Friday 25 February 2011

The Bandon Rebellion of 1689

I have already spoken of Bandon as a plantation town of fixed opinion. Indeed, a contingent of Bandonians fought at the Battle of the Boyne on the Williamite side attached to the 'Londonderry Auxiliaries.'

Upon the accession of King James II the town of Bandon was given a new charter and Teige McCarthy of Aglish was made Provost or Mayor of the town on 20th March, 1686. He then commenced to administer the oath of alliegance to James II and to levy troops for the King's cause. To add to the discomforture of the Bandonians, the charter document arrived in the town accompanied by a Priest, suggested to have brought a relic from the Chains of St. Peter. The Bandonians were aghast:

"That charter - that priest! Oh! If he had his will, he'd-! but that link from the iron chain-that symbol of unfettered thought. By the solemn League and Covenant, if I can lay my hands on it, I will make a bob of it to catch eels with!"

By 1st June, the new Provost was forced to issue this proclamation:

"Whereas, several summonses have of late been given to the inhabitants of this corporation to appear and take the oath accustomed for freemen and forasmuch as they refuse and contemn the said summonses. Now we, the said provost and majority of the burgesses, having taken into consideration the wrong and injury that happen unto the corporation thereby, do, and by our mutual assents and consents have ordered that every person, of what trade soever, shall pay six shillings and eightpence sterling per day for using every such trade or occupation, either private or public, after the fifteenth day of June next the date hereof; and the same to be levied on their goods and chattels, and to be disposed of according to law; or their bodies to be imprisoned, through the choice lying in the provost."

Bandon had been garrisoned by a troop of horse and two companies of foot under Captain Daniel O'Neill. On 16th of February, 1689, Captain O'Neill issued a proclamation calling on the inhabitants to deliver up all arms and ammunition within three days. The Bandonians hardly obeyed such a command and Lord Clancarthy promised to march from Cork about noon on the following Monday to bring with him six companies of foot.

The Bandonians were finally provoked by two coincident circumstances. The first was the landing of William of Orange to usurp the throne of the Catholic King James, the second was the declaration by O'Neill that on the Sunday after Clancarthy's arrival the Bandonians would witness the celebration of Mass in the parish church of Kilbrogan.

This was the last straw for the Bandonians, who revolted against the Royal officers. They gathered at the house of Katty Holt, described as a thin, skinny, wicked old woman, whose tongue never stopped unless she was asleep, and who, when she overheard them planning what they should do with the prisoners is said to have replied: "Prisoners! Oh, bring them to me, the popish varlets, and see if I don't scratch their eyes out!"

Early that Monday morning, before the arrival of Clancarthy, the Bandonians gathered. The signal for the beginning of the revolt was to be the ringing of the church bell but the sacristan Jack Sullivan would not ring it. Instead, his wife cried out "O Lord" Spare not the Philistines!" and rang the bell as a signal for the rebels who disarmed the troops while they still slept. Some managed to resist disarmed and eight of the Royal troops were killed, three of them Protestants. The remainder were driven out of the town by the North Gate. Even within living memory Bandonians were called "Black Mondays." For some time after the revolt Bandon was known as 'South Derry' marking the similarity of outlook of the Protestant populace, as well as the anti-Royalist actions taken by each only a few weeks apart.

However, the revolt did not last long as within a few hours the troops arrived from Cork led by the Earl of Clancarthy and Justin McCarthy, later Viscount Mountcashel and founder of the Irish Brigade in the service of France.

The town was invested and the Bandonians called upon to submit. The familiar reply was "No Surrender!" However, the town was take and in the articles of peace, those Bandonians who had disarmed the royalist garrison, under the command of Captain Daniel O'Neill were fined £1,000, "with the demolition of their walls, which were then razed to the ground, and never since rebuilt" Lord Tyrconnell thought they got off too cheap. In a letter, dated March 10th, 1689, he regrets that Clancarty had entered into a treaty with the people of Bandon until those who had formented and carried out the assault upon the garrison had been brought to justice. The rebels of Bandon were later tried and executed at the order of Chief Justice Nugent, son of the Earl of Westmeath and later Baron Nugent of Riverston.

The loyalty of Bandon was to be short-lived also and on 16th July, 1690, with the tide running against King James II, the Bandonians revolted again and declared:

"That the new charter brought and produced by Teige McCarthy, under the government and under the broad seal of this kingdom, had become null and void; and that the old charter be revived and stand in the former house, and elected and appointed Mr. John Nash to be provost of the borough for the year to come; he first taking the the usual oaths, and the oath of loyalty to our gracious sovereigns, William and Mary, King and Queen of England." It was to be more than two centuries before Bandon was to be freed from the shackles of Protestant invaders loyal to Protestant usurpers.

The Earl and later Duke of Marlborough landed at Kinsale in October and began to invest, one after the other, the positions still loyal to King James, the old fort of Kinsale and the Charlesfort. The Regiment of O'Discoll was thrown back from Castletown. The following January, Fox, the Williamite Governor of Cork, put all Papists in the County under a curfew. Limerick capitulated the following October and the last hope for the victory of King James - or for the peacable practice of the Catholic Faith - had gone. As soon as the peace was signed, 4,500 foot soldiers marched into Cork under the command of Patrick Sarsfield, remaining there about a month they set sail for Brest, landing on the 3rd December, 1691. However, those 4,500 represented only a vanguard of those loyal to King James and the cause of Catholic Ireland. It was estimated that between 1691 and 1745, the year of Fontenoy, 450,000 Irishmen died, not to mention those others who fought, in the service of France alone.

At Fontenoy, in rememberance of the honourable terms granted at Limerick that were breached before the ink was dry, the war cry of the Irish Brigade was: "Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach!" - "Remember Limerick and Saxon Perfidy!" We could add Cuimhnigh ar Droichead na Bandan agus feall na Sassonach!

Tuesday 22 February 2011

The ones that got away - Kilquiggin

In researching a series of articles on the physical Catholic heritage of Kildare and Leighlin for CHRISTVS REGNAT, I have come across a number of Churches in the Diocese untouched - or almost untouched - at least for the moment, by the hand of architectural modernist iconoclasm. This is particularly odd in a Diocese where great zeal has gone into dismantling sanctuaries in the name the liturgical requirements of the Second Vatican Council, despite the words of a certain Cardinal directly addressed to the most zealous Bishop of the Diocese in a letter he was required to produce by the Irish Courts in a case to save the High Altar of his Cathedral from oblivion: "...I could not but acknowledge that in this legislation there exists no mandate, in the primary sense of the term as a command or order, to move the tabernacle from the high altar to another position in the church..."

That zeal seems unquenched but these Churches are the ones that got away - at least for now. This is an account of one, the Church of St. Finian, Kilquiggin (or Kilquiggan), Co. Wicklow, in the Parish of Clonmore.

Kilquiggin was one of those areas devastated by the Great Irish Famine (1845-'49) and the memory of those events is still recalled by the Union Road, a works project of the local Poor Law Union, and spot called the Gate of Tears, where those who could leave took a last look upon their home place.

Cill Chomhgáin in Irish, the nearby ruin of 6th Cent. Aghowle Church, reputed to have been built by St. Finian of Clonard on his way back from missionary work in Wales, gives the title to the Church. The present Church sits on a prominance of land, an early gothic granite structure with small belfrey over a gable containing three lancets and single entrance that leads to a flight of stone steps down to the road.

It is too fine a structure not to have been professionally designed but the only reference I can find is in the Irish Builder for 1st November, 1887, referring to Walter Glynn Doolin, a Dublin-based architect whose practice included many ecclesiastical commissions. His work is found mostly in Waterford and Tipperary and Kilquiggin Church is roughly between the two. Kilquiggan is very similar to some of Doolin's smaller churches, the Church of the Sacred Heart, Killusty, Co. Tipperary (1881-2), and the Church of the Sacred Heart, Dunhill, Co. Waterford (1883-4). It also shares much with his Church of St. Brigid, Templebraden, Co. Limerick (1882), his Church of St. Brigid, Clonakenny, Co. Tipperay (1899), and his Church of St. Brendan, Cloghane, Co. Kerry (1900)

By the time he was working on larger commissions such as Castlebar (1890-1901) and Borrisoleigh (1892), Nenagh (1893-1906), New Ross (1894-1902), his gothic is decorated, using tracery and quatrefoil lights.

The interior is lit by five single lancets on each side of the nave and a further two on the gospel side of the square-ended Sanctuary, with three lancets over the High Altar. The roof of the nave is in white with the rafters left exposed. The projecting stone supports or 'springers' for the wallposts are of the simplest form of 'cyma reversa'. They are at two heights, bewteen and just above the arches of the window spaces, giving an added layer of richness to the design. There is trefoil piercing right across the wooden trace-board along the bottom of the nave roof's interior.

The white marble Altar Rails run the width of the Church mid-way between the last two windows. They are just short of the wall at each side. The Sanctuary gates are missing. Each side of the Altar Rails consists of three solid pillasters with blind lancets between which are four pierced lancets. Half-way into the final bay of the nave, the sanctuary space is raised by two steps. A low, five sided, octagonal marble pulpit sits low upon a pillared base on the gospel side of the Sanctuary, an octagonal baptismal font on the epistle side.

The Novus Ordo Altar rests on this level in the centre. It isn't clear if this is was once part of the High Altar of this Church - which retains a mensa - but the twin pairs of green marble pillars on either side of the front face reflect the green marble panels in the reredos of the High Altar, which the pink marble pillars supporting the present sepulchre under the mensa do not. If it is a coincidence it is a very happy one. The central panel of the modern Altar is a fine white interlaced 'IHS' upon a red marble ground. Beneath is a plaque stating: "Altare Privilegiatum Quotidianum Perpetuum" indicating that this Altar is not new, even if it is not original to this location.

The Sanctuary Arch is simply moulded. The ceiling of the Sanctuary is panelled in diagonal 'criss-cross' panels painted with what appear to be monograms of 'IHS' and Our Lady. A massive Crucifix, about half life-size, hangs from the centre of the Sanctuary roof, requiring the Sanctuary Lamp to hang from the epistle-side wall.

On either side of the High Altar are fine antique statues of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady crowned. The High Altar itself is of a familiar neo-Gothic pattern with three pinnacles, a floreated rather than crocketed pinnacle at either end, and a more slender one topped with a cross over the throne over the Tabernacle with two attendant finials at either side. Between these are panels topped with trefoils consisting of green marble panels recessed into cusped arches in plain white marble with carved white marble spandrels between. The Throne is flanked by red marble pillars with a central collar or 'astragal' in white marble. The Tabernacle has the Holy Ghost in the pediment and two dark red marble pillars on either side of the door. Beneath the mensa is a sepulchre containging a recumbent figure of the dead Christ bracketed by grey marble pillars.

The windows are all in diamond or square lights in clear glass or light yellows and pinks, with a thin border of red glass. They allow light to flood into the interior without dazzling.

Overall, this Church is a gem. It sits discreetly in its surroundings, a well-appointed building well suited to its surroundings. The interior has been sensitively and imaginatively modified in a way that retains the beauty and reverence of the space.

It's our Catholic heritage and we want it preserved!

Saturday 19 February 2011

Mass in Athy

Msgr. Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest celebrated Mass in the Gregorian Rite in St. Michael's Parish Church, Athy, Co. Kildare, last evening, before a congregation of almost 70. It is the first time that Mass has been celebrated in this Church in the traditional manner in more than forty years.

Friday 18 February 2011

Mass at Our Lady's Shrine at Knock

It is with great pleasure that we convey to you news from the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, that a regular Latin Mass is now established at Knock Shrine. The first one will be offered this coming next Sunday, 20th February in the Parish Church at 6 pm. Celebrant will be Msgr. Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Our Lady, Queen of Ireland, pray for us!

Saturday 12 February 2011

Building Religious Communities (2)




Ora pro populo, interveni pro clero, intercede pro devoto femineo sexu!

Friday 11 February 2011

The Standing Stone: Killeshin Church, Co. Laois.

Another Laois church this week and not far from the last post about Sleaty. This is one of my favourite ruins and stands out as a masterpiece of Irish Romanesque art. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

The original article can be found at 'The Standing Stone.'

Location – Just off the R430 about 3km West of Carlow town
OS: S 673 778 (map 61)
Longitude: 7° 0' 2.6" W
Latitude: 52° 50' 49.68" N
GPS: S 67318 77817 (Accuracy: 5m)
See map at the bottom of the page.

Description and History – This place is absolutely beautiful and you really could spend hours here looking at the wonderfully carved Romanesque doorway. This place really has to be seen to be believed as even the photos do not do it justice. The doorway is really fantastic and far out does most Romanesque carvings in Ireland. Yet it is not well known at all. A church was founded on the site by St. Dermot in the 6th century but he is no longer the venerated saint here. St Comhdan is commemorated here on the 27th February. In 1041 the site was plundered and the church was burned in 1077. All that remains of the subsequent 12th century building are the gable ends and some of the N wall. The church was approximately 28m in length. The ornate doorway has four orders with human heads on the capitals with intertwined hair. The arch of the doorway has a large triangular hood is decorated with animal and floral patterns. There are two inscriptions on the doorway. On the N side of the doorway an inscription reads ‘a prayer for Diarmait, King of Leinster’. Diarmuid invited the Normans to Ireland to help him reclaim his kingdom and the consequences of his actions can still be felt today. This church therefore dates do a period just before the Normans seized control and this makes this church historically significant. I do not know what the other inscription says. A round tower,which has been unfortunately destroyed, dates to this same period. Parts of the E wall are later in date. A late medieval font sits by the doorway. It is undecorated.This really is a fantastic site and a must for any fan of Romanesque art and architecture of which I certainly am.

Difficulty – Easy to get to and easy to park at.

As you can see, every surface of the doorway is carved.

The undecorated portion of stone was put in during restoration to replace a now missing stone.

You can see the inscription here on the central panal.

More of the inscription.

The underside of the arch.

A human face on the capital.

Another face on the capital.

The face of the saint?

The font by the doorway.

Late medieval window.

Beautiful little Romanesque window.

 The inside of the door is much less exciting.

The church from the rear.

View The Standing Stone in a larger map