The post box at Clonmethan

You may have seen the post box near the entrance to the Clonmethan graveyard. It is located set into a wall at the entrance to what was once the Rectory (now a private house). This post box is quite rare we believe, and below is a brief outline of its history.

The post box is rare in that in has both royal and Saorstát Éireann insignia. Looking at the post box (see photo above), the royal insignia are those of King Edward VII, who reigned from 22 January 1901 – 6 May 1910. Thus, this post box was installed within this period. Based on data from the UK’s Postal Museum, it is an Edward VII Type C wall box. This type of box was used from 1904-1910, and was supplied by W. T. Allen and Company, Lambeth Hill, London (who ceased business in 1955). W. T. Allen outsourced manufacture of these post boxes to James Maude & Co, of Mansfield. Thus, we can narrow down the installation of this box to sometime in the period 1904-1910.

Saorstát Éireann existed from 6 December 1922 – 29 December 1937, after which the Republic of Ireland was established. Saorstát Éireann assumed the various state services from the British over several years from 1922. In terms of postal services, it was not until 1925 that the transition was fully complete. During this time, the red British post boxes were painted green, with the letters S.E. (for Saorstát Éireann) painted on. It was not until 1928 that an insignia for Saorstát Éireann was agreed, at which point it could be applied to assorted items of the state, including post boxes.

Ireland of the 1920s was agricultural, with little industry. Thus, despite the State wanting to source locally, fully replacing post boxes was not very feasible given the lack of iron foundries. According to a book by Stephen Ferguson, some foundries in Dublin, Athy, Wexford and Limerick were used to make post boxes over the years. In the case of the box at Clonmethan, either the door was replaced, or the S.E. insignia somehow attached. The door visually appears remarkably like the Class C box mentioned above, suggesting the latter may have been the case, but we cannot be certain.

The Department of Posts and Telegraphs (or P&T) existed from 1922 to until 1984 – when it was abolished and split into An Post and Telecom Eireann. Throughout this entire period, any newly installed post boxes typically carried the P&T symbol on the door, and most of the boxes with the S.E. insignia were replaced. In the case of Clonmethan, this did not happen. Thus, we have a post box with royal insignia dating it from 1904 to 1910, and a door dated from 1928-1937. We are not sure how many post boxes still have this dual provenance with the S.E. symbol intact, but to our best knowledge such boxes are quite rare.

Do post some letters if you are passing by, it will help keep the post box in active use in our community.


Great funding news

We are delighted with todays news from Minister Darragh O’Brien on his announcement of approval for second phase funding for the stabilisation and restoration of the bell tower. The funding amounts to €114,000 and is the maximum funding that we could receive. Thanks to to Fingal Co Co for their support, the volunteers who have been involved and particularly Darragh who has given so much encouragement. This funding will secure this building into the future.


Digital survey for Heritage week

As part of national heritage week, a digital topological survey was carried out at St Mary’s Church and grounds today, August 19th 2022. The survey basically records the lie of the land and the outline of the building.

The survey is not only important for any future preservation work which may be undertaken, but also serves as a very useful point of reference for the future generations. Full details can be found on the website.


Some good news and funding awarded

The Friends of Clonmethan group were recently nominated for the Mayor of Fingal Community Groups award. Unfortunately we were not successful on this occasion, but we were nominated and that in itself was a great achievement. Deputy Mayor councillor Cathal Boland presented our certificate of nomination to the group recently.

Further good news was received recently when the Minister for Darragh O’Brien called chairman to announce that we have received confirmation of a grant of €21500 – astounding amount of funds – to survey the tower and prepare the way for any works that will be needed to secure its future. Many many thanks to all involved.


Remembrance Day at Clonmethan

As you may know, Remembrance Day (also known as Armistice Day) was last Thursday, November 11. As highlighted in an earlier post, the Friends of Clonmethan erected a memorial to those from our community you feel during the Great War and World War II. A few more names have been added recently as our research work progressed (see below).

Last Thursday, a ceremony was held at St Mary’s. It was captured on video, which you can see below. Our thanks to all those who attended, in particular Daragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.


Formal dedication of headstone for Rev. F.H. Aldhouse

On Friday last, October 8th, the Friends of Clonmethan and the local community welcomed his Grace Archbishop Micheal Jackson to formally bless the grave of Rev F.H. Aldhouse. During the last year, the Friends of Clonmethan erected a headstone to mark the final resting place of Rev. Aldhouse, who was the last resident rector of St. Mary’s Church.

It was Archbishop Jackson’s first visit to Clonmethan, and he received a very warm welcome. After some prayers, the Friends of Clonmethan presented Archbishop Jackson a YMCA WW1 medal, posthumously awarded to Rev. Aldhouse in appreciation of his humanitarian work during the Great War.

Also in attendance was Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Councillor Brian Dennehy – both of whom were very supportive of the efforts of the Friends of Clonmethan. Local clergy, relatives of the deceased and the local community completed what was an excellent attendance.

A huge thanks to everyone who organised and attended what was an historic evening. Some photos of the evening are below, courtesy of Tommy Kavanagh and some of the attendees.

Archbishop Jackson with the posthumous medal presented on the evening
Archbishop Jackson during his speech and prayers
Some Friends of Clonmethan, clergy and politicians arriving, with the new headstone for Rev FH Aldhouse in the foreground

Visit of Archbishop Jackson

We are very pleased to announce on behalf of the Friends of Clonmethan   that his Grace Archbishop Micheal Jackson will formally bless the grave of Rev F.H. Aldhouse. The formalities being at 6:15 pm on Friday October 8th, 2021. The earlier than planned start is due to fading light at this time of year.

Also in attendance will be Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and other local dignitaries.

All are welcome to attend, and light refreshments will be available. Parking will be manged by attendants. Many thanks to Jamie Callaghan and family of Glebe House for the use of their facilities for this event – they have been great supporters since we have been founded.


List of clergy 1275-1883

One of the Friends of Clonmethan has found an interesting list of clergy leading the parish since 1275 – almost 750 years of history in one page!

The list is below:


A visit from a minister

See a tweet from Darragh O’Brien here following his recent visit to see all the work done in recent times. Mr O’Brien is Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

I wonder how many other government ministers have visited Clonmethan over the years.

History News

Local school gets a guided tour

This week, children from the local primary school in Oldtown – the nearest village to Clonmethan – got a tour of the church and graveyard as one of their school tours. In normal times, a school tour might be to a museum in Dublin or further afield. With the global pandemic, things are of course a little different, but Clonmethan is ideal as it is not only outdoors, but has some interesting local history.

Some Friends of Clonmethan volunteers were on hand to give the children some insights on local history. The pictures below show, in order, the school children being informed about locals who fought and died during World War 1, and about Tom Dreaper and the great horse Arkle.

First World War memorial
Grave of Tom Dreaper

It is wonderful to see the fruits of the efforts and labour of the Friends of Clonmethan being put to use, and to the benefit of the local school too. Let’s hope this is the first of many such local history trips. And a word of thanks to local firm Keogh’a crisps for some lunch time goodies.