A new lease of life for a 220-year-old
Saint George’s Arts and Heritage Centre
A new lease of life
Saint George’s Arts and Heritage Centre is located in the former Church of Ireland parish church in Mitchelstown, Ireland. It's a three-minute drive from Junction 13 on the M8 - 40 minutes from Cork - 30 minutes from the Rock of Cashel - 15 minutes from Fermoy - 30 minutes from Mallow. Saint George's was deconsecrated in August 2017. Saint George's is owned by a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. It purchased the building from the Church of Ireland in April 2019.
The company is conserving the building and has already converted it into a dynamic venue for a wide range of arts, cultural, heritage, tourism and civic-based activities including a digital information centre and a dedicated archive and library. To achieve this goal, we are raising €1.2 million. Approximately half of this funding is likely to be sourced through grants from various local, national and European agencies. We have already received considerable financial and technical support from Cork County Council and Ballyhoura Development. The remainder of the fund is being raised through donations, sponsorship, fundraising events and other activities.
Please hit the donate and/or volunteer button and join us on the adventure.
Be part of something that is already making a difference to the cutural landscape of the North Cork, Ballyhoura and Galtee regions.
€1.2 million Restoration Project
Saint George’s is available to anyone interested in the arts, culture and heritage. It is also available for other activities including civil marriages, conferences and meetings. The former church is owned by a not-for-profit company, which is actively developing the centre as Mitchelstown's cultural and historic venue.
The first phase of the project has included cleaning external facades, intrnal restoration of the steeple, interior re-decoration and various repairs and improvements to facilities. The roof has not undergone any significant refurbishment since 1884 and loses slates regularly, so this is a priority for future funding. Meanwhile, slates have been repaired and most water ingress has been stopped (most of the time). However, almost every heavy downpour brings water dripping through the roof. The current estimate for a new roof is €235,000. The steeple, stairs and schoolroom are damaged by wet and dry rot, which has destroyed some other wooden features of this part of the building. The steeple hasn’t been repaired in over a century. The bell and bell-ringer's room hae undergone a complete restoration during August, September and October 2019, resulting in the bell being run properly for the first time in decades. Between April 2019 and November 2019 a tremendous amount of work was carried out inside and outside the building which has transformed its appearance and made it more inviting to the public.
All external stonework needs re-pointing. Internal walls need re-plastering, decorating and painting. We intend to restore the organ which is reputed to be the oldest in County Cork and one of the oldest in Ireland. Other works will include restoration of the clear-glass windows, leaded windows, stained-glass windows and doors. We must refurbish all existing wooden and tiled floors in the nave, where sections of the decorative wall panelling has been attacked by dry rot and woodworm. In our first three months of ownership, we restored and modernised the Vestry into a meeting room and it is planned to convert the schoolroom into an office and reception area. An upstairs room will be converted into a quiet space for reading and listening to music. We hope to heat and power the centre with the help of green technologies. We plan to retain most of the existing pews but hope to raise funds to provide them with comfortable cushions thereby adding to the comfort of our patrons. To do all of what we hope to achieve will require €1 million and thousands of volunteer hours to do as much work as we can at minimal expense.
As part of the project, the main body (nave) of Saint George’s is being used as an exhibition space for creative arts, photography, sculpture and other arts-related activities. We hope to attract a very wide range of exhibitions by local, national and international craftspeople.
If you are interested in running arts or similar creative activities in please contact us.
The centre is a focal point for historical, genealogical, cultural and heritage events. An interactive interpretive area will tell the story of the region over the centuries. Topics will include the development of the town, the Galtee Mountains and the history of Mitchelstown Castle and the Kingston estate.
This dedicated space will also provide a permanent display for the priceless coats of arms of Mitchelstown Castle.
Saint George’s will become a unique focal point for theatrical, dramatic and musical activities including Irish song music and dance.
Our first event was a choral night on 18th May 2019 which was led by the Lismore Choir and Eamonn Walsh, who is one of Ireland’s new and upcoming singers. The concert was the first of a number of very successful events at Saint George's
Saint George’s is available for civil weddings and funerals. It is also an unique venue for conferences, business and community meetings, lectures and other activities where a special space is needed.
Please note that religious ceremonies are not allowed in Saint George's. Catering is available by request.