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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking back a century, to 1921, our country was coming to the end of the Anglo Irish war and heading into Civil War. To get a feel for the comings and goings of the time around Clonmethan and Fingal, the testimony of John Gaynor from the military archives is a nice read. Gaynor was a Captain in the Balbriggan Company of the Irish Volunteers.
The map below highlights the locations described. More can be found here.
As the sun set on the evening of October 9th 2020, a plaque was erected in Clonmethan to remember those men who left the area over a hundred years ago as volunteers. With a vision of a better world in their hearts and minds, they left family thinking that they may well be home for Christmas. History has shown how wrong they were. A century has passed, the world has changed dramatically and they have been forgotten. Their remains lie all over the world, but their roots are still here in north county Dublin. So here in our little village with no loved ones left to mourn them, at the going down of the sun, we remember them.
In 2015, Tarquin Blake published a book “Abandoned Churches of Ireland” – click on the image below to see the book’s website.
The book contains some notes on St Mary’s Clonmethan. We will not reproduce the comments in full here (lest we break copyright), but some words from the book give us some insights in the story of St Mary’s.
According to Blake, the church was first mentioned in 1216. By 1654, the church was in a state of disrepair, but was rebuilt with the help of the Board of First Fruits in 1818. In 1834, the parish population was noted as including eight Church of Ireland members and over 600 Roman Catholics.
Blake nte sthe last marriage in the church was in 1917, and the last baptism in 1933. The church closed in 1960.