Saturday, 19 March 2011

Mass for St. Joseph's Day in Graignamanagh

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, 19th March, the feast of St. Joseph, Mass in the Gregorian Rite took place in Duiske Abbey, Graignamanagh. The third volume of Bishop Comerford's Collections Relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin (1886) includes:

"The town and parish of Graig-na-managh derive their name from the celebrated Cistercian Abbey, called De Valle Salvatoris, which formerly flourished here, and of the noble church of which a large portion still remains. The name signifies the "Grange of the Monks," and indicates what constituted the grange of the first foundation. In ancient records it is styled the Abbey of Duiske, and was so called because it was build upon the confluence of the streams Duiske, i.e., the Blackwater, with the Barrow. The original monastery was founded on lands granted for that purpose by Dermod O'Ryan, Prince of Idrone, which grant was confirmed by Dermod MacMurrough, King of Leinster. The foundation charter is still extant among the Ormonde archives. Mr. Gilbert has reproduced it in fac-simile, from whose work the text is here copied... It does not appear as if the pious intentions of the chief of Idrone were immediately carried into effect. The next information we have in connection with the monastery is that William Mariscall, Earl of Pembroke, introduced a colony of Cistercian monks from the Abbey of Stanley, in Wiltshire, about the year 1202. They settled first at Loughmeran, near Kilkenny; then they removed to Athernott (Annamult), and finally they established themselves at Duiske about A.D. 1212. The charter of this new foundation is also preserved amongst the Ormonde archives..."

"Though the Abbey was suppressed, Abbots continued to be appointed. In a Note of the names of preestes, semynaries, fryers, etc., in the Citie of Kilkennie circa 1618, appears the Item: "Melchier Ragged, a franciscan (sic) fryer, keepeth usually with his father, Richard of ye said citie, Alderman, and is reputed as Lo; Abbot of the Monastery of Dawiske, within the county of Kilkennie," And in the Spicilegium Ossoriense, Vol. II., p. 281, there is a letter addressed to Propaganda by the Rev. John Magher, dated Kilkenny, 27th August, 1686, which commences:- "Ego Joannes Macharius Abbas S. Mariae de Valle Salvatoris, vulgo de Duisque, ord. Cisterciensis in Hibernia in Comitatu Kilkeniensi," &tc. In this letter Father Magher refers to his appointment as Abbot of Duiske, by Bull of Pope Innocent XI. He also relates how, on his landing at Cork, he was seized by the enemies of the Catholic faith and detained a prisoner and in chains, for two years."

"The Abbey Church was a building of great extent. It has a fine octagonal tower, which fell in 1744, similar to one that stood at Tristernagh, County Westmeath. this tower, according to the Rev. G. Hansbow, was one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical structures in the kingdom. Three of the four great arches that supported it, fell at the same time, and also the fine groined roof of the chancel.

"'Graig now appeared,' writes Trotter in his Walks through Ireland, 1812, 'and has the air of a Welsh village. An ancient castle stands in mournful solitude at some distance. The whole population here, and in the surrounding country, is Catholic. Graig contains about 2,000 inhabitants... The celebrated Abbey of Graignamanagh now struck our view. I cannot describe how nobly venerable it looked. The aisle and arches afford beautiful specimens of the Gothic. The windows we thought remarkably handsome. They Abbey was well enclosed, and good gates at different entrances. A very ancient tomb is to be seen near the entrance of the Abbey. The figure of a man in armour is seen on it, and is said to be Lord Galway's. He is reputed, I know not why, to have been a son of Queen Elizabeth's. We discovered a very small chapel built and connected with this Venerable Abbey. A holy gloom seemed to pervade it. Crimson curtains nearly shut out the glare of day. We observed a few respectable people crossing the grand and deserted aisles of the great building, and enter this chapel to perform their devotions. Never was a place more suited for the solemnity and tranquillity of religious worship. they stayed a short time and retired. I left my companions, and rested half-an-hour in a seat on the gallery. It is a melancholy, yet sweet moment, when the soul is thus abstracted from the world. And the melancholy is pleasing; for in such solitude we converse with the Deity, and repose all our cares and anxieties in His eternal breast.' The aisles have disappeared, but the portions still remaining are very extensive. The ruin has been roofed in, and now forms the Parish Church of Graig, being, with the Black Abbey, Kilkenny, probably the only ancient Catholic Churches throughout Ireland that have been restored to the worship of the old faith."

"The circumstances under which the restoration took place, as related by the old inhabitants, are curious. It appears that the west end of the nave was roofed and prepared to serve as a Protestant Church (though never used as such), at the commencement of the present century; the windows having been glazed, it was found next morning that they had been broken by the jackdaws, who thus, as tenants in possession, resented the invasion of their prescriptive rights - again the glass was replaced, and again and again the aggrieved birds repeated their work of demolition. This was reported to Lord Clifden, who replied that the birds appeared to be the ministers of divine justice; that the Church had been built by Catholics, and for Catholic purposes; and, consequently, that it should be restored to the rightful owners. Lord Dover, in 1809, granted a lease for ever of the chapel and Abbey ruins to the Parish Priest and people of Graig, at a nominal rent of 10s, which has never been demanded. The present Lord Clifden is about to add to the holding the plot outside the western end of the church, in the Main Street. The walls of the chancel and transepts were pronounced secure, and remain; the walls of the nave were found to be ruinous, some of the arches having fallen. These were taken down and rebuilt, but, unfortunately, not in line with the walls of the west end of the nave; the consequence of which is that this portion of the old building, with its beautifully carved windows, cannot now be incorporated with the Church."


Arnaud de Volder said...

Some comments on the history of Duiske as related in V. III of Comerford, which we now know is not correct.

There was confusion over the identity of the Abbey of Duiske with a daughter house of Jerpoint, Kilenny (Ceall Laninne), founded sometime between 1165 and 1170, on land given by the persons mentoned.

The confusion arose in part due to the similarities of the names (de Valle Dei = Kilenny and de Valle Salvatoris = Duiske) and the fact that in Gilberts transcripts the editor mistakenly places Duiske after ‘monasterio’ in l.24 of the charter, instead of the words ‘si ibi fuit’, which lead to it being interpreted as the foundation charter of Duiske.

Duiske was also at a later date grated the lands of the house of Kilenny (which no doubt added to the confusion), when the latter was dissolved in the 13th C following the visitation of Stephen of Lexington in 1228, and a long dispute over the lands ensued between Duiske and Jerpoint.

Duiske was in-fact founded ab initio by William Marshall, it would seem after the foundation of Tintern de Voto, with initial grants having been made by 1204 when the cemetery was consecrated at Duiske.

Arrangements were being made with land for the house in the period 1204 – 1212, based on the series of charters preserved in the National Library.

The formal charter of foundation may be as late as 1210 – 1212 based on internal evidence of who witnessed it. It is probable that William Marshall had in-fact arranged to make this foundation even before he arrived in Ireland to take his fief due to the complex nature of the process to found these houses, and that monks from Stanley in Wiltshire were to be used. The Marshall family are connected to Wiltshire.

The earliest charters relating directly to Duiske are in-fact ‘quitclaims’ to land held by knights of Williams 'house-hold'at Annamult, and they are made in favour of the monks of Stanley and Marshall for this foundation, and date to 1204. There are also two entries in the Chronicles of Stanley Abbey further confirming this, and in 1204 the chronicle records the monks residing at ‘Locmeran juxta Kilkenniam’ (on demesne land of Marshall), and then at ‘Athanmolt’ (land which remind and important grange of the house) and then at ‘Castrum’ (also land which became a grange), before settling at Duiske, ‘Duisque alias Sancti Salvatoris’.

With regards,

Arnaud de Volder, PhD researcher at NUIG.

Alyssa said...

It is stunning that these monastic Churches are being restored after so long. I love how beautiful it is and the traditional Mass is just perfect for the setting. Thank you Arnaud. I enjoyed your previous comments too. The history of the site is really important to undertsand the place of the monastery in the life of the Church.

Joyce F.

Shandon Belle said...

Come on guys!!! Any closer and you're in Cork! You know you want to!!! ;-)

Virgo Potens said...

What a grace to have been there on that day! What a grace it would be to see the restoration of monastic life in that Diocese. Perhaps a colony of monks would come from those excellent Benedictines in France who are restoring the Gregorian Chant.

Internet Apostle said...

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Veronica Lane said...

This is the kind of post that makes this site such a valuable resource. Congratulations on the care and effort that is put into it. Don't be discouraged. Trust in the Lord.

Convenor said...

Particular thanks to Arnaud. If we return to Graignamanagh next year it would be great to have you come to talk to us after Mass about the history of the place.

Virgo Potens, as a Cistercian house, why not Cistercians?

Thanks to all for your comments. As long as we keep your support, we've no reason to give up.