Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The Wexford (or Enniscorthy) Carol

Musicologists differ on the precise origins of 'the Wexford Carol' or 'the Enniscorthy Carol,' and even upon its proper designation, it seems.  William D. Crump's The Christmas Encyclopedia, for example, fails to attribute it to the 12th Century, as many do, at least as regards the tune.  We are unable to source the basis of this claim of antiquity.  What is certain is that Dr. the Chevalier Grattan-Flood (1859-1928), Titular Organist of Enniscorthy Cathedral, claims to have transcribed the Carol, both tune and lyrics, from a local man and published them in The Oxford Book of Carols (1928) as 'the Wexford Carol.'  However, subsequent research has found that the first verses are very close to a Carol found in William Devereux’s A New Garland Containing Songs for Christmas (1728).

At any rate, 'the Wexford Carol' can be sung with a special joy by Irish, especially Wexford, voices this Christmastide.

The Wexford Carol

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved Son.

With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide,
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.

But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas,
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox's stall.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep,
To whom God's angel did appear,
Which put the shepherds in great fear.

Arise and go, the angels said,
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you'll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born.

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God's angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold.

Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid,
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife.

There were three wise men from afar,
Directed by a glorious star,
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay.

And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah lay,
They humbly cast them at his feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.

An Irish Translation of the first four verses:

Ó, tagaig' uile is adhraigí
An leanbh cneasta sa chró 'na luí
Is cuimhnígí ar ghrá an Rí
A thug dár saoradh anocht an Naí.

'S a Mhuire Mháthair i bParrthas Dé,
Ar chlann bhocht Éabha guigh 'nois go caomh,
Is doras an chró ná dún go deo
Go n-adhram' feasta Mac Mhuire Ógh.

I mBeithil thoir i lár na hoích'
Ba chlos an deascéala d'aoirí,
Go follas don saol ón spéir go binn
Bhí aingle 'canadh ó rinn go rinn.

"Gluaisig' go beo," dúirt Aingeal Dé,
"Go Beithil sall is gheobhaidh sibh
É 'Na luí go séimh i mainséar féir,
Siúd É an Meisias a ghráigh an saol."

Friday, 4 December 2015

Dunbrody Abbey (Walsh)

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1891, c. xix, p. 173 ff:

Dunbrody, in the barony of Shelburne, on the river Barrow, and four miles south of Ross. Harvey de Monte Maurisco, who was seneschal of the whole estate belonging to Eichard, earl of Pembroke, made a considerable grant of divers lands to St. Mary and St. Benedict, for the purpose of erecting an abbey for the monks of the Cistercian order.

Felix, who was consecrated bishop of Ossory, in 1178, was witness to this charter.

A.D. 1179, Harvey, the founder of this house, entered into the monastery of the Holy Trinity, in Canterbury. Richard, earl of Pembroke, and his grandson, Walter, were principal benefactors to
this house.

A.D, 1182, the abbot and monks of Bildewas, m Shropshire, who were included in the charter of Harvey, made a cession to the Cistercian abbey of the blessed Virgin Mary, at Dublin, of the whole right and claim, which they possessed in right of de Marisco's grant, over the new foundation of Dunbrody. John, lord of Ireland, in the lifetime of his father, confirmed the grant of Harvey.

A.D. 1216, Herlewin, bishop of Leighlin, was interred in the abbey church, a great part of which he had caused to be erected.

A.D. 1296, Walter, earl of Pembroke, confirmed the grants of Harvey and of Strongbow.

A.D. 1308, Damin was abbot.

A.D. 1340, Philip de Chicull was abbot. Having refused to submit to the visitation of the abbot of St. Mary's, near Dublin, he was deposed from his office. The prior, William de Rosse, was chosen in his

A.D. 1368, David de Cornwalshe was abbot. The monks of Tracton, in the county of Cork, having openly resisted the authority of their abbot, David was commissioned to restore them to order. David, for his trouble in so doing, was presented by the abbot, David Graynell, with a horse, worth twenty marcs, and £10 sterling in ready money; after which David took from the monks another sum of £20, and being thus bribed by both parties, he deprived the abbot Richard of his office. In two years afterwards he was convicted of the same offence, and fined in the sum of one marc, but received the king's pardon.

A.D. 1380, it was enacted by parliament that no mere Irishman should make his profession in this abbey.

A.D. 1390, David Esmonde, a burgess of the town of Wexford, being appointed by letters patent to enquire, by the oaths of good and lawful men of this county, into the extortions and offences committed in this abbey, from which mere Irishmen were excluded, having arrived to put in force his commission, David Cornwalshe, the abbot thereof, with divers associates, assaulted said Esmond, with force and violence seized and destroyed the king's letters, and secured Esmond in the abbot's prison for the space of sixteen days, until they compelled him to swear that he would never prosecute any of the aforesaid persons, nor John Develyn, who was a party to the transactions.

A.D. 1394, the said Develyn was abbot.

A.D. 1402, King Henry IV granted to the abbot and convent a confirmation of all their rights and possessions.

A.D. 1418, John Calf was abbot.

A.D. 1522, Alexander Devereux was abbot. The abbot of this house sat as a baron of parliament.

Alexander Devereux, the last abbot, surrendered this noble establishment in 1539, after having first provided for his relatives bv the sacrilegious plunder of its possessions.

By an inquisition, taken in the thirty-seventh of Henry VIII, this abbey was found to possess sixty acres of pasture in Dunbrody; one hundred and twenty acres in Battlestown; eighty acres in Duncannon ; sixty acres in Clonard, and one thousand one hundred and thirty acres in various parts of the county of Wexford, besides immense possessions in Connaught, and in the counties of Limerick and Waterford. In 1546, these possessions were granted to Osborne Itchingham, at the annual rent of £3 l0s. 6d. While in the twentieth year of Queen Elizabeth, the lands and rectories belonging to this abbey, in the county of Limerick, were conceded to Robert Callan.

The ruins of Dunbrody abbey, rising in awful grandeur at the conflux of the rivers Suire and Barrow, present a truly picturesque and magnificent appearance. These ruins, including the cloister and church, are, perhaps, the most complete, and at the same time the most extensive of any in the kingdom. At the west end stood the porch, adorned with filigree open-work, cut in stone, while the immense gothic window which rises above the porch, displays an amazing specimen of curious
and splendid architecture. The chancel and the walls of the church are entire. Within are three chapels, vaulted and groined, while the aisles are separated from the nave by a double row of arches, with a moulding, which reclines on beautiful consoles. Tlie tower also is complete, and the arch on which it rests is, for its curious and expansive curvature, much esteemed.

Friday, 23 October 2015

The Religious Houses of Wexford Town (Walsh)

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1891, c. lxv, p. 712 ff:

Wexford, the capital of the county, and a sea-port, market-town, and parliamentary borough, in the barony of Shelmaliere.

Priory of canons regular, under the invocation of SS. Peter and Paul, was founded, according to the most approved opinion, by the Danes, in the early part of the twelfth century, to which the Roches, a noble and an influential family, were munificent benefactors.

A.D. 1240, John, bishop of Ferns, held a synod here on the morrow of the nativity of the blessed Virgin.

A.D. 1418, Sir John Talbot, Lord Talbot of Fumeval and Wexford, granted to this priory the chapel of St. Nicholas of Carrick.

The prior of this abbey sat in parliament as a baron.

The first inquisition, taken in the thirty-first of Henry VIII., found in the possession of the last prior, John Heygarne, four orchards, two parks, fifteen messuages, with their gardens, and the rectories of St. Patrick, SS. Peter and Paul, and St. Tullogh, in the town of Wexford; two hundred and sixty acres of land and eighteen capons, together with the rectories of Killmacree, St. Margaret, Ballynane, Slaney, Killuske, and various others in the county of Wexford. In the first year of Edward VI., this priory and the greater part of its possessions were granted to John Parker, at the annual rent of 16s.

Tlie church of SS. Peter and Paul, or Selskir Abbey, yet remains, with a very large tower in the centre.

Knights Hospitallers. This priorj', founded by William Mareschal, Earl of Pembroke, and dedicated to St. John and St. Brigid, was, antecedent to the period in which the order of Templars was abolished,
the grand commandery. But Kilmainham being granted to tlie Hospitallers, it immediately became the grand establishment of that order.

A.D. 1376. The prior recovered against A-dam, the son of John de Bocher, sixty acres of land with the appurtenances thereunto belonging, and situate in Ballycollock, in this county. There still remains part of the old church of St. John, without the walls.

Gray Friars. The conventual Franciscans procured a settlement for themselves in this town, in the reign of King Henry III., and were reformed A.D. 1486.

Thirty-first of Henry VIII, the prior of this house was seized of a church and belfry, chapter-house, dormitory, hall, kitchen and some other buildings, with eight burgages in the town of Wexford, annual value, besides reprises, 17s.

February 20th, thirty-fifth of Henry, this monastery, with the aforesaid burgages in Wexford, were granted for ever to Paul Turner and James Devereux, at the annual rent of lOd. Irish money.

Leper Hospital. Henry IV., on the 26th of January, and tenth year of his reign, granted to the son of William Rochford, during life, the custody of the hospital for lepers, under the invocation of the brethren and sisters of St. Mary Magdalen, near Wexford, with the lands, rents, possessions, churches, tithes thereunto belonging; the said John to support the houses, buildings, &c., and to defray all other expenses at his own proper cost and charge.

A.D. 1649. Wexford was besieged by Oliver Cromwell. As soon as the regicide had ordered his batteries to play on a distant part of the town, on his summons being rejected, "the commander of the garrison, Staff'ord," admitted his men into the castle, whence issuing suddenly and attacking the wall and gate adjoining, (they were admitted, either through the treachery of the townsmen or the cowardice of the soldiers, or perhaps both,) the slaughter was almost as great as at Drogheda.
By Cromwell himself, the number of the slain is reduced to two; by some writers it has been swelled to five thousand.  "No distinction was made between the defenceless inhabitant and the armed soldiers, nor could the shrieks and prayers of 300 females, who had gathered round the great cross, preserve them from the swords of those ruthless barbarians."

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Wicklow Town

St. Patrick's Church, is set strikingly on a hill overlooking the scenic and historic coastal town of Wicklow.  Although the area has been populated for thousands of years, the town itself was settled by the vikings about the year 800.  To that extent, it is older even than Dublin City.  The Irish name Cill Mhantáin, or Church of the toothless, is replaced by the Norse Vikló, or harbour of the meadow.
The town would have found itself in the Gaelic Diocese of Glendalough, which extended across the whole of what is now the Archdiocese of Dublin.  Viking Dublin did not have a Bishop until Donatus was consecrated in 1038.  At the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1118, Dublin is not mentioned.  At the Synod of Kells in 1152, the Diocese of Glendalough was divided, giving the northern portion of its territory to Dublin, which also received a Metropolitan pallium.  Gregory became the first Archbishop of Dublin and was succeeded by St. Laurence O'Toole.  In 1185, King John decreed the union of Glendalough to Dublin but it wasn't sanctioned by the Pope until 1216.
In the valley between the Catholic Church and Anglican church and at the medieval town gate lie the ruins of a Franciscan Abbey, built about the year 1265.  Only elements of the south transept and nave are visible today.
As already noted in the post on the pilgrimage to Bray, the facade of the Church is remarkably similar to that of the original facade of the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Bray, and to other Churches by W.H. Byrne.  It was completed about 1840 to an unknown architect's design, where there is a gap in Byrne's list of works.  Therefore, it may cautiously be attributed to him. 
Members and friends of St. Laurence's Catholic Heritage Association made a pilgrimage there on Saturday, 22nd August, including a Mass celebrated by a Priest of the Diocese.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Traditional Latin Mass in Bray, County Wicklow

This is the first occasion on which our Association has made a pilgrimage to Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland. On 4th July, we made a pilgrimage to Bray for a Traditional Latin Mass in the Church of the Holy Redeemer on the Main Street. Building upon the existing Chapel of c. 1824, our old friend Patrick Byrne enlarged the Church and added a tower and facade strikingly similar to St. Patrick's, Wicklow Town (c. 1844) and to Byrne's St. John's, Blackrock (c. 1845).  W.H. Byrne further enlarged the Chapel into the present envelope, a Romanesque Church with colonnaded transepts and an apsidal Sanctuary c. 1894-1898, for Most Reverend Nicholas Donnelly, D.D., P.P., V.G., then Parish Priest of Bray and Greystones, Bishop of Canae and Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin.  Presumably at the same time as the modernist facade was added (1965) the sanctuary was re-ordered and the organ erected in the apse.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Pilgrimage to Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford

About 10 miles south of Riverchapel, Co. Wexford, where we had organised Mass in the Gregorian Rite in March, is Kilmuckridge.  St. Mary's is a hidden seaside gem built in 1796.  These stones, therefore, witnessed the rising of 1798 led by Fr. John Murphy, from nearby Boolavogue and the first victory of the 'men of Wexford' at Oulart Hill about 4 miles to the west.  On the Ember Saturday after Pentecost, 30th May, 2015, members and friends of our Association made their pilgrimage to Kilmuckridge.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Prayer for the Church in Ireland

God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.
Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.
Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.
May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.
To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.

Pope Benedict XVI
19th March, 2010
Solemnity of St. Joseph

Sunday, 26 April 2015

National Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Armagh Cathedral

The Irish are very devoted to pilgrimage.  In the Golden Age of Faith the Saints of Ireland undertook Peregrinatio Pro Christo to Heaven-knew-where to bring them the Catholic Faith.  It is a startlingly rare thing to make a pilgrimage to Armagh, the seat of Saint Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, and his successor the Primate of All Ireland, and, in a sense, the spiritual heart and ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.

It is a strange thing that the Irish, once so faithful to pilgrimages and patterns to local places of devotion, and now so faithful to pilgrimages to Lourdes, Fatima and other places far away, are increasingly neglectful to visit sites in their own Country where God has shared his grace with the Irish People.  That is the strength of the Catholic Heritage Association.  It is taking us back, not only to our historical roots but to the places of our living Catholic heritage, where God's grace poured out upon Ireland and may yet still fall.  Through vikings, normans and reformers so-called, we are often bereft of the bones of our Saints but, when Emancipation came once more, great Cathedrals and Churches rose up there to the glory of God.  Our Cathedrals are often the beacons of a shining sanctity that once reposed there.  They are still our spiritual mother-churches and it is a joy to be part of restoring to their Altars the never-abrogated Gregorian Rite that, in essentials, was first celebrated there by our first Saints.

The present Cathedral, the National Cathedral, as Cardinal Logue called it, was built between 1840 and 1904, the medieval Cathedral having been confiscated during the 16th century.  Historic images of the Cathedral can be seen here.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Riverchapel

I took a few additional interior photos of the Church in Riverchapel before and after the beautiful Latin Mass that we had there in March.  The Diocese of Ferns is blessed with many beautiful Churches and doubly blessed that many of them survived the destruction of the last 50 years.  One of the most precious, since precious things come in small packages, is the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Riverchapel, which is the Church of the seaside holiday destination of Courtown Harbour, Co. Wexford.  One of the most notable features of the Churches in the Diocese of Ferns is the fine stained glass and Riverchapel is no exception.

I won't repeat the great work already done on Buildings of Ireland or the online Dictionary of Irish Architecture that you can read for yourself through those links.