TULLOW CHURCH AND PARISH
Tullow Church (Church of Ireland) Brighton Road, Carrickmines, Dublin 18 is a vibrant and welcoming church serving about 200 families. It is within walking distance from both Foxrock and Cornelscourt villages.
The original ruined church dating from the late 12th century is said to have been founded by St.Brigid. It is known as Tully church and is to be found at Lehaunstown about a mile up a small road off the Brennanstown Road. It is a rather pleasing stone ruin with a wide Romanesque arch opening into the chancel. The nave has disappeared, the stones probably taken by the local farmers for building over the years. Scholars who have studied the history of Tullow say that the founder was not the famous St.Brigid of Kildare but by another saint of the same name. The church was in use up to about 1615. It came under the authority of Christchurch Cathedral who supplied clergy to keep it going. It was reported to be in good condition when inspected in 1615, but according to a report in 1630 had been badly damaged in recent storms. After that it was abandoned and fell into ruin. The parish was united with Monkstown, together with Kill, Dalkey and Killney. And parishioners of Tully had to go to Monkstown.
Tully means hillock and the church in an elevated position would have been a good centre for the local farming community. Its full name was Telach-na-nun ecspop (Tullow of the bishops) and it must have been an important venue if bishops met there. There is a legend that seven bishops started out from there to visit St Brigid at Kildare. Elsewhere these bishops are mentioned as the “Seven Bishops of Cabinteely” (Alice Curtayne, Saint Brigid of Ireland) This brings us right back to late fifth or early sixth centuries when Brigid was around. Could it possibly be that the scholars were wrong about the founder?
It is probable that there was a wooden or clay and wattle church way back at the time of the Celtic Church. Grave slabs in the ruin predate the stone church, and the two high crosses may also be older. One cross stands on a plinth outside the church and the other is in a field opposite. When the Normans came they brought with them the skills of building in stone.
For anyone interested in archaeology or history there is a sign post near the Cabinteely end of Brennenstown Road pointing to Tully church ruin.
The story of the present church begins in 1860. The mother church at Monkstown was finding it difficult to conveniently accommodate the growing numbers of those who were attending the Sunday services and the distance from Foxrock was inconvenient for parishioners. There was a growing population in the Foxrock area. The Harcourt Street railway had been running to Bray since 1854 with a stop at Carrickmines In 1861 a new station at Foxrock was added at the request of a developer W.W Bently who was building houses in Foxrock, so the area became a popular place to live.
Rev John Fawcett, a curate of Taney, was nominated to the perpetual curacy of the new district parish of Tullow, with a stipend of £100 payable by the the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. However there was no church building, so at the request of nine Tullow parishioners and the rector and churchwardens of Monkstown, a schoolhouse on the Ballycorus Road was licensed by Archbishop Whately for divine service until a church should be built. This was hardly a very convenient location, but presumably the parishioners had horse transport of some kind.
The site was not purchased until August 1872, but the building must have gone up quickly as the church was consecrated on 14 April 1864! It was a simple rectangular shape, in granite and cost £1600, most of which was paid by the Commissioners. By that time Mr Fawcett had resigned and the Reverend Charles Ormsby Wiley succeeded him. However Mr Wiley was not convinced that Tullow could exist as an independent parish. He felt that many potential parishioners would attend Stillorgan or Kilternan, and a proposal that Tullow would be united with Kill and become a chapel of ease to that of Kill with one service a week to be at Tullow, was accepted.
However the select vestry of Tullow, showing commendable initiative, reversed the decision, and expressed the wish that Tullow remain separate and independent. This was agreed and Mr Wiley continued until 1873 when he was called to the parish of Crossmolina, and the reverend Edmund Robinson was appointed. It was then that an official residence on Torquay Road, was acquired. This house proved unsuitable for Dr Ronald McDonnell who succeeded Mr Robinson and was let and finally sold. Dr McDonnell must have lived elsewhere because the new rectory on the site of the church was not yet built. The building of the rectory was completed in 1890. A coach house and stables were later added for the use of the incumbent and to accommodate the carriages for those who drove to church. Successive rectors were John Pirn, (1885-1888) George Wallis Newport Clark (1888-1928), William Baillie (1928-1934), Alexander Duff Moore (1934-1937), Edward John Young (1937-1945), William Cecil Pauley (1945-1950), Thomas Noel Desmond Salmon (1950-1962), John Bourke Neligan (1962-1971) William Warburton Rooke (1971-1978), Cecil Hyland (1979-1990), Kenneth Kearon (1990-1999), Cecil Bryan (1999-2007), (Leonard) John Tanner (2007-to date).
After the rectory was built and the congregation was increasing, thoughts were turned to the possibility of extending the church. This was eventually done and completed by 1904. The original building became the transepts and the nave and chancel were added at right angles. This must have been a major upheaval, and services during construction were held in a large room in Craigholm at the corner of Kerrymount Avenue, generously lent by the Read family.
A modern church hall was built during the incumbency of Mr Hyland, replacing a previous hall dating from 1910, and later an attractive memorial garden was laid out on part of the garden at the rear of the rectory.
The present organ was installed and dedicated by Archbishop Gregg on 5th April 1929 It was overhauled in 1963. Since then it has been serviced and kept in good order. This instrument replaced a previous organ dating from 1894, which in turn replaced the harmonium which had served since 1864. There is an amusing mention in the records of an “organ blower” being employed in 1867 at the lordly sum of £2.14.0 per annum! Electricity came to Foxrock in 1930 and an electric blower was then installed.
The information in above has been taken from “TULLOW’S STORY”
By Dr. G.O.Simms