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Effin Parish

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

Brief Parish History & Geographical Location

Effin is a parish, partly in the barony of Costlea, but chiefly in that of Coshma, in the county of Limerick. It is located 1¾ miles from Kilmallock, on the R515, the road to Charleville.

According to Lewis, in the RC divisions, it was united with Kilbreedy minor, and Kilquane in 1837.

Effin probably derived its name from Cill or Teampaill Effin, meaning the Temple or Church of St Effin.

The current population of the parish is approximately 1,000.

A native of the parish, Bishop Riordan, is currently in Sierra Leone in the diocese of Kenema. His brother is working with the missions in Ecuador. In the past the local seats in the area belonged to J. Balie, and R. Low Holmes. Balie lived in Newpark, and Holmes in Maidenhall.

There is a beautiful silver chalice still in use in Effin which bears the following inscription: Aegidius Hiffernane et Eleanora Gibbon et Cornelius Hiffernane Aegidii filius me fieri fecurunt 1633.

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Fr David Nagle built the present church of Effin in 1835-6. On his death in 1847, he was buried in the church. The church was renovated thirty years ago.

There is an impressive statue of the crucifixion on the right-hand side, at the entrance to the church. Michael Rea donated this statue.

On the opposite side, there is a shrine to Our Lady.

A plaque within the church states that Denis McNamara donated the altar.

Buried in the grounds of the church are:

Canon Michael J. Quinlan
Died Sept. 28th 1966
Age 68

Canon Patrick J. Bluett
Died March 21st 1991

Patrick C. Riordan (native of the parish)
P.P. Mexborough, Yorkshire

Patrick S. Carroll
C.C. in Dublin
Died 23rd September 1943
Age 28

Canon Robert Fitzgerald
P.P. for 13 years
Died 26th March 1930
Age 67

James O'Carroll
Adm., St John
Died 25th December 1932
Age 5

William J. Higgins
P.P. for 25 years
Died February 2nd 1917
Aged 88

Edmond Clifford
P.P. Monagea
Died 21st June 1924

James Moloney
P.P. 1948-57
Died 25th October 1957
Aged 74

Garrienderk church was built in the 19th century. The church is dedicated to St Patrick.

A headstone in the grounds of the church is in memory of Thomas O'Carroll who died 2nd January 1903, aged 57. It was erected by his niece Bridget O'Carroll.

A plaque in the porch of the church is in memory of Michael McCarthy. The Stations of the Cross were donated by the O'Farrell family in memory of their parents John and Mary O'Farrell.

A plaque on the right of the altar states that it was donated by James and Nora McCarthy, Garrienderk. On the left-hand side, there is a plaque to the O'Riordan and Finn Families. There is also a plaque to Margaret Kelly, who donated the altar crucifix, candlesticks, sedilia and lectern.

According to Lewis, when Effin was united with Kilquane and Kilbreedy minor, there were two small chapels in the parish, one at Effin, the other at Kilbreedy. Kilbreedy Minor church was badly ruined by the late 1830s. Only the middle and side walls of the choir remained.
Kilquane church was a brown sandstone church erected at the foot of Cahir Hill. By 1840 little remained of this ancient structure. Another church, Kilbigly church had disappeared by 1840.

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Kilquane graveyard is located on the site of the ruin of Kilquane church. This graveyard is well kept. Fr Coughlan informed us that the parishioners hold a collection for the upkeep of the graveyard. The oldest headstone that we found was erected by James Fitzgibbon, in memory of his father W. Edm. Fitzgibbon, age 29, Feb 26th, 1764.

Effin graveyard is situated a short distance from Effin church. This graveyard is very well maintained. The oldest headstone that we found in the graveyard is in memory of Mairen Fore, March 24th 1747, aged 55. This headstone is located beside the well-preserved ruins in the centre of the graveyard. There was also a tomb in the graveyard to the Sullivan family and the Russell family.

The parish priest of Effin, Edward Lee, native of Rathkeale, who died in 1834, was buried in Glenogra graveyard, to the south-east of the ruin, in a beautiful altar tomb.

According to Maurice Lenihan's History of Limerick, there were several ancient tombstones with inscriptions in the Irish character. However, there are few traces of these tombstones now.

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Holy Wells

Lady's well is located in the townland of Effin. It is about 3-4 miles from the public road and it is accessible through the roads of the forest. The well is in a circular mound. Danaher wrote that the well is within a ring fort and that the overflow of water from the well was used as a water trough for cattle.

At the well there is a statue of Our Lady and there are also medals and rosary beads left at the well. The well is well kept and people still visit the well regularly. The water from the well is believed to cure many ailments. There are no organised devotions there now, although it is still regarded as a Holy Well.

Lady's Well and Toberacran ceased to be pilgrimage sites by 1840. Toberacran, in the townland of Gortnacrank derived its name from Tober a Chrann, the Well of the Tree.

St Bridget's well in Kilbreedy townland was no longer a pattern site in 1840.
It was a small clear pool, roughly lined with stones. One large stone was set on edge beside the well. It was formerly very popular especially for the cure of sore eyes.

Danahar mentions another well in the parish, Toberreendoney. However, the location of this well is no longer known.

Danaher refers to two other wells in the parish namely Tobernea and Toberbansha but did not believe that they were Holy Wells.

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English Name Irish Name Meaning
Ballincolly Baile an Chollaigh The town of the boar
Ballyhaght Baile an Chiochtaigh The town of An Ciochtach
Ballymacshaneboy Baile Mhic Sheáin Bhuí The town of the son of Séan Buí
Ballynagoul Baile na nGall The town of the standing stones
Ballyshonikin Baile Sheoinicín The town of Seoinicín
Brickfield Baile an Bhaoilligh The town of An Baoilleach
Cloonlogue Cluain Leog The meadow of Leog
Effin Eifinn Meaning uncertain
Garranekeagh An Garrán Caoch The blind grove
Garryncoonagh North Garraí an Chuanaigh The garden of An Cuanach
Garryncoonagh South as above  
Garrynderk North Garraí na Deirce The garden of the cave
Garrynderk South as above  
Gortacrank Gort an Chrainn The field of the tree
Graiganster Gráig Anstair The hamlet of Anstar
Jamestown Baile Shéamais The town of Séamas
Kilbreedy West Cill Bhríde The church of Brid
Leagane An Liagán The standing stone
Mountblakeney Cnoc an tSoipéalaigh The hill of An Soipéalach
Newpark An Pháirc Nua  
Thomastown Baile Thomáis The town of Tomás
Tobernea Tobar Naí Well of the infant
Tobernea East as above  
Tobernea West as above  


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List of Priests

Year Parish Priest Curate(s)
1649 - ? Thomas Mede  
? - ? John Creagh  
1704 - ? Murtagh Moriarty  
? - 1749 David Bourke  
1749 - 1758 Thomas O’Driscoll  
1758 - 1759 Thomas Sinan  
1759 - 1763 Paul Slattery  
1763 - 1782 Denis Cronin  
1782 - 1791 James Carroll  
1791 - 1807 David Lee  
1808 - 1823 John McCarthy  
1823 - 1831 Mortimer Collins  
1831 - 1834 Edward Lee  
1834 – 1837 David Nagle  
1837 David Nagle Thomas Shanahan
1838 Garrett Nagle Michael Egan
1839 David Nagle John Bunton
1840 David Nagle John Bunton
1841 David Nagle John Bunton
1842 David Nagle Thomas Blake
1843 David Nagle Thomas Blake
1844 David Nagle Thomas Blake
    James O’Driscoll
1845 David Nagle Charles O’Donohoe
    James Moore
1846 David Nagle Charles O’Donohoe
    James Moore
1847 David Nagle James Moore
    James Clifford
1848 David Nagle James Moore
    James Clifford
1849 Edmond Molony James Moore
1850 Edmond Molony Thomas Lynch
1851 Edmond Molony James Walsh
1852 Edmond Molony Ed. Connery
1853 Edmond Molony James Roche
1854 Edmond Molony William Connery
1855 Edmond Molony William Connery
1856 Edmond Molony William Connery
1857 Edmond Molony William Connery
1858 Edmond Molony William Connery
1859 Edmond Molony James Roche
1860 Edmond Molony John Walsh
1861 Edmond Molony John Walsh
1862 Edmond Molony Michael Walsh
1863 Edmond Molony Michael Walsh
1864 Edmond Molony John Kelly
1865 Edmond Molony John Kelly
1866 Edmond Molony John Fitzgerald
1867 Edmond Molony John Fitzgerald
1868 Edmond Molony John Fitzgerald
1869 Edmond Molony John Fitzgerald
1870 Edmond Molony John Fitzgerald
1871 Edmond Molony John Fitzgerald
1872 Thomas McIneiry John Fitzgerald
1873 Thomas McIneiry William Carroll
1874 Thomas McIneiry Michael Irwin
1875 Thomas McIneiry Michael Irwin
1876 Thomas McIneiry Michael Irwin
1877 Thomas McIneiry Michael Irwin
1878 Thomas McIneiry Timothy Kelly
1879 Thomas McIneiry Timothy Kelly
1880 William Connery Timothy Kelly
1881 William Connery Timothy Kelly
1882 William Connery George Quaid
1883 William Connery George Quaid
1884 William Connery George Quaid
1885 William Connery George Quaid
1886 William Connery George Quaid
1887 William Connery Patrick Condon
    Brendan Mahony
1888 William Connery Patrick Condon
    Brendan Mahony
1889 William Connery Edward Russell
1890 Charles McNamara Edward Russell
1891 Charles McNamara Edward Russell
1892 Charles McNamara Edward Russell
1893 William Higgins John Conway
1894 William Higgins John Conway
1895 William Higgins John Conway
1896 William Higgins Timothy Curtin
1897 William Higgins Timothy Curtin
1898 William Higgins Timothy Curtin
1899 William Higgins John O’Connor
1900 William Higgins John O’Connor
1901 William Higgins John O’Connor
1902 William Higgins John O’Connor
1903 William Higgins John O’Connor
1904 William Higgins John O’Connor
1905 William Higgins George O’Connor
1906 William Higgins George O’Connor
1907 William Higgins George O’Connor
1908 William Higgins George Culhane
1909 William Higgins George Culhane
1910 William Higgins George Culhane
1911 William Higgins George Culhane
1912 William Higgins George Culhane
1913 William Higgins George Culhane
    W. P. Harty
1914 William Higgins George Culhane
    W. P. Harty
1915 William Higgins George Culhane
    W. P. Harty
1916 William Higgins George Culhane
    W. P. Harty
1917 William Higgins W. P. Harty
    Charles McCarthy
1918 R. Fitzgerald Charles McCarthy
1919 R. Fitzgerald Charles McCarthy
1920 R. Fitzgerald Charles McCarthy
1921 R. Fitzgerald Charles McCarthy
1922 R. Fitzgerald Charles McCarthy
1923 R. Fitzgerald Charles McCarthy
1924 R. Fitzgerald Charles Moriarty
1925 R. Fitzgerald Robert Dunworth
1926 R. Fitzgerald Robert Dunworth
1927 R. Fitzgerald Michael Quinn
1928 Canon R. Fitzgerald Michael Quinn
1929 Canon R. Fitzgerald Michael Quinn
1930 Canon R. Fitzgerald Michael Quinn
1931 Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael Quinn
1932 Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael Quinn
1933 Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael Quinn
1934 Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael Quinn
1935 Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1936 Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1937 Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1938 Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1939 Canon Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1940 Canon Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1941 Canon Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1942 Canon Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1943 Canon Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1944 Canon Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1945 Canon Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1946 Canon Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1947 Canon Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1948 Archdeacon Denis O’Brien D.D. Michael McCarthy
1949 James Moloney Michael McCarthy
1950 James Moloney Michael McCarthy
1951 James Moloney Michael McCarthy
1952 James Moloney Michael McCarthy
1953 James Moloney Michael McCarthy
1954 James Moloney Michael McCarthy
1955 James Moloney Gerard Wall
1956 James Moloney Gerard Wall
1957 James Moloney Gerard Wall
1958 Michael J. Quinlan Gerard Wall
1959 Michael J. Quinlan Gerard Wall
1960 Michael J. Quinlan Gerard Wall
1961 Michael J. Quinlan Gerard Wall
1962 Michael J. Quinlan Gerard Wall
1963 Michael J. Quinlan Gerard Wall
1964 Michael J. Quinlan Richard Murphy
1965 Michael J. Quinlan Richard Murphy
1966 Canon Michael J. Quinlan Richard Murphy
1967 Edmond O’Dea Richard Murphy
1968 Edmond O’Dea Richard Murphy
1969 Edmond O’Dea Richard Murphy
1970 Edmond O’Dea Richard Murphy
1971 Edmond O’Dea  
1972 Edmond O’Dea  
1973 Edmond O’Dea  
1974 Edmond O’Dea  
1975 Edmond O’Dea  
1976 Edmond O'Dea Anthony O'Keeffe
1977 Edmond O’Dea  
1978 Edmond O’Dea  
1979 Edmond O’Dea  
1980 Edmond Houlihan  
1981 Edmond Houlihan  
1982 Edmond Houlihan  
1983 Edmond Houlihan  
1984 Edmond Houlihan  
1985 Edmond Houlihan  
1986 Edmond Houlihan  
1987 Edmond Houlihan  
1988 Edmond Houlihan  
1989 Canon Edmond Houlihan  
1990 Canon Edmond Houlihan  
1991 Canon Edmond Houlihan  
1992 Canon Edmond Houlihan  
1993 Canon Edmond Houlihan  
1994 Canon Edmond Houlihan  
1995 Canon Edmond Houlihan  
1996 Canon Edmond Houlihan  
1997 Canon Edmond Houlihan  
1998 Thomas Coughlan  
1999 Thomas Coughlan  
2000 Thomas Coughlan  
2001 Thomas Coughlan  
2002 Thomas Coughlan  
2003 Thomas Coughlan  
2004 Thomas Coughlan  
2005 Thomas Coughlan  
2006 Thomas Coughlan  
2007 Thomas Coughlan  


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.

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

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