Ballingarry is situated on the R518, which is the road from Rathkeale to Kilmallock. The parish is in the barony of Upper Connello. The village of Ballingarry became the property of the de Lacy family at the turn of the 13th century. The population of the parish is around 2,000.
In the village at Knight Street are the remains of Ballingarry castle, which was the home of the de Lacy family. The de Lacy family lost their lands and titles in the Cromwellian and Jacobite wars. They became part of the Wild Geese who fled the country in the 1690s. The de Lacys went on to serve in the armies of various European countries.
Samuel Lewis mentions that there were a number of religious houses in the area. The earliest of these houses is said to have been founded by Donough Carbrae O'Brien for the Conventual Franciscans, although it is generally believed that Fitzgerald, Lord of Clenlis, founded the house. There was a Cistertian abbey founded by the Fitzgeralds in 1198 that was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.
Ballingarry is translated as Baile an Gharraí which means the 'town of the garden'. In some older documents the name used for Ballingarry was Garth. Garth was one of the six deaneries that made up the Diocese of Limerick in the 13th century. Garth consisted of 12 parishes at this time.
Ballingarry was a booming town in the early part of the 19th century where the important industry was weaving and linen. However, the Famine had a serious impact on the population in Ballingarry and the town's prosperity was also badly affected.
Granagh is a small village about 4 ½ miles east of Ballingarry. It is a chapel village, which means that the village grew around the church. Granagh can be translated as Greanach, which means a gravelly place.
The hill of Knockfierna dominates the surrounding countryside. Knockfierna is translated into Irish as Cnoc Fírinne, which means 'the hill of truth'. Locals say that the hill was given this name because it is possible to get an accurate weather prediction by observing the hill. According to legend, a being called Donn Fírinne lived on the hill, and it was he who gave the hill its name. Some stories say he was the king of the fairies, while others say he was the Celtic god of Death. The hill of Knockfierna is a place of lore and traditions and people used to bury eggs in hay and crops of corn, and they also used to bury parts of dead animals in places near the hill.
When James Enright was appointed as parish priest in 1851 he was in America raising money for the building of the church in his then parish of Askeaton. He started building a new church in Ballingarry but was moved onto Parteen in 1874 before the church was finished. Timothy Shanahan supervised the completion of the new church in 1879 after he had succeeded Fr Enright as parish priest.
Fr Ronald Costelloe restored the church in 1991. The spire of the church can be seen from miles around. On the inside doors of the church, there are stained glass panels of St. Patrick and St. Ita to commemorate the 100th birthday of Archdeacon Patrick Lyons in 1993.
Inside the church on the right there is an altar and stained glass window to the Immaculate Conception. There is also a statue to Joseph and the child that was donated by the Murphy family. On the left there is a stained glass window of the Good Shepherd that was donated by James and Mary Moore. There is a stained glass window of the Blessed Sacrament that was given by Fr Costello and a window of the Crucifixion given by Austin and Peg Glorney.
On the right of the main altar there is an altar to Our Lady. The sons of John Neville donated the stained glass window to his memory in 1896. On the left of the altar there is an altar to Sacred Lady and there is also a stained glass window that is to the memory of Hanora and Mary Bennett.
There is also a chapel to the Blessed Sacrament and a shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes that was given by the people of the parish in 1991.
Buried within the church is:
Died September 10 1901, aged 63
Buried in the grounds of the church are:
Died December 22 1988
Canon Thomas Wall
Archdeacon Patrick Lyons
Died January 1 1999, aged 106
Granagh is a chapel village. The present church was built in 1831 and is dedicated to St. Joseph. Outside the church there is a Millenium Grotto that was erected to commemorate the year 2000.
Inside the church in Granagh there are stained glass windows to the Risen Christ on the right and to St. Bernadette on the left. There is also a stained glass window to the Crucifixion. Fr Costello and Joan and Kathleen Monikton gave these windows. The main door of the church has stained glass images that have been donated by various parishioners.
To the right of the altar there is a statue to St. Joseph and on the left there is also a statue to Our Lady. Dan and Ann Moran gave both of these statues. A plaque asks people to pray for Mary Bridget Hederman whose husband gave the altar rails in 1909.
There is also a large stained glass window behind the altar that depicts Mary on the left, the Sacred Heart in the centre and St. Joseph and infant on the right. The Baptismal font to the left of the altar was given by the people to commemorate the centenary of Archdeacon Lyons in 1993.
Buried in the grounds of the church is:
Died August 10 1993, aged 74
According to "Exploring Limerick's Past" by Patrick J. O'Connor, the Roman Catholic Church at Ballingarry has been on the same site since the early 18th century. Westropp mentions a church in Ballingarry since 1172. This church was located near the Protestant church. According to Begley, a part of the east gable remained of the old church in Ballingarry. It was dedicated to St. Evanjanus whose feastday is on August 1st and is located near the Protestant church.
The church in Kilmacow (Kylmocho was the old name) was dedicated to St. Colman and the feastday of the church was on October 29th. Begley gave the dimensions of the church as 58 feet by 18 feet 3 inches. It was believed to be a very old church. There was also supposed to have been an abbey in Kilmacow but the site of this abbey is unknown.
The church ruin in Seanabotha is now barely visible in the
graveyard overlooking the church in Granagh. It is believed that St. Maidoc
or Aidan of Ferns founded the church. From Begley's work we find that the
church in Senboth (as it was then called) was then a ruin and the walls of
the church were nearly levelled to the ground.
Lewis records a church in Knockfierna from 1837 but there is no trace of any church now. There was also reputedly an ancient church called Stuadhraicin, which was on the hill of Knockfierna.
Kilmacanearla is the site of a church ruin and in 1903 Westropp measured the church as 15 feet of the west wall and 32 feet of the south wall. Most of the church fell in the storm of January 6th 1839. The site of the church is now marked by a clump of trees on a piece of raised ground.
Kilshane was the site of a Franciscan house and was founded
by Fitzgerald of Cleanglass. In 1410 it was called the Monastery of St. John
of the Third Order of St. Francis. However, we do not have a date for the
foundation of the abbey.
In 1840, some of the ruin of the monastery still remained and Westropp tells us that the nave and choir measured 39 feet by 19 feet and 33 ½ feet by 19 feet 8 inches. There was also a tower on the site that stood at 60 feet high. A small portion of the south wall remained and the north wall was 17 feet high. The abbey fell in 1854 and the last remaining stones were taken away to be used in building.
Westropp also mentions a church ruin called Morenane, of which only fragments remained in 1905, when he conducted his research.
In Granagh the present graveyard, opened in the 1950s, is
The graveyard in Ballingarry is beside the church and the oldest headstone that we came across was just inside the gate of the graveyard. It is to the memory of Edmond Cronin who died on June 22 1902 at the age of 24.
The church and graveyard in Kilmacow was renovated in 1998 and mass has been said each year in the graveyard since. There is a headstone in Kilmacow graveyard to Patrick Baggott from 1793 that had 'an absurd inscription' as Westropp called it. However the oldest headstone we found in Kilmacow was from 1786.
The headstone was in memory to Carmody (the forename was impossible to decipher) who died on October 27 at the age of 82. The graveyard is still used. Famine victims were also buried here in mass graves.
The graveyard at Sheanboha (or Shanboha) overlooks the present church in Granagh. This large graveyard is in need of cleaning up and there are several tombs in the graveyard. The oldest headstone that we found was dedicated to Owen Carroll, who died on October 7 1790, aged 71.
In Ballingarry Church of Ireland church, the graveyard is mixed between Catholics and Protestants. There are a lot of tombs in the graveyard and many of the headstones we were unable to read due to the passage of time. The oldest headstone that we found that we believe to be Catholic was from 1775. It was to Michael Kane who died on June 12th of that year at the age of 52. There is a vault with the name 'McCarthy' inscribed on it. Two brothers, both Roman Catholic priests, are buried here. One of the brothers Charles was the parish priest in Ballingarry from 1825 until his death on November 27 1837.
According to Westropp there was a burial ground in the townland
Danaher mentions five wells in the parish but we only came across three wells on our visit to the parish. St. Patrick's well in the townland of Ballyelan is the only well in the parish where any devotions still take place.
Legend tells that St. Patrick passed the well on his way to Ardpatrick from Knockpatrick. A stone bearing the print of his hand was supposed to have been at the well. On St. Patrick's Day in 1999, the people marched from the church in Ballingarry to the well.
In the past, mass was said on March 17th but nowadays the
Rosary is said at the well due to the well being situated on a bend in the
road. The water is believed to cure sore eyes. The well has been renovated
and a statue of St. Patrick stands over the well
Just outside Ballingarry there are two wells in the townland of Rylanes on opposite sides of the road. Sunday's well is now used for the public water supply in the village. The well was called Tobar Rí an Domhnaigh in Irish. The well used to be visited on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. The water was said to cure many diseases.
The other well in Rylanes is John's well. This well is a small
spring in a field and a number of trees surround the well. A woman used to
draw water from the well until a couple of years ago. No devotions take place
at the well nowadays.
Danaher also says there was another St. Patrick's well in Coolrus. The well was a strong spring that was surrounded by thorn bushes and rags were left on the bushes. The water was meant to cure sore eyes. St. Patrick blessed the well and the well moved when clothes were washed in the well.
The final well that is mentioned in Danaher's "Holy Wells of Co. Limerick" is in the Granagh side of the parish. The well is called the Blessed well and is in the townland of Graigacurragh. The small well is about 400 yards from Granagh church. No devotions are remembered and the water is said to cure stomach disorders if drunk before breakfast.
There is also a Sunday's well at Lissyfine, which was situated
on side of Liskennett hill, and it was never known to go dry. The water was
said to cure diseases of the eye.
In the Holy Year of 1950 a cross was erected on the hill of Knockfierna. The cross is surrounded at the base by the stones of the ancient cairn, which may have been used in the building of Stuadhraicin.
Near Tobar Rí an Domhnaigh well is a Marian Shrine.
|English Name||Irish Name||Meaning|
|Ballynashig||Baile an Naisigh||The town of An Naiseach|
|Ballingarry||Baile an Gharraí||The town of the garden|
|Ballyelan||Baile Uí Fhaoláin||The town of Ó Faoláin|
|Ballyguileataggle||Baile Gaill an tSeagail||The town of the foreigner of the rye|
|Ballyguilebeg||Baile an Ghaill Bhig||The town of the small foreigner|
|Ballykevan East||Baile Uí Chiabháin||The town of Ó Ciabháin|
|Ballykevan West||as above|
|Ballyknockane||Baile an Chnocáin||The town of the hillock|
|Ballynahaha||Baile na hÁithe||The town of the kiln|
|Ballynaroogabeg East||Baile na Ruaige Beag||The town of the rout|
|Ballynaroogabeg West||as above|
|Ballyneale||Baile Uí Néill||The town of Ó Néill|
|Ballynoe||An Baile Nua||The new town|
|Ballyroe East||Baile an Róigh||The town of An Róch|
|Ballyroe West||as above|
|Ballyvologe||Baile Bhológ||Meaning uncertain|
|Caherhenesy||Cathair Aonghasa||The stone fort of Aonghas|
|Cloonregan||Cluain Riagáin||The meadow of Riagán|
|Cloontemple||Cluain an Teampaill||The meadow of the church|
|Coolrus||Cúlros||Rear high place|
|Doonbeirne||Dún Beirn||The fort of Bearn|
|Downs||An Dún||The fort|
|Frankfort||Baile na Fraince||The town of An Fhranic|
|Glenwilliam||Gleann na Raithe||The glen of the bracken|
|Gorteen||An Goirtín||The small field|
|Graigacurragh||Gráig an Churraigh||The hamlet of the wet land|
|Graigbeg||An Ghráig Bheag||The small hamlet|
|Kilbeg East||An Choill Beag||The small wood|
|Kilbeg West||as above|
|Killoughty||Cill Ochta||The church of (uncertain)|
|Kilmacaneacla North||Cill Mhic an Iarla||The church of the son of the earl|
|Kilmacaneacla South||as above|
|Kilmacow||Cill Mochua||The church of Mochua|
|Kilmihil||Cill Mhichíl||The church of Micheál|
|Kilmore||An Choill Mhór||The big wood|
|Kilmore Demesne||as above|
|Kilshane||Cill Sheáin||The church of Seán|
|Kingsland||Fearann an Rí|
|Knightstreet||Sráid an Ridire||The village of the Knight|
|Lisduane||Lios Dubháin||The enclosure of Dubhán|
|Lisduff||An Lios Dubh||The black enclosure|
|Liskennett East||Lios Coinéad||The enclosure of Coinéad|
|Liskennett West||as above|
|Lissamota||Lios an Mhóta||The enclosure of the mound|
|Lissavarra||Lios an Bharraigh||The enclosure of An Barrach|
|Rylanes||Na Réileáin||The level tracts|
|1632 - ?||James Long|
|1645 -?||Morgan Sheehy|
|1704 - 1739||Darby O’Connor|
|1739 - 1748||Christopher Bermingham|
|1748 -?||James Nash|
|? - 1778||John De Lacy D.D.|
|1778 - 1825||Gilbert O’Grady|
|1825 - 1836||Charles McCarthy|
|1837||Charles McCarthy||Thomas Carroll|
|1838||Michael Fitzgerald||Thomas Carroll|
|1839||Michael Fitzgerald||Thomas Carroll|
|1840||Michael Fitzgerald||Thomas Carroll|
|1841||Michael Fitzgerald||Thomas Carroll|
|1842||Michael Fitzgerald||James Sullivan|
|1843||Michael Fitzgerald||James Hogan|
|1844||Michael Fitzgerald||James Hogan|
|1845||Michael Fitzgerald||James Hogan|
|1846||Michael Fitzgerald||James O’Donnell|
|1847||Michael Fitzgerald||James O’Donnell|
|1848||Michael Fitzgerald||James O’Donnell|
|1849||Michael Fitzgerald||James O’Donnell|
|1850||Michael Fitzgerald||William O’Donnell|
|1851||Daniel Lyddy||William O’Donnell|
|1852||James Enright||James Roche|
|1853||James Enright||James Roche|
|1854||James Enright||James Roche|
|1855||James Enright||James Roche|
|1856||James Enright||James Roche|
|1857||James Enright||James Roche|
|1858||James Enright||James Roche|
|1859||James Enright||James Roche|
|1860||James Enright||James Roche|
|1861||James Enright||Timothy Halpin|
|1862||James Enright||Michael Ryan|
|1863||James Enright||Michael Ryan|
|1864||James Enright||C. McCarthy|
|C. P. Kenny|
|1865||James Enright||C. McCarthy|
|C. P. Kenny|
|1866||James Enright||C. McCarthy|
|C. P. Kenny|
|1867||James Enright||C. McCarthy|
|C. P. Kenny|
|1868||James Enright||C. McCarthy|
|C. P. Kenny|
|1869||James Enright||C. P. Kenny|
|1870||James Enright||C. P. Kenny|
|1871||James Enright||C. P. Kenny|
|1872||James Enright||James Moran|
|1873||James Enright||James Moran|
|1874||James Enright||James Moran|
|1875||Tim Shanahan||Denis Shanahan|
|1876||Tim Shanahan||Denis Shanahan|
|1877||Tim Shanahan||Denis Shanahan|
|1878||Tim Shanahan||Denis Shanahan|
|1879||Tim Shanahan||Denis Shanahan|
|1880||Tim Shanahan||John Ryan|
|1881||Tim Shanahan||John Ryan|
|1882||Tim Shanahan||W. Fitzgerald|
|1883||Tim Shanahan||W. Fitzgerald|
|1884||Tim Shanahan||W. Fitzgerald|
|1885||Tim Shanahan||W. Fitzgerald|
|1886||Tim Shanahan||W. Fitzgerald|
|1887||Tim Shanahan||W. Fitzgerald|
|1888||Tim Shanahan||John Reeves|
|1889||Tim Shanahan||John Reeves|
|1890||Tim Shanahan||John Conway|
|1891||Tim Shanahan||John Conway|
|1892||Tim Shanahan||E. Russell|
|1893||Tim Shanahan||E. Russell|
|1894||Tim Shanahan||Stephen Culhane|
|1895||William Downes||Stephen Culhane|
|1896||William Downes||Mortimer McCoy|
|1897||William Downes||Mortimer McCoy|
|1898||William Downes||Stephen Culhane|
|1899||William Downes||Stephen Culhane|
|1900||William Downes||Stephen Culhane|
|1901||William Downes||Stephen Culhane|
|1902||John Ryan||Stephen Culhane|
|1903||John Ryan||Stephen Culhane|
|1904||John Ryan||Stephen Culhane|
|1905||John Ryan||Stephen Culhane|
|1906||John Ryan||Stephen Culhane|
|1907||John Ryan||Stephen Culhane|
|1908||John Ryan||Stephen Culhane|
|1909||John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1910||John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1911||John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1912||John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1913||John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1914||John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1915||John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1916||John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1917||Canon John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1918||Canon John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1919||Canon John Ryan||Mortimer McCoy|
|1920||Canon John Ryan||Patrick Coleman|
|William P. Harty|
|1921||Canon John Ryan||William P. Harty|
|1922||Canon John Ryan||Patrick Ryan|
|1923||Canon John Ryan||Patrick Ryan|
|W. J. Carroll|
|1924||Canon John Ryan||Patrick Ryan|
|W. J. Carroll|
|1925||Canon John Ryan||W. J. Carroll|
|1926||Canon John Ryan||W. J. Carroll|
|1927||Canon John Ryan||W. J. Carroll|
|1928||Thomas Hogan||W. J. Carroll|
|1929||Thomas Hogan||James Kelly|
|1930||Thomas Hogan||James Kelly|
|1931||Thomas Hogan||James Kelly|
|1932||Thomas Hogan||James Kelly|
|1933||Thomas Hogan||James Kelly|
|1934||Thomas Hogan||James Kelly|
|1935||Thomas Hogan||James Kelly|
|1936||Thomas Hogan||James Kelly|
|1937||Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1938||Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1939||Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1940||Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1941||Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1942||Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1943||Canon Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1944||Canon Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1945||Canon Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1946||Canon Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1947||Canon Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1948||Canon Tomas de Bhall||James Kelly|
|1949||Canon Tomas de Bhall||D. O’Keeffe|
|1950||Canon Tomas de Bhall||D. O’Keeffe|
|1951||Canon Tomas de Bhall||D. O’Keeffe|
|1952||Canon Tomas de Bhall||D. O’Keeffe|
|1953||Canon Tomas de Bhall||D. O’Keeffe|
|1954||Canon Thomas Wall||Patrick Gerard Ryan|
|1955||Canon Thomas Wall||Patrick Gerard Ryan|
|1956||Canon Thomas Wall||Patrick Gerard Ryan|
|1957||Patrick Lyons||Patrick Gerard Ryan|
|1958||Patrick Lyons||Patrick Gerard Ryan|
|1959||Patrick Lyons||Michael Sadlier|
|1960||Patrick Lyons||Michael Sadlier|
|1961||Patrick Lyons||John Sheehy|
|1962||Patrick Lyons||John Sheehy|
|1963||Patrick Lyons||Denis Browne|
|1964||Patrick Lyons||Denis Browne|
|1965||Canon Patrick Lyons||Denis Browne|
|1966||Canon Patrick Lyons||Denis Browne|
|1967||Canon Patrick Lyons||Denis Browne|
|1968||Canon Patrick Lyons||Denis Browne|
|1969||Canon Patrick Lyons||Denis Browne|
|1970||Canon Patrick Lyons||Denis Browne|
|1971||Canon Patrick Lyons||John Fitzgibbon|
|1972||Canon Patrick Lyons||John Fitzgibbon|
|1973||Canon Patrick Lyons||John Fitzgibbon|
|1974||Canon Patrick Lyons||John Fitzgibbon|
|1975||Canon Patrick Lyons||John Fitzgibbon|
|1976||Canon Patrick Lyons||John Fitzgibbon|
|1977||Canon Patrick Lyons||Francis Casey|
|1978||Canon Patrick Lyons||Cornelius Collins|
|1979||Canon Patrick Lyons||Cornelius Collins|
|1980||Canon Patrick Lyons||Cornelius Collins|
|1981||Canon Patrick Lyons||Timothy O’Leary|
|1982||Archdeacon Patrick Lyons||Timothy O’Leary|
|1983||Gerard McNamee||Timothy O’Leary|
|Archdeacon Patrick Lyons|
|1984||Gerard McNamee||Archdeacon Patrick Lyons|
|1985||Gerard McNamee||Archdeacon Patrick Lyons|
|1986||Gerard McNamee||Archdeacon Patrick Lyons|
|1987||Gerard McNamee||Archdeacon Patrick Lyons|
|1988||Gerard McNamee||Archdeacon Patrick Lyons|
|1989||Gerard McNamee||Archdeacon Patrick Lyons|
|1990||Ronald Costello||Archdeacon Patrick Lyons|
|1991||Ronald Costello||Joseph O’Keeffe|
|1992||Ronald Costello||Joseph O’Keeffe|
|1993||Ronald Costello||Joseph O’Keeffe|
|1994||Ronald Costello||Joseph Cussen|
|1995||Ronald Costello||Joseph Cussen|
|1996||Ronald Costello||Joseph Cussen|
|1997||Ronald Costello||John Duggan|
|1998||Ronald Costello||John Duggan|
|1999||Ronald Costello||John Duggan|
|2000||Ronald Costello||David Cahill|
|2001||Ronald Costello||David Cahill|
|2002||Ronald Costello||Gerard O'Leary|
|2003||Ronald Costello||Gerard O'Leary|
|2004||Ronald Costello||Gerard O'Leary|
|2005||Daniel Lane||Gerard O'Leary|
|2006||Daniel Lane||Gerard O'Leary (W/E Asst.)|
|2007||Daniel Lane||Gerard O'Leary (W/E Asst.)|
The list of Priests from 1704 to 1836 is compiled from information gained in Begley's History of the Diocese of Limerick Vol. III page 598. The remaining years are compiled from the Catholic Directories. Information contained in a directory of any given year refers to what happened the previous year. For example if a priest is recorded in the 1954 directory as being in a particular parish, this would mean that he was actually there in 1953.
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