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Dromin-Athlacca Parish

History | Churches | Graveyards | Holy Wells | Famous People | Townlands | Priests of the Parish

Brief Parish History & Geographical Location

The parishes of Dromin and Athlacca were formerly separate, but according to Begley's History of the Diocese of Limerick, they had been joined to form the present day parish by 1704 when William Ronan registered as Parish Priest. The parish is in the barony of Coshma. Dromin can be translated as Dromainn meaning 'a high ridge of land' while Athlacca is translated as Áth Leacach, which means 'the flaggy ford' or 'the flagged ford'. Some of the richest land in Ireland can be found in the parish. The present population of the parish is over 1,000 people.

Athlacca used to be the residence of the De Lacy family, the landlords of the surrounding district. A battle was fought in Athlacca in 1691 between the Irish supporters of James II and the troops of William III, with victory going to the forces of William III.

In 1824 Archdeacon Wray Maunsell made an interesting discovery in the bog of Rathcannon when the complete skeleton of an Irish elk was found. The skeleton can now be seen in the National Museum of Ireland.

In the past, part of the present day parish of Bruff called Uregare was in the parish of Dromin/Athlacca. Uregare was a separate parish in itself in the past until Fr John Dyneene became parish priest around 1720. The parish is situated between the towns of Bruff to the north and Kilmallock to the south.

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The church in Dromin was built in 1828 under the leadership of Fr James O'Regan on the site of a thatched church that was the place of worship prior to that date. The church was renovated at the turn of the century and again in 1992. Outside the church in Dromin there is a statue, which was erected in 1951, to Fr Stephen O'Dea to commemorate his being a priest for 50 years.

Inside the church, there is a stained glass window given by Fr John Irwin who was parish priest in 1982 when the church was renovated. Mary Barry from Raymondstown also gave the stained glass window of the Good Shepherd inside the door of the church.

The church has a wooden ceiling and the local parishioners donated the Stations of the Cross. To the right of the altar there is a statue to St. Joseph and to the left of the altar there is a statue to Mary. The people of Dromin erected a plaque to the memory of Fr Patrick Ryan. Fr Ryan was parish priest from 1849 until his death in 1866.

Buried within the church is:

Patrick Ryan P.P.
Died June 24 1866, aged 60

Buried in the grounds of the church are:

Stephen O'Dea
P.P. 1936-1963
Died November 24 1968, aged 94

Msg. John J. Hennessy
Diocese of Dubuque, U.S.A.
Died December 2 1974
(A native of Cottage, Kilmallock)

Dean Michael Canty
Died January 4 1936, aged 96

The church in Athlacca is dedicated to St. John the Baptist and it was built in 1840 during the tenure of Fr Michael Tuohy as parish priest. It was built to replace the thatched church that was damaged on the Night of the Big Wind on January 6th, 1839. The Bourke family donated the site.

The front porch in the church is a recent addition to the building and in the porch, there is a holy water font that has the date 1720 inscribed on it. Two stained glass windows on the left of the church are in memory to Robert Clery. These windows show the images of St. Ita, St. Munchin, St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist. There is a stained glass window on the right of the church that depicts the Sacred Heart and the Virgin Mary. This window is to the memory of Patrick Power. There is also a stained glass window to St. Patrick and St. Brigid.

To the left of the main altar is a small altar to the Queen of Peace. The Baptismal font is to the memory of Pakie and Kathleen Lynch. The priest's chair was given by Pat Lane and family while John O'Keeffe and family donated the pulpit.

Buried within the church is:
David Quaid
P.P. 1866-1890
Died November 29 1890, aged 74

Buried in the grounds of the church are:

Joseph Leonard
P.P. 1963-1973
Died January 7 1973

Daniel O'Keefe
P.P. 1973-1979
Died September 6 1979

Joseph O'Beirne
P.P. 1979-1987
Died July 20 1987, aged 68

Begley also states in Volume III of his "History of the Diocese of Limerick" that Fr Tuohy was buried in the church when he died in 1847.

There is a church ruin in Athlacca North called Kilbroney on the land of the Irwin family. Lewis says that this church has some very interesting tombs to the De Lacy family. Spellissy/O'Brien gives details of what was left of the ruin. It is said that the ruin dates from the 15th century. All that remains of the church is one wall. Trees surround the ruin but the ground around the church is at a higher level than the rest of the field. Spellissy/O'Brien dates the present ruin from the 15th century.

Westropp mentions a church in Athlacca North called St Laurence's Church. However, Westropp also lists a church called Kilbruainy, located near St Broney's well in Athlacca.

There is a church ruin in the graveyard in Dromin. It is believed that the church was built in the 16th century and was used for Protestant worship after the Reformation. As you enter the site of the ruin, the first feature of the ruin that you see is what looks to be the remains of a bell tower. However, it was actually the living quarters of the priests of the parish.

Over the doorway there is a plaque to the Gubbins family, who owned Maidstown Castle. Inside the church, there is what appeared at first to be the entrance to a tunnel. Legend has it that there was a tunnel that went from here to Maidstown castle. However, according to "Limerick - The Rich Land", this opening is a crypt which is believed to be the burial place of John Ormsby who was a member of the local gentry.

There was an old church in Athlacca but after the Reformation, it was converted to Protestant worship. The site of this church was in the graveyard in Athlacca. The original building was still in use until 1813 when it was knocked to build a new Church of Ireland parish church at the same site.

There was a mass house in Athlacca at Athlacca Cross.

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The present day graveyard in Dromin contains the church ruin described above. The graveyard is kept in good condition and there are two tombs in the graveyard. One of the tombs is in memory of John McGuiness, who died on September 2nd 1870. The oldest headstone that we came across was from 1747 and it was to the memory of John Donworth, who died on March 9th, 1747.

The oldest headstone that we found in the graveyard at Athlacca church was from 1896 and is the headstone of Patrick Power who died on October 18th of that year at the age of 57. Due to a lack of space, some of the ground in the old Church of Ireland is now being used as a graveyard. This new section of the graveyard is separate to the old section of the graveyard.

There are a large number of old headstones in this graveyard, which was used as a burial place for both Catholics and Protestants. The oldest headstone that we came across was to Pakie Casey who died on May 15, 1750. Near the bell tower in the graveyard, there are a number of tombs and there is also a large headstone on the ground. This headstone is only partially intact but contains the names David, John and Thomas Lacy and the date 1623. The Lacys may have actually been the De Lacys who lived in the area as landlords.

There is also a graveyard in Boherard. This graveyard was used during the famine and, as a result, there are a large number of marker stones in the graveyard. The graveyard is in the process of being tidied up. The oldest headstone that we found was from 1813 and was to the memory of Nancy Moloney who died on December 19th of that year.

Westropp lists Kilbreedy as a burial ground in Athlacca. However, the location of this burial ground is no longer known.

Packie Lynch also told us that there was also a graveyard at the site of Kilbroney church in Athlacca North. A large number of marker stones were formerly on the site but all these stones were levelled and taken away.

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Holy Wells

Holy Trinity well is in the townland of Wellfield in Dromin. This well was restored in 1976 to its present state and a pattern has been established again at the well since it was revived by Athlacca Glór na nGael. In 1988 the Mockler family erected a statue to Our Lady at the well. There are no known rounds to the well and mass is celebrated at the well on the feastday of the Holy Trinity. Prior to this restoration, the well was used by cattle as a watering hole.

St Broney's well was near the church ruin in Kilbroney on land belonging to the Irwin family. The well was to the north of the church but it is now covered in. People used to visit the well to make rounds on February 7-11. The pattern day was on the 15th of August. St Broney's feastday was on April 2nd.

In the townland of Athlacca South there was a well called St John the Baptist's well. This well is said to have moved to the roadside when desecrated.

In the townland of Ballincurra there is a Holy Well called St Patrick's well and in recent years, devotions have taken place at the well on March 17th. According to legend there is a stone beside the well that bears the imprints of St Patrick's knees and elbows. There is also a large stone nearby that is said to have been used as a Mass Rock during Penal times.

In the old parish of Uregare, there was a well in the townland of Bulgadenhall called St Patrick's well. Today Bulgadenhall is in the parish of Dromin/Athlacca. The well is now rarely visited. The well was visited for the cure of coughs and colds. St Patrick is believed to have blessed the well.

Danaher also mentions a well called St Lawrence's that was in the Athlacca side of the parish but Danaher doubts if this was a Holy Well.

One of the legends about the well is that a Protestant lady threw some silver coins into the well as an offering. A Catholic drained the well to get the money and then spent the money on drink. As he left the public house, the man was struck dead.

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Famous People

For a parish the size of Dromin/Athlacca, it can claim to have given two government ministers in different administrations. From 1973-1977, Tom O'Donnell, Fine Gael was Minister for the Gaeltacht and from 1987-1989 Michael J. Noonan, Fianna Fáil was Minister for Defence.

James Cregan from Coolboy won the European Marathon Championship in Budapest, Hungry in 1966. Over his career, James won many Irish Championships but in 1960 he left Ireland to go to work in England. James changed his name to Jim Hogan because he believed that he could not compete legally in England as he had run under N.A.C.A. rules in Ireland.


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English Name Irish Name Meaning
Athlacca North An tÁth Leacach The flagged ford
Athlacca South as above  
Ballinstona North Baile an Stónaigh The town of An Stónach
Ballinstona South as above  
Ballinculloo Baile an Cholbha Meaning uncertain
Ballincurra Baile an Cora The town of the weir
Ballingayrour Baile an Ghéill Ramhair The town of the fat hostage
Ballinlee South Baile an Lia The town of the physician
Ballinlee North as above  
Ballyania Baile Áine The town of Áine
Ballybeg An Baile Beag The small town
Ballynamona Baile na Móna The town of the bogland
Ballynamuddagh Baile na mBodach The town of the low-bred persons
Ballyvulhane Baile Uí Mhotláin The town of Ó Mothláin
Baunnageeragh Bán na gCaorach The lea-ground of the sheep
Bulgadenhall Builgidín an Bhoscaigh An Boscach?
Clogher East An Chloch The stone structure
Clogher West as above  
Cloonbrien Cluain Bhriain The meadow of Brian
Cloonygarra Cluain Uí Ghearraidh The meadow of the cutting
Coolboy An Chúil Bhuí The yellow corner
Cottage Garraí an Scoilbín The garden of the small scollop
Crean An Crián The clayey place
Drombeg An Drom Beag The small ridge
Dromin North An Dromainn The ridge
Dromin South as above  
Glenma Gleann Máighe Valley of the Máigh
Goatisland Oileán na Ghabhair The island of the goat
Inchinclare Inse an Chláraigh The wet meadow of An Clárach
Knockuregare Cnoc na hÚrach Giorra The hill of An Úir Ghearr
Maidstown Baile Bheanóg Meaning uncertain
Rathcannon Ráth Chanann The rath of Cana
Raymondstown Baile Réamainn The town of Réamann
Scoul Scamhall Meaning uncertain
Tankardstown Baile Thancaird The town of Tancard
Tullerboy Tulach Orbhaí Meaning uncertain
Wellfield Baile na Cluana The town of the meadow


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List of Priests

Year Parish Priest Curate(s)
1704 – c.1720 William Ronan  
1720 - 1730 John Dyneene  
1730 Callaghan O’Callaghan  
1730 - ? Thomas Fitzgerald  
? - 1760 William Marshall  
1761 – 1762 Thomas O’Driscoll  
1762 - ? Geoffrey Keating  
1768 - 1771 William O’Brien  
1771 - 1778 Patrick Roche  
1778 - 1782 John O’Mahony  
1782 - 1817 John Fox  
1817 - 1825 Charles McCarthy  
1825 - 1836 James O’Regan  
1836 – 1839 Michael Tuohy  
1839 Michael Tuohy Denis Madigan
1840 Michael Tuohy Luke Hanrahan
1841 Michael Tuohy Luke Hanrahan
1842 Michael Tuohy Luke Hanrahan
1843 Michael Tuohy Luke Hanrahan
1844 Michael Tuohy Luke Hanrahan
1845 Michael Tuohy Luke Hanrahan
1846 Michael Tuohy Luke Hanrahan
1847 Michael Tuohy Luke Hanrahan
1848 Michael Tuohy John Clifford
1849 James Quinn John Clifford
1850 Patrick Ryan James Moore
1851 Patrick Ryan James Moore
1852 Patrick Ryan James Moore
1853 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1854 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1855 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1856 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1857 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1858 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1859 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1860 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1861 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1862 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1863 Patrick Ryan Edmond Costello
1864 Patrick Ryan Michael Ryan
1865 Patrick Ryan Michael Ryan
1866 Patrick Ryan John Kelly
1867 David Quaid John Glesson
1868 David Quaid James Glesson
1869 David Quaid John Glesson
1870 David Quaid John Glesson
1871 David Quaid John Glesson
1872 David Quaid John Glesson
1873 David Quaid John Glesson
1874 David Quaid John Glesson
1875 David Quaid John Glesson
1876 David Quaid John Glesson
1877 David Quaid John Glesson
1878 David Quaid John Glesson
1879 David Quaid John Glesson
1880 David Quaid John Glesson
1881 David Quaid George Quaid
1882 David Quaid Timothy Kelly
1883 David Quaid Timothy Kelly
1884 David Quaid Timothy Kelly
1885 David Quaid Timothy Kelly
1886 David Quaid John Conway
    John O’Donnell
1887 David Quaid John Conway
    John O’Donnell
1888 David Quaid M. McCoy
    William Mulcahy
1889 David Quaid William Mulcahy
    E. Russell
1890 David Quaid Michael Canty
    Solomon Frost
1891 David Quaid Michael Canty
    Solomon Frost
1892 David Quaid Solomon Frost
1893 Michael Canty Solomon Frost
1894 Michael Canty Solomon Frost
1895 Michael Canty Solomon Frost
1896 Michael Canty Solomon Frost
1897 Michael Canty Solomon Frost
1898 Michael Canty Solomon Frost
1899 Michael Canty Solomon Frost
1900 Michael Canty Solomon Frost
1901 Michael Canty Solomon Frost
1902 Michael Canty Solomon Frost
1903 Michael Canty William O’Shea
1904 Michael Canty William O’Shea
1905 Michael Canty John Breen
1906 Michael Canty John Breen
1907 Michael Canty John Breen
1908 Michael Canty John Breen
1909 Michael Canty John Breen
1910 Michael Canty John Breen
1911 Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1912 Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1913 Canon Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1914 Canon Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1915 Canon Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1916 Canon Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1917 Canon Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1918 Canon Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1919 Canon Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1920 Canon Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1921 Canon Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1922 Canon Michael Canty David O’Carroll
1923 Canon Michael Canty  
1924 Canon Michael Canty James Carroll
1925 Canon Michael Canty James Carroll
1926 Canon Michael Canty Joseph Carroll
1927 Canon Michael Canty Joseph Carroll
1928 Dean Michael Canty Joseph Carroll
1929 Dean Michael Canty Michael Leahy
1930 Dean Michael Canty Michael Leahy
1931 Dean Michael Canty Michael Leahy
1932 Dean Michael Canty Michael Leahy
1933 Dean Michael Canty Michael Leahy
1934 Dean Michael Canty Michael Leahy
1935 Dean Michael Canty Michael Leahy
1936 Dean Michael Canty Michael Leahy
1937 Stephen O’Dea Joseph Leonard
1938 Stephen O’Dea Joseph Leonard
1939 Stephen O’Dea Joseph Leonard
1940 Stephen O’Dea William O’Connell
1941 Stephen O’Dea William O’Connell
1942 Stephen O’Dea William O’Connell
1943 Stephen O’Dea William O’Connell
1944 Stephen O’Dea William Sheridan
1945 Stephen O’Dea Michael Kennedy
1946 Stephen O’Dea Michael Kennedy
1947 Stephen O’Dea Michael Kennedy
1948 Stephen O’Dea Michael Kennedy
1949 Stephen O’Dea John Sheehy
1950 Stephen O’Dea John Sheehy
1951 Stephen O’Dea John Sheehy
1952 Stephen O’Dea John Sheehy
1953 Stephen O’Dea John Sheehy
1954 Stephen O’Dea John Sheehy
1955 Stephen O’Dea John Sheehy
1956 Stephen O’Dea John Sheehy
1957 Stephen O’Dea John Sheehy
1958 Stephen O’Dea John Sheehy
1959 Stephen O’Dea James Neville
1960 Stephen O’Dea James Neville
1961 Stephen O’Dea James Neville
1962 Stephen O’Dea James Neville
1963 Stephen O’Dea James Neville
1964 Joseph Leonard Anthony Elliott
1965 Joseph Leonard Anthony Elliott
1966 Joseph Leonard Anthony Elliott
1967 Joseph Leonard Anthony Elliott
1968 Joseph Leonard William O’Gorman
1969 Joseph Leonard William O’Gorman
1970 Joseph Leonard William O’Gorman
1971 Joseph Leonard William O’Gorman
1972 Joseph Leonard William O’Gorman
1973 Daniel O’Keeffe William O’Gorman
1974 Daniel O’Keeffe John Fitzgerald
1975 Daniel O’Keeffe John Fitzgerald
1976 Daniel O'Keeffe John Fitzgerald
1977 Daniel O’Keeffe John Duggan
1978 Daniel O’Keeffe John Duggan
1979 Daniel O’Keeffe John Duggan
1980 Joseph O’Beirne John Duggan
1981 Joseph O’Beirne John Duggan
1982 Joseph O’Beirne John Duggan
1983 Joseph O’Beirne John Duggan
1984 Joseph O’Beirne John Duggan
1985 Joseph O’Beirne John Duggan
1986 Joseph O’Beirne John Duggan
1987 Joseph O’Beirne John Duggan
1988 John Irwin John Duggan
1989 John Irwin John Duggan
1990 John Irwin Maurice Kerin
1991 John Irwin Maurice Kerin
1992 John Irwin Maurice Kerin
1993 John Irwin Maurice Kerin
1994 John Irwin Maurice Kerin
1995 John Irwin Maurice Kerin
1996 John Irwin Maurice Kerin
1997 John Irwin Maurice Kerin
1998 Patrick Howard John Donworth
1999 Patrick Howard John Donworth
2000 Patrick Howard John Donworth
2001 Patrick Howard John Donworth
2002 Patrick Howard John Donworth
2003 Patrick Howard  
2004 Patrick Howard  
2005 Tony Mullins Patrick Howard
2006 Tony Mullins Patrick Howard
2007 Tony Mullins Patrick Howard



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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