Innishannon village is on the busy road between Cork and west Cork and many motorists aim to travel through the main street as quickly as possible. But look again! The village has some wonderful buildings and a fascinating history. This was explored by members of the Cork Chapter who gathered at old St Mary's Church on the morning of Saturday, 17th September, 2011.
The old church is surrounded by an ancient graveyyard and is located near the River Bandon. The church tower partially collapsed some years ago and a local group, The Friends of Innishannon, are actively promoting its restoration. Unfortunately, the church and graveyard are not accessible to the public, but can be viewed from outside the gates. Information about the church (in use until the 1850s), the graveyard and the general area was provided by Dr. Alicia St. Leger, Gavin Falk and Alice Taylor.
The group then made the short walk up hill to St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church which was built between 1810 and 1829 at a cost of stg 1,500. A spire was brought from St. Luke's Church in Cork and added to St. Mary's in 1875-1876. The church was restored in 2002. As well as being an attractive building, it also houses a gem: a wonderful old estate map of Innishannon. The story of this map was brought to life by the renowned author Alice Taylor, whose enthusiasm for the village was evident in her talk to the group.
The third church of the morning was Christ Church (Church of Ireland), located prominently on the main street. Built between 1854 and 1856, it was designed by Joseph Welland and replaced the earlier church near the river. Christ Church contains some notable features, including a stained glass window by Alfred Ernest Child of An Tur Gloine. Members of the group were treated to refreshments before examining the many fine features of the building.
Following a delicious lunch at the Poacher's Inn in nearby Bandon, the group reconvened at Cork Castle. This house stands in a prominent position overlooking Innishannon and has recently been meticulously restored by Richard Good-Stephenson. The house was destroyed by fire in 1921 and for years was in a ruinous condition. Richard Good-Stephenson, whose family have always owned the house, kindly led the group on a tour of the property. He has combined careful research into the history of Cor Castle with Superb craftsmanship, to create a most attractive family home. The gardens above the house have also been restored and provide a magnificient view over Innishannon.
Thanks to all of those who hosted the group at Innishannon, providing a very warm welcome and excellent hospitality