Money raised for vital work on Cobh (Mixed) National School

In recent weeks  Cobh Mixed National School, in Cobh, County Cork, held their annual play in their school hall.

Before the event, a cheque for €1200 for the repair and upgrade of the school hall was presented by Tracey Fortune of the school’s Parents’ Association to Harry Bollard, Chair of the Board of Management of the school.

The Parents’ Association led a fundraising campaign for this vital work, which will allow the windows of the school hall to be replaced.

The Rector of Cobh & Glanmire Union of Parishes, The Revd Paul Arbuthnot said:

Many congratulations are due to the Parents’ Association of our parish school for all their hard work in securing funds to upgrade the school hall. We are grateful to all those in the wider Cobh community who contributed so generously to this worthwhile cause.

Harry Bollard, chairperson, Board of Management, receives a cheque from Tracey Fortune.

Posted in Church in Society, Cork, Education, Fund-Raising, Schools in the Diocese

Sea Sunday celebrated in Cobh, County Cork

On 14th July, the annual Sea Sunday service took place in Christ Church, Rushbrooke, County Cork with a large congregation present.

The Service was attended by a wide range of civic dignitaries including representatives from the Cobh ONE (ex-servicemen) branch, the Royal British Legion, the Royal Naval Association, and the Military Police Association. Also in attendance were Lt Cmdr Gavin McCarthy, Irish Naval Service, and Hendrick Verwey of Cobh Tourism.

The Commodore Male Voice Choir led the music at the service, singing two anthems, ‘Homeward Bound’, and ‘Nearer my God to thee’.

The guest preacher was the Very Revd Dr Houston McKelvey, formerly Dean of Belfast. His sermon spoke of our common bond with the sea, and the importance of the good stewardship of God’s creation.

The officiant at the service was the Rector of Cobh & Glanmire Union of Parishes, the Revd Paul Arbuthnot.

The Revd Paul Arbuthnot, Rector of Cobh & Glanmire Union of Parishes, with the flag bearers at the Sea Sunday service, and the guest preacher, the Very Revd Dr Houston McKelvey

Posted in Church in Society, Church Services, Churches in Cork, Five Marks of Mission, Sea Sunday, Special Events

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral Announces 150th Anniversary Composition Competition

In 2020 the current William Burges Cathedral building in Cork, Ireland will be 150 years old. As part of its celebrations and to commemorate this anniversary, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral invites all composers to enter the 150th Anniversary Composition Competition.

This award of €2,000 is for the commission of a new set of Evening Canticles, Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, written for the Cathedral Choir and the Cathedral Organ.

The new work will be premiered at the opening Festival Service of the 150th anniversary year on Sunday 29th November 2020 at 4pm in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, giving the composer a platform to showcase their talent. The work will also be recorded by the Cathedral Choir and Organ on their new CD, which will be produced earlier in the year and launched on Friday 25th September, 2020.

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral Choir, composed of 35 children and 8 adults, has been part of Cork’s culture and tradition since 1328. The service of Evensong forms a central part of the Anglican tradition and is sung twice a week in the Cathedral, at 6.15pm on Fridays and at 3.30pm on Sundays during choir term time. It is fitting that the commission is for music to be sung at that service.

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 29th November 2019.

Further information and application forms are available on the Cathedral’s website:

Posted in Cathedral, Church Music | Tagged

Annual Blessing of Bonnets in Cobh, County Cork to Remember Deported Women

On Thursday 11th July, The Revd Paul Arbuthnot, Rector of Cobh & Glanmire Union of Parishes, alongside Fr John McCarthy, Administrator of St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, led the annual Blessing of the Bonnets in Cobh Heritage Centre.

This event, organised by Cobh Tourism, commemorates the 25,556 women who were deported to Australia from the port of Cobh / Queenstown during the 18th and 19th centuries. As a part of this act of remembrance, bonnets representing those women deported were blessed.

The blessing was attended by various civic dignitaries, including Cllr. Cathal Rasmussen, who was deputising for the Mayor of Cork County, and Michael McCormack, President of the Cobh Harbour and Business Chamber. Music was provided by local singer Niamh O’Connor.

There was also a large group of Australian visitors in attendance who had arrived in Cobh on the cruise liner ‘Sea Princess’ during the week.

The Rector of Cobh & Glanmire Union of Parishes, The Revd Paul Arbuthnot, commented:

The blessing of the bonnets is a poignant and moving occasion in the civic life of Cobh. It serves as a reminder of the often painful history of our island and the role that Cobh has in our national story. In such commemorations we are reminded of the importance of remembering those who were forced to emigrate from these shores. It was also a pleasure to be involved in this blessing alongside Fr John McCarthy, Administrator of Cobh Cathedral, and to further cement the excellent ecumenical relations in the town.

The Revd Paul Arbuthnot and Fr John McCarthy bless the bonnets in Cobh Heritage Centre

Posted in Blessings, Church in Society, Community Involvement, Five Marks of Mission

‘Sparsely populated rural parishes are as much “the Church” as big city and suburban parishes’ ~ Bishop Paul Colton

Preaching in the most westerly Church of Ireland church building in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, and the most southerly Church of Ireland church on the island of Ireland – the Church of Saint Brendan the Navigator in Crookhaven on the Mizen Peninsula – on Sunday evening 7th July, the Bishop, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, reflected on the challenges facing the Church in sparsely populated rural areas in Ireland.

He said:

Today we are here at the edge of Ireland – a spectacular edge: the coast, the Fastnet, the islands, the Mizen, Mount Gabriel, the villages and its people. 

And he gave an important affirmation:

Where the people of God are, in a particular place in the sparsely populated areas such as this, they are ‘the Church’ as much as the big city and suburban parishes in Cork, Dublin or in the North East of Ireland are ‘the Church’.   

It is no secret’ said Bishop Colton, ‘that in places like this, our Diocese, the Church of Ireland as a whole, indeed other churches too, and not only religious institutions, but also other organisations have been and are reflecting about how best to support the sustainability of rural Ireland. The sustainability of rural Ireland is a national concern … Every day, not least as people are fearful about BREXIT in farming communities throughout this Diocese, people mention their anxieties to me as their bishop.  A diocese like this is heavily dependent on its members who are dairy and beef farmers.’

Bishop Colton referred to the figures from the Census 2016;  in 2016 the entire Crookhaven  district had 17 members of the Church of Ireland.  ‘But’, said the Bishop ‘that represents 7.6% of the total population of this area.  Further east on the Mizen Peninsula, in Toormore, there are 22 Church of Ireland people representing 11.8% of the population.  The point is, the population of the entire area is sparse and this is the pattern on all these iconic peninsulas in south-west Ireland and in other parts of rural Ireland too’

The Bishop was speaking at the 2019 inaugural Service in the Crookhaven Summer Series of Epilogue Services which are well-established and renowned in the south-west.   From the Gospel of the day he was preaching on the text  ‘After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go…’ (Luke 10.1)

He referred to the month of July as the 150th anniversary month – 26th July 1869 – of the royal assent being given to the Irish Church Act which would result in the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland as and from 1st January 1871.

‘Even at that time there were concerns about the effects on rural parishes’  said Bishop Colton.  He quoted a sermon of Archdeacon William Lee in Dublin on 22nd October 1867 at an Episcopal Visitation to St Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin.  William Lee asked, in the heat of debate about the proposed disestablishment:

‘What is to become of the members of the Church, especially in the outlying districts of Ireland, if the Church Establishment is overthrown?’

Bishop Colton said that concerns ‘for the outlying districts’ is a thread of continuity with that period.   

Mentioning the current proposals to reduce the size of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland he said:

While I support the overall principle of synodical reorganisation and the reduction in the number of members, we must do all we can not to marginalize or disadvantage rural, sparsely populated areas.  They are, as I say, as much part of the Church as the big city and suburban parishes in Dublin or in the North East of Ireland. We just need to figure out the best ways of being disciples of Jesus, and doing the work of the Church in places like this.  Those places that claim to be strong and vibrant in the Gospel have a special responsibility, I believe, to help us with this.  

The summer series of Epilogue Services continues in the Church of Saint Brendan the Navigator, Crookhaven at 8.30 p.m. each Sunday evening in July and August.  Among the speakers will be Rabbi Dame Julia Neuberger on Sunday 11th August, and, on the 4th August the preacher will be the Most Reverend Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh.  All are welcome.

Crookhaven, County Cork ~ the Church of St Brendan the Navigator, built in 1717.

Posted in Diocese

New Amenities at St Colman’s Cathedral, Cloyne

At the Confirmation Service in Cloyne Cathedral on June 16th Bishop Colton officially dedicated new facilities and amenities. This work is the culmination of many years of hard work, planning and careful budgeting. Enormous credit is due to Dean Alan Marley and the Re.v Tony Murphy as well as to James Bourke, Architect, and Hearthstone who carried out the work. There will be Community opening event towards the end of the summer.

Dean Green with Paul Forde and Keith Starr of Hearthstone

There has been a Christian presence on this site since the ninth Century and the present Cathedral dates to 1250, but there has never been piped water… until now.  The new facilities consist of a kitchen, with access hatch, an accessible bathroom and new paving and lighting to the entranceway.

The kitchen hatch

The funding for this work has been assisted by the Priorities Fund, but ongoing funding is needed and there have been several events recently. The next will be a Summer Concert on 12 July and it will be followed in November by a Cookery Demonstration with Darina Allen.

The Paved Entrance

The wooden additions are very sensitively designed to complement the Cathedral as well as providing modern facilities.  They are accessed by  doors to either side of the vestibule inside the West door.

Having a kitchen and bathroom will make such a difference in the life of the Cathedral, especially in terms of it being used for concerts. and groups meeting there.

Dean Green said

The new Facilities open up the Cathedral for use by so many more groups, it is a wonderful moment in the life of this worshipping community, and one which has been the result of many years of faithful planning.

Confirmation group at Cloyne Cathedral

On Sunday as well as confirming 17 young people Bishop Colton dedicated the new facilities and had the first official cup of tea, which was presented by John Smyth ChurchWarden. Also taking part in the service were Dean Green, clergy from Cobh and Youghal Unions the Rev Andrew Orr and the Rev Paul Arbuthnot, as well as Edwin Aiken, an Ordinand on placement.

The First Cup of Tea!

Posted in Bishop, Cathedral, Cloyne, Dedication, Five Marks of Mission

Retirement of Four Primary School Principals in Cork, Cloyne and Ross

School term has ended for Primary Schools.  In Cork, Cloyne and Ross, following cumulative service of over 160 years, four primary school principals are retiring:  Sinead Solleveld (South Abbey National School, Youghal),  Harriet Pritchard (Bandonbridge National School), Sharon Hosford (The Model School, Dunmanway), and Heather Smith (Adair National School, Fermoy).

In recent weeks, the Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, visited each of those schools and, at gatherings of pupils and teachers, staff and chairpersons, thanked each of the principals for their faithful work and for making each of the schools even better places of learning for the children.

On behalf of everyone in the Diocese and the Diocesan Board of Education, the Bishop thanked each retiring principal and presented each one with a retirement gift of a limited edition print of a representation of the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross which he had commissioned from the renowned artist Annie West.   It shows the Diocese as ‘people and place’ he explained to the children.

With the Reverend Andrew Orr in Youghal Union, the Bishop made a presentation to Sinead Solleveld, South Abbey National School, Youghal.

The Bishop made a presentation to Harriet Pritchard, Bandonbridge National School.

With the Reverend Cliff Jeffers in Fanlobbus Union, the Bishop made a presentation to Sharon Hosford, The Model School, Dunmanway. The children had also made prayer ‘leaves’ (written prayers for people who have asked to pray for them), to bring to the prayer tree at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.

The Bishop made a presentation to Heather Smith, Adair National School, Fermoy.

Information about the limited edition Annie West print is available HERE.


Posted in Bishop, Education, People from the Diocese, Retirements, Schools in the Diocese