Added on 18/08/2012
Saturday 18 August 2012
The Church of Ireland, through an accident of history, is now the custodian of a significant part of the built ecclesiastical heritage of this country. Many church buildings are not open except for worship due to the difficulties which small communities experience in finding the resources to safely open on a regular basis. However, Heritage Week provides an opportunity to offer wider access than is usually possible.
For example, today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday) Calary church in Co. Wicklow is providing free guided tours. This gives an opportunity to see the pulpit used by John Nelson Darby, who was influential in founding the Plymouth Brethren and is also known as the “father” of dispensationalism. Darby was curate in the Calary area between 1826 and 1828 and, when Calary church was consecrated in 1834, the pulpit he had used in the adjacent school was moved to the church and continued to be used until the 1920’s.
Similarly, St Doulagh’s church, Balgriffen, a rare example of a medieval church which is still in use, will be open each afternoon today (Saturday) , tomorrow (Sunday) and next Tuesday and Wednesday for tours and on Wednesday evening at 8pm there will be a lecture by Dr Peter Harbison on ‘Images of St Patrick’.
One of Co. Dublin’s most striking churches, Monkstown parish church, a favourite of Sir John Betjeman, will be open from today (Saturday) until Thursday. There will be information on monuments, windows and the organ, a display of archives and self guided tours, as well as children’s treasure hunts.
In contrast, a building which rarely closes, St Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin, will host a short series of Heritage Week events at 7pm. Next Monday Dr Eileen Kane will talk about ‘Stained Glass in the Cathedral Context’ and on Wednesday Brendan Twomey will speak on ‘Swift, Dublin and Dubliners’. On Wednesday Denis Stefan will lead a themed tour entitled ‘Within these Walls. Characters in the American and Irish rebellions, 1775–1802’
Tomorrow (Sunday) RTE Radio will broadcast a Sung Eucharist at which the celebrant and preacher will be the Dean of Leighlin, the Very Revd Tom Gordon.
The Charles Wood Summer School begins in Armagh tomorrow (Sunday) when the opening concert, by the Victoria Consort, will be held in St Patrick’s cathedral tomorrow (Sunday). On Tuesday the Charles Wood Singers will sing Evensong and on Friday there will be a Gala Concert in the cathedral with the Charles Wood Singers and Boy’s Choir who will be joined by the winner of the Senior Class of the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition.
At lunchtime on Thursday the final recital in the summer series in St Columb’s cathedral, Derry, will be given by Charles Harrison, assistant organist in Lincoln cathedral while at lunchtime, on Friday, Euros Campbell (baritone) and Derek Moylan (piano) will give a recital of songs by Fauré, Schumann and Schubert in Sandford parish church, Dublin.
On Friday the staff in Church of Ireland House will mark the retirement of Denis Reardon from his post as Chief Officer and Secretary of the Representative Church Body. An accountant by training, he joined the staff of Church of Ireland House in 1997 as Head of Finance and in 2002 succeeded Robert Sherwood as Chief Officer. His time as Chief Officer has been largely overshadowed by the effects of the economic crisis on church finances which have involved tighter budgets and fewer staff but he has presided over this new regime with forbearance, equanimity and occasional flashes of humour.