Ballymakeery that lie along the Sullane River and on the road thatt takes you from Macroom by way of Coolea over the top of Coom towards Kilgarvan in Kerry.

Bandon was a plantation town. That is, in the 17th century the native Catholic Irish were dispossessed of their lands and Protestants were planted in the locality instead. Over the gate of Bandon the following words were placed by the Planter inhabitants that "Turk, Jew or Atheist may enter here, but not a Papist". It wasn't long before native wit wrote the reply. "Whoe'er wrote this/ hath written well/ for the same is writ/ o'er the gates of hell".

St. Gobnait, another 6th century Saint, lived just to the south of Ballyvourney. Every year on this day and also at Pentecost there are large pilgrimages to do the "turas" or rounds of the beds of her church and to drink the water and a medieval wooden statue of her is displayed for veneration in the Parish Church.

Go mbeannaighe Dia dhuit,
a Ghobnait Naomhtha,
Go mbeannuighe Muire dhuit
is bheannuighim féin dhuit.
Is chughat-sa a thánag ag
gearán mo scéil leat,
Is a d'iarraidh mo leighis
ar son Dé ort.

That means in English:

May God bless you,
Holy Saint Gobnait,
And may Mary bless you,
And I bless you myself.
For it is to you that I come,
To plead my case with you,
To request my healing,
From you on God's part.

She made her foundation in fulfilment of a prophesy. She had fled from home to the Aran Islands to escape persecution but she was told that "her resurrection" was not to take place there but only in the place where she found nine white deer grazing. She returned to the mainland and began her pilgrimage. It is said that at various places she saw white deer grazing along her path but never nine together until she crossed the Sullane River at Ballyvourney and so she settled there and was buried there to await "her resurrection".

It is told of her that when a plague threatened, she marked the boundary of the Parish with her stick and the people of Ballyvourney were spared.

The beehive is the symbol of St. Gobnait because, when a pagan chief was attempting a cattle raid, she took up one of the beehives of the convent and directed it at the raiders. The thieves fled and the cattle were saved.

In the ruins of her church there is a smooth round iron ball set into the wall, known as St. Gobnait's Bowl. It is said to have been used to destroy a fort built by a pagan chief on the hills north of Ballyvourney and was said to have returned to the Saint each time she threw it. Those who have grasped the bowl in the wall will know the miraculous nature of this feat. The grave of Séan O'Riada, the famous musician of Coolea, is here.

A few miles north of Ballyvourney, close to the Foherish River that feeds into the Sullane near Macroom, is Liscarrigane where 'An tAthair Peadar' or Canon Peter O'Leary was born in 1839. His great purpose was to revive the Irish language that he knew as a living language (and which remains a living language in that part of Cork to this day). He wrote "Séadna" and the autobiography "Mo Scéal Féin" which give a vivid impression of the countryside around Liscarrigane and Muskerry.

The Glendav of "Séadna" is to be found at the head of the Foherish valley where Mullaghanish Mountain rises to a height of over 2,000 feet, towering over the Derrynasaggart Mountains that shelter Cork from Kerry but are now punctuated by wind turbines just as a broadcasting mast stands atop Mullaghanish.

He was an outstanding member of the Gaelic League and received the Freedom of buth Cork City and Dublin as well as an honorary Doctorate from the National University of Ireland. He died away to the north east of the County as Parish Priest of Castlelyons just a few months before the achievement of Independence at the height of the Black and Tan persecution.


Devotion to St. Gobnait was given international standing in 1601 when Pope Clement VIII granted an indulgence for pilgrims to her shrine and in 1602 he published a proper office for her feast.

These dates are not coincidental for they mark the last stands of the Irish princes against the English with the help of the Kings of Spain. In 1602 the Irish princes were defeated at the Battle of Kinsale. It spelled the end of the Catholic cause in Ireland for more than three centuries and the end of the the power of the native Irish princes forever. Donal O'Sullivan Beare held out in his castle at Dunboy on the Beara Penninsula for another year but was finally starved into retreat. His famous winter march brought him to the territory of the princes of Ulster, O'Neill and O'Donnell, who were themselves forced into complete exile on the continent in 1607.

O'Sullivan Beara continued to uphold the honour of Ireland while in exile in Spain, where he was assassinated in 1618 by an Englishman. He founded the Irish College at Santiago. His nephew Philip O'Sullivan Beare was both soldier and scholar, publishing Historiae Catholicae Iberniae Compendium, a Catholic History of Ireland in 1621 among other works in an attempt to reply to the English writers who attacked the Irish, just as their compatriots attempted to destroy our native culture and its texts.

[First Published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Blog in February, 2010

Another splendid account of St. Gobnait can be found on the blog Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae here.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

St. Senan and Inniscarra

In Cork, talk around the cottage fireside during the Christmas vacation inevitably turned to Inniscarra, as the waters released from the hydroelectric project there washed down into Cork City.


As you drive from Coachford to Cork City the road makes the acquaintance of the River Lee in a way that it hasn't in the upper reaches of the River. Just to the west of where the River Dripsey meets the Lee is the hill of Cronodymore, once known as Cronody of the sweet apples on account of the orchards that once were to be found there. Cronody is now better known as the origin of many classic greyhounds. Upon the hill are the remains of a large circular tower that appears to have been a dovecote built by Elizabeth Cross or Crosse (née Baldwin of Mount Pleasant) in the 18th cent.

Close by, now covered by the waters created by the Inniscarra dam was the reputed site of a monastery known as Innisleena founded by St. Senan in the 6th cent. as he returned from a trip to Continental Europe on his way back to Scattery Island in Clare. The site had been considerably altered by later building, when it was the subject of an archaeological survey that preceded the hydro-electric project. It would appear that all traces of St. Senan's monastery had disappeared except fragments of a later building and the graves of the Fitzgibbon family. Some notable carved stones were noted and perhaps the remains of a window and what was reputed to be a stone baptismal font. The rainwater which gathered in it was said by the people of thereabouts to have curative powers for warts on fingers if you used it for three mornings before you broke the midnight fast. When Inniscarra dam flooded the area, all trace of the Fitzgibbon family, including 'Fitzgibbon Bridge' were obliterated by the waters just as all trace of St. Senan had disappeared centuries before. His feast day is 8 March.

Also covered by the waters of Inniscarra were the remains of Castle Inch about a mile further east. What remained to be covered was merely the stump of the castle, stronghold of the Barretts, who were vassels of the MacCarthaigh family of whom I spoke before. Five progenitors of the Barretts of Cork came to Ireland with Strongbow in 1169. In the 13th cent. they are recorded to have held a castle at Glandore. In 1436 they bought a stronghold at Ballincollig. Ballyburden, Carrigrohane, and Kilfinnane were also in their possession at various points. The townland of Coomavarodig or 'Glen of the Barretts' near Baltimore is also a trace of their presence. However, the family's power came to an end when Colonel John Barrett was dispossessed of his lands in 1691 for having dared to raise a regiment in the cause of the Catholic King James II. From that time, Castle Inch was allowed to fall into ruin but even in the 1950s the footprint was sizable. Near the castle was a double holy well known as Sunday's Well and St. Mary's Well but their waters now mingle with those of the Inniscarra Reservoir.

From Inniscarra Reservoir the Lee passes through what is known as Inniscarra Gap between two hills, Scornagh to the west and Garravagh to the east, a spot favoured by fishermen for salmon and trout, and moved into its final stage before reaching the City along a syncline of limestone that reaches over the Youghal and is met by the River Bride. Here is the site of Inniscarra Anglican Church built in 1819 that reputedly marks the site of another monastery of St. Senan.

[First Published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Blog in March, 2010]

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Scandalous Bishop of Cork

The Convenor has been showing off his knowledge of the Bishops of Cork but the most interesting of all is the scandalous Bishop John Butler, who was Bishop of Cork from 1763 to 1787.

The Butlers of Ormonde
John Butler came of the great Butlers of Ormonde, one of the greatest families in the kingdom of Ireland whose titles included a Dukedom, a Marquisate, four Earldoms and a Barony - the Barony was the problem. Under the pressure of the penal laws, members of each branch of the family were forced to 'conform' to the Protestant religion in order to save the family's property. For example, the famous Catholic family, the Butlers of Kilcash, Thomas Butler, who fought for the Jacobite cause, died in 1738. Whatever difficulties oppressed Catholics during life, special penalties were reserved for them at the passage of their estate to their heirs. Thus, Thomas' son, John, 'conformed' in 1739.
Father Butler
It was into this atmosphere of spiritual genocide that our John Butler was born in 1731. He was the third son of Edmond Butler, 8th Baron Dunboyne. While his two brothers, James and Pierce, joined the Wild Geese fighting with the Armies of the King of France, John pursued a vocation to the priesthood by studying at the Irish College in Rome from 1749. While there, he was not entirely passive - or well-behaved - and lost an eye in a duel. By reason of this defect, it required a special dispensation for him to be ordained, which he was on 20 December 1755 at the Lateran Basilica, which had newly acquired its Baroque façade and interior. He then studied at the College of Propaganda Fide, the great missionary college in Rome, and obtained his Doctorate in Divinity.

Father Butler returned to Ireland in 1758 where, under the penal laws, he was required to register as a Popish minister. He was examined before a Justice of the Peace in Whitehaven when he landed. If the Murphys ruled large parts of the Irish Church in the 19th cent., the Butlers held sway in the 18th. Father Murphy returned to his native Archdiocese of Cashel to serve as Parish Priest of Ardmayle, just north of Cashel, under his cousin, Archbishop James Butler. Christopher Butler had been Archbishop from 1712 to 1757, James succeeded him in 1757 and was succeeded by another James Butler in 1774. At his death in 1791, there had been an unbroken succession of Butler Archbishops for 71 years. During four years as a Parish Priest, Father Butler was also the Archbishop's Secretary and Archdeacon of the Archdiocese.

Bishop of Cork
When the Bishop of Cork died, Father Butler was placed dignissimus among the list of candidates submitted by Cardinal Spinelli, in one of his last acts as Prefect of the Propaganda Fide. The Congregation of Propaganda Fide was the Vatican Department of mission territories. Ireland (as well as Scotland, Canada and the United States) came under this Department of the Vatican until the Constitution of 29 June 1909. He was duly appointed Bishop of Cork on 16 April 1763 by Pope Clement XIII (the man who put the fig leaves on the statues of Rome) and he was consecrated the following June.

It is not hard to imagine that his time as Bishop was characterised by adherence to the status quo of the English Protestant ascendency. His Statuta synodalia pro dioecesi Corcagiensi in 1768 made membership of the Whiteboys, the geurilla fighters against the Protestant penal régime, a reserved sin. In 1771, he managed to prevent the introduction of the Ursuline Nuns to Cork by Nano Nagle - a felix culpa that was to see his successor, Bishop Moylan, preside over the foundation of the Presentation Sisters. The Ursulines don't seem to have been the only Order that didn't find Bishop Butler too helpful. The Carmelites of Kinsale had to endure repeated attempts by him to take over their Chapel as a Parish Church. When he couldn't succeed by other means, he withdrew their faculties to hear confessions and administer the Sacraments. Their appeal to Rome was supported by Fr. O'Mahony, the Parish Priest, who declared that the Chapel and Friary were built and owned by the Carmelite Order. Such incidents didn't bode well for the scandalous Bishop of Cork.

The Barons Dunboyne
Bishop Butler's father had died in 1732 and his brother James became the 9th Baron Dunboyne. James died in 1768 and their brother Pierce became 10th Baron. Pierce died in 1773 and his son, also Pierce, became 11th Baron, until his death in 1785. On the death of his nephew Pierce, Bishop Butler became 12th Baron Dunboyne.

This is where the scandal begins and it is the point at which I stop understanding the train of events - or the train of logic of the Bishop. Lord Dunboyne fears for the extinction of his family - he has, after all, outlived his father, brothers, and nephews. In order to preserve his line, he is anxious to have heirs, legitimate heirs, in which the small matter of a vow of celibacy is an obstacle. Thus, he resigns as Bishop of Cork and seeks a dispensation from his vow of celibacy from Pope Pius VI in order to marry and beget heirs to the title. "It is no pleasure for me after a life of celibacy, to share my bed and board," wrote the Reverend Lord Dunboyne. However, when he died in 1800, he was succeeded by a cousin, a nephew of Archbishop James Butler. It may have struck Pope Pius (and it strikes me) was it really necessary for him to marry? Couldn't the cousin have inherited just as well from a Bishop as from a Lord?

The Catholic Dunboynes had been, until that time, merely de facto Barons, since their Letters Patent couldn't be issued until they 'conformed.' It was not until the cousin inherited as 13th Baron that there was the "reversal of outlawries which affected the title, in the Court of King's Bench in Dublin in Michaelmas term 1827, by virtue of His Majesty's warrant dated at Windsor 26 October 1827."

The Scandal Begins
the 12th Lord Dunboyne seemed to think it was necessary that he should marry and after resigning as Bishop of Cork but without the dispensation from his vows from the Pope, he visited Brookley House in Tipperary, the home of some Protestant cousins, where (the worse for drink it is said) he met Miss Maria Butler. At the time, she was 23 and he was 57. By Christmas 1786, Maria's father had informed her that 'the Bishop' had asked for her hand in marriage. The courting began in earnest and they were married by the following April 1787 - need I say - in the Anglican Church. 'The Dunboynes' took up residence at Dunboyne Castle, Co. Meath.

On the 11 August 1787 Archbishop Butler met Lord Dunboyne to give him the Pope's reply (dated 9 June 1787). When he had finished reading the letter Lord Dunboyne is reported to have said “I fear my case has not been fully understood. I am not a young man, nor am I seeking release from my vows for selfish reasons. The Holy Father must be told again that I am solely concerned with the continuation of our family.” Mind you, the small matter of a wife might have made the explanation that much more difficult.

Eight days later, on 19 August 1787 Lord Dunboyne 'conformed' to Anglicanism at St. Mary’s Church, Clonmel before Rev. M.R. Dunlevy. The Catholic people of Clonmel protested outside. Fr. Arthur O’Leary, OFMCap., of Cork published a pamphlet against the apostate Bishop. An anonymous satire was published in Irish.

Nuair a bheas tú in Ifrionn go fóill,
Agus do deora ag silleadh leat,
Sin an áit a bhfuagh tú na scéala,
Cé is fearr sagairt no ministéar.

Later when you’ll be in hell,
And your tears flow,
That's the place that you’ll discover,
Which is better, a priest or minister.

The Dunboyne Marriage
The marriage was not a happy one. Their only child, a daughter, was born deformed and lived only a few minutes. It is said that the child was buried in ruins of the Augustinian Friary in Fethard, Co. Tipperary. A cloud of depression enveloped the couple which they attempted to lift by taking up residence at 18, Leeson Street, Dublin, now the home of the Standards in Public Office Commission. It didn't help their relationship and they soon divorced. Maria married John Moore from Portumna. They had one son, Hubert Butler Moore, and a grandson called Butler Dunboyne Moore, one of whose descendants was the British World War II commander Field Marshal Claude Auchinlech. Lady Dunboyne died in 1860.

Repentence
Lord Dunboyne showed many signs of remorse for his actions. When the Catholic Chapel at Dunboyne was destroyed in 1798, Lord Dunboyne offered to pay for the rebuilding himself. On another occasion he offered his own chalice, dated 1621, to the Parish Priest of Kilusty near Fethard saying "Here is a chalice for you with which I often celebrated Mass in happier days. Take it from my polluted hands." The chalice is still in the possession of the Parish.

From his residence in Leeson Street, Lord Dunboyne sought reconciliation with the Church through Archbishop Troy of Dublin. A letter begging for absolution was sent to Rome. Dunboyne's friend of 20 years, Fr. Gahan, O.S.A., an Augustinian and Prior of their house in John's Lane, was the man chosen by the Archbishop to attend him as he crept towards his judgement. Dr. Gahan was to fall under the shadow of the curse of the apostate Bishop.

Persecution Post Mortem
Dunboyne died on 5 May 1800 and was buried in the ruins of the Augustinian Friary in Fethard, near his infant daughter. He was reconciled to the Church on his deathbed, which made him, in the eyes of English Law "a relapsed Papist," in which condition, legacies of land in his will were automatically voided. Once again, the penal laws acted to persecute Catholics even after death. Dunboyne's will left a large endowment based on land to the recently founded Maynooth College. That endowment was later to form the basis of the Post-graduate Faculty, 'The Dunboyne Establishment.' However, before the endowment passed to the College, the will was challenged by Mrs. Catherine O’ Brien Butler, a cousin.

Dr. Gahan was compelled to appear as a witness in the case and he was required by the Court to reveal the secrets of his conversations with Dunboyne. The most famous of the series of cases, Butler v. Moore, MacNally [1802], 253, decided that Priest-Penitent privilege was not recognised in law, per Sir Michael Smith, MR. Dr. Gahan refused to breach the seal of confession. At the Trim assizes on 24 August 1802 his persistent refusal to testify as to the religion in which Dunboyne had died was ruled by the Chief Justice, Lord Kilwarden (who was caught up in the Robert Emmet rising) as contempt of court. Dr. Gahan was imprisoned but only for a short time.

Remnants
Sir Jonah Barrington in his 'Personal Sketches' says that Kilwarden "had no natural genius, and but scanty general information; his talents were originally too feeble to raise him by their unassisted efforts into any political importance. Though patronised by the Earl of Tyrone, and supported by the Beresford aristocracy, his rise was slow and gradual, and his promotion to the office of solicitor-general had been long predicted, not from his ability, but in consequence of his reputation as a good-hearted man and a sound lawyer."

The famous case of Cook v. Carroll [1945] IR 515, a judgement of Mr. Justice Gavan Duffy, firmly established Priest-Parishioner Privilege in Ireland.

In the end, faced with the prospect of endless litigation, the parties agreed to a division of the property, including the endowment at Maynooth.

Robert Butler, 16th Baron and direct descendant of the brother of Archbishop Butler, was a barrister and Master of the High Court in Ireland. His grandson, Patrick Butler, 18th Baron, was also a barrister (Middle Temple 1947, King's Inns 1966) and an English Circuit Court Judge. His son is the present Baron Dunboyne.

First published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association blog in July, 2010.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Ecclesiastical History Diocese of Cloyne and Ross - 3.

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, from p. 246, Chapter XXVI:

Diocese of Ross (Contd...)

Dermod MacDomnuil was bishop of Ross in 1544. Dermod died in 1552. He must have resigned before his death as there was one John, bishop of Ross, in 1551.
Thomas O'Hurley bishop of Ross assisted at the council of Trent in 1563 together with Donat bishop of Raphoe and Eugene bishop of Achonry Thomas was forced to resign in 1570 died in 1579 and was buried in the Franciscan convent of Kilchree county of Cork Thomas was taken after a long search for him together with his chaplain in a small island by a son of O Sullivan More and delivered up to Sir John Perrott was sent to the tower of London in the year 1571 where he spent three years and seven months with Primate Creagh of Armagh was at length liberated and returned to Ireland attended to his episcopal functions and died holily while in prison he had to endure hunger thirst the darkness and the stench of his dungeon and the annoyance of fleas and mice the latter gnawing his feet Those Irish prelates arrived at Trent on the 25th of May 1562 and it is gratifying to find that the representatives of the Irish church were not silent spectators of the important proceedings of this holy council their votes in some of the congregations are recorded and their signatures are found together at the end of the council On the question of communion under both kinds on which there were seven different opinions the bishops of Ross and Raphoe gave an unqualified negative but the bishop of Achonry voted for the giving of the cup to the laity leaving the matter to the Pope's discretion several other fathers giving a similar qualified vote In other transactions of the council the Irish prelates acted a distinguished part Some sort of union existed between this see and Cork in the year 1586 and from that time until the appointment of Boetius MacEgan a minorite to the see of Ross This holy prelate in the fullness of his charity ventured to take excursions through the neighboring mountains for the purpose of administering sacraments to the dying and on his returning to a lonely retreat where he had been a long time concealed he was overtaken by a troop of Ludlow's cavalry the holy prelate was assured that a renunciation of his faith would secure him not only pardon but the confidence as well of their general bribes and promises were employed but tried in vain Boetius MacEgan of Ross was immediately given up by orders of Ludlow to the fury of the soldiers his arms severed from his body he was brought to a neighboring tree and suspended from one of its branches by the reins of his own horse In the year 1748 the illustrious Pontiff Benedict XIV separated the see of Cloyne from Cork and constituted John O Brien bishop of that see uniting it to that of Ross Doctor MacKenna was bishop of Cloyne and Ross in 1775 William Coppinger coadjutor bishop in 1778 Succeeded in 1791 and died in 1831 This prelate has done eminent services to the Irish church by his writings Michael Collins coadjutor in 1827 Succeeded in 1831 died in 1832 Bartholomew Crotty elected in 1833 Was at the period of his election president of the college of Maynooth and was consecrated there in the June of that year Thomas Walsh succeeded sat but a short time and died in 1849 Timothy Murphy the present bishop of Cloyne was consecrated on the 16th of September 1849 On the 2d of February 1851 William Kane who was then parish priest of Middleton was consecrated bishop of Ross at the solicitation of Dr Murphy who was instituted to both sees His disinterestedness on this occasion forms a striking contrast with the conduct of other prelates in that province who were more intent on extending than contracting the revenues of their sees

Friday, 9 December 2016

Kilcrea Abbey

A little further from my home in Blarney away to the south west is Kilcrea Abbey. Kilcrea is certainly one the best preserved monastic ruins in County Cork. The story of the Abbey intertwines a number of themes that have appeared on this blog.

On the south bank of the River Bride, to the west of Ovens, Ballincollig and the City, lie the remains of Kilcrea Abbey.

Ovens itself is the location of the Ovens Cave which contains a Mass Rock in a chamber about 100 yards from the entrance along a gallery that is only five or six feet high. Mass Rocks are found all over Ireland in secluded spots where Mass could be said by fugitive Priests away from the notice of the persecuting English who had outlawed the Mass and the Priesthood among the provisions of the Penal Laws. So there remains plenty of physical evidence of the cruel persecution and the stubborn fidelity of the Catholics in this area of Cork.

Kilcrea Abbey was founded in 1465 for the Franciscans by Cormac Láidir MacCarthy Mór, the chief of his name and Lord of Muskerry. He was later buried in the Abbey. A monument erected in his memory reads in Irish:

In ndílchuimhne ar
Chormac Láidir MacCárthaigh
Tiarna Mhúscraí
an té a bhunaigh an mhainistir seo
d'Ord Phrionsais
agus a chuir faoi choimirce bhríde í
d'éag 1494
gura sona Dé a anam a dea-bheart
Coiste Cuimhneacháin 1965-1966

That translates as:

To the sweet memory of
Cormac the strong MacCarthy
Lord of Muskerry
who founded this Abbey
of the Order of Francis
and who placed it under the patronage of St. Brigid
in the year 1494
may God give his soul his good measure
Commemmoration Committee 1965-1966

The Abbey was dedicated to the patronage of St. Brigid of Kildare.  Historians tell us that our heavenly patron, Blessed Thaddeus McCarthy (b. 1455), studied here before pursuing his studies on the Continent at Paris and later Rome.  Less than a century after its foundation, in 1542, the Irish Commissioners of Henry VIII set about the work of dissolving the religious houses of Ireland but it was not until 1577 that Cormac McTeige MacCarthy, of the family of the founder, received the lease of the property from the Commissioners. However, faithful to the wishes of his forebear, he did not expel the Franciscans in taking possession of their property. He died in 1584 and the convent was raided twice by the authorities between his death and the fall from favour of Sir Cormac Diarmuid MacCarthy, when the Abbey was confiscated again by the English Government in Ireland.

However, the Franciscans returned quietly at the beginning of the 17th century but in 1650 the troops of Cromwell occupied the buildings of the Abbey and the nearby Castle. From that point onwards, the Abbey fell gradually into ruin until it became a National Monument at the end of the 19th century although that did not mean it was a dead museum piece. The Franciscans continued to appoint Priors to Kilcrea well into the 19th century and the Abbey continues to be a burial ground for the local people to this day, like so many of the ruins that punctuate the landscape of Ireland, reminders of the glories of past glories and past persecutions.

As well as the founder and his decendants, the famous Bishop O'Herlihy of Ross was buried near the high Altar in 1579. Bishop O'Herlihy was one of the few Irish Bishops to attend the sessions of the Council of Trent but shared with many the distinction of imprisonment in the Tower of London where he was consigned by the infamous and bloody President of Munster, Perrot.

Another notable burial in Kilcrea is Art O'Laoghaire, a martyr of the Penal Laws. Returning from exile, where he had served the Empress of Austria with distinction, he was hunting one day when a local magistrate named Morris took advantage of one of the Penal Laws of William III that required Catholics to offer up their horse for sale if it be demanded by a Protestant.

O'Laoghaire would not offer up his horse and they quarrelled. The magistrates of the area met and declared O'Laoghaire an outlaw. He was shot dead at Carriganimna, close to Macroom, by a force of English soldiery.

His wife, Eibhlín Dubh, an aunt of the great Daniel O'Connell, composed the Toramh-Chaoineadh Airt Ui Laoghaire or Lament for Art O'Laoghaire. His epitaph reads:

"Lo Arthur Leary, generous,
Handsome, Brave, slain in
His bloom, Lies in this humble
Grave. Died May 4th 1773.
Aged 26 years."

"Having served the Empress Marie Therese as
Captain of Hungarian Hussars, he returned
home to be outlawed and treacherously shot
by order of the British Government, his sole
crime being that he refused to part with a
favourite horse for the sum of five pounds."

St. Brigid of Kildare, patroness of Kilcrea, pray for them!

[First Published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Blog in December, 2009]

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Ecclesiastical History Diocese of Cloyne and Ross - 2.

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, from p. 246, Chapter XXVI:

Diocese of Cloyne (Contd...)

John de Cumba, a Cistercian monk of the abbey of Combe in Warwickshire, succeeded in 1335 by provision of the Pope and obtained the temporals in the same year.
John Brid, abbot of the Cistercian abbey of Louth Park in Lincolnshire, England, succeeded. Nothing more known of this prelate.
John Whittock succeeded in 1351, was dean of Cloyne when chosen to the see, was confirmed by the Pope and obtained the temporals from the king having renounced all clauses in the bull of the Pontiff prejudicial to the royal interest. John died in February 1361.
John de Swafham, a Carmelite friar of the abbey of Lyn in the county of Norfolk and doctor of divinity of the university of Cambridge, was consecrated bishop of Cloyne in 1363. John was translated to the see of Bangor in Wales on the 2d of July, 1376, by Pope Gregory XI as a recompense for his great labors against the Wickliffites.
Richard Wye, a Carmelite friar was advanced to the see of Cloyne by provision of Pope Gregory XI and obtained the temporals in the year 1376. Having committed some misdemeanors he was excommunicated in 1380.  He fled into England and was deprived in 1394. Notwithstanding his deprivation he took upon himself to act as bishop and the year following King Richard II, who was then at Waterford, ordered him to be arrested and given in custody to Peter Hackett, archbishop of Cashel.
Gerald Canton, an Augustin hermit and vicar general of that order in Ireland, was promoted to the see of Cloyne by provision of Pope Boniface IX and was restored to the temporals in November, 1394. Gerald was sitting on the 14th of May, 1407.
Adam Pay or Pye succeeded. Was sitting in 1421 and in that year had disputes with the bishop of Cork in a parliament assembled at Dublin about the union of Cork with the diocese of Cloyne.  The parliament took no cognizance of the matter, as it properly belonged to the Pope. This prelate died in the year 1430.
Jordan succeeded to the see of Cloyne united to that of Cork in 1430.

Diocese of Ross

Its founder and first bishop St. Fachnan Mongach already noticed.
Donegal MacFolact whom O'Flaherty makes the twenty seventh bishop of Ross after St Fachnan. He quotes the book of Leacan as his authority:

"Dongalus a Fachtna ter mums episcopus extat Lugadia de Gente dedit cui Russia mitram."

This distich has been translated by the Rev Mr Dunkin Hail:

"Happy Ross that could produce thrice nine All-mitred sages of Lugadia's line From Fachnan crowned with everlasting praise Down to the date of pious Dungal's days."

Benedict was bishop of Ross in 1172 and sat about eighteen years after Maurice who succeeded 1190 died in 1196.
Daniel, a secular priest who obtained the see by forged letters to the Pope, succeeded and was consecrated at Rome by the bishop of Albano in the year 1197. Daniel forged several letters from bishops and thus deluded the Pope to confirm him in the see of Ross.
Florence and another monk of Ross having repaired to Rome each of them asserting his claim to the diocese, the former accused Daniel of deception in procuring his own consecration. The Pontiff Celestine committed the examination of the claims of those three candidates to Mathew O'Heney, archbishop of Cashel, and to Charles O'Heney, bishop of Killaloe, with instructions if they found Daniel canonically elected to establish him in the possession of the see, if otherwise that they should investigate the claims of the two monks and declare the one chosen according to the canons the bishop of Ross. Having proceeded to enquire, the delegates cited Daniel to appear on three occasions, to which Daniel paid no attention. They then enquired into the claims of the other parties and finding that the opponent of Florence was not even put in nomination and it appearing that Florence was canonically elected who had the concurrent testimonials of the clergy and people of Ross, of the king, of Cork, and moreover the prelates of the province, they confirmed the said Florence, by apostolic authority. During those proceedings, Pope Celestine died and Innocent III was advanced to the papal chair and Daniel again repaired to Rome, where he endeavored to support his cause as he began it, by fraud and falsehood. He was at length ousted and his competitor Florence established in his see. Florence succeeded, was sitting in 1210 in which year he was suspended by the Pope from the power of ordaining for having conferred three orders in one day on William, bishop elect of Emly. Florence died in the year 1222.
Robert or Richard who succeeded Florence was sitting in 1225. Florence O Cloghena resigned in 1252.
Maurice, a minorite and chantor of Cloyne, succeeded in 1253. Maurice obtained licence from the Pope to resign and in 1269 the archbishop of Cashel was empowered to receive his cession of the diocese by Pope Clement IV and absolve him from all obligations to the church of Ross.  The Pontiff in his letter added that Maurice was incompetent to govern the see of Ross both from his want of learning and the weakness of his constitution.
Walter O'Mitchain, a Franciscan friar, succeeded in 1269, sat five years and died in 1274.
Peter O'Hullican, a Cistercian monk, was consecrated in 1275 and also obtained the temporals. Peter died in 1290.
Lawrence, a canon of Ross, was elected in 1290. He sat nineteen years, died in 1309, and was buried in his own church.
Mathew O'Fin, who was an abbot, was chosen by the dean and chapter on the 8th of March, 1309. Mathew recovered several possessions of his see which had been unjustly usurped by Thomas Barret and Philip de Carew. The king, thinking there was collusion in the affair in order that the statutes of mortmain might be avoided, ordered another inquest to try the case and the jury found in favor of the bishop. Mathew died in the year 1330.
Lawrence O'Holdecan or Hullucan succeeded in 1331 was confirmed by the dean and chapter of Cashel as that see was then vacant. Lawrence only presided four years.
Denis was consecrated in 1336. Denis died in 1377.
Bernard O'Connor, a Franciscan friar, succeeded in 1378 by provision of the Pope and having sworn allegiance to the king obtained the temporals.
Stephen Brown, a Carmelite, succeeded in 1378 by provision of Pope Boniface IX and was restored to the temporals on the 6th of May, 1402.
Mathew, bishop of Ross, died about the year 1418.
Walter Formay, a Franciscan friar and doctor of divinity, was promoted to the see of Ross by Pope Martin V in November, 1418.
Cornelius MacElchade, a Franciscan friar, was promoted instead of John Bloxmonch, a Carmelite who neglected to expedite his provisional letters, by the Pope to the see of Ross on the 18th of August, 1426.
Thady succeeded as bishop of Ross and was sitting in January 1488, died soon after.
Odo or Hugh succeeded in 1489 and sat only five years.
Edmond Courcey, a minorite and professor of divinity, who had been consecrated bishop of Clogher in June, 1484, was translated to the see of Ross in September, 1494. Edmond died in a very advanced age on the 14th of March ,1518, and was buried in a monastery of his own order at Timoleague in the county of Cork, of which he built the steeple, dormitory, infirmary and library.
John Imurily, a Cistercian of the abbey of Maur in the county of Cork and afterwards abbot of that house, succeeded to the see of Ross in the year, 1519. He died on the 9th of January same year and was buried in the monastery of Timoleague, having assumed the Franciscan habit.
Bonaventure, a Spaniard, succeeded and was sitting in 1523.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Round Tower at Waterloo

To the north of Cork City, just a few miles north of Blarney, up the valley between the Boggera and the Nagle Mountains, the Martin River flows down towards the River Lee. Fr. Mat Horgan was Parish Priest of Blarney in the 19th century. He was a man of many talents and a great supporter of Irish Catholic heritage. The name of this great Corkonian deserves to be better remembered. He gave a lecture in 1839 which included his own translation into Irish of an ode by Horace.

He was a historian and the author of many learned articles but only one book on the Tithe War of 1834 when a Protestant Minister called Ryder called out the English soldiers to collect contributions to the Protestant Church that were imposed by law even upon Catholics. 12 died and many were wounded to satisfy his greed.

Fr. Mat was known locally as "the man who built the Round Towers". In fact, he built two, one at Waterloo and another at Whitechurch both in the north of County Cork. There was great controversy among the antiquarians of the time regarding the true origins of Round Towers that dot the landscape of Ireland. Fr. Mat proposed the solution that seems so obvious now that they were bell towers and places of storage and refuge. To demonstrate his theory, he built the two towers. He died in 1849 at the age of 46 and was buried beneath the tower at Waterloo.

Across the gap along the road to Mallow you reach the River Clyda above which sat Castle Barrett or Castlemore that was once the stronghold of the Templar Knights of Mourne Abbey, who arrived around the year 1200. The Boggeras have a desolate appearance above Mourne Abbey. No wonder that they are the home place of "the man from God knows where".

Into our townland on a night of snow,
Rode a man from God knows where;
None of us bade him stay or go,
Nor deemed him friend, nor damned him foe,
But we stabled his big roan mare;
For in our townland we're decent folk,
And if he didn't speak, why none of us spoke,
And we sat till the fire burned low.

The River Clyda will be well-loved of all Cork people in exile in Dublin because, as you sit on the train from Dublin, it and the Blackwater are the first signs of the land of streams that announce that you are home again in dear old Cork.

[UPDATE] Since I posted this another great Irish poem has been brought to my attention. I was sitting down watching Darby O'Gill and the Little People and enjoying the nonsense when my Grandma started reciting the correct form of the poem quoted by Sean Connery incorrectly in the film. Instantly I realised that it would go well with my post on the Round Towers and I asked her to write what she could remember of it:

THE PILLAR TOWERS OF IRELAND
By D.F. McCarthy

I.
The pillar towers of Ireland, how wondrously they stand
By the lakes and rushing rivers through the valleys of our land;
In mystic file, through the isle, they lift their heads sublime,
These gray old pillar temples, these conquerors of time!

II.
Beside these gray old pillars, how perishing and weak
The Roman's arch of triumph, and the temple of the Greek,
And the gold domes of Byzantium, and the pointed Gothic spires,
All are gone, one by one, but the temples of our sires!

III.
The column, with its capital, is level with the dust,
And the proud halls of the mighty and the calm homes of the just;
For the proudest works of man, as certainly, but slower,
Pass like the grass at the sharp scythe of the mower!

IV.
But the grass grows again when in majesty and mirth,
On the wing of the spring, comes the Goddess of the Earth;
But for man in this world no springtide e'er returns
To the labours of his hands or the ashes of his urns!

V.
Two favourites hath Time--the pyramids of Nile,
And the old mystic temples of our own dear isle;
As the breeze o'er the seas, where the halcyon has its nest,
Thus Time o'er Egypt's tombs and the temples of the West!

VI.
The names of their founders have vanished in the gloom,
Like the dry branch in the fire or the body in the tomb;
But to-day, in the ray, their shadows still they cast
These temples of forgotten gods--these relics of the past!

VII.
Around these walls have wandered the Briton and the Dane
The captives of Armorica, the cavaliers of Spain
Phoenician and Milesian, and the plundering Norman Peers
And the swordsmen of brave Brian, and the chiefs of later years!

VIII.
How many different rites have these gray old temples known!
To the mind what dreams are written in these chronicles of stone!
What terror and what error, what gleams of love and truth,
Have flashed from these walls since the world was in its youth?

IX.
Here blazed the sacred fire, and, when the sun was gone,
As a star from afar to the traveller it shone;
And the warm blood of the victim have these gray old temples drunk,
And the death-song of the druid and the matin of the monk.

X.
Here was placed the holy chalice that held the sacred wine,
And the gold cross from the altar, and the relics from the shrine,
And the mitre shining brighter with its diamonds than the East,
And the crosier of the pontiff and the vestments of the priest.

XI.
Where blazed the sacred fire, rung out the vesper bell,
Where the fugitive found shelter, became the hermit's cell;
And hope hung out its symbol to the innocent and good,
For the cross o'er the moss of the pointed summit stood.

XII.
There may it stand for ever, while that symbol doth impart
To the mind one glorious vision, or one proud throb to the heart;
While the breast needeth rest may these gray old temples last,
Bright prophets of the future, as preachers of the past!

[First Published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Blog in April, 2010]

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Ecclesiastical History Diocese of Cloyne and Ross - 1.

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, from p. 246, Chapter XXVI:

DIOCESE OF CLOYNE AND ROSS

The first of these sees was founded by Saint Colman about the year 580 Colman was of royal extraction by his father's side whose name was Lenine or Lenin and brother to one of the Saints Bridget. He is sometimes surnamed Mitine, whence it is to be inferred that he was a native of the district called Muskerry in the county of Cork. The time of his birth is not known but it was probably about the year 522. He seems to have devoted his early years to the study of poetry and we are assured that he was domestic poet to the prince Aodh Caomh who was raised to the throne of Cashel about the middle of the sixth century and that he was present together with Brendan of Clonfert at his inauguration in Maghfemyn between Cashel and Clonmel. Colman soon after, in accordance with the advice of Saint Brendan, renounced his worldly pursuits and is said to have repaired to the school of St Iarlath at Tuam. Some say that he was the disciple of St. Finbarr of Cork but it is not likely as Colman must have been much older. Colman died according to some in the year 601 or to others in 604. His festival is marked at the 24th of November.

It appears that St Colman became an eminent scholar as he has left a life of St. Senan of Inniscathy written in Irish metre and in an elegant style. He was also a great proficient in the science of the saints.

The see of Ross was founded by St. Fachnan about the year 570. He is also reckoned among the disciples of St. Finbarr but he was prior to that saint. He was surnamed Mongach, i.e., hairy or according to another interpretation MacMongach, son of Mongach. Before he established himself at Ross, Fachnan was abbot of Darinis Maclanfaidh, now Molona, a small island in the river Blackwater, county of Waterford. The school which he founded at Ross was one of the most celebrated and frequented in the south of Ireland. St. Fachnan died at the close of the sixth century and his natalis or the day of his death is marked on the 14th of August. This see has obtained the name of Ross Alithre because of the number of pilgrims who resorted thither. The see of Ross became annexed to that of Cloyne in the eighteenth century and has been again reconstituted by the present illustrious Pontiff Pius IX.

St. Colman, first bishop of Cloyne as already noticed. Of his successors in the see only four are recorded until the coming of the English.

Ó Malvain, bishop of Cloyne died in 1094.
Nehemiah Ó Moriertach flourished in the year 1140 and died about 1149. He is called a plain and modest man excelling all others in wisdom and chastity.
Ó Dubery or Ó Dubrein called abbot of Cluainvama died in 1159.
Ó Flanagan died in 1167.

Mathew sat in 1171 and died about the year 1192 supposed to have been O Mongagh. If so he was legate of Ireland whose legatine authority devolved on Mathew O'Heney, archbishop of Cashel.
Lawrence O'Sullivan who succeeded died at Lismore in 1204. Daniel died in 1222.
Florence, archdeacon of Belleghac, was elected bishop of Cloyne and at the Pope's request obtained the temporals on the 25th of August, 1224. In the February of the following year the custody of the temporals was granted to Marian, archbishop of Cashel.
Patrick, a Cistercian monk and who was prior of the abbey of Fermoy, was confirmed by the royal assent in the year 1226.
David Mackelley, dean of Cashel, succeeded and was translated to the see of Cashel in 1238.
Alan O'Sullivan succeeded in 1240 was translated to the see of Lismore in 1248.
Daniel, according to Luke Wadding a Franciscan friar, was consecrated bishop of this see in 1249. Upon his election the dean and chapter refused to present him to the king for his approbation but by apostolic mandate directed to the archbishop of Cashel and to the bishops of Killaloe and Lismore proceeded to have him consecrated. The king became so offended at this conduct that he refused to restore him to the temporals until he was prevailed upon by the urgent supplications of some good and religious men, the chapter giving security by patent that they would not in future proceed to elect without the king's licence and that the person elected should present himself to the king for his approbation before he would be consecrated. Daniel died in the beginning of the year 1264 and had been a prelate much esteemed for his virtues devotion and wisdom.
Reginald, who was bishop of Down, obtained the see of Cloyne in 1265. He died about the close of the year 1273.
Alan O'Lonergan, a Franciscan friar, succeeded in 1274. He died in 1283.
Nicholas de Effingham, an Englishman, succeeded in 1284 and obtained the temporals in September of that year. He died in a very advanced age A.D. 1320 having presided upwards of thirty six years.
Maurice Osolehan, archdeacon of Cloyne, succeeded in 1320 and died in 1333 in the thirteenth year after his consecration. In consideration of the poverty of the sees of Cloyne and Cork, King Edward III formed a design to unite them and with that view wrote to the Pope who agreed with the king in the propriety of the measure and accordingly issued a bull to that effect, the original bull being lost.

Richard Wye then bishop of Cloyne applied to Pope Gregory XI to remedy the loss and obtained an exemplification of the bull which John XXII had before granted, but the project of the union was not accomplished until the year 1430, when Jordan, bishop of Cork was promoted to both sees on the death of Adam Pay, bishop of Cloyne, who used every effort to bring this union about.