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Historic hand over of tower and cemetery in Innishannon

Monday, 2nd December, 2013 3:43pm
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Historic hand over of tower and cemetery in Innishannon

BY LEO McMAHON

IT was a historic event at a historic location on a sunny November day when Cork County Council formally handed over responsibility of maintenance for the restored remains of Innishannon Tower and St Mary’s Church graveyard to the local Tidy Towns committee.

It followed a meeting of the county’s National Monuments Committee (NMC) at nearby Innishannon House Hotel where local councillor Kevin Murphy who acknowledged the efforts of Tidy Towns and Friends of Innishannon; John O’Neill, Claire Cronin, Charlie McCarthy, Mary Sleman, Mona Hallahan, Bernie Murphy, of the council and fellow members of the NMC; county architect Seamus McLoughlin and conservation architect David Kelly; contractors Leo Linehan Construction and McSweeney Plant Hire; The Southern Star and all others involved.

‘Over 15 years after €105,000 was ring-fenced for this and most of the money spent, it’s with great pleasure say that that it’s now off the agenda and the tower and graveyard are now in safe hands and a focal point’, Cllr Murphy added.

Claire Cronin, senior executive in planning, concurred and in paying tribute to the local community for pursuing the matter and Cllr Murphy for articulating their views, said the council’s heritage unit was always available to offer specialist advice in the future for what was an iconic building Innishannon residents and exiles could now visit. NMC member Cllr Noel Costello said the project was absolutely driven by Cllr Murphy without whom it would not have been done.

Alice Taylor on behalf of Tidy Towns and Friends of Innishannon, said Cllr Murphy inherited the tower from the late Cllr Denis O’Reilly who secured £350 in 1982 to make it safe then.

After its collapse, there were some who said they would never get it repaired but they were delighted to say ‘it’s done’, and to ‘mind the baby’.

After tea and scones in the hotel, everyone proceeded to the Tower for a photo-call marking the formal handover. The attendance also included representatives of the Friends, Tidy Towns and local residents Peter Fehily, Victor Tutty, Jerry Larkin, Willie Beasley, Mary Nolan-O’Brien and Jim McCarthy; Leo Linehan and Seamus Crowley.

Restoration of the tower dating back to the 17th century in a place of worship that can be traced back to the 6th century, remains was recently completed and a major clean up of the graveyard led by Tidy Towns is planned for early 2014.

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