St. Colman's Church
The older church near Ballintotis Castle (of which there is part of one wall still standing) was no longer adequate and it was decided to build a new church. A site was obtained from Viscount Midleton in the town land of Farrantrenchard on the banks of Loughaderra, by Fr. Walsh P.P. who died on the 7th December 1840. On May 19th 1839 Fr. Walsh P.P. wrote to the Editor of the Southern Reporter Newspaper:
"Sir, I trust you will permit me to join my Parishioners in offering, thro' your Journal, our heartfelt thanks to Lord Viscount Midleton, and to Lord Viscount Boyle for their subscriptions towards the erection of a new House of Worship at Ballintotis in the union of Midleton.
This is an additional instance of the liberality of those Noblemen, whose donations in aid of our intended building are enhanced by the sentiments expressed in the letters which conveyed them:- sentiments which, when more generally known, and accompanied by acts of benevolence, cannot fail to erect to those who cherish them, imperishable monuments in the hearts and affections of the present and succeeding generations. Besides Lord Midleton's subscription of £25, and Lord Boyle's £20, we gratefully acknowledge £1 each, from Rich. Coppinger, Esq., Camden Place, Cork and Wm. Garde, Esq., Bilberry".
The Church had been built by 1842 when the townland was surveyed in the first Ordnance Survey. The area of the site for St. Colman's Church was given in Griffith's Valuation as 1acre, 2 roods, 7 perches. That includes the ground on which a teacher's residence was erected.
(taken from the Ballintotas Book 1992 - article was researched and written by Canon B. Troy)
Retreat: 1919 - 1971
Two local sisters, Misses Nan and Lil Aherne of Ballintotis provided a breakfast in the sacristy after the 8.30am Mission Mass each morning for the Mission preachers. The breakfast usually consisted of boiled eggs (freshly laid at their farm), homemade brown soda bread and homemade butter. There is an entry in the 1919 Parish Accounts Books for Ballintotis showing the following purchases:- Table cloth & napkins: £0-16s-9d, Knives & forks: £0-12s-9d. This suggests that the practice of breakfast in the sacristy for the priest was a long running custom. In 1971 the Church Laws on fasting from midnight before receiving Holy Communion was changed and the services of the Misses Aherne were no longer required.
In 1941 Dean O'Connor, P.P., installed a solid fuel heating system in the church. Prior to 1941 it is presumed that the church had no heating. It seemed odd to be installing a heating system, costing £502, in 1941 when there was a great scarcity of ironware and coal because of the 1939-1945 war. However a certain amount of coke from Midleton Gasworks was made available. Turf was also used during this period. This heating system was changed to an oil fired boiler in the early 1970's but the same radiators are still in use.
The inscription on the bell in Ballintotis stated that it was made by J. Murphy, Dublin, in 1857. It was originally the bell at St. John's Catholic Church, Midleton. When the present bell, DOMNINIC, was erected in 1907 (1908?) the older bell was taken down and erected at Ballintotis. The first Ordnance Survey map (1842) indicates that the bell at the old church in Ballintotis stood apart from the building on a gantry.
An interesting entry in Fr John Fitzpartick's Parish Accounts Book reads:- August 10th, 1857. Carriage of bell from Dublin to Cork and from Cork to Midleton £1-0-6. Price of new bell £55-1-5. An allowance of £23-5-0 was given for an older bell, leaving the balance due for the new bell at £32-7-5. This bell from St. John's churchyard, Midleton, was transferred to Ballintotis Church and re-erected by Messrs. JJ. Coffey, Midleton, on 6th March 1918, at a cost of £26-14-0.
On Thursday night, 13th January 1993, Bishop John Magee visited Ballintotis Church in the course of his Episcopal Visitation of the parish, It was decided to ring the bell to welcome the bishop and it was announced at the Mass that it would be the last time the bell would ring out from its old location. The architect, Mr. Brian Murphy-O'Connor, was working on plans for its new location, which envisaged an appropriate bell tower at the west end of the church, near the road with electronic bell-ringing equipment.
Plans had been made to take down the bell on Saturday, 15th January 1993, using lifting equipment, and to dismantle the pitch pine gantry. Providence intervened later that Thursday night and the storm which raged knocked the bell and gantry out into the space set aside for the new car park! On inspection the bell was found to have been fractured by the impact. Thus ended another chapter in the history of the Ballintotis bell which had been calling the faithful to God's house in Midleton parish for 136 years.
The Rosary statue of Our Lady and Child and the two relief statues of St. Colman and St. Joseph were made by Mrs. Nell Pollen, (nee Murphy), Dublin (pictured below). These were her own original creations not linked to any particular style, tradition, or period.
On Sunday 30th November 1975 Dean Rea, P.P., blessed the statues.
Regrettably, Mrs. Pollen passed away on 7/11/2011. Click on her photo to read her obituary.