Saint Mary’s Collegiate Church celebrates 800 years

St. Mary’s Collegiate Church, in the heart of Youghal, is one of the oldest parish churches still in use in Ireland. This year its parishioners, as well as the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross and the wider Church of Ireland are celebrating 802 years of continuous worship at the church, stretching right back to its foundation in 1220. 

The East Window and Quire of Saint Mary’s Collegiate Church.

On Sunday 23rd October at 3.30pm a Diocesan Service of Thanksgiving will take place, led by Dr Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross. The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland John McDowell will preach at this special service. Several choirs will take part, and guests from all over the diocese and country will be present. 

Saint Mary’s Collegiate Church is surrounded by the Medieval Town Walls of Youghal and visitors can see the original oak timbers of the roof from trees cut down in around 1190, as well as pottery jars inserted into the walls to improve the acoustics, and the medieval sword rest which held the Mayor of Youghal’s ceremonial weapon. The church has survived the Black Death (which killed almost half of the town), a series of rebellions and wars, a three month siege, and the preaching of Oliver Cromwell. Among the many remarkable monuments is the floor to ceiling carved memorial of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork. A new self guided audio tour is an attraction for the many visitors from all over the world.

The Priest in Charge, Canon Andrew Orr said:

We are thrilled to be marking the 800th anniversary of this extraordinary building with this very special service. We look forward to welcoming not just the Archbishop but local representatives and visitors from across the country.

With many people attending, admission is by ticket only, which can be obtained at no cost from the church reception desk or on

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