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Castle mass sets scene for Ballinacarriga church anniversary

September 21st, 2019 8:05 PM

By Brian Moore

Readying the site were Elma Hehir, Anne Lynch, James Duggan, Ralph Copthorne and James Coakley. (Photo: Tom Hayes)

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NEXT year is the bicentenary of St Joseph’s Church in Ballinacarriga, the first church to be built in Dunmanway parish and celebrations are about to begin with a special mass at a local castle.

Long before the first brick was placed for the new church, people of the area would gather at Ballinacarriga Castle, a site that holds a special place in the history of the locality. 

Anne Lynch explained: ‘Back in the penal times (1700 and 1800s) the people would gather inside the walls of Ballinacarriga Castle, the long abandoned tower house, to celebrate mass.

‘The local farmers used to shelter their cattle in the castle and ever week, before mass, the castle was swept out by the locals.’

Ballinacarriga Castle is a four-storey, six level tower house built in the 15th century by a local wealthy merchant, Randal Hurley.

In 1818 a new priest was sent to the area by the bishop of Cork and plans were put in place for a new church in Ballinacarriga. ‘A father James Doheny came to Ballinacarriga in 1819 and work began on St Joseph’s and the church was completed in 1820 when the first mass was celebrated here,’ Anne said.

‘We are all looking forward to this special mass at Ballinacarriga Castle and all are welcome especially our neighbours from Rossmore and Enniskeane who have attend mass here for many years.’ 

The Ballinacarriga Castle mass will take place on Sunday September 22nd at 3pm.

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