Cork church to celebrate 800th anniversary 

A programme of talks and exhibitions is also planned as part of the anniversary celebrations
Cork church to celebrate 800th anniversary 

St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal will celebrate its 800th anniversary with a special performance of Handel’s Messiah. Pictured left to right are Norman McDonald, Canon Andrew Orr, Sinead Solleveld, Kieran Quinn, and David Kelly.
Picture: Matt Brooker Photography

ST MARY’S Collegiate Church in Youghal will begin celebrations of its 800th anniversary with a special performance of Handel’s Messiah later this month.

The 800th-anniversary celebrations were originally scheduled to be held in 2020 but were postponed due to the pandemic. The special performance will now be held on Sunday, April 24.

The musical performance will be delivered by the well-known East Cork Choral Society and East Cork Orchestra, under the baton of director Colin Nicholls. The professional soloists are Gemma Magner, soprano; Sarah Luttrell, alto; Peter O’Reilly, tenor, and Gheorghe Palcu, bass.

“We are delighted to welcome the East Cork Choral Society and Orchestra to Youghal for this performance,” Canon Andrew Orr, Rector, said. “This is such a wonderful way to launch our delayed 800th anniversary celebrations.”

This performance will mark the start of a season of events to mark the landmark anniversary of the building, which is one of the oldest and most continuously used churches in Ireland.

“It is wonderful for the choir and orchestra to come together in this extraordinary place as part of the 800th anniversary celebrations,” Mr Nicholls said. “We are all thoroughly looking forward to the performance.”

Tickets are available from Cree’s Card Shop, Youghal Tourism Office and on Eventbrite.ie for €15. All proceeds from the concert will go towards the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal and local charities.

Patrick Heaphy, manager of Youghal Credit Union, said: “It is great to see the St. Mary’s Collegiate Church 800th anniversary celebrations being launched with Handel’s Messiah, a wonderful concert in an amazing venue. We are delighted to be part of the celebrations.”

A programme of talks and exhibitions is also planned as part of the anniversary celebrations.

This will culminate with a closing service in the church, where the guest preacher will be the Archbishop and Primate of All Ireland, Most Rev. John McDowell, on October 23.

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