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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
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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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History

“An extraordinary escape”

Or so said the Freeman’s Journal of 26th July 1872 of a story of some local heroism in the Clonmethan parish. Appearing after two articles about the national income and Belgian agriculture, the article is reproduced below:

At the cleaning up of a well in Clonmethan on Wednesday, there was a miraculous escape. After taking up the tubes of a pump a workman was below cleaning up the well, when the walls closed in and buried him under thirty seven feet of stones and earth. This occurred at 4 pm. The people immediately collected, and under the able superintendance of Rev J Burnett, Doctor Adrian and P Reynolds Esq, worked gallantly all night, when they liberated the poor man – strange to say – little worse for an imprisonment of tewleve hours.

Lucky man. We are not sure where the well was exactly, but the names of the people mentioned collate with the parish.

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200 years ago around Clonmethan

Some searching of the newspaper archives throws up interesting events for any period of time. A search of 1821 revealed an interesting article in the Belfast Newsletter of 25th May 1821 mentioning Clonmethan. Around this time, the issue of payment of Church tithes was a hot topic of the day. The article summarised below should be read in this context.

The Belfast Newsletter of 25th May 1821 reported on the revoking of an earlier Proclamation made by the Lord Lieutenant in March 1818. The Proclamation referred to the parishes of Naul, Wespalstown, Ballymadun, Garristown, Hollywood, Palmerstown and Clonmethan as being “in a state of disturbance and […] require an extraordinary establishment of Police”. The notice of May 1821 referred to “said parishes are restored to Peace and good order” and thus the Proclamation was revoked. It was actually revoked in May 1820, but only reported on in the newspaper around one year later.

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History

Mention in the Freeman’s Journal – 1789

Newspaper archives are a treasure trove of information. The Freeman’s Journal was published in Dublin from 1763 to 1924. It was viewed as the leading nationalist newspaper of its day.

A search of all Irish newspaper archives which have been digitised reveals the oldest dated mention of Clonmethan was in the Freeman’s Journal, of June 30, 1789. The mention is within a piece which covers events of the day in Dublin. It reads as follows:

The Rev Mr Fowler. son of the Archbishop of Dublin, has been presented by his grace, to the Chancellorship of St Patrick Cathedral, in room of the Rev Dr Dealtry, removed to the Prebend of Clonmethan.

Note: a prebend is a stipend furnished by a cathedral or church to a clergyman. Thus, the Rev Dr Dealtry was funded by the Clonmethan parish. His activities seemed to centre around central Dublin.

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The Dublin Hospital Sunday Fund

The Irish Times of Nov 14th 1874 notes a church collection for the Dublin Sunday Hospital Fund. This fund was (as far as we can determine) a charitable fund set up to raise money through church collections for Dublin hospitals. The fund had some notable people at its helm as you can see below – including the Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Meath and Arthur E Guinness (the great-grandson of Arthur Guinness)

Clonmethan was included in the church collections, as can be seen from this snip from the Irish Times.

The Fund seems to have been quite ahead its time. Charities at this time had no obligation whatsoever to publish any income or expenditure details. An article in the Britsh Medical Journal of May 31 1879 includes a letter from the Fund Secretary, noting how a similar London based fund did not do so (see below).

The Fund did indeed publish some information, as the snip below shows (Irish Times of January 21 1891). The church at Clonmethan contributed £2 14s. In 2021 values, this equates to about €71.

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News

A summary of achievements for 2020.

While 2020 has been a strange year, as what the Friends of Clonmethan do is mainly outdoors, a fair bit has been achieved in the first year. The group set up on foot of a meeting in St David’s Church, Killsallaghan on 3rd January 2020. Since then, volunteers have cleared most of the graveyard, the old church is ivy free, and the gates were shot blasted and painted.

Reverend Aldhouse finaly got his tombstone (71 years later), we set up this website and work started on our application for funding to save the tower. A flood light has been installed and the straightening of headstones has begun. Finally a memorial to those who fought and fell in the First World War was erected.

Tanks so much to all involved in making this happen. A special thanks to Fingal Farm Home and Garden for donating flower bulbs and to Colm Flynn for helping with the gates.

Not bad for the first year. Onwards and upwards.