Historic community celebration in Rosscarbery

May 21st, 2022 10:04 AM

The full choir singing along with the sounds of the refurbished organ, played by John O’Brien, was enjoyed by a large congregation.

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Sunday evening saw the parish of Rosscarbery hold a community celebration in St Fachtna’s Church. The mass was to celebrate the re-opening of the churches since the lifting of Covid restrictions, re-dedicate the newly refurbished pipe organ and also remember all those that had passed in the parish since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The first duty of the altar servers was to bring a lighted candle to the altar as the names of the parishioners who passed away since the beginning of the pandemic were called aloud. In all, 54 candles were lit and remained lit throughout the mass. 

Fr John McCarthy PP welcomed everyone, as well as the choir and the fourteen new altar servers to the special occasion and gave a brief history of the rare organ. 

Fr John was joined by Fr Martin Keohane and Fr Declan Hurley, all sons of Rosscarbery.

The organ in Rosscarbery is extremely rare and is a full Magahy organ comprising of three organs in one: a great organ, a swell organ and a pedal organ. Installed by TW Magahy, organ builder, the organ was one usually found in large cathedrals and not in a small rural parish such as Rosscarbery. 

The organ was originally commissioned by the church and the Rev Hill PP and the installations was overseen by the Sisters of Mercy. The organ, the components of which were shipped from England, was installed in 1894 and cost £279. The full cost was paid by individual donations from all over Cork and a full list of the donors was published in The Southern Star on Saturday November 28th, 1896. 

The organ which shows a high level of craftsmanship, is made from elephant ivory, ebony, oak, high grade steel, pitch pine, mahogany and Spanish spruce. In recent years the organ fell into disrepair and after much research, the finance committee and Fr John appointed Mr Stanley Adams from Carlow to repair and refurbish the organ. 

The organ, which was played by resident organist John O’Brien at the mass, was dedicated to the memory of the late Mary Wycherley, Rosscarbery. Mary had always insisted that the restoration of the churches would never be complete until the organ was restored to its former glory. Thanks was expressed to the Wycherley family for their contribution to the cost of the work and it is hoped that Mary will forever be remembered when the organ is played in the church. 

For those who were unable to attend, a recording of the mass is available on www.churchservices.tv/Rosscarbery. 

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