Church Times Drimoleague
12.15 p.m. -1st & 2nd Sunday of the Month.
11.00 a.m. - 3rd Sunday of the Month.
9.45 a.m. - 4th Sunday of the Month.
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History of St. Matthew's Church, Drimoleague
In 1591, the Parish was reported as being vacant. But in 1615, there was not only a rector, Robert Wilson, but also a curate, Thaddeus McDonnell. Sadly, the Church was described as being in a ruinous state of repair. The value of the living was only £5 per annum. By contast, twenty years later, the value of the living had risen to £30 per annum. Towards the end of the century, money was being raised to build a new Church. There was no rectory and a house was rented for that purpose.
When Bishop Downes undertook his tour of the parishes in 1699 and 1700, he described the region as 'very coarse country'. The vicar of Fanlobbus travelled out from Dunmanway once a month to preach, and another local clergyman came on another Sunday in the month. The Bishop described the Church as 'in repair, only some of the slates are off'.
It is not certain when the new church was finally built, but a record from 1837 states that the church, which could hold about 180 persons, had been built about 50 years previously. At that time, the gross population of Drimoleague was noted as 4,870 and it was estimated that the Protestant population was somewhere over 400.
Clearly, the new church did not impress, for in 1856, three parishioners granted a half acre of land at Butlersgift as a site for yet another new church. Two years later, on Friday, 10th September, 1858, this church was dedicated in the name of Saint Matthew. At this time, there was still no rectory, but by 1887, a new Glebe House had been built to the south of the village, this despite the fact that the church population had dropped to 300. There were two church schools in the parish - one at Meenies with 21 children and the other at Claddagh with 40 children on the roll.
The parish was united with Caheragh to the south until recent years, when it has become part of the Fanlobbus Union of Parishes.
Some more Photos of the inside of St. Matthews Church, Drimoleague
Front of St. Matthew's Church
Back of St. Matthew's Church