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Feenagh-Kilmeedy Parish

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

Brief Parish History & Geographical Location

Kilmeedy village, located on the R519 from Ballingarry to Dromcollogher, is situated at a crossroads. Five roads radiate from the village. The name Kilmeedy is derived from the Irish Cill Míde, which means 'the church of St Ita'. Feenagh is a translation of Fíodhnach, which means 'woody place'. The 1584 survey of the lands of the Earl of Desmond contains a number of references to wooded areas in the district. Kilmeedy was a medieval settlement, while the village of Feenagh developed in the late 18th century, growing up around the church of Feenagh.

Feenagh/Kilmeedy became a separate parish in 1841. Originally, it formed part of the large parish of Corcomohide. In 1704, Fr Maurice England was the parish priest of Corcomohide, which embraced the parishes of Drumcollogher, Kilmeedy and Castletown MacEnery and the area of Milford, which is in the neighbouring county of Cork. Around the time of Fr England's death in 1719, this parish was divided into the parishes of Drumcollogher (today the parish of Dromcollogher/Broadford) and Castletown Conyers.

In 1841 the parish of Castletown Conyers was further divided when the parish priest Fr Michael Kiely died. At this point, the parishes of Feenagh/Kilmeedy and Ballyagran/Colmanswell were formed. The first parish priest of Feenagh/Kilmeedy was Fr Edmund Molony in 1842.

The population of the parish is about 900.

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The church in Kilmeedy is dedicated to St Ita and is located in the centre of Kilmeedy village. According to the foundation stone, Bishop David Keane and Fr David O'Riordan PP blessed the church on October 11 1942.

Inside the church, there is an altar to Our Lady that was donated by James Moore who died in 1978. To the left of the altar there is a statue to the Sacred Heart, while on the right there is a statue to St Joseph. The windows are of a plain design.

Buried in the grounds of the church are:

Patrick Gerard Ryan
Died April 21 1984
Parish Priest 1975 - 1984

Canon James Bluett
Died December 29 1974
Parish Priest 1963 - 1974

Patrick Finn
Died October 25 1962
Parish Priest 1948 - 1962

The church in Feenagh is also dedicated to St Ita. A plaque in the porch of the church describes the history of churches in Feenagh since the 18th century. The church in Feenagh was originally a thatched building from the post penal times. In the late 18th century it was rebuilt and a slated roof was put on the building. It also acquired its 'T' shape during this renovation.

In 1877, it was renovated again by Fr Patrick Lee PP, at which time the walls were raised, a 'barn' roof was laid with stone parapets and Gothic style windows were fitted. The plaque also gives the details of the formation of the present day parish of Feenagh/Kilmeedy. The church was renovated once again in 1976.

Outside of the church on the left there is a statue to Mary, erected during the Marian Year of 1988. On the right there is a plaque to Mgr. Michael O'Riordan who was from Kilmurry in Feenagh. In 1905 he became the Rector of the Irish College in Rome. Mgr. O'Riordan did much for the cause of the Irish Martyrs, especially Oliver Plunkett. Mgr. O'Riordan died on August 27th 1919. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of his death, this plaque was erected in 1989.

The windows in the porch were donated by Pat Murphy and family of Tireeg, John Irwin and family of Feenagh, and Margaret Murphy of Gurteen. On the right of the main body of the church there is a plaque listing the donors for the baptismal font. Near the altar, there is another plaque that lists more donors of various articles to the church when it was renovated in 1976.

The stained glass windows over the altar depict (from left to right) St Anthony, the Crucifixion and St David. David MacMahon of Philadelphia erected these windows in July 1907 to the memory of Hanora Irwin, her brother William and Michael McMahon.

To the left of the altar, outside the sanctuary, there is a statue of the Virgin and Child that was donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Browne of Clogheen in the Holy Year of 1950. Within the sanctuary, there is a statue to St Joseph and to the right of the altar there is a statue of the Sacred Heart.

According to the plaque to the far right of the altar, the sanctuary tiling was erected by David and Mrs. O'Leary Hannigan of Kilbolane Castle in 1907 to the memory of William O'Leary Hannigan, his wife Debora and Miss Eily Mary O'Leary Hannigan. Nearer the altar there is a plaque that states that David MacMahon and the people of the parish donated the marble high altar.

Buried in the grounds of the church is:

Canon Jeremiah O'Gorman
Died January 23 1941
Parish Priest 1925 - 1941

The church ruin in Kilmeedy graveyard is not the original church of St Ita. However, the original church was probably located near this site. According to Spellissy & O'Brien's Limerick - The Rich Land this church was built in 1665 as a Protestant church on the site of an earlier church. By 1837, this church was in a state of disrepair and was restored by the Protestant parishioners of Cloncrew and Kilmeedy.

Within the church ruin there is a tomb to William Hano de Massy of Glinwilliam castle who died on May 23rd 1848, aged 27. Other members of the Massy family are also interred in the tomb.

On the wall of the ruin there is a plaque, which was erected by Daniel Boohan of Kilmeedy to his wife Catherine who died March 11 1870, aged 59. The plaque also mentions his children James, Mary and Michael. At the end of the inscription the letters R.I.P.A. are written.

About 50 yards from the present day church in Kilmeedy, there is a dispensary, which was built on the site of the previous church in the village. No trace of this church remains.

The church ruin in Cloncrew is situated approximately a mile from the main road. It can be reached using a private roadway. All that remains of this church are the two gable walls of the building. According to Westropp the church was dedicated to St. Bartholomew. The first church on this site was destroyed in a war in 1302. Westropp measured the church as 47 feet by 16 feet. The name Cloncrew is from the Irish Cluain Creamh, which means the Insulated Meadow, or the Bog Island of the Wild Garlic.

Westropp also mentions churches in the townlands of Kilmurry and Kilcolman but no trace of these churches remains today.

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On the road from Kilmeedy to Feenagh there is a new graveyard called Reilig Naomh Íde, or St Ita's graveyard, which was opened in March 1993.

The graveyard in Kilmeedy is dedicated to St Ita and surrounds a church ruin. The graveyard is kept in good condition. The oldest headstone that we came across dates from 1778 and is to the memory of Mary Creed, who died on April 16th of that year, aged 55. The year 1768 also appears on the headstone but the '7' appears to have been written over the '6',possibly correcting an earlier mistake.

The graveyard in Cloncrew is kept in good condition and most of the headstones remain standing and legible. The oldest headstone that we came across was in memory of Thomas Hayes who died on May 20 1767, at the age of 63. This graveyard is still used for burials. Mass is celebrated annually here and is well attended by people.

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Holy Wells

According to Danaher, there are two wells in the parish of Feenagh/Kilmeedy. In the Feenagh part of the parish there is a well in the townland of Ahaveheen. The well was called Toberhoran and was situated close to the River Deel. The well is situated on the lands of Michael Curtin and is overgrown. The well was rarely visited. The water was believed to cure sore eyes. Danaher states that the patron of the well is unknown.

In the Kilmeedy part of the parish there is a well in the townland of Cloonpasteen called Toberbreedia or St Brigid's well. The well is on the lands of Seamus Murphy. The well is still visited occasionally by people who take bottles of water from it but no devotions are held at the well nowadays. Danaher wrote that rounds were still made and the well had a strong, clear spring in 1955. On our visit to the well, Danaher's description was indeed correct. Mr Murphy told us that locals call the stream that flows from the spring Gaffney's river, which eventually becomes the River Deel. Tradition also claims that the well has never gone dry. The well was usually visited on February 1st, the feast of its patron. The water was believed to cure blindness.


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On the hill, overlooking the village of Kilmeedy, a large white cross was erected to commemorate the Holy Year of 1950.

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English Name Irish Name Meaning
Ahadagh Áth an Dá Each The ford of the two steeds
Ahaveheen Áth an Bheithín The ford of the small birch
Ballinruane Baile an Ruáin The town of the red place
Bohard An Bhoth Ard The high hut
Callahow Caladh Abha By the river
Cloncrew Cluain Creamha Meadow of the ramsons
Clooncrippa Cluain Coirbthe Meadow of the violation
Cloonlara Cluain Lára Meadow of the mare
Cloonpasteen Cluain Páistín Meadow of the little children
Cloonroosk Cluain Rúsc Meadow of the marshes
Drominacreen Dromainn an Chrainn The ridge of the tree
Feenagh Fíonach Woody place
Garbally An Gearrbhaile The short town
Gortalassa Gort an Leasa The field of the enclosure
Gorteen An Goirtín The small field
Gortmore An Gort Mór The big field
Gortnagluggin Gort na gCloigeann The field of the skulls
Highmount An Mullach Ard The high summit
Kilcolman Cill Cholmáin The church of Colmán
Kilmeedy Cill Míde The church of Míde
Kilmurry (Archer) Cill Mhuire The church of Muire
Kilmurry (Bog) as above  
Kilmurry (Lane) as above  
Lisheensheela Lisín Síolaidh The small enclosure of Celia
Pallas An Phailís The palisade


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List of Priests

Year Parish Priest Curate(s)
1842 Edmund Molony  
1843 Edmund Molony James Enright
1844 Edmund Molony James Moore
1845 Edmund Molony James Moore
1846 Edmund Molony James Moore
1847 Edmund Molony James O’Riordan
1848 Patrick Benson James O’Riordan
1849 Patrick Benson James O’Riordan
1850 Patrick Benson  
1851 Patrick Benson R. Somers
1852 Patrick Benson William Toumey
1853 Patrick Benson William Toumey
1854 Patrick Benson William Toumey
1855 Patrick Benson John Reeves
1856 Patrick Benson John Reeves
1857 Patrick Benson John Reeves
1858 Patrick Benson John Reeves
1859 Patrick Benson M. Cregan
1860 Patrick Benson M. Cregan
1861 Patrick Benson M. Cregan
1862 Patrick Benson M. Cregan
1863 Patrick Benson C. P. Kenny
1864 Patrick Benson John Fitzgerald
1865 Patrick Benson John Fitzgerald
1866 Patrick Benson Patrick Lee
1867 Patrick Benson Patrick Lee
1868 Patrick Benson Patrick Lee
1869 Patrick Lee (Adm.) J. Canty
1870 Patrick Lee (Adm.) J. Canty
1871 Patrick Lee Edmond Tracey
1872 Patrick Lee Edmond Tracey
1873 Patrick Lee Edmond Tracey
1874 Patrick Lee John Ryan
1875 Patrick Lee John Ryan
1876 Patrick Lee John Ryan
1877 Patrick Lee John Ryan
1878 John Conway Michael Mulcahy
1879 John Conway R. O’Kennedy
1880 John Conway R. O’Kennedy
1881 John Conway R. O’Kennedy
1882 John Conway R. O'Kennedy
1883 John Conway R. O’Kennedy
1884 John Conway John O’Donnell
1885 John Conway Patrick O’Donnell
1886 John Conway Patrick O’Donnell
1887 John Conway Patrick O’Donnell
1888 John Conway Patrick O’Donnell
1889 John Conway Patrick O’Donnell
1890 John Conway E. O’Leary
1891 John Conway E. O’Leary
1892 John Conway E. O’Leary
1893 John Conway George Culhane
1894 John Conway George Culhane
1895 John Conway George Culhane
1896 John Conway George Culhane
1897 John Conway George Culhane
    James Carroll
1898 John Conway James Carroll
1899 Thomas Liston James Carroll
1900 Thomas Liston James Carroll
1901 Thomas Liston D. Brosnahan
1902 Thomas Liston Edward Fitzgerald
1903 Thomas Liston Edward Fitzgerald
1904 Thomas Liston Edward Fitzgerald
1905 Thomas Liston Patrick Ryan
1906 Thomas Liston Patrick Ryan
1907 Thomas Liston Patrick Ryan
1908 Thomas Liston Patrick Ryan
1909 Thomas Liston Patrick Ryan
1910 Lawrence Curtin Patrick Ryan
1911 Lawrence Curtin Patrick Ryan
1912 Lawrence Curtin James Carroll
1913 Lawrence Curtin James Carroll
1914 Lawrence Curtin James Carroll
1915 Lawrence Curtin James Carroll
1916 Lawrence Curtin James Carroll
1917 Lawrence Curtin James Carroll
1918 Lawrence Curtin James Carroll
1919 Lawrence Curtin James Carroll
1920 Lawrence Curtin James Carroll
1921 Lawrence Curtin James Carroll
1922 Lawrence Curtin William J. Carroll
1923 Lawrence Curtin Patrick Lyons
1924 Lawrence Curtin Patrick Lyons
1925 Jeremiah O’Gorman Patrick Lyons
1926 Jeremiah O’Gorman J. O’Regan
1927 Jeremiah O’Gorman Thomas O’Sullivan
1928 Jeremiah O’Gorman Michael Leahy
1929 Jeremiah O’Gorman James Bluett
1930 Jeremiah O’Gorman Ed. McCarthy
1931 Jeremiah O’Gorman Ed. McCarthy
1932 Jeremiah O’Gorman J. Leonard
1933 Jeremiah O’Gorman J. Leonard
1934 Jeremiah O’Gorman J. Leonard
1935 Canon Jeremiah O’Gorman J. Leonard
1936 Canon Jeremiah O’Gorman J. Leonard
1937 Canon Jeremiah O’Gorman John Godfrey
1938 Canon Jeremiah O’Gorman John Connors
1939 Canon Jeremiah O’Gorman John Connors
1940 Canon Jeremiah O’Gorman Patrick O’Dea
1941 Canon Jeremiah O’Gorman Patrick O’Dea
1942 David Riordan Patrick O’Dea
1943 David Riordan Patrick O’Dea
1944 David Riordan Maurice Crowley
1945 David Riordan Maurice Crowley
1946 Robert Dunworth Maurice Crowley
1947 Robert Dunworth Maurice Crowley
1948 Robert Dunworth Maurice Crowley
1949 Patrick Finn Maurice Crowley
1950 Patrick Finn Maurice Crowley
1951 Patrick Finn Maurice Crowley
1952 Patrick Finn Maurice Crowley
1953 Patrick Finn Maurice Crowley
1954 Patrick Finn David Wall
1955 Patrick Finn David Wall
1956 Patrick Finn David Wall
1957 Patrick Finn David Wall
1958 Patrick Finn David Wall
1959 Patrick Finn David Wall
1960 Patrick Finn David Wall
1961 Patrick Finn David Wall
1962 Patrick Finn David Wall
1963 James Bluett David Wall
1964 James Bluett David Wall
1965 James Bluett Ronald Costello
1966 James Bluett Ronald Costello
1967 James Bluett Ronald Costello
1968 James Bluett Ronald Costello
1969 James Bluett Ronald Costello
1970 James Bluett Ronald Costello
1971 James Bluett Ronald Costello
1972 James Bluett Ronald Costello
1973 James Bluett Ronald Costello
1974 James Bluett Ronald Costello
1975 Gerard Ryan Ronald Costello
1976 Gerard Ryan Ronald Costello
1977 Gerard Ryan Ronald Costello
1978 Gerard Ryan Ronald Costello
1979 Gerard Ryan Ronald Costello
1980 Gerard Ryan Ronald Costello
1981 Gerard Ryan Ronald Costello
    Bernard McNally
1982 Gerard Ryan Ronald Costello
    Bernard McNally
    Edward Looby (Adm.)
1983 Gerard Ryan Ronald Costello
    Edward Looby (Adm.)
1984 Gerard Ryan Edward Looby (Adm.)
    Joseph D. Griffin
1985 Edward Looby Joseph D. Griffin
1986 Edward Looby Joseph D. Griffin
1987 Edward Looby Joseph D. Griffin
1988 Edward Looby Joseph D. Griffin
1989 Edward Looby Joseph D. Griffin
1990 Edward Looby Joseph D. Griffin
1991 Edward Looby Joseph D. Griffin
1992 Edward Looby Joseph D. Griffin
1993 Edward Looby Joseph D. Griffin
1994 Canon Edward Looby Cornelius Collins
1995 Peadar de Búrca Cornelius Collins
1996 Peadar de Búrca Cornelius Collins
1997 Peadar de Búrca Cornelius Collins
1998 Peadar de Búrca Cornelius Collins
1999 Peadar de Búrca Cornelius Collins
2000 Peadar de Búrca Cornelius Collins
2001 Peadar de Búrca Cornelius Collins
2002 Peadar de Búrca Cornelius Collins
2003 Peadar de Búrca Cornelius Collins
2004 Peadar de Búrca Cornelius Collins
2005 Brendan Murphy Peadar de Búrca
2006 Brendan Murphy Peadar de Búrca
2007 Brendan Murphy Peadar de Búrca


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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