Church Times Dunmanway
Every Sunday at 11.00 a.m.
(especially our very popular ALL AGE Service - the 3rd Sunday)
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A little bit of history of the origins of St. Mary's:
The original church of Fanlobbus (or Fanlobish)(Fanlobbus comes from the Irish - Fan Leaba Ois - slope of the fawn's bed), was just over two miles east of the town of Dunmanway, where the ruins of an old church can still be seen beside the Famine Burial Ground. It is not known when the first church was built on that site, but a manuscript dated 1591 in the archives of Trinity College, Dublin ,refers to a Clergyman rejoicing in the name of Dermicius Danielis who was Vicar of Fanlobbus. Records from 1615 report, 'the church and chancel in good repair, with books'. Through most of the 17th century, Fanlobbus ,Kinneigh and Ballymoney (parishes to the east) shared the same rector.
On the day before Christmas Eve in 1695, John Patrickson was instituted. By now, most of the parishioners lived in the growing town of Dunmanway and soon the new Rector had plans for a Church in the town itself. He took services in a house in Dunmanway on three Sundays in the month as well as being responsible for Kinneigh and Drimoleague.
In 1699, Dive Downs was consecrated as the new Bishop of Cork and Ross. A man of great energy, he quickly visited the parishes of his diocese - an arduous task in those days of slow travel over rough terrain. By now, Fanlobish Church was in a dilapidated state. In his diary for 10th August, 1699, Bishop Downs wrote, 'the Church is covered, but many slates are off, no pulpit or seats; about half the Church is ruinous'. He also noted that Sir Richard Cox and John Patrickson had each put up 100 pounds towards the cost of building a new Church in Dunmanway. The Bishop seemed sympathetic towards the plans for the new Church, which was speedily built on the site of the present Church. Tradition has it that the new building was dedicated to Saint Mary, in honour of Mary, Lady Cox.
From 1718 - 1818, the Parish was linked with Drinagh. Gradually, the church became too small for its growing congregation which was described as 'a well-looking, industrious, thriving people'. Then, under the incumbency of Edward Saint Lawrence, the old Church was demolished and in the cleared ground a new enlarged Church, capable of holding 450 people, was started in 1821 and consecrated in 1822. It needed a loan of 1,384 pounds 12 shillings and 3 pence, half of which was paid off by 1832 and the remainder by annual instalments of 44 pounds 12 shillings and 2 pence. Before long the north transept was added and then, during the busy incumbency of George Deacon (1872 - 1900), the chancel was built on to the east end, the ceiling was replaced with the present pitch-pine roof, and the present pulpit of Caen stone and marble was installed.
The Parish still retains its ancient title of Fanlobbus, although it is more commonly known as Saint Mary's, Dunmanway. Together with the parishes of Coolkelure, Drimoleague and Drinagh it is a member of the Fanlobbus Union of Parishes.