Our History

Our History


A brief history

The early 19th century witnessed an escalation in Church of Ireland building activity which has left a visible mark on the Irish landscape, as a result the early 19th century Church of Ireland has become a component in the make up of most towns and villages throughout Ireland. This extensive building programme was a physical manifestation of the reformation of the Church of Ireland which had been in spiritual and temporal decline in the previous century. Catholic Emancipation was also enacted in 1829.

The Board of First Fruits was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne to build and improve Anglican Church of Ireland property in Ireland. Most of the Churches we see today were built in the late 18th and early 19th century, and are mostly of gothic design. The Church of Killaspugmullane cill easpaig mhullane (which was the name of part of the civil parish of Watergrasshill) was one of the last churches to be built under the Board of First Fruits as the Board ceased in 1833 and was replaced by the Board of Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Earliest records show that there was a Church on this site in 1798 and the church in its present form was opened in 1836

The famous Pain brothers were involved with the Board of First Fruits and they designed the church in Watergrasshill. The Pain brothers were architects and came from England in the early 19th Century. James to Limerick and George Richard to Cork, they designed and oversaw many of our fine iconic stone cut buildings and Bridges in Cork and Limerick eg. Limerick jail, Dromoland Castle Co Clare, Court House Washington Street Cork, St Patricks Church lower road Cork and others throughout southern Ireland, they collaborated in a lot of work.

The Church in Watergrasshill was built in yellow sandstone sourced from a quarry to the east of the village and the Stone Masons were an O’Regan family from Kildinan near Glenville. The Church was opened in 1836 as well as a school opposite. The School had two Buildings, one for Boys and one for Girls. One of the Buildings still stands today and was for many years the Father Prout Restaurant. (See OS Map 1841 attached)

Barry Curtin