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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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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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History

Tithe Applotment Book 1833

Tithe Applotment Books are were compiled between 1823 and 1837 in order to determine the amount occupiers of agricultural holdings over one acre. The occupiers were due to pay tithes (taxes) to the Church of Ireland.

The National Archives has made these books available to the public.
There is a manuscript book for almost every civil (Church of Ireland) parish in Ireland. The books have the names of occupiers of each townland, the amount of land held and the sums to be paid in tithes.

A search by location shows the following for the parish of Clonmethan:

If you click on the word “search” above, you can get more detail, but below shows an example of what can be found under “Clonmethan”.

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History

Photos of old abandoned churches

Here is a link to an article in Journal.ie from a few years ago showing some old churches around Ireland. Our church has been in a worse state than some of those shown, br great work has been done and fingers crossed, one day it may be restored to its former self.

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History News

That big tree…..

Any of you who have ever visited the church and graveyard at Clonmethan would certainly have seen the large beech tree (below). It was measured recently and has a circumference of 232 inches. Based on a calculator at tree-guide.com this puts it at 346 years old. This calculator has a tolerance of about 10% either way, giving a range of 312- 380 years old.

Assuming an age of 346, this tree was a seedling in 1674. Have a look here for some key facts of that year.

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History News

The history of Clonmethan church (St Mary) and the surrounding area

We are starting a historical blog on the parish of Clonmethan on the website. If you have any stories or photographs of funerals, weddings, christenings or any other events which took place in the church or grounds, we would like to hear them. If anyone has any family ties with Clonmethan Church (St Mary’s) or the surrounding area. please let us know, and we will include them.

We have recently made connections with relatives of Fredrick Henry Aldhouse the last Rev of Clonmethan (St Mary’s) who died on the 30 August 1949 and is buried in the church.  I will be writing a longer article on Fredrick Henry Aldhouse and his connection with the Church of Clonmethan (St Mary’s).

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History News

What goes up, must come down.

It is an old saying, but also a statement by Isaac Newton, what goes up must come down. This week, it is the gates at Clonmethan which are coming down, probably for the first time in a century or more – and who knows, maybe since they first went up. Here is a video of some of the Friends of Clonmethan at work taking down the gates for restoration. Brilliant work!