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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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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 The notice of May 1821 referred to “said parishes are restored to Peace and good order” and thus the Proclamation was revoked.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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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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100 years ago around Clonmethan

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.

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Remembering parishioners who lost their lives at war

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.

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Abandoned Ireland – Tarquin Blake on St Mary’s

In 2015, Tarquin Blake published a book “Abandoned Churches of Ireland” – click on the image below to see the book’s website.

http://www.abandonedireland.com/Abandoned%20Churches%20of%20Ireland.html

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.

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Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland and Rev Aldhouse

As you may have seen on some earlier posts, Rev F H Aldhouse was the last rector at St . Mary’s Clonmethan. It seems we – the Friends of Clonmethan – shared a common interest with him. Rev Aldhouse was a member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, a society whose mission is to  ‘preserve, examine and illustrate all ancient monuments and memorials of the arts, manners and customs of the past, as connected with the antiquities language, literature and history of Ireland’ – see http://rsai.ie/about/. According to the society’s journal, (Vol 6, No 2), Rev Aldhouse as admitted as a member at a meeting held at ‘the Society’s Rooms, 6 St Stephen’s Green, 26 September 1916’. He was proposed by W. Cotter Stubbs, who was a member of the society’s council.

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Remembering a Rector and War Chaplin

Postponed until a later date due to Covid 19 restrictions.

War-time France 1917 and bucolic North County Dublin – it is difficult to imagine two completely different places to work as a clergyman. However, that is what happened when Reverend Frederick Aldhouse swapped his parish in Oldtown for the battlefields of France.

A local community group The Friends of Clonmethan have been working  for some time to improve the churchyard and grounds of Saint Mary’s Church in Oldtown, the parish of Reverend Aldhouse. The church had become overgrown since its closure in 1960 but an active group of people have been working away – mowing the grass, removing ivy and restoring the entrance gates. All the work has been done against the background of Covid-19, while adhering to HSE protocols on Social Distancing.

On Friday 28th August at 7pm, Archbishop Michael Jackson will bless a new headstone to Reverend FH Aldhouse, the last resident Rector of the parish.  Also in attendance will be Rector Neal Phair from Swords Group of Parishes and Father John Keegan from Rolestown parish.  

A noted writer and poet, Reverend Aldhouse initially came to St Mary’s in 1914.  He saw service as a Chaplain in The First World War, returning to Clonmethan in 1919 where he remained as Rector until his death in August 1949. Frederick Aldhouse provided comfort to soldiers as their Padre during the Great War, to the Church of Ireland members of the village and to his neighbours and friends of all faiths.  Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Clonmethan, his final resting place is marked with a beautiful headstone inscribed with some of his poetry.

Clonmethan Church is located 750 metres from the village of Oldtown on the R122 in the direction of Naul.

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Views from above

Some great work has gone on this week. Some of the Friends of Clonmethan were cleared for take-off – well, put into a boom lift – to clean off plaster and ivy from the upper reaches of the church. Some great views from on high.