The Parish of Bunclody Union
Bunclody Union is one of the larger parishes in the Diocese of Ferns if judged by population. It straddles the Wexford/Carlow border and takes in a small part of Co. Wicklow. The area is one of great natural beauty with the rivers Slaney and Derry flowing through the parish and the Blackstairs Mountains forming a backdrop. Mt. Leinster [2610ft], the highest in the chain, is just above the town of Bunclody. The Wicklow Way, a walking route from Dublin, ends in the parish at Clonegal and the Leinster Way begins in the parish three miles away at Kildavin. There are four churches: St. Mary's, Bunclody [once known as Newtownbarry], St. Paul's Kildavin [once the parish of Barragh], St. Fiaac's Clonegal [once known as Moyacomb] and St. Brigid's, Kilrush. Bunclody and Kildavin have been amalgamated for many years. Clonegal and Kilrush joined them in the past ten years. Records of births deaths and marriages are preserved and date from1792 in Clonegal and 1799 in Bunclody. A great deal of work has been done in the past five years in deciphering and indexing the registers largely due to the work of Mark Williams, an authority in this field. Each church has an adjoining churchyard and there are gravestones of some antiquity.
The Rectory is situated on the Enniscorthy road and is one of the finest in the Diocese. It was built in 1805 and has
two storeys over a basement, set in three acres fo mature gardens which were
originally planted at the time the house was built. It has been improved over
the years particulatly since 1984. In 1999 futher work was undertaken
on the rectory - almost a complete reconstruction of the interior. What a pity so many of the other fine rectories of the Diocese were sold for buttons and are no longer available to the Church of Ireland.
This service schedule is only possible with the help of a dedicated band of parish readers, Valerie Power, Martha Willis, Sam Deacon and Kenneth Rothwell.
There are youth organisations , Girls Brigade, Boys Brigade and Robins, Table Tennis, and Badminton. There is an active Mothers Union, one of the largest branches in the Diocese, which has a regular programme of events. The Sunday School is the main parish hall. This building, originally built in 1800, has now been completely re-built on the same site in the grounds of St Mary's Church. This is a very comfortable, purpose built hall designed by the architect to resemble as closely as possible the building it replaced.
Ryland School, which had been used for many years as a second hall, was sold to a community group and the proceeds were used to build the new Sunday School with the help of a FAS scheme.
Barnahask School and Residence is situated on the road from Bunclody to Mount Leinster and was once part of parish property. It hosted many evening church services and generations of parishioners began their school days here. Now privately owned, both buildings have been tastefully restored in keeping with their original character.
Ruth Deacon and Janet Rothwell are the teachers at present and the school is both happy and efficient. At secondary level, many attend the FCJ Secondary School or Bunclody Vocational College. A number go to Kilkenny College or one of the other boarding Schools.
Rev Alan Nevin is the current Rector of Bunclody Union. He may be contacted at the Rectory, Bunclody [054-77652].