Church Of Ireland Notes


The use of archival and manuscript material in Irish history is, happily, no longer a novelty. The "new history", pioneered by Prof T.W. Moody and Prof R.D. Edwards, emphasised the importance of returning to original source material rather than relying on myths, assumptions and blind prejudices.

The results, while not sudden or dramatic, have, nonetheless, significantly changed the face of Irish ecclesiastical history. A subject which was once more propaganda than truth, more confessional than catholic, and more the preserve of the zealot in holy orders than the young inquiring mind, has become a vibrant, open-minded field of inquiry.

A consequence of this new interest has been to encourage the churches to pay more attention to their archives and to make them more accessible.

All the main Irish churches now have an archival dimension and increasingly they are supplementing this with lecture programme, publications and exhibitions. However, one of the best forms of outreach remains broadcasting, in any of its forms, but especially television. Church archivists have exhibited an increasing willingness to co-operate with directors and producers, and they, in turn, have come to appreciate the curatorial concerns of archivists.

It is no longer the struggle it once was to prevent presenters from mauling archives. A recent example of co-operation took place earlier this week when Dr Susan Hood from the Representative Church Body Library brought a parish register to Tullynally Castle, where United Productions of Bristol is making a documentary series for BBC television about the Duke of Wellington.

Sir Arthur Wellesley, as he was then, was baptised in St Peter's Church, Aungier St, and married in St George's Church, Temple Street. His bride was a member of the Pakenham family, who now live in Tullynally, and the register was used to tell the story of the marriage. The use of ecclesiastical archives in such a context emphasises that church records are of value for much more than the history of religious institutions.

Tomorrow the services in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, will be sung by the St Mary's Singers from Southwell, in Nottinghamshire, while in St Patrick's Cathedral the visiting choir will be the Southwark Singers from London.

The Bishop of Tuam, Dr Richard Henderson, will visit Aasleigh while in Clonmacnoise the summer-round of services continues at 4 p.m. At St Douglagh's Church, Balgriffin, one of the few medieval parish churches still in use, there will be an Open Air Songs of Praise at 3.30 p.m.

On Thursday the lunchtime recital in St Ann's Church, Dublin, will be given by David Leigh, assistant organist in St Patrick's Cathedral. In Co Cork the final concert in the Annual Festival of Classical Music will be given in St Barrahane's Church, Castletownshend, by the Christ Church Baroque Chamber Ensemble.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, has appointed a public relations officer. Ms Sheila Kulkarni, who has trained in arts administration, has been working in public relations and development in the Chester Beatty Library. Her functions will be to make the work of the cathedral known to a wider audience and to develop links with parishes and business corporations. She will begin work in the Cathedral on September 1st.