West Cork Heritage Centre, Bandon is run by volunteers and doesn't receive funding. We rely on donations for upkeep of the premises and to run genealogical searches for the many people who contact us and visit.
West Cork Heritage Centre is housed in Christchurch on North Main Street in Bandon, Co Cork. The church was built in 1610 on the site of an earlier fort. Both historically and archaeologically significant, this is the oldest of the post- reformation churches in Ireland, being the first Church built by the new English settlers who established the town of Bandon and reputedly the first church built in Ireland for Protestant worship. Christchurch was deconsecrated in 1973.
The centre is popular with tourists and locals alike and is of particularly interest to school groups, tourists and Bandon diaspora interested in their genealogical heritage. During the tourist season the centre attracts people from our locality and also visitors from other counties for example the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
Schools in the locality avail of the facility for their school tours. There are also English Language schools in Bandon that bring their continental students to visit and learn about local history and culture.
This structure has witnessed the ebb and flow of a changing Ireland from the 1600’s onwards and is situated within the “Walls of Bandon”.
It is important, firstly, that the building is put in such a state that it can physically survive and not fall into disrepair and, secondly, to adapt to any changing conditions now or in the future
Strangely, Bandon has few important buildings. As described earlier this is an important architectural and historic structure. The spire, in particular, is a unique and beautiful piece of architecture. A building such as Christchurch should be cherished, both to recognize Bandon’s unique past and going forward as a place of inclusion for all.
We believe this is a site which must be preserved and retained. As a voluntary group we have invested much of our own time in this project throughout the years. We want to develop this as a space for performance and exhibitions and to move ahead we really do need help to raise money for essential repairs and improvements.
Please give what you can. Just a few euros from many people could be enough to make what is already a fantastic building more accessible and an even more vibrant part of the Bandon community. To contribute, please click ‘Donate Now’ on the top right of this page.