St Matthew's Church Drumavaddy



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There was a medieval parish church in the townland of Carrickaboy, a short distance away from the present day St Matthew’s Church.  The foundations of the church are still present in the old cemetery there. This church was marked on William Petty’s 1685 General Mapp of Ireland though it was being used by the Established Church at that time.  A rectangular barn church was built on the site of the present day church about the year 1770. This chapel doubled as a school during the week. It is thought that Latin was taught in this school.

Major work was carried out on the church in 1865 when Fr Patrick Gilroy was parish priest and Fr Patrick Daly and Fr Bernard Fitzpatrick were curates.  It was made into a cruciform shape in that year, a shape it still retains today.  Because part of the old barn church was incorporated into cruciform church it can claim to be one of the oldest churches in the diocese of Kilmore.

A photograph of the church in 1947 shows it surrounded by trees with a bell mounted directly over the main doorway and Drumavaddy National School situated directly in front of it, between the church and the road. This school was destroyed by fire in 1947 and the new school was built adjacent to, though not in front of, the church.

In 1957, while Fr James O’Reilly was parish priest, extensive work costing a total of £18,000 was carried out on the church.  The walls were raised by seven feet and a new slated roof was put on. A new entrance porch, baptistery, gallery and sacristy were built. The architect was Patrick Gaffney and the contractors were Smith & O’Reilly from Ballyhaise. The church was rededicated by Bishop Austin Quinn on 28 September 1958.

Major work was carried out on the Church in 2012 as it  put in.  Three stained glass windows, which came from the convent of Mercy in Dungarvan, were put in the sanctuary. An reredos and new altar, lectern and presidential chair were added.  The old limestone baptismal font was restored. The sacristy was reordered and is now suitable for Adoration and meetings. The main contractor was Michael B. Hyland and the architect was Noel Smith. The work started in April and was completed in November 2012. The church was rededicated by Bishop Leo O’Reilly on 24 February 2013.