Coolcappa parish is the longest parish in the Diocese of Limerick; it stretches from Cappagh in the east to Athea in the west. The two churches in the parish are situated in Kilcolman (sometimes spelt as "Kilcoleman") and Coolcappa. Kilcolman is situated on the R521 from Ardagh to Shanagolden. In some old manuscripts, it was referred to as Kilcoleman Inferior.
Part of the present day parish used to be called Nantenan. The parish was also called Kilbroderan, which consisted of both Coolcappa and Kilcolman. According to Begley, the parish of Coolcappa was made up of parts of the pre-Reformation parishes of Rathronane, Clounagh, Kilscannell, Kilbradran, Kilcolman and Dunmoylan. The population of the parish is about 1,100.
The name Coolcappa is derived from the Irish Cúil
Cheapach meaning the 'corner of the tillage plots'. Kilcolman is derived
from Cill Cholmáin which means 'the church of Colman'.
The church in Coolcappa is dedicated to St Kyran and was built in 1970. On the foundation stone, the saint's name is spelt as St Kieran although the correct spelling of the parish saint's name is Kyran. Bishop Henry Murphy, along with Fr. William O'Connell P.P laid the foundation stone on the 28th of June 1970. The architects were P. J. Sheahan & Associates and E. Murphy & Sons were the builders.
There are stained glass windows of St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi on the right hand side of the church, while on the left hand side of the church there are windows to the Sacred Heart and St. Peter. There are two stained glass windows at the door of the church including a depiction of St Kyran.
To the left of the altar there is a statue to the Virgin Mary and on the right of the altar there is a statue to the Sacred Heart. The statue in the church grounds is believed to be either St Kyran or St Patrick.
In June 1985, five priests were reburied in the grounds of the new church in Coolcappa. The priests had originally been buried in the old church in Coolcappa.
Buried in the grounds of the church:
Darby McEgan P.P.
Died 12th September 1838
Aged 55 years
Michael McMahon P.P.
Died 10th June 1877
Aged 80 years
Michael Connery P.P.
Died 26th June 1883
Aged 55 years
Died 7th June 1885
Aged 42 years
(Nephew to Fr. McMahon)
M. J. Toomey C.C.
Died 30th May 1926
Aged 37 years
The church in Kilcolman was built under the leadership of Fr Jeremiah Murphy P.P. Bishop O'Dwyer laid the foundation stone on August 10th 1913. According to the inscription on the foundation stone, the builder was John Ryan & Sons and the architect was Brian Sheehy.
Kilcolman church is dedicated to St Colman. St. Colman was from Shanbotha, which is situated at the foot of Mount Leinster.
All of the material for the church was brought by train to Ardagh and then transported to Kilcolman by horse and cart.
As you enter the church, there are two stained glass windows that depict St. Ita and St. Colman. The water font in the church dates from 1746 and the inscription bears Maurice Rahilly's name.
To the right of the main altar in the church, there is an altar and statue to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. There is also a statue to the Little Flower. To the left of the main altar, there is a statue and altar to the Sacred Heart. There is also a statue to St. Theresa. The stained glass window behind the main altar in the church was given by the ladies of parish. The window is divided into three sections that depict (from left to right) the Little Flower, Sacred Heart and Mary.
Buried in the grounds of the church are:
John Casey P.P.
Died January 24 1966
Michael Kelly P.P.
Died September 5 1988, aged 82
Canon John K. Fitzgerald P.P.
November 7 1912, aged 78
William O'Connell P.P.
Died March 26 1971
Fr Darby Egan built the church in Kilcolman in 1827 that stood on the site of the present church. The wooden altar from this church is in the sacristy of the present day church.
There are also church ruins in Kilcolman graveyard across the road from the present day church. This church is first mentioned in records as being from 1253 when the monks and abbots of Athassel Abbey in Tipperary repaired it. The abbey housed an order of Augustinian monks. The church was destroyed in a war of 1641. A plaque was erected in November 1999 to commemorate the priests and monks who served the area during the years from the early 13th century to 1641.
Prior to 1970, the church in Coolcappa was situated near the present day site. The church was built in 1834 under the leadership of Darby Egan. Thomas Bateman of Alta Villa laid the foundation stone on April 8th 1834. Bateman contributed a large sum of money to the building of the church along with the marble altar that was in the former church. When the new church in Coolcappa was built in 1970, the old church was demolished, and no trace of it now remains.
There was also a church at Dunmoylan but all that remains of this church is the south wall. Some stones that were once part of the building lie around the site. Westropp measured the foundations of the church as 42 feet by 18 feet. The church belonged to the monastery of St. Catherine near Shanagolden. Begley states that in the past the grounds were used as a burial ground. The ruins of Dunmoylan castle are across the road from this ruin.
There is a church ruin in Kilbroderan (today it is spelt as Kilbradran) that is at the foot of the hill. What remains of the church in Kilbradran is still in good condition. The church ruin is believed to date from the 17th century. Westropp believed that the church was dedicated to St. Brandon, however, Begley said that the church was dedicated to St. Brendan. The churches in Kilbradran and Kilcolman are believed to have been built around 1250. Both churches were under the control of the Augustinians monks of Athassell Abbey in Tipperary.
As stated earlier, Clonagh was once a parish in its own right and the small church ruin is located near St. Kyran's well. The church ruin is situated in Clonagh graveyard.
There was also a church in Moyreen and in his "History of the Diocese of Limerick" Begley wrote about of a tradition of a chapel in Rathreaghmore. No trace remains today of either of these churches.
Coolcappa cemetery is located beside the church in Coolcappa and was opened around the same time that the present church was built.
The graveyard in Kilbradran is situated at the roadside and the church ruin is also on the site. The oldest headstone that we found in the graveyard at Kilbradran was in memory of Thomas Madigan who died on the 15th of September 1788, at the age of 24. We also came across a headstone that was dedicated to Fr Patrick Murray who was parish priest in Ardagh and died on October 11th 1811. The graveyard is well maintained and mass is said here on the first Sunday in July.
Part of the grounds of the old Kilcolman church is now used as a graveyard and some of the headstones date back to before the nineteenth century. The oldest headstone that we came across was from February 1st 1767 in memory of Jeremiah Shea. Mass is held in the graveyard each November for the souls of the dead. The graveyard in Kilcolman was recently extended with the addition of a new section.
There is also a graveyard in Clonagh. This graveyard is situated in the grounds of the church ruin in Clonagh. The graveyard was cleaned up last summer. The oldest headstone that we came across was in memory of Daniel Culhane who died on May 20th 1785 aged 70.
Westropp also mentions a burial ground or a Kyle in Gortadroma.
However, no trace remains of this graveyard.
There is a Holy Well in Clonagh that is about halfway between the road and Clonagh graveyard. St. Kyran's well is a small spring that is enclosed by some rough stone. There was a statue over the well but this has been taken down. The pattern was held on September 9th and is to be revived this year. In his work "Holy Wells in Co. Limerick" Danaher stated that the rounds were still made in 1955. Small offerings were also left at the well but we found no evidence of any offerings when we visited the well. The water is believed to cure eye ailments.
O'Donovan (from 1840) tells us that the poorer members of the district used to do the stations here. Legends about the well are many and varied. The well moved when clothes were washed in it. A woman who was praying at the well was interrupted by a man who later died. There is reputedly an underground passage that leads from the well to the graveyard.
In Kilcolman there is a well called Tobercolman or Tubberchullemaun. A slab at the well states "St. Coleman's Well, enclosed 15th August 1868". The well is on the lands of John Lane. The McCoy family put a roof over the well in 1868 when their daughter was cured after been seriously ill. There is also a wall around the well. Rounds are seldom made and consisted of rounds of the well and Kilcolman graveyard, which is about 400 yards south of the well. A pattern used to be held on the 29th of October to mark the end of the harvest season. The water can cure many diseases. Also a woman who was taking water for profane use saw a human hand in the well.
It is said that the well moved when it was cursed. According to folklore, the well has moved three times. The first time the well was in the cemetery besides the old church in Kilcolman. There was a bad winter and it had snowed heavily. Someone died and was buried by mistake near the well. Things started to appear and it moved. The second occasion the well was in a field in Ardagh. Two old ladies used to get water from the well and an argument broke out over the well. One of the women washed clothes in the well and it moved to its present location. No devotions have taken place at the well for about 30 years.
Danaher also mentions a number of other wells that are within the parish boundaries. There was a well at Ballylan called Tobersive but the well has disappeared and no tradition survives.
Another well in the parish is called Toberreendoney or "the well of the king of the Sabbath". This well is in the townland of Gortadroma but there was no pattern or feastday at the well. The well is believed to be near Dunmoylan church.
In the townland of Lissatotan, which was part of the old parish of Kilbradran, there is a well called St. Colman's well. Local people also refer to the well as St Coley's well. The water has a slightly unpleasant taste and stains the stones yellow. The water should be drunk early in the morning and it is claims that it can cure stomach disorders. No devotions take place here now.
St Colman's Stone
There is a stone in the graveyard at Kilcolman that it is claimed can cure headaches.
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Bishop Hallinan was a native of the parish from the townland
of Graigue. He trained for the priesthood at the Irish College in Rome and
was ordained in 1874. His first appointment was as a curate in Newcastlewest
until 1886 when he was transferred to St. Michael's in the city. On the death
of Daniel Fitzgerald of St. Mary's in 1896, he went there. In 1898 Denis Hallinan
returned to Newcastlewest as parish priest until his appointment as bishop
|English Name||Irish Name||Meaning|
|Ardlaman||Ard Lomáin||The high place of Loman|
|Ballinena||Baile an Aonaigh||The town of the assembly|
|Ballinvulla||Baile an Mhuilinn||The town of the mill|
|Ballyane||Baile Uí Éidhin||The town of Ó hÉidhin|
|Ballydoorlis||Béal Átha Durlais||Fordmouth of the oaken enclosure|
|Ballyegny||Baile Éignigh||The town of Éigneach|
|Ballyegna More||as above|
|Ballykenry||Baile an Chaonraígh||The town of An Caonraíoch|
|Ballykealy||Baile Uí Chadhla||The town of Ó Cadhla|
|Ballylin||Baile Uí Fhloinn||The town of Ó Floinn|
|Ballyloughnaan||Baile Uí Locháin||The town of Ó Lachnáin|
|Ballymackesy||Baile Uí Mhacasa||The town of Ó Macasa|
|Ballyneety||Baile an Fhaoitigh||The town of An Faoiteach|
|Ballyvoghan||Baile Uí Bhuacháin||The town of Ó Baucháin|
|Bauraneag||Barr an Fhiaigh||The high ground of the hunting|
|Carrons||Na Cairne||The heaps|
|Clonagh||Cluain Each||Meadow of the steeds|
|Coolcappa||Cúil Cheapach||Corner of the tillage plots|
|Cooltomin||Cúil Toimín||The corner of Toimín|
|Coolybrown||Cúil an Bhrúnaigh||The corner of An Brúnach|
|Corbally||An Corrbhaile||The noticeable town|
|Creeves||An Chraobh||The tree|
|Dooncaha||Dún Catha||Fort of the battle|
|Dunmoylan||Dún Maolín||The fort of Maoilín|
|Glendiheen||Gleann Daibhchín||Glen of the small vat|
|Gortnadromin||Gort na Dromann||The field of the ridge|
|Gortroe||An Gort Rua||The red field|
|Grouselodge||Lóiste na gCearc Fraoigh||Meaning uncertain|
|Kerrikyle||Ceithre Choill||Four woods|
|Kilcolman||Cill Cholmáin||The church of Colmán|
|Kilquane||Cill Chuáin||The church of Cuán|
|Kilscannell||Cill Scannail||The church of Scannal|
|Knockbweeheen||Cnoc Baoithín||The hill of Baoithín|
|Lisbane||An Lios Bán||The white enclosure|
|Lisgordan||Lios Cordáin||The enclosure of Cordán|
|Lissatotan||Lios an Tóiteáin||The enclosure of the conflagration|
|Moneymohill||Muine Maothail||Thicket of the soft ground|
|Moyreen||Maigh Roighean||The plain of Roighin|
|Park||An Pháirc||The field|
|Rathgoonan||Ráth Ó gCuanáin||The rath of Uí Chuanáin|
|Rathnagore||Ráth na gCorr||The rath of the herons|
|Rathreagh Beg||An Ráth Riabhach Bheag||The small streaked rath|
|Riddlestown||Baile an Ridéalaigh||The town of An Ridéalach|
|1704 -?||Murtough Rahelly|
|? -1737||Maurice Rahilly|
|? - 1763||Ed. Guiry|
|1763 - 1786||William Neilan|
|1786 - 1816||Richard Hartnett|
|1816 - 1817||James Corbett|
|1817 - 1835||Darby Egan|
|1835 – 1837||Michael O’Halloran|
|1837||Michael O’Halloran||Michael McMahon|
|1838||Michael O'Halloran||Michael McMahon|
|1839||Michael O'Halloran||J. Cregan|
|1840||Michael O’Halloran||J. Cregan|
|1841||Michael O’Halloran||James O’Donnell|
|1842||Michael McMahon||James O’Donnell|
|1843||Michael McMahon||James O’Donnell|
|1844||Michael McMahon||James O’Donnell|
|1845||Michael McMahon||James O’Donnell|
|1846||Michael McMahon||Richard Liston|
|1847||Michael McMahon||Denis Madigan|
|1848||Michael McMahon||Denis Madigan|
|1849||Michael McMahon||Denis Madigan|
|1850||Michael McMahon||Denis Madigan|
|1851||Michael McMahon||James Hogan|
|1852||Michael McMahon||James Hogan|
|1853||Michael McMahon||James Hogan|
|1854||Michael McMahon||David Quaid|
|1855||Michael McMahon||William O’Donnell|
|1856||Michael McMahon||Philip Cleary|
|1857||Michael McMahon||Philip Cleary|
|1858||Michael McMahon||Philip Cleary|
|1859||Michael McMahon||Philip Cleary|
|1860||Michael McMahon||James Corbett|
|1861||Michael McMahon||James Corbett|
|1862||Michael McMahon||John Walsh|
|1863||Michael McMahon||John Walsh|
|1864||Michael McMahon||J. L. Roche|
|1865||Michael McMahon||J. L. Roche|
|1866||Michael McMahon||Michael Irwin|
|1867||Michael McMahon||Michael Irwin|
|1868||Michael McMahon||Michael Irwin|
|1869||Michael McMahon||Michael Irwin|
|1870||Michael McMahon||Michael Irwin|
|1871||Michael McMahon||Martin Slattery|
|1872||Michael McMahon||Martin Slattery|
|1873||Michael McMahon||Martin Slattery|
|1874||Michael McMahon||John Fitzgerald|
|1875||Michael McMahon||John Fitzgerald|
|1876||Michael McMahon||Michael Potter|
|J. Greene D.D.|
|1877||Michael McMahon||Michael Potter|
|J. Greene D.D.|
|1878||Michael Connery||J. Greene D.D.|
|1879||Michael Connery||J. Greene D.D.|
|1880||Michael Connery||J. Greene D.D.|
|1881||Michael Connery||J. Greene D.D.|
|1882||Michael Connery||J. Greene D.D.|
|1883||David Quinn||Solomon Frost|
|1884||David Quinn||Solomon Frost|
|1885||David Quinn||Solomon Frost|
|1886||David Quinn||Solomon Frost|
|1887||David Quinn||Solomon Frost|
|1888||William Downes||Solomon Frost|
|1889||James Glesson||Solomon Frost|
|1890||James Glesson||Ger O’Connor|
|1891||James Glesson||John Begley|
|1892||James Glesson||John Begley|
|1893||James Glesson||John Begley|
|1894||James Glesson||James Carroll|
|1895||James Glesson||Jeremiah O’Gorman|
|1896||James Glesson||Jeremiah O’Gorman|
|1897||James Glesson||Jeremiah O’Gorman|
|1898||James Glesson||Jeremiah O’Gorman|
|1899||James Glesson||Jeremiah O’Gorman|
|1900||James Glesson||Jeremiah O’Gorman|
|1901||James Glesson||Patrick Kenrick|
|1902||James Glesson||Daniel Brosnahan|
|1903||James Glesson||Daniel Brosnahan|
|1904||James Glesson||Daniel Brosnahan|
|1905||James Glesson||Daniel Brosnahan|
|1906||James Glesson||Daniel Brosnahan|
|1907||James Glesson||Daniel Brosnahan|
|1908||James Glesson||Ed. Fitzgerald|
|1909||James Glesson||Ed. Fitzgerald|
|1910||James Glesson||Ed. Fitzgerald|
|1911||James Glesson||Ed. Fitzgerald|
|1912||James Glesson||John Carr|
|1913||Jeremiah Murphy||John Carr|
|1914||Jeremiah Murphy||John Carr|
|1915||Jeremiah Murphy||John Carr|
|1916||Jeremiah Murphy||Michael O’Brien|
|1917||Jeremiah Murphy||Michael O’Brien|
|1918||Jeremiah Murphy||Michael O’Brien|
|1919||Jeremiah Murphy||Michael O’Brien|
|1920||Jeremiah Murphy||Michael O’Brien|
|1921||Jeremiah Murphy||Michael O’Brien|
|1922||Jeremiah Murphy||Michael O’Brien|
|1923||Jeremiah Murphy||Michael O’Brien|
|1924||Jeremiah Murphy||Michael O’Brien|
|1925||J. K. Fitzgerald||Michael O’Brien|
|1926||J. K. Fitzgerald||Michael O’Brien|
|1927||J. K. Fitzgerald||Michael O’Brien|
|1928||J. K. Fitzgerald||Michael O’Brien|
|1929||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1930||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1931||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1932||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1933||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1934||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1935||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1936||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1937||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1938||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1939||J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1940||Canon J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1941||Canon J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1942||Canon J. K. Fitzgerald||Patrick Finn|
|1944||David Fitzgerald||Thomas Cussen|
|1945||David Fitzgerald||William O’Connell|
|1946||David Fitzgerald||William O’Connell|
|1947||David Fitzgerald||William O’Connell|
|1948||David Fitzgerald||William O’Connell|
|1949||David Fitzgerald||William O’Connell|
|1950||David Fitzgerald||William O’Connell|
|1951||David Fitzgerald||William O’Connell|
|1952||David Fitzgerald||William O’Connell|
|1953||David Fitzgerald||William O’Connell|
|1954||Patrick Lynch||William O’Connell|
|1955||Patrick Lynch||William O’Connell|
|1956||Patrick Lynch||William O’Connell|
|1957||Patrick Lynch||William O’Connell|
|1958||Patrick Lynch||William O’Connell|
|1959||Patrick Lynch||William O’Connell|
|1960||James Kelly||John Burke|
|1961||James Kelly||John Burke|
|1962||James Kelly||John Burke|
|1963||James Kelly||Patrick J. Guiry|
|1964||James Kelly||Patrick J. Guiry|
|1965||John Casey D.D.||Samuel Winters|
|1967||William O’Connell||Samuel Winters|
|1968||William O’Connell||Philip Quinlan|
|1969||William O’Connell||Philip Quinlan|
|1970||William O’Connell||Patrick Howard|
|1971||William O’Connell||Patrick Howard|
|1972||Michael O’Ceallaigh||Patrick Howard|
|1973||Michael O’Ceallaigh||Patrick Howard|
|1974||Michael O’Ceallaigh||Patrick Howard|
|1975||Michael O’Ceallaigh||Patrick Howard|
|1976||Michael O'Ceallaigh||Patrick Howard|
|1977||Michael O’Ceallaigh||Patrick Howard|
|1978||Michael O’Ceallaigh||Patrick Howard|
|1979||Michael O’Ceallaigh||Patrick Howard|
|1980||Michael O’Ceallaigh||Michael Lane|
|1981||Joseph Shinnors||Michael Lane|
|1982||Joseph Shinnors||Michael Lane|
|1983||Joseph Shinnors||Michael Lane|
|1984||Joseph Shinnors||Michael Lane|
|1985||Joseph Shinnors||Michael Lane|
|1986||Joseph Shinnors||Michael Lane|
|1987||Joseph Shinnors||Terence Loughran|
|1988||Joseph Shinnors||Terence Loughran|
|1989||Joseph Shinnors||Terence Loughran|
|1990||Martin Madigan||Sean Murphy|
|1991||Martin Madigan||Sean Murphy|
|1992||Martin Madigan||Sean Murphy|
|1993||Martin Madigan||Sean Murphy|
|1994||Martin Madigan||Sean Murphy|
|1995||Martin Madigan||Sean Murphy|
|1996||Martin Madigan||Sean Murphy|
|1997||Martin Madigan||Anthony Kelleher|
|2000||John Duggan||Michael Daly|
|2001||John Duggan||Michael Daly|
|2002||John Duggan||Michael Daly|
|2003||William Doolan||Michael Daly|
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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