(Irish Grid Reference: H942395)
Throughout the years, Kilcluney parish has passed under the care of numerous ministers. All have had an important impact, none more so than the Reverend Henry Hutchings.
Installed in the charge in 1877, Hutchings expressed a desire to have a robed choir. Such an idea did not rest well with the rigidity of the Established church at the time and Hutchings' request was refused. Unwilling to relinquish his wish, Hutchings, at his own expense, designed and built a new church. He named his new church 'The Abbey'. The Reverend W. P. Magee, Rector of Kilmore, opened it in November 1890. Worship was conducted there free from the restrictions of the prayer book, although Sunday morning service, according to the established form, continued in the Parish church. A robed choir was formed under the direction of Miss Eva Hutchings, daughter of the minister. Under her guidance, they excelled and became widely known in the area as 'Hutchings Angels'.
The interior of the church is entirely made of wood, carved by Hutchings and his daughter. In the original design, the nave was divided into three bays, although this has since been altered since the building is no longer used for church services. The central feature of the decoration is an Hiberno-Romanesque arch, much like the one in Tuam Cathedral. The ceiling over the chancel is blue, adorned with silver stars. Also on the ceiling are two rows of heraldic crests, representing the dioceses of Ireland.
The church was used for worship from its construction in the 1880's until the 1960s, when the interior was altered to allow for use by the bowling club.
When 'The Abbey' was first built, its exterior shell was of wood and corrugated iron. This simple shell lasted for over a century before the congregation acted on a vision to move the church from its original site to the site of the parish church in Lisnadill, three miles away. Dismantling and reconstructing the building was a process that took almost two years to complete with the aid of parishioners and friends. Carefully reconstructed beside the parish church of Saint John's Kilcluney at Grasdrummond, it was incorporated into a new church hall, providing permanent protection from the elements. 'The Abbey' was rededicated on September 16th, 1995.
In the accompanying recording, Jack McCune talks about 'The Abbey' beside St. John's, Kilcluney.
Use the audio controller to listen to this talk, given in 2003.