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Two County Cork churches celebrate bicentenaries

During the month of September, two churches in the Church of Ireland United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, celebrated their bicentenaries: 200 years of the present church buildings in communities where Christian faith, worship and service stretches back many more centuries.


Saint Matthew, Baltimore

On Sunday 22nd September the parishioners of Abbeystrewry Union (Skibbereen, Baltimore, Castletownshend and Caheragh in County Cork) celebrated the 200th anniversary of the consecration of St Matthew’s Church, Baltimore.  St Matthew’s Church was consecrated on the 25th September 1819 by Thomas St Lawrence, Bishop of Cork and Ross.  This year’s Dedication Eucharist was celebrated with a church full with  parishioners of St. Matthew’s and representatives from Tidy Towns Baltimore, RNLI and many other well wishers.

The Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Ven Adrian Wilkinson, preached and assisted the rector, the Rev John Ardis, in the celebrations.  The Archdeacon acted as the Bishop’s Commissary as the Bishop was unable to be present as he was in hospital. Canon Trevor Lester represented former rectors at the celebrations.  After the Service, the parish continued the celebrations at the Glebe Gardens in Baltimore with a light lunch and a special commemorative cake.

The service was one of the high points of the parish’s celebrations for the year.  Earlier in the year, on 15th June, a garden party was held, also at the Glebe Gardens, Baltimore, where our commemorative booklet edited by Mr Nicholas MacGillycuddy was launched.  At that garden party launch, St Fachtna’s Silver Band entertained everyone with their music.  There was also a weekend Flower Festival held in St Matthew’s Church from Friday 28th to Sunday 20th June.

For the remainder of the celebrations this year there will be a Community Harvest Thanksgiving in association with the RNLI who are also celebrating 100 years of having a lifeboat in Baltimore.  And on Friday, 13th December, the end of the bicentennial year of festivities will be marked with a Community Concert in St Matthew’s Church. The Community Christmas Crib will be installed at 7.30pm, and the concert will start at 8pm.

The rector, the Rev John Ardis, writes: ‘This year has been a wonderful celebration of this beautiful church.  I am so grateful to all in the parish and beyond who have helped make this such a remarkable year, particularly our hard working committee.  The history of this church is so linked with the history of the village, and I am delighted that the celebrations have been shared by all, and I am so grateful for the well wishes of the wider community.  As a parish we were delighted to have the Archdeacon present with us for our Dedication Eucharist, and we continue to pray for the Bishop’s recovery.’


Saint Senan, Inniscarra

On Sunday 1st September, St Senan’s Church, Inniscarra celebrated a very special evensong with the choir of St Fin Barre’s cathedral participating and the Bishop – the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton – preaching to mark the bicentenary of the Church.

The Service was followed by the planting of a tree by the Bishop in the churchyard.  A cake and refreshments were enjoyed by all.


A selection of photos from the bicentenary events is available here