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:

By D.F. McCarthy

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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?

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.

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.

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.

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:


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.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Along the Banks of the River Lee - St. Finbar and the Bishop of Ross

Des has asked me to write up something about the Catholic heritage of Cork so I decided to start at the beginning, with Gougane Barra and St. Finbar. Before the time of St. Finbar, this lake was known as Lough Irce and it lies deep in a long valley, surrounded on all sides by hills, except on the east where the famous waters of the River Lee begin to flow towards Cork City and the sea. When you first approach the lake from Ballingeary direction it looks almost square but, in fact, it is almost a mile long and only about 300 yards wide.

Holy Island was the site of the 6th century monastery of St. Finbar. The present Church is just over a hundred years old in a style also seen in Cormac's Chapel on the Rock of Cashel. The head of St. Finbar crowns the elaborately carved doorway.

Near the Oratory is an enclosure that marks the site both of the monastery of St. Finbar and the retreat of Fr. Denis O'Mahony, a Priest of the Penal Era. The monastery of St. Finbar was probably of wattle and daub construction, so we don't know the precise location. However, the inscription on the cross, in Latin, Irish and English reads: Here stood in the 6th century, the cell of St. Finbarr, first Bishop of Cork." Nearby, a slab bears the inscription: "This place of devotion was dedicated unto Almighty God, to the Blessed Virgin Mary and unto St. Finn Bary in the seventeenth century of our Lord, by the Rev. Denis O'Mahony, who after the erecting of these buildings, made them his residence till the end of his religious days in this world..." Just to the east of this enclosure is a ruined chapel that appears to have been the chapel used by Fr. O'Mahony. Fr. O'Mahony died in 1700 and was burried in a grave near the entrance to Holy Island. The Cork poet J.J. Callanan is also commemorated by a simple cross here. He wrote a poem on Gougane including the lines:

There is a green island in lone Gougane Barra
Where Allua of song rushes forth as an arrow.
In deep-valley'd Desmond - a thousand wild fountains,
Come down to that lake from their homes in the mountains.

The Lee leaves Gougane and flows east past Ballingeary and opens out into another lake, the famous Lough Allua. At Ballingeary, during the terrible days of the Black and Tans the forces of the British Crown would regularly harrass Mass-goers as they left. On 10 November, 1920 as they left the scene of the murder of an unarmed young man, they jeered to the Parish Priest, Fr. Donncha Ó Donnchú that "there's work for you back there". A month later in Dunmanway the Parish Priest Canon Magner was shot on the street in a revenge execution by a British Auxiliary called Harte.

Leaving Lough Allua, the Lee flows past Inchigeela. At Curraheen, about two miles from Inchigeela, on the right hand side of the road there is to be found another monument to the suffering of the Irish under the Penal Laws. A rough stone altar stands below a crag. A metal plate reads "Altar of Penal Times, Mass was said here 1640-1800". From here, the Lee flows towards Macroom, where the Castle once housed Archbishop Rinuccini, Papal Legate to the Catholic Confederacy of the 17th century, and enters the magnificent Gearagh, a sort of Cork Everglades.

To the east of the Gearagh is Carrigadrohid, where the castle stands guard on a stone outcrop over the bridge and the river. The castle was built by the MacCarthys of Muskerry. In April of 1649, during Cromwell's rampage through Ireland an officer of his forces named Broghill laid siege to the castle. When the castle wouldn't surrender he brought the Bishop of Ross, Dr. Boetius Egan, out from imprisonment in Macroom and stood the elderly Bishop before the castle and threatened to hang him if the castle would not surrender. Bishop Egan shouted to the defenders to hold out. Enraged by the Bishop's defiance but true to his word, Broghill hanged the Bishop of Ross there and then before their eyes. The castle held out but not for long. The castle fell to a simpler trick. Broghill ordered his forces to cut down trees of about the size of cannon and had them yoked to oxen and deployed around the castle. By this means, they forced the defenders to parlay.

A happier story of Carrigadrohid relates to Donal O'Sullivan who caught a leprechaun one day. The leprechaun shouted for him to look out for MacCarthaigh's bull that was charging down upon them. Donal turned to look and the leprechaun escaped. A year later, Donal caught him again in a bush near the river. This time the leprechaun cried out to Donal to look at MacCarthaigh's daughter coming up the path. Donal coundn't resist, turned to look and the leprechaun escaped. A third time Donal caught him and the leprechaun shouted in vain about bulls and boars and goats and girls but Donal held him fast and got the pot of gold, with which he bought the bull and the castle and married the daughter.

[UPDATE] Since I posted this, my attention has been drawn to a poem that refers to the incident in 1649 that I mentioned above. I reproduce it here:

By Dr. Madden
Author of the "Lives of the United Irishmen"

The tramp of the trooper is heard at Macroom;
The soldiers of Cromwell are spared from Clonmel,
And Broghill - the merciless Broghill - is come,
On a missionof murder which pleases him well.

the wailing of women, the wild ululu,
Dread tidings from cabin to cabin convey;
But loud though the plaints and the shrieks which ensue,
The war-cry is louder of men in array.

In the park of Macroom there is gleaming of steel,
And glancing of lightning in looks on that field,
And swelling of bosoms with patriotic zeal,
And clenching of hands on the weapons they wield.

MacEgan, a prelate like Ambrose of old;
Foresakes not his flock when the spoiler is near,
The post of the pastor's in front of the fold,
When the wolf's on the plain and there's rapine to fear.

The danger is come, and the fortune of war,
Inclines to the side of oppression once more;
The people are brave - but, they fall; and the star,
Of their destiny sets in the darkness of yore.

MacEgan survives in the Philistine hands,
Of the lords of the Pale, and his death is decreed;
But the sentence is stayed by Lord Broghill's commands,
And the prisoner is dragged to his presence with speed.

"To Carraig-an-Driochead this instant," he cried,
"Prevail on your people in garrison there,
To yield, and at once in our mercy confide,
And your life I will pledge you my honour to spare."

"Your mercy! Your honour!" the prelate replied,
"I well know the worth of : my duty I know,
Lead on to the castle, and there, by your side,
With the blessing of God, what is meet I will do."

The orders are given, the prisoner is led,
To the castle, and 'round him are menacing hoards:
Undaunted, approaching the walls, at the head,
Of the troopers of Cromwell, he utters these words:

"Beward of the cockatrices - trust not the wiles,
Of the serpent, for perfidy skulks in its folds!
Beware of Lord Broghill the day that he smiles!
His mercy is murder! - his word never holds!"

"Remember, 'tis writ in our annals of blood,
Our countrymen never relied on the faith,
Of truce or of treaty, but treason ensued -
And the issue of every delusion was death!"

Thus nobly the patriot prelate sustained,
The ancient renown of his chivalrous race,
And the last of old Eoghan's descendants obtained,
For the name of Ui-Mani new lustre and grace.

He died on the scaffold, in front of those walls,
Where the blackness of ruin is seen from afar;
And the gloom of its desolate aspect recalls,
The blackest of Broghill's achievements in war!

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

Monday, 15 August 2016

Birthday Mass for Little Nellie of Holy God

Following on from the Mass organised for the anniversary of her death, we return to the Church of the Resurrection, Farranree, Cork City, to celebrate the birthday of Little Nellie of Holy God, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, 24th August, with a Traditional Latin Mass.  Both to conform with the judgment of the Church and to encourage you to greater devotion and zeal, we are praying for a friend on her birthday.  She is not (yet) 'raised to the Altars' so there is no intention of anticipating the decision of the Church on her holiness or virtue.  We do not intend to give her any public honour to which she is not (yet) entitled.  We pray for the soul of Little Nellie as we would and should any other holy soul not yet canonized.  However, we earnestly encourage you to come and pray for her and to deepen your devotion to her cause that she may be our intercessor with Holy God.  Subito Santo.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Bandon Rebellion of 1689

I have already spoken of Bandon as a plantation town of fixed opinion. Indeed, a contingent of Bandonians fought at the Battle of the Boyne on the Williamite side attached to the 'Londonderry Auxiliaries.'

Upon the accession of King James II the town of Bandon was given a new charter and Teige McCarthy of Aglish was made Provost or Mayor of the town on 20th March, 1686. He then commenced to administer the oath of alliegance to James II and to levy troops for the King's cause. To add to the discomforture of the Bandonians, the charter document arrived in the town accompanied by a Priest, suggested to have brought a relic from the Chains of St. Peter. The Bandonians were aghast:

"That charter - that priest! Oh! If he had his will, he'd-! but that link from the iron chain-that symbol of unfettered thought. By the solemn League and Covenant, if I can lay my hands on it, I will make a bob of it to catch eels with!"

By 1st June, the new Provost was forced to issue this proclamation:

"Whereas, several summonses have of late been given to the inhabitants of this corporation to appear and take the oath accustomed for freemen and forasmuch as they refuse and contemn the said summonses. Now we, the said provost and majority of the burgesses, having taken into consideration the wrong and injury that happen unto the corporation thereby, do, and by our mutual assents and consents have ordered that every person, of what trade soever, shall pay six shillings and eightpence sterling per day for using every such trade or occupation, either private or public, after the fifteenth day of June next the date hereof; and the same to be levied on their goods and chattels, and to be disposed of according to law; or their bodies to be imprisoned, through the choice lying in the provost."

Bandon had been garrisoned by a troop of horse and two companies of foot under Captain Daniel O'Neill. On 16th of February, 1689, Captain O'Neill issued a proclamation calling on the inhabitants to deliver up all arms and ammunition within three days. The Bandonians hardly obeyed such a command and Lord Clancarthy promised to march from Cork about noon on the following Monday to bring with him six companies of foot.

The Bandonians were finally provoked by two coincident circumstances. The first was the landing of William of Orange to usurp the throne of the Catholic King James, the second was the declaration by O'Neill that on the Sunday after Clancarthy's arrival the Bandonians would witness the celebration of Mass in the parish church of Kilbrogan.

This was the last straw for the Bandonians, who revolted against the Royal officers. They gathered at the house of Katty Holt, described as a thin, skinny, wicked old woman, whose tongue never stopped unless she was asleep, and who, when she overheard them planning what they should do with the prisoners is said to have replied: "Prisoners! Oh, bring them to me, the popish varlets, and see if I don't scratch their eyes out!"

Early that Monday morning, before the arrival of Clancarthy, the Bandonians gathered. The signal for the beginning of the revolt was to be the ringing of the church bell but the sacristan Jack Sullivan would not ring it. Instead, his wife cried out "O Lord" Spare not the Philistines!" and rang the bell as a signal for the rebels who disarmed the troops while they still slept. Some managed to resist disarmed and eight of the Royal troops were killed, three of them Protestants. The remainder were driven out of the town by the North Gate. Even within living memory Bandonians were called "Black Mondays." For some time after the revolt Bandon was known as 'South Derry' marking the similarity of outlook of the Protestant populace, as well as the anti-Royalist actions taken by each only a few weeks apart.

However, the revolt did not last long as within a few hours the troops arrived from Cork led by the Earl of Clancarthy and Justin McCarthy, later Viscount Mountcashel and founder of the Irish Brigade in the service of France.

The town was invested and the Bandonians called upon to submit. The familiar reply was "No Surrender!" However, the town was take and in the articles of peace, those Bandonians who had disarmed the royalist garrison, under the command of Captain Daniel O'Neill were fined £1,000, "with the demolition of their walls, which were then razed to the ground, and never since rebuilt" Lord Tyrconnell thought they got off too cheap. In a letter, dated March 10th, 1689, he regrets that Clancarty had entered into a treaty with the people of Bandon until those who had formented and carried out the assault upon the garrison had been brought to justice. The rebels of Bandon were later tried and executed at the order of Chief Justice Nugent, son of the Earl of Westmeath and later Baron Nugent of Riverston.

The loyalty of Bandon was to be short-lived also and on 16th July, 1690, with the tide running against King James II, the Bandonians revolted again and declared:

"That the new charter brought and produced by Teige McCarthy, under the government and under the broad seal of this kingdom, had become null and void; and that the old charter be revived and stand in the former house, and elected and appointed Mr. John Nash to be provost of the borough for the year to come; he first taking the the usual oaths, and the oath of loyalty to our gracious sovereigns, William and Mary, King and Queen of England." It was to be more than two centuries before Bandon was to be freed from the shackles of Protestant invaders loyal to Protestant usurpers.

The Earl and later Duke of Marlborough landed at Kinsale in October and began to invest, one after the other, the positions still loyal to King James, the old fort of Kinsale and the Charlesfort. The Regiment of O'Discoll was thrown back from Castletown. The following January, Fox, the Williamite Governor of Cork, put all Papists in the County under a curfew. Limerick capitulated the following October and the last hope for the victory of King James - or for the peacable practice of the Catholic Faith - had gone. As soon as the peace was signed, 4,500 foot soldiers marched into Cork under the command of Patrick Sarsfield, remaining there about a month they set sail for Brest, landing on the 3rd December, 1691. However, those 4,500 represented only a vanguard of those loyal to King James and the cause of Catholic Ireland. It was estimated that between 1691 and 1745, the year of Fontenoy, 450,000 Irishmen died, not to mention those others who fought, in the service of France alone.

At Fontenoy, in rememberance of the honourable terms granted at Limerick that were breached before the ink was dry, the war cry of the Irish Brigade was: "Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach!" - "Remember Limerick and Saxon Perfidy!" We could add Cuimhnigh ar Droichead na Bandan agus feall na Sassonach!

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

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Candlemas and Little Nellie of Holy God

Little Nellie of Holy God is no stranger to the readers of this blog.  Last year we made a pilgrimage to the grave of Little Nellie. She featured in our journal in 2014, and in my travel journal along the old railways of Cork back in 2011.  She is not (yet) a recognised Saint.  The cause for her canonisation has yet to begin - so far as I know - but I know that many in Cork and elsewhere will agree with me in saying subito Santo.  May she soon be a canonised Saint.  May the cause of her canonisation soon be opened.

So far as I know, this was the first time in living memory that an Anniversary Mass was organised by her friends for the little mystic of Cork.  She deserves our prayers.  If she is with Holy God in Heaven she can shower those graces on her devout clients and upon little children like herself and all those who need help to increase their devotion to Holy God in the Blessed Sacrament.  On the beautiful feast of Candlemas the members and friends of Blessed Thaddeus Catholic Heritage Association, including some great apostles of Little Nellie, attended a Traditional Latin Mass in the Church of the Resurrection, Farrenree, Cork City, already discussed on this blog as one of the Rosary Churches of Cork.  Our deep thanks to the community of Farranree, especially Fr. Walsh and Martha, for making us so welcome.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Anniversary Mass for Little Nellie of Holy God

When we made our annual pilgrimage to Cork's lovely North Cathedral last year to honour our heavenly patron, Blessed Thaddeus McCarthy, the white martyr of Cork, some of us took a detour to visit the grave of Ellen Organ, known with great affection as Little Nellie of Holy God.  This mystic child was a shining example of faith in the True Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament up to her death at the age of 4.

Her impact upon the Universal Church was explored in our journal in 2014, and I made reference to her in the course of my travel journel along the old railways of Cork back in 2011.  This year we are blessed to mark the Anniversary of her death, on the beautiful feast of Candlemas, the feast of the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple, with a Traditional Latin Mass at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 2nd February, in the Church of the Resurrection, Farrenree, Cork City, which we have already discussed on this blog as one of the Rosary Churches of Cork.

So you are invited and most welcome to attend this Mass to pray for Little Nellie in the Church of the Resurrection, Farranree, on Tuesday evening.