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A History of Christ Church Drinagh.
The earliest record of the parish comes from a manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin, stating that in 1591, the Vicar of Drinaughe was Dermicius Donati. He was also Vicar of Kilnemartery in the Diocese of Cloyne on the other side of the City of Cork, about fifty miles away!. Twenty five years later, it is noted that the Vicar is Con O'Farshame an Irishman(!) and that the 'Church and chancel were in good repair, with books'.
However, it was more usual for the clergy of the parish to share the cure of one of the neighbouring parishes - normally Kilmeen, and occasionally Kilmaccabee or Castleventry.
By 1699, it appears there was no church and that seven or eight families attended the Churches at either Drimoleague or Kilmeen.
Bishop Dives Downes, in the diary of his tour in 1700 reports that it would be more appropriate to join the parish with Fanlobbus to the north or Drimoleague to the west. He describes the church as ruinous.
By 1718, the parish is linked with the cure of Fanlobbus, and fifty years later, it shares with Fanlobbus the ministrations of Sr Michael Cox, son of Sir Richard Cox, Baronet, Member of Parliament for Clonakilty.
Fifty year later still, in 1818, Drinagh once again has its own Vicar and in the following year, a church capable of holding 120 persons was built, largely as a result of a gift of £830 15s. 41/2d from the Board of First Fruits. By 1830, the 'Protestant population' of the parish was registered as 321 out of a total population of 4,231. The Vicar lived in a small rented cottage, for which he paid the sum of £20 per annum.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the Church population had dropped to about 140. But, in February 1891, a new and energetic incumbent, John Levingston, was instituted as rector. The old church was deemed to be unsuitable for worship and in 1896, the church was demolished. All that remains of it is the churchyard and the tower - known locally as 'the Steeple' - which still stands as an ivy-clad landmark high on the valley side above Curraghlicky Lake.
The new church was erected at a cost of approximately £1,250, using much of the masonry from the old building, which was brought down by parishioners by horse and cart. It was consecrated for divine worship on Friday, 28th May, 1897. Its new site on the valley floor was much more convenient, close to the recently built rectory, (which by the way cost £1,450 in 1876) and across the road from the school at Shandrum.
Today, the parish is a member of the Fanlobbus Union of Parishes.
Services are held on two Sundays in the month at 9.45 a.m. Service of the Word on the first Sunday - Holy Communion on the third Sunday. Where there is a fifth Sunday in the month, the churches in the Union take it in turns to host a United Service.