A 100-year-old gift from China to Crookstown
In late 1916, Fr Edward Galvin was home in Ireland to raise funds and recruits for the ongoing missionary work in which he was involved in China. This colourful oriental-style hat was a gift from him to one of his nephew’s the following year.
Fr Galvin was a native of Newcestown, a village between Kilmurry and Bandon, one of a large family of John and Mary Galvin. They moved to nearby Crookstown in the first century of the 20th century. By then, Edward was being educated at St Finbarr’s College, Cork’s diocesan seminary, before studying at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth for his ordination in 1909. After first serving in a Brooklyn, New York parish, he began his missionary work in China in 1912.
Among those who supported him on his visit home in 1916 was Cork’s Catholic Bishop Daniel Cohalan, a native of Kilmurry’s neighbouring parish of Kilmichael. But while collections for the Maynooth Mission to China were very generous around Cork, his family’s adoptive parish reached very deep in their pockets.
It is well that he might send back home this beautifully embroidered hat, with its pink rosette, after the people of Kilmurry raised over £132 for his cause by November 1916. That was nearly 10% of all that was raised in the entire diocese by the end of that year, and more than two-thirds of what city parishes had subscribed to the mission fund.
He brought the first group of the St Columba’s Foreign Missionary Society to China in 1920 – the same year his younger brother Michael would be shot and killed as he took part with the Kilmurry Irish Volunteers Company in an ambush on the Royal Irish Constabulary in Lissarda. The mission work was very successful, leading to Fr Edward Galvin’s consecration as a bishop in 1927. But Japanese occupation, war and Communist control made life much more difficult in the final 15 years before his expulsion from China in 1952. Bishop Galvin died four years later and is buried in Dalgan Park Navan Co. Meath.
This Chinese hat is one of numerous item belong to, or related to, Bishop Galvin and his missionary work in the collection of Independence Museum Kilmurry. The museum’ permanent exhibition also features artefacts relating to the parish’s many other bishops and well-known clerical figures.
Only a few months earlier, his older missionary priest brother Edward was home from China on a fundraising campaign, supported by another man of the area, Cork’s Catholic Bishop Daniel Cohalan. The collection in his native Kilmurry parish raised a significant sum of over £132, almost 10% of the total Cork Diocesan collection at mid-December and more than two-thirds the amount raised in the city parishes.