Cllr Twomey Welcomes Garryvoe Ruin Restoration

By Seamus Whelehan


Works are to begin on preserving a structure that has been part of East Cork life since the twelfth century.
Garryvoe Church, considered to be one of the finest examples of late Medieval Church in Cork County, is to see a €40,000 investment by Cork County Council.
The money is to be used to consolidate the structure, preserving the remains of the building and its place in local history. The works form part of a major Conservation Project, so that it can be opened up to the public.
Sinn Fein Cllr, Danielle Twomey has welcomed the investment stating that “the Garryvoe site is of national significance. Once stabilisation works have been completed, the ruin will be preserved for future generations to appreciate.”
It is expected that the Conservation Project will take a number of years to complete as a safe and maintained attractive ruin.
The programme of work will see the removal of vegetation, reinstatement of stone pointing and soft capping, gravel and reinforcing mats for access.
Missing gable stones and loose stones will be replaced and secured with lime mortar, which was the original material used in the construction.
Built principally of limestone rubble, the Church measures 15mX6m, enclosed by walls 0.86m thick and is lit by single light ogee head windows at the East end.
The current building, dating back to the fifteenth century, is believed to precede an earlier structure built in the early 1200’s by the Carews, a prominent Anglo-Norman family.
The Rector of Garryvoe was the Abbot of St Thomas Abbey in Dublin.
The Augustine Abbey was founded in Dublin in 1177 under the instruction of King Henry II, to make amends for inciting the murder of Thomas Beckett.
Beckett had been engaged in conflict with Henry II over the rights and privileges of the Church, and was murdered by followers of the King in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Soon after his death, he was canonised by Pope Alexander III.
Many of the new Anglo-Norman settlers to Ireland subsequently granted its tithes to the Abbey of St Thomas.
When the Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1870 the responsibility for ancient burial sites such as Garryvoe transferred to the Local Authority, who continue to have an obligation over them.
As the Garryvoe Church is considered a national monument the Local Authority have a duty to maintain it as far as its resources permit.