The Rev Thomas Walsh, one of John Wesley’s preachers, was invited to Clonakilty in Co. Cork. He set out to visit it, with friends from Bandon, on 11 July 1752. When he was refused permission to preach in the town hall by the magistrate. Rev William Ellis (Rector), he instead preached to a large crowd on the nearest strand. On returning to the town the Rev Mr Walsh and his companions were put in jail where, like St Paul, they sang hymns and Mr Walsh preached through the bars to a huge sympathetic crowd who provided provisions and bedding.
Quite soon a Methodist society was formed in Clonakilty with regular house meetings.
John Bennett (mill manager, Rosscarbery) used to walk every Sunday to the town of Clonakilty preaching morning and evening for 27 years. In 1805 he moved to Clonakilty and was instrumental in building the first Methodist church in 1812 in Kent Street (known as Meeting-house Lane).
In 1860 the present building was erected on the same site, with schoolroom to the side and vestry (and playground) behind.
In 1885 a school and schoolhouse were built on the Western Road; it was run by the society until 1945. It is now a regional museum.
Not only is the church itself very beautiful but the town of Clonakilty is very charming and well worth a visit as you can see from this video…