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Sacred Heart Church, Durrus

Catholic Church, in use

The Sacred Heart church was opened in 1901, replacing an older structure at Chapel Rock which stood on the spot where Carrigboy National School now stands. The parish priest, Father T O Leary, was responsible for the initiative and for the fund raising. A list of subscribers published in the Southern Star showed that donations came from far and wide, including  support from Chief O Neill, the famous collector of Irish music and Chief of Police in Chicago. (A statue to him can be seen at Trawlabane where his patron day, 13th September, is still celebrated). The grand opening attracted a huge crowd, over 5000 people flocked into the village which was decorated with bunting and banners. Parishioners paid for the bulk of the expenditure and the Southern Star (again) described the as a scene out of Eden.

The church stands high on the main road out of Durrus towards Kilcrohane. The one acre site was leased from the local land owner, Lord Bandon, for 990 years at a rate of 10s per year. The architect was Maurice Alphonsus Hennessy from Cork city and a local man, Daniel O Donovan from Bantry, was the contractor. The church cost £2900 and is remarkable for its high quality craftsmanship. An impressive flight of steps leads up to the imposing entrance: an ogee headed doorway, now containing a font; above this the statue of the Sacred heart, and above this a bellcot. The church is gable fronted with a seven bay nave with flanking aisles. There are porches to the east and west with a sacristy. The stone, limestone and sandstone, was quarried locally. and the roof is of slate.

Inside the walls are high painted a pale pink, features highlighted in a deeper rose and it feels warm and welcoming. The high altar is ornate, sculpted by Davis of Cork, with a beautiful painted ceiling above it. A variety of ornate and original tiles grace the floors. Wooden pews and a gallery plus a some beautiful stained glass add to the attractive interior.

The Sacred Heart remains a meaningful and vibrant focal point for the community.

Durrus: dubh ros - dark woods
Just outside Durrus village on the Kilcrohane road
94214, 41914

Set up high with views across the river towards the hills, this church is in a fine position. The door is always open during the day and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.