Castlemagner Celebrates its Historical Heritage

The Parish of Castlemagner gathered outside St Brigid’s Cemetery on Saturday 20th August to unveil a new visitor information board that showcases the long, colourful and turbulent history of this North Cork community going back through the centuries. The project was initiated by Castlemagner Community Development Association (CCDA), following on from their success in creating a visitor board on Lohort Castle in 2021. The new visitor information board tells the story of 3 historical sites that reflect Castlemagner’s rich history- St Brigid’s Cemetery, Magner’s Tower and St Brigid’s Holy Well. The CCDA also highlighted the full restoration of an old village pump.
St Brigid’s cemetery has been used as a sacred burial ground going back to 800AD. During its long history it has evolved and changed over the centuries with its current form taking shape during the 19th Century. The Protestant Church built St Brigid’s Church on the site of an old medieval church in 1810 and was in use until its closure in the 1960’s. In its long history the cemetery has seen many visitors some of them infamous. Oliver Cromwell visited the cemetery during his time in Ireland in the 17th century and by all accounts was less than courteous when referring to the family members of Richard Magner who were buried on the site.
Magner’s Castle was under the control of the Magner family who would have their lands confiscated and restored over 400 years. The castle first began as a Norman motte and baily in 1183 with a Norman tower being added to the site in 1200 followed by a second tower in 1375. The site underwent refurbishment and was transformed into a full castle in 1467. The site now in ruins and on private land can be seen from the cemetery road in Castlemagner
St Brigid’s Holy well showcases the fusion of our ancient Celtic pagan traditions and Christianity. The well served as an important place of worship for locals especially during Penal times when Catholics were not allowed to openly practice their religion. Its current form is partly due to Owen Egan who reportedly attributed the recovery of his sight to the waters from St Brigid’s Well in 1787. Owen built a well house and left an inscription over the well opening ‘Owen Egan of Knocknanus erected this in honour of God and the Blessed Virigin Mary AD1787’
The unveiling event ended with a blessing of the cemetery led by representatives of the Protestant and Catholic Churches Reverend Williams and Father Scanlon. The cemetery has served as a shared burial ground between Catholics and Protestants.
Due to manufacturing delays a temporary sign was put up on Saturday to mark Heritage week, however, the permanent visitor information board will be fully installed at St Brigid’s cemetery in the coming days.
CCDA would like to thank the local community for their support in preparing for this event including our many Tidy Towns volunteers who ensured the village of Castlemagner looked immaculate. We would also like to thank everyone involved in the restoration of the village pump, who through their hard work have left us with an attractive village feature we can be truly proud of. We would also like to thank our local County Councillors who attended and have been such a great support to our work. We would like to thank Cork County Council and the Heritage Council who provided funding for the visitor information board under the County Heritage Plan funding for 2022.