Glanworth Church of Ireland was built on the site of an earlier medieval catholic Church that was described as being in ruins by the 1690s. The church was built between 1810-1811 and was described in Samuel Lewis’ ‘Topographical Dictionary of Ireland’ (1837) as a ‘plain edifice with a low tower and spire’. The pointed arch window of the nave does hold an interesting tale as it appears the missing insert and decoration was originally taken from either a local Catholic Church or the nearby Abbey during the days of the Penal Laws. Centuries later it was but restored to the Abbey in the 1990s by the Office of Public Works.
The Dúchas Schools Collection (of which I am so fond) makes mention of this in two tales both of which reference the unfortunate outcome for the persons who removed the window. One tale from the Márie, Bean Uí Fiachra, Glanworth in 1937 states, “General Barry was landlord of Ballyclough. It was he, a Yeoman, had removed from the Dominican Abbey to the Protestant Church nearby, a beautiful stone framed window. On going over the bridge and turning on his horse to view the work of his hands, he was struck blind, while others say he was startled, some muscles and his head remained turned back. “ Another tale by John Kiely also of Glanworth tells of an earlier attempt, “A protestant minister who lived in Glanworth village near Fermoy, Co Cork hated the Catholics very much and persecuted them and got goods unjunstly from his catholic neighbours. One day he was passing Glanworth Catholic Church and he noticed that it had a beautiful stained-glass window. He said to himself how nice that would look in the protestant church. He was looking up at the window. His head remained in that position and he could not get it back to its proper place. One of his friends saw him and sent for help. The priest of the parish, who at the time was being hunted came and set him free. The minister never thought of interfering with the window after that”.
The earliest graves date from 1742 and pre-date the church. It appears the church was in use until the 1940s when it was replaced with another structure on the main street of Glanworth. The church is well worth a visit when passing through Glanworth, an area that is rich in heritage and folklore.
GPS: 52.18945, -8.35727