​​Culturlann    MacAmhlaoibh


McAuliffe  Heritage  Centre

Church Street , Newmarket Co Cork 

The History and  the renovations 

Samuel Lewis , writing in his Topographical History of Ireland ( published in 1837 ) describes the parish of Clonfert , in which the church is located as follows.

        The living is a vicarage , in the diocese of Cloyne ,  and in the patronage of the bishop ; the rectory is impropriate in Colonel Longfield , of Longueville  : The Tithes amount to 1163 pounds  of which half is paid to the impropriate and half to the vicar. A glebe-house was erected in 1811 , near Newmarket aided by a loan of 1125 pounds from the late Board of First Fruits  but having become dilapidated , has been taken down. The glebe comprises 9 statute acres , one having been lately annexed to the old burial ground of Clonfert , by permision of the bishop.

He also includes a description of the church , which was the parish church of Clonfert .
The parish church , in the town of Newmarket is a handsome edifice , in the later style of English architecture , built in 1826 , at an expense of 2200 pounds , of which 2000 pounds was a loan from the late Board of First Fruits ; it has a square tower , embattled and pinnacled and surmounted by a lofty spire , the whole formed of hewn limestone.

Drawings exist in the representative  Church Body's (RCB) archive for this church and are signed by James Pain. The drawings are not dated and different historical sources give slightly different dates for the construction of the church .While Lewis noted that the church was built in 1826 , William M Brady writes that the parochial church , capable of accomodating 300 persons , was built in 1830 at a cost of 2,000 British Pounds , granted in a way of a loan by the Board of First Fruits ( William Maziere Brady's Clerical and Parochial records of Cork , Cloyne and Ross , published between 1863 and 1864 ).

James Pain was an architect and builder of Limerick City who was born at Isleworth in Middlesex circa 1779 , the eldest of at least five sons of an English builder and surveyor of the same name. His grandfather William Pain was the author of a series of pattern books. James and his younger brother George Richard Pain were both pupils of John Nash , and when Nash designed Lough Cutra Castle , Co Galway , for the Hon Charles Vereker in 1811 , he recommended that the two brothers should be placed in charge of the work. Both brothers remained in Ireland after this contract with James continuing in business as an architect and builder in Limerick while George Richard established himself in Cork. They worked in close partnership until George Richards death in 1838 and were together responsible for a very large number of buildings , Churches both Catholic and Protestant , country houses , court houses , goals and bridges. Almost all of them in the south and West of Ireland.
It is said that it was through Nash's influence that in 1823 James Pain was appointed architect to the Board of First Fruits for Munster and responsible for all the churches and Glebe houses in the province. George Richard acted as his assistant . James continued to work for the Board and in following the Church Temporalities Act of 1833 for the Ecclesiastical Commision which replaced it. This was up until at least 1843.

Alterations were made to the church in the late 19th Century , as recorded in Rev John Harding Coles Church and Parish Records of the United Diocese of Cork , Cloyne and Ross of 1903. These works were funded by col . and Lady Mary Aldworth of Newmarket Court and included new seats , a new open pitch pine roof, new steps in the chancel, Brass rails, a lecturn , pulpit desk and chandeliers. He noted that it is now a very pretty church.

The Lofty spire that was noted by Lewis in his Topography Dictionary and in other accounts of Newmarket in the 19th century is no longer there. There is evidence that there were structural issues with the spire in the late 19th century . On the 24th of September 1897 , the Irish Times had stated that Hunter & Co . Steeplejacks of Belfast had been contracted to straighten the spire which had started to lean dangerously out of plumb. The architect was not noted.The spire was then removed in the late mid 20th century and the bell was donated to a mission in Africa .The first edition Ordnance survey map c. 1842 depicts the cruciform plan of the church in the position as it is found today , situated within the pentagoanl graveyard.
James Pains Plans. The windows of the final scheme are more decorative than those shown on the drawings and the small quaterfoil windows shown in the gable ends were not included in the building as constructed.

James pain's plan of the church showing box pews and lecturn to chancel area (RCB Archive ). The intended layout in his drawings show the seating and chancel area arrangements. Each transept has a mezzanine . According to this plan , the room below the mezzanine to the north transept was a designated Robing Room or vestry . The south transept was allocated to Mr Aldworth. 

A Mosaic wall plaque survives to the chancel area and will be retained. It was erected by Mary Aldworth and it reads.

To Gods Glory and in memory of COLONEL  RICHARD  WILLIAM ALDWORTH who served his QUEEN and COUNTRY. Was in the 1st Batt. Royal Fusiliers during the Crimean War and commanded that Battalion in India from 1857 to 1862 .
Born January 31st 1825. Died at his home in Newmarket Court February 4th 1899.
I, Mary C.H.Aldworth , his widow have now placed in GODS HOUSE  this record to the loving memory of a CHRISTIAN and a SOLDIER

The Buildings interior has been entirely stripped out. Including the plaster , window sills and floor.The trusses to the newly replaced roof are exposed to the interior as was the case with the previous roof structure. To protect this it willl be painted.
The windows that were in a bad state of repair have also been replaced.


In the above picture we have a hard working and dedicated Maurice Angland who has been lending a hand from the time the project started. He has been on site overseeing the work . The new side windows are seen to the right that have been installed in the main hall. And the picture above that was the new stone for the main large window.

Chris Tzoukos , Julie McAuliffe Tzoukos , Eilis Hourigan , Barbara McAuliffe , Clan Chieftain

John McAuliffe and Maurice Angland.

​​Below we have some images of the final look of the Culturlann. The tall wall on the right hand side will be the dedicated McAuliffe Wall of Remembrance .