This Church and Cemetery has served the Parish of Uibh Laoghaire for at least five hundred years. It has always been used by all parishioners, of all religious persuasions. It serves as a resting place for many who bitterly opposed colonialism as well as many who died trying to preserve it. To many of us it now symbolises a united and peaceful community.
The first reference to it is found in Vatican records in 1492, but it had probably been in existence for many years before this. The Parish was, and still is, in the Diocese of Cork.
Continued below gallery
Another view from the West.
I think by the spiked railings and lockable access door that this is the remains of a 'mortsafe'. This tomb has suffered badly over the years.
Tradition has it that this is the resting place of the notorious landlord, James Barry, who had good reason to be in a cage.
The remains of the Glebe House, burnt in the War of Independance.
After the Reformation in 1534 all Parish Churches in Ireland were confiscated and allocated to the new Established Church, the Church of Ireland. It took many years for this change to reach small out-of-the-way places such as Inchigeelagh, and the local Chieftains, the O Learys, and their followers, clung fiercely to their old religion. After 1700 the old lands of the O Learys were sold by the Hollow Sword Blade Company to a number of new and Protestant Landlords, and they in turn brought in Protestant tenants when they could be persuaded. The Rev.Cornelius Hignett restored the ruined Church and started to provide services to the small Protestant community. The Church was rebuilt in 1814 to hold 100 and at a cost of £230-15s-4 ¾d. This is the actual building you see now.
In 1859 the Glebe House was demolished, and a new one built on the North side of the road, at a cost of £647-1s-0d. Its ruins can be seen to the North of the church. The house was a handsome three storey Georgian structure. It was occupied by the clergy until 1909 when the parish was united with Macroom and the church abandoed. A farmer then occupied it until the military authorities planned to use it as a garrison. It was burned down by the Irregulars in 1922 to prevent it falling into the hands of the Black and Tans, after the occupier had been warned and helped to remove his possessions.
After 1885 the Church of Ireland Parish went into decay, and was joined to Kilmichael and Macloneigh; and eventually all three were joined to Macroom. The last resident Vicar was Rev.Patrick O'Rourke, who resigned in 1885. It will be noted that the wealthier members of the Community were interred in above-ground vaults at the South-East end. These vaults include most of the resident landlord families including the Barrys, Boyles, Barters and Graingers. There are also two Catholic vaults in the same area, for members of the O'Leary Breac family.
Burials in the cemetery also include fighters for independance and those who fought against it. A memorial is here to our famous poetess Maire Bui Ni Laoighaire, which probably marks her grave.
This has been a place of worship for over 500 years, and a last resting place for our loved ones, irrespective of their religious convictions, for just as long. Let us respect their memories by keeping this a place of peace & beauty.