From Arranmore.com: "Teach Pobal Naomh Croine is built at a point where three townlands meet – lllion, Gortgar and Ballintra — and the stream known to us as Abhainn Bhaile an tSratha runs into the sea just outside the wall which surrounds the church.The first church was built here in 1825. Before that there was a little thatched building which was used as a church but it is not known when that was built. The church built in 1825 had a floor of only blue clay and dóirlín (little stones) and for fifty years the building contained no seating area. Eventually, ten seats were put in place — five seats at each side of the altar. Those who used the seats were charged one penny for which they were given a ticket and on leaving the church that ticket was collected from them again. Those who did not have the penny just knelt on the floor. The building had two doors, one for men and one for women. Men were not allowed to use the womenis door nor were the women allowed to use the men’s door. Also men stayed to the left of the altar while the women went to the right of the altar. Indeed thus it remained for many years.
An extension was built in 1917. This extension consisted of the sacristy which faces the sea and the longer aisle towards the back of the church. Stained glass windows were also installed. Rev. John McIntyre was curate on the island at that time. He was a big and strong man who often did manual work to help in the building of the extension. He was Parish Priest in Burtonport at the time of his death in 1952. He is buried here in Arranmore and his grave is directly underneath the sacristy window.
In 1837 Mass on the island was celebrated only once in every three weeks as the island did not have a resident priest. The first priest, Rev. Seamus Hargan, came in 1847 during the Famine and, according to tradition, he carried the corpses of the Famine victims to the graveyard and buried them himself. Sadly, he himself died of a fever and is buried at Carraig a’ Chaisil. His last request was that he be buried in a sack as he did not want the community to have to bear the cost of his coffin. Most people were buried like that at the time.
The first graveyard was Carraig a‘ Chaisil. Until then there was no burial ground on the island because the landlords at the time’refused land for a graveyard so the dead had to be brought across to Templecrone for burial. The last boat carrying remains to Templecrone went on the rocks at Leac na bhFear and all those who travelled with the remains were drowned. The coffin later came ashore at Bealach a’ tSnámh and was temporarily buried in the dunes there until weather conditions improved and it was safe to make the crossing to Templecrone but, sadly, that coffin was never lifted. After that burial took place on the Caiseal which indeed was no more than a bare rock and people had to carry sand and soil onto the rock to cover the coffins. The next graveyard overlooking the sea was opened in 1893."
Inside the church there is a memorial to those who lost their lives in the Arranmore Distaster of the 9th of November 1935. A group of islanders were returning to the island from the nearby port of Burtonport, many of them returning home after a season spent working in Scotland on farms. Fifteen people lost their lives on that winters evening, the youngest of whom was only 16 years of age. The man steering the boat, Edward Gallagher died along with four of his sons and two of his daughters.
"St Crone's Church is situated at the crossroads bordering the townlands of Illion and Ballintra. In 1917, an extension was added to the church. Fr. John MacIntyre was curate in Arranmore at the time and he worked tirelessly to have the extension work completed. He paid meticulous attention to the renovation and construction of churches in each of the parishes he was sent to. The parochial house was built in 1908 by Fr. Eddie Doherty. The church on Arranmore also catered for the inhabitants of Inis Caorach – the last inhabitants left the island in 1955. During the days of the English penal laws, masses were held in secret at the site of mass rocks. There are three such sites on Arranmore; Ard an Aifrinn in Poll an Mhadaidh, Béal A’Chaisil in Goirt Gearra and Malaigh na hAltóra in Plochóg."
Click on any of the photographs to enlarge.
THE ARANMORE DISASTER
Inside the church there is a memorial to those who lost their lives in the Aranmore Distaster of the 9th of November 1935. A group of islanders were returning to the island from the nearby port of Burtonport, many of them returning home after a season spent working in Scotland on farms. Fifteen people lost their lives on that winters evening, the youngest of whom was only 16 years of age. The man steering the boat, Edward Gallagher died along with four of his sons and two of his daughters.
Above the list of names of those who died is the words:
"The lonely waves wash o'er their graves near the shores of Aranmore"
The picture to the left shows the memorial and a close up of the names is in the photographs above.
ST. CRONE'S AND BEAVER ISLAND, CANADA
Inside the church there is a hand carved wooden cross on one of the walls together with an information piece which reads:
"This cross was presented by the people of Beaver Island to St. Crone's Church, Arranmore Island, during the weekend of festivities and ceremonies in March 2003 which twinned these two islands and their people who share a common heritage. The cross is hand carved from a single piece of cedar wood, which also came from Beaver Island. The cross was presented along with a set of vestments and a painting of the church on Beaver Island. St. Crone's Church in turn presented the church on Beaver Island with a hand carved replica of an Irish harp and a photograph of the stained glass window of St. Crone in St. Crone's Church. These exchange of gifts signify not only the friendship but the unity that now exists between these two Island communities." To read more go to our Arranmore page.