Church of Ireland Parishioner in County Cork is First in Ireland to send Dairy Herd to Retirement in Sanctuary in England

Jill Smith, a parishioner in the Carrigaline Union of Parishes in the Church of Ireland in Cork, decided that, after years of service and providing an income, her working dairy herd of 70 cows, who have all bonded over the years in their own unique way, deserved a life in retirement where they could continue to live as a herd together.

Jill knew she would be able to sell some of them but really wanted them to stay together. Charlies Equine Rescue in County Wexford supported her in her plan to save the herd, and began crowdfunding to raise the money to ship them to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk, England.

In just one month, supporters oversubscribed the amount required to ship the animals and cover the necessary vet fees so the surplus will be given to Hillside Sanctuary to help with the costs of keeping the cattle.

Half of the herd left Carrigaline last week, on 19th September, and the Rector of Carrigaline, the Revd Elaine Murray, was on hand to say prayers before they were loaded onto the roomy transporter to travel to their final home.

It was a very poignant moment for all involved.  According to Hillside Sanctuary, the herd bounded into the field when they arrive safely to Norfolk. The rest of the herd, together with Jill’s sheep , will be shipped at a later date.

In a BBC report, Catriona Lowry from the Equine Centre that raised the funds said:

This is historic as no Irish herd has ever left Ireland to live out their remaining years in a sanctuary …. it was a happy ending for a dairy herd who worked so hard for an owner who always had a dream that they would retire with her one day.

Posted in Contemporary Issues, Cork, Eco Congregation, Parish News, People from Cork

‘Sam Maguire’ has a Perpetual Home in Cork

As we look forward to tomorrow’s All-Ireland Football final between Mayo and Dublin we wonder who will lift high The Sam Maguire Cup.  It’s worth remembering that Sam Maguire himself was a Cork man.  This is the 90th anniversary year of Sam’s death, and the cup that bears his name was being feted in Dunmanway, County Cork last Saturday, 9th September for a very special tribute to the man himself within the community where he was born, went to school, went to church, and came home to die.

You can read all about that special event  – a community bells project of hope and reconciliation – HERE.

Here are the photos taken by photographer Andy Gibson last Saturday in Dunmanway at that historic occasion:

Posted in Anniversaries, Bells, Bishops of Cork, Church in Society, Community Involvement, Cork, Decade of Centenaries, Diocese, GAA, History, Official Opening, Special Events, Sport

‘Sam Maguire Community Bells’ in Dunmanway Ring Out their Message of Hope and Reconciliation

The ‘Sam Maguire Community Bells’ in Dunmanway, County Cork rang out their message of hope and reconciliation for the first time at a special celebration of thanksgiving on Saturday, 9th September.  The bells project, the visionary idea of the local Church of Ireland rector, the Reverend Cliff Jeffers, have brought the local community and many others from further afield together, in common purpose in the wake of last year’s commemorations of 1916, and in anticipation of the coming centenaries in Ireland of the War of Independence and the Civil War.

Sam Maguire, a member of the local Church of Ireland parish in Dunmanway, is a figure rooted in the history of that period, and his name is linked with modern day celebrations in the world of sport; his name is given to the All-Ireland Football Trophy.

Pictured holding the Sam Maguire Cup are the Rev. Cliff Jeffers; Cllr Declan Hurley, Cork County Mayor; Jo O’Donovan (whose grandmother was one of the Maguire family), Timoleague, and George Maguire, Dunmanway who is a direct descendant of Sam Maguire. Photo: Andy Gibson.

The bells – six restored and two new ones engraved with Sam Maguire’s name and dates (1877 to 1927) – were installed during the summer and, at the ceremony on Saturday, 9th September, the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, was joined by the Bishop of  Cork and Ross, the Most Reverend Dr John Buckley, and the Reverend Greg Alexander of the Methodist Church in Ireland, as well as Archdeacon Adrian Wilkinson, the Very Reverend Ted Collins, P.P., and local Lay Reader, Sam Jennings.

The large local attendance was led by the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Declan Hurley, Jim Daly, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, T.D.  and Michael Collins, T.D.  The President of the GAA, Aogán O’Fearghail was also present, read a prayer, and after the Church Service delivered an oration at the graveside of Sam Maguire.  He referred to the vision of the project as it is articulated by the Reverend Cliff Jeffers as ‘an opportune time to begin a process of healing, reconciliation and forgiveness’ and to Sam Maguire as ‘a complex character’ who throughout his life found himself as ‘an outsider’. The President of the GAA then laid a wreath on Sam Maguire’s grave.

Aogán O’Fearghail, GAA President, laid a wreath on the grave of Sam Maguire. This is the 90th anniversary of Sam Maguire’s death. Photo: Andy Gibson.

The theme of reconciliation had been set also in Bishop Colton’s sermon (found here). Referring to the historical background of the period and to the forthcoming centenaries he said that Christians are called (in the words of Saint Paul) to ‘a ministry of reconciliation.’

Bishop Colton said:

Let us be under no illusions about the huge significance of what the Rev Cliff Jeffers and this community here in Dunmanway have put in place; what we are opening today. In a prophetic way, from within this place (contentious in its own history) they have put down a marker of what the character of the coming centenary commemorations should be – reconciliation.  This project has set a tone that others, locally, regionally and nationally might do well to note and to emulate as we prepare: a note of reconciliation; a note of cooperation and partnership; a note of dialogue; and a note of opportunity of community building for the future.

Each of the bells has been named with a theme telling the story of Sam Maguire and his hometown. The themes are Sport, Wars and Revolution (Peace), Agriculture, The People of Dunmanway, Migration, Religious Traditions, Education and Arts, and finally Industry and Commerce.

‘I was quaking when I went to the Bishop with this slightly mad idea,’ says the Reverend Cliff Jeffers, ‘but he supported me.’  Cliff Jeffers said:

The purpose of the project is to bring together the local community by telling the story of Sam Maguire, his hometown and the faith of his church.  We could not have done it without the generous support and funding from the GAA, Dr. Mike Pomeroy, Cork County Council, Ketlec Trust, The Priorities Fund, All Churches Trust and donations from the local community.  IN fact, very often it was the letters accompanying the small donations from people in the local community telling of their stories and memories that were particularly moving.

After last year’s 1916 centenary commemorations, the Rev. Cliff Jeffers raised the question of how West Cork would face the challenge of the centenary of the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War, both of which had had a great impact on the local area. Many local families from different backgrounds were deeply affected by the violence of this war.  Although nearly 100 years have passed since these events took place, the retelling of them is going to rekindle memories of past injustices which need to be dealt with both sensitively and honestly in order to bring healing and not further division. Now is an opportune time to begin a process of reconciliation, healing and forgiveness.

After Saturday’s commemorations, everyone was welcomed to the local GAA Club – Doheny GAA – where tea was served and speeches of thanks were made by the Mayor of Cork County, the President of the GAA, David Taylor of the Irish Changeringers’ Association, Bishop John Buckley, the Reverend Cliff Jeffers and Bishop Colton. The only note of discord on the day (a humourous note) was at Doheny GAA when Bishop Colton referred to his own local GAA Club: Castlehaven!

Visiting the Sam Maguire Community Bells ringing room in St. Mary’s Church, Dunmanway on Saturday 9th September for the service of thanksgiving and first official ring of the bells were (Back row l-r) Ger Lane and Tracey Kennedy (GAA, Cork County Board), Aogán O’Fearghail (GAA President) and the Rev. Cliff Jeffers. (Front row l-r) Fr. Ted Collins (PP Dunmanway), Bishop Paul Colton, Cllr. Declan Hurley (Cork County Mayor) and Bishop John Buckley.
Photo: Andy Gibson.

Posted in Anniversaries, Bells, Bishop, Church in Society, Community Involvement, Decade of Centenaries, Diocese, News Release, People from Cork, People from the Diocese

Bishop Paul Colton’s Address at the Official Opening of ‘The Sam Maguire Community Bells’

Address given by

The Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton,  Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

at the Official Opening of  The Sam Maguire Community Bells

in St Mary’s Church, Dunmanway, County Cork,

on Saturday, 9th September, 2017

Sam Maguire died in penury and obscurity 90 years ago this year.  Recognition has come after his lifetime in the erection of the headstone in the churchyard of this church, in the eponym of the All-Ireland Senior Football trophy, the Sam Maguire Cup, and in a statue erected in this town in 2002.  Today, in an Ireland different from his time, we open, not a memorial, but a community project: the bells which have been installed here, to be known as ‘The Sam Maguire Community Bells’.

Born in the townland of Mallabraca, and going to the Model School here in Dunmanway, and going about his ordinary life in these parts, I very much doubt that Sam had much opportunity to hear a full ring of bells.  That would have changed of course when, at the age of 20, Sam passed the exams for the Post Office and he went, in 1897, to work in London.  There he would certainly have heard bells on a daily basis in all their glory, as we know from the children’s nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons, say the bells of St Clements’; a song which names some landmark churches:  St Clement Danes, St Martin-in-the fields, St Sepulchre-without-Newgate (opposite the Old Bailey), St Leonard’s, Shoreditch (in the East End where my own great-great-great-great grandfather Henry Colton was baptised), St Dunstan’s, Stepney (also the East End where Henry’s son, Samuel – my  great-great-great grandfather – was baptised), St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside and St Helen’s Bishopsgate.  Escaping the poverty of some of those East End parishes in the nineteenth century to join the military as a groom is how my great-grandfather came, as an English soldier, to be in Ireland, and to be on the opposite side to Sam in events as they unfolded.  After Independence, the family stayed and made this country home as Irish men and women.

Today, St Mary, Fanlobbus in Dunmanway joins the league of church towers with a full ring of bells: eight of them in all.  In this County this community joins Doneraile, Bandon, Rosscarbery and Skibbereen, as well as the two Cathedrals in Cork: St Fin Barre’s, and St Mary and St Anne.  Shandon is different; the bells there are chimed, not rung.  St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh is different also; it’s a carillon.  Bell-ringing is an art and a skill – campanology – and we give thanks today too for the volunteers who commit to this skill to inspire our community life, to signal our worship, and to create moods – sometimes festive and other times sombre – reflecting what is happening among us.  To this thanks we add those in foundries who manufacture bells,as well as those install and maintain them.

To  me, however, this project is not mainly about the actual bells!

It is, in my view, an inspired project in the wake of the centenary of 1916, and as we approach the coming centenary years of the War of Independence and of the Civil War in our country.  Credit for that inspiration and for his leadership has to go to the rector here, the Reverend Cliff Jeffers, the local community that has weighed in behind his vision, and those who have made it possible financially through their generous donations and gifts.  It is a project that should make us pause for thought about our times, and about our role in the commemoration of the coming centenary years here in Ireland.

Reflecting on what the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ means – the very heart of the Christian faith – Saint Paul (in our second reading today – 2 Corinthians 5.13 – 6.2) says’ ‘Christ’s love urges us on…’ it ‘controls’ us.  It ‘compels’ us (2 Cor. 5.14).  The conviction that we have as Christians not only gives us an entirely new perspective – ‘from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view…’ (2 Cor. 5.16) – it renews us completely – we are ‘… a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come …’ (2 Cor. 5.17).

And if this is so, argues St Paul, there are consequences, one of which, he says is that the work entrusted to us in our own life and times is ‘ the ministry of reconciliation’.  

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,* not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. (2 Cor. 5.18)

This is a trust placed in us by God himself.  We are to take it seriously because

‘… we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us …’  (2 Cor. 5.20)

What might this mean in practice as we approach the commemoration of the coming centenaries?

About 18 years ago, I visited a Cork woman, a Methodist, in St Luke’s Home on the occasion of her 100th  birthday. Frail and in her bed, she could no longer see.  I held her hand and I asked ‘X, looking back, of all those years what one time in your life sticks out in your memory?’  Her eyes filled with tears and she said: ‘The Troubled Times; they were terrible.’  To her those ‘troubled times’, vivid in her memory 100 years on, were the years of the War of Independence and the Civil War.

Here we are ninety years after the death of Sam Maguire, and, in not too many years down the road, one hundred years after those ‘troubled times’, we will be commemorating through the lens of what we are now, and of what our country has become now.

Among some in our Church of Ireland community (and I’m sure they are not alone) the commemorations are anticipated fearfully and with a certain dread.  Our recent West Cork History Festival in Skibbereen hit the news headlines. The courageous steps taken by our own Canon George Salter to tell his family’s story as he, now in his 90s, inherited it drew heated debate.  Among many there is still an enduring reluctance to talk.  

It has to be said too that the moods, motivations and complexity of emotions of that period, indeed, the truth itself about that period, cannot be extrapolated from statistical analysis of deaths alone.  Statistics do not tell people’s human stories as they are remembered.  Those stories are still vibrant on all sides of conflict as part of our oral tradition, and that oral tradition, vulnerable as it is to all sorts of emphases, distortions even, cannot be ignored.  There is an understandable reluctance to name anything in our past as sectarian or undesirable, but we are not well served by pretence either.  The stories and memories are still vivid in the testimony of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews today.

All of this – the many facets and strands of the same story – have to be shared openly, and told as part of the commemoration.  People on all sides of what was need to be empowered and facilitated to tell their stories, to exchange them, and to listen to one another.

We know war is cruel, divisive and ugly. We know that Cork was a most violent place in those years.   In every war there are sides; there are enemies, divisions, spies, informers, atrocities and injustices.  In every situation of conflict, people take sides. Division is part and parcel of the human predicament.  War scars landscapes and humanity itself. It scars memories. It changes things forever. At a century’s remove, we live even now with its outcomes and legacy.

The quest of the historical debate about the times 100 years ago … seems to be about justifying, from the perspective of hindsight, who was right and who was wrong. It’s the age old quest for justification. Some of our families, including mine, as I said, were on the other side, yet, we have happily become part of what now is.

But what are we to do with our hindsight now, 100 years on?

Be in no doubt, in our new Ireland 100 years on, the coming centenary years call for careful thought and even more careful and sensitive commemoration.   This country has to. be cautious about how it goes about commemorating events of 10o years ago. Memories are still raw.

Against that background, let us be under no illusions about the huge significance of what the Rev Cliff Jeffers and this community here in Dunmanway have put in place; what are we are opening today. In a prophetic way, from within this place (contentious in its own history) they have put down a marker of what the character of the coming centenary commemorations should be – reconciliation.

This project has set a tone that others, locally, regionally and nationally might do well to note and to emulate as we prepare: a note of reconciliation; a note of cooperation and partnership; a note of dialogue; and a note of opportunity of community building for the future.  That’s as it should be, not least for those of  us who call ourselves Christians, for our calling is from God who ‘… reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.’ (2 Cor. 5.18).  That ‘ministry of reconciliation’ requires much of us in the days ahead.


Posted in Bishop, Bishops of Cork, Community Involvement, Contemporary Issues, Cork, Decade of Centenaries, Diocese, Official Opening, People from Cork, People from the Diocese, Sermons

553 take part in Memorial Run at St Luke’s Home, Cork

On a perfectly still, warm and dry Thursday evening, 7th September,  St Luke’s Home, Cork hosted its 3rd Annual 5K Memorial Run.

And they’re off!

Established in 2015 as an event for remembering residents who have died, the Memorial Run has been sponsored for 3 years by local companies RCI and RDJ  (Ronan, Daly Jermyn, Solicitors) who, between them, cover the costs and the prizes. This means that every €10 paid by 553 participants, along with donations, goes directly to improve and enhance quality of life for residents at St Luke’s.

This year was made even more special as, due to the excellent weather condition some of the residents themselves took part, in their wheelchairs, flanked by volunteers.  This made the event very personal and showed participants who they were helping. The impact was palpable.

Residents took part

Marion Heffernan (left) and Rob Heffernan stand in for a photo with a carer and a resident at the start line.

Set on their way by famous duo Rob and Marion Heffernan, the runners, walkers and wheelchair entrants took off on the Skehard Road, making their way up to Blackhall Place and then down onto the pedestrian walkway which took them all the way around the line, finishing at St Luke’s Home.

Reverse role for Rob Heffernan – he was starter of the race.

The prize-giving followed in Northridge House, at the Home, with all participants (including residents!) back on time for the presentation! The winning male with an amazing time of 14.56 was Chris Mintern, followed by Mark Hoey in 15.36 minutes and Michael Bruton in 3rd position in 15.46 minutes. Laura Crowe was the fastest female with a time of 16.15, followed by Sinead O Connor (16.57) and Emma Murphy (17.05). Category prizes were also presented and of course a prize for Jerry Forde the winner of the wheelchair athlete category for the 3rd time!

This Memorial Run brings all stakeholders involved in providing services to residents at St Luke’s together in a fitting, fun and visible way. Already everyone is looking forward to next year!

The runners from Ronan, Daly Jermyn, Solicitors

Winning female – Laura Crowe receives her prize.

Winning male – Chris Mintern – receives his prize.

Jerry Forde, winner of the wheelchair athlete category for the third time!

Posted in Care of the Older Person, Charities in the Diocese, Charity Work, Church in Society, Community Involvement, Dementia Care, Fund-Raising, Saint Luke's Charity, Saint Luke's Home, Saint Luke's Home Education Centre

County Mayor, Two Bishops of Cork and President of GAA to Join Dunmanway Community for Opening of Sam Maguire Community Bells Project

On Saturday next, at 9th September in the St Mary’s Church of Ireland Church, Dunmanway, County Cork the completion of a unique community project will be celebrated in the presence the Mayor of Cork County, the two Bishops of Cork, the President of the GAA as well as local representatives, community organisations, local volunteers, leaders and clergy.

The eight bells, which were named and dedicated by Bishop Paul Colton at ceremony last June to the memory of Sam Maguire, a member of the Parish 100 years ago, and whose name name is given to the cup awarded each year to the winners of the All-Ireland Football Championship, have now been installed in the bell tower.  The project will be officially opened following a Service of Thanksgiving at which Bishop Paul Colton will be joined by Bishop John Buckley, and afterwards the President of the GAA (which has co-funded the project) will give an oration at the grave of Sam Maguire in the churchyard. Sam Maguire died 90 years ago this year.

Bishop Colton’s sermon will refer to the project as a model, from here in the heart of West Cork, of how he hopes the coming centenary years of commemoration of the complicated and many-faceted history of the War of Independence and Civil War will be observed

In 2016, following centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising, the Rector of the Parish, the Reverend Cliff Jeffers, together with the people of the Parish began to look at ways to commemorate Sam Maguire; the legendary sportsman and patriot who is buried in the parish churchyard in Dunmanway.

Each of the eight bells has been given a theme, through which the story of Sam Maguire and the history of the town are told.  The bells will ring officially for the first time during the Service.

The themes selected with the help of Dunmanway Historical Association and local people are :

  • Sport.
  • Wars and Revolution.
  • Agriculture.
  • People of Dunmanway.
  • Migration.
  • Religious Traditions.
  • Education and Arts.
  • Industry and Commerce.

These themes will be developed into story boards (posters) in part of the church telling Sam’s story and the history of Dunmanway town. One of the main aims of this project is to provide an amenity that can be used by all of the people of Dunmanway.  Already, groups of people from the whole community have been learning the art of bell-ringing (campanology).

The next phase is to research, develop and present the story of Sam Maguire and the town Dunmanway in a format that would be suitable for tourists and school groups.  We will also be adding a chiming mechanism that the Sam Maguire Community Bells can easily be rung by visitors.

Bishop Colton said:

As we approach another sequence  of centenary years of commemorations (1918-1923) it is, I believe, vital that we acknowledge the intervening 100 years: what we are now, what we have become, and how things have changed, as well as remembering the history of events and times themselves.  Our focus here in this Diocese will be forward-looking with special attention to reconciliation (not least reconciling memories) and fostering relationships for today and the times ahead. Events and projects that nurture opportunities for reconciliation and community-building in the Ireland of today will be important. This very imaginative community project which reaches out beyond the Church of Ireland parish to other churches, community groups, and national bodies –  the idea of the local rector, the Reverend Cliff Jeffers – does exactly these things, in my view.

The rector, the Reverend Cliff Jeffers, explains:

Sam Maguire was laid to rest in St. Mary’s churchyard (Church of Ireland) 90 years ago, and after the centenary celebrations last year we realised that we had done little to remember him.  We chose to install the Sam Maguire Community Bells as a way of remembering Sam Maguire, of telling his story, and the story of Dunmanway town through eight different themes.  As the people of Dunmanway learn to ring these bells together we hope that it will strengthen our sense of community and working together for the good of the home town of Sam Maguire.

Photo Gallery:

The full text of Bishop Colton’s sermon will be available beforehand.

Further information about Saturday’s events from:

The Reverend Cliff Jeffers

Telephone: 087 239 0849


Posted in Bells, Centenary, Community Involvement, Cork, Decade of Centenaries, Diocese, Heritage, History, News Release, Official Opening, Parish News

Bishop Colton Expresses Shock at News of Death of Young Woman in our Neighbourhood in Cork

The Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, has made the following initial remarks in response to the emerging news this morning of the death of a young homeless woman in Cork not far from St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in the neighbourhood in which he lives:

I was deeply shocked when I woke this morning to the news that in our own neighbourhood a young woman, not yet named, who, I understand, had been staying in a tent not many metres from here, has been found dead.  My thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones and friends.

We are all deeply aware of the complex challenges of homelessness in our community and country.  Somehow, that this death has happened near the very place where our city of Cork was founded, seems, in its own symbolic way, to strike at, and to challenge, the emotional and moral foundations of our society.

I am sure that, like me, many feel helpless as we face this crisis of homelessness.  In spite of the fact that our very small Church of Ireland community in Cork has its own housing projects, and that we work in partnership with and support of those who have the greatest insights and experience in this area, it is clear that more needs to be done and that across many sectors of society we need to pool our efforts.  I ask myself ‘what can I do?’ We each have a part to play; it is not something that we can simply accuse others of not doing.

Bishop Paul Colton

Posted in Bishop, Contemporary Issues, Cork, Statement by the Bishop