Who is responsible for Tully site?


Sir, – I refer to your article concerning claims by Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Patrick O’Donovan that he does not know who is responsible for Tully Church in Dublin (“Concern as OPW rejects responsibility for ancient church in Dublin”, News, August 3rd).

Under the Irish Church Act of 1869, which disestablished the Church of Ireland, religious buildings not then in use became the property of either the County Grand Juries or the Board of Works. Since the Reformation, all such places had been the property of the Established Church of Ireland. The ownership of cemeteries not attached to a church-in-use at the time the 1869 Act came into law was also transferred to either the Grand Juries or the Board of Works. In 1899, the grand juries were abolished and their functions were transferred to county councils.

Board of Works monuments became national monuments under the 1932 National Monuments Acts.

Such places as Tully Church are not private property, but belong to either the State or the local authority.

The fact that this site has a “Fógra” notice on it tells me someone in authority at some point considered it a national monument in the care of the State. All across the country, there are abandoned ancient graveyards and ruined medieval churches which, before 1869, were the property of the Church of Ireland but now belong to the nation. Perhaps it’s time the OPW took a closer look at the Irish Church Act to understand how all these places became the property of the State?

By the way, the Representative Church Body of the Church of Ireland was set up under the 1869 Act to become owners of all Church of Ireland properties still in use at that time. It continues to perform this function to the present day. In many cases since 1869, where it had to close churches, the RCB has transferred ownership of graveyards to either local authorities or the State. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Sir, – I refer to the news article of August 3rd in relation to Tully Church and other associated historic structures located near the Cherrywood Strategic Development Zone in South County Dublin.

I would like to point out that the Office of Public Works is responsible for the care and maintenance of these national monuments and it continues to exercise a protection role in relation to this State-owned property.

The OPW has, in fact, together with the National Monuments Service of the former Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht, been involved in discussions for some time with the relevant authorities at Cherrywood in relation to how best to protect these monuments from development pressures in the area.

These discussions have, in particular, centred on the need to create a space around the historic sites to ensure that both they and their surrounding setting are protected from any proposed building development.

I trust this clarifies the position for you. – Yours, etc,



Office of Public Works,

Dublin 2.