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Photo No. 24


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Kilmichael Parish Cemetery Mass, 28th May 2012.

(The following is adapted from an information notice on the gate of Macloneigh Churchyard)
Macloneigh graveyard, although unknown to many, is actually one of the most important religious sites in County Cork. The area was a parish in its own right until it was incorporated into the parish of Kimichael. It is reputed to be the be baptismal site and early home of St Finbarr, patron saint and founder of the Diocese and City of Cork. His father, Amhairgean, owned land in this area and the townland of Farranavarrigane still bears his name. Finbarr later went on to study for the priesthood and returned to build a church in his home place. The church was listed in documents as far back as 1199 and has been described as a cathedral church of the Diocese of Cork. The present ruin dates back to the middle ages and during the Reformation it was taken over by the Church of Ireland. In fact, clergymen resided in the Rectory beside the graveyard until well into the 1800s. A bullan (hollowed-out stone) can be seen at the entrance to the site. These artifacts are often found in association with church sites but the stone was found a little distance away during the 1950s when work was being carried out for the Lee Hydroelectric Scheme, involving the the flooding of the adjacent Gearagh Valley. It suggests that the church site once covered a much bigger area. The graveyard surrounding the church is now rarely used for burials but Kilmichael Historical Society facilitates the celebration of a Mass there every three years, giving it an annual turn with the other two parish cemeteries, Kilmichael and Terelton. Visitors often remark on the beauty and peacefulness of the site. It is hard to imagine it was once a busy monastic site on a very important route up the River Lee. It is not difficult to see, however, why it was chosen for the purpose so many years ago.

Photos: Pat DromeyMacloneigh
Preparations for Mass
The large congregation taking their places.
The remains of the back wall of the church
Some of the choir members: John Kelleher, Nellie Finnegan, Joan Murphy, Kathleen Murray, Denis O'Sullivan, Pat Crowley
Ann Bradley NT, Kilmichael Historical Society, welcoming participants and summing up the history of the site.
Tim Murphy with Patrick and Mary O'Riordan
History Society members Ann Bradley, Michael Cronin and Julie Buckley
Altar server Lorraine Dromey
Macloneigh has been a centre of faith for well over a thousand years.