The church in Kilcornan is situated on the N69, which is the main road between Limerick and Tralee. The population of Kilcornan parish is about 1,125 people. The area around Kilcornan was one of the main settlements of the Vikings in the area. According to Lewis, they built a fortress here in 1041 and later built a church near Moig.
Fairs were held opposite the church on the fairgreen. These
fairs were the scenes of some infamous faction fights in the 1820s and 1830s
that stemmed from disputed rights of the taking of seaweed from the Shannon
The parish had two previous names before it became known as Kilcornan. In penal times, the parish was called Kilcornan Castletown. It was then called Stonehall when it was finally separated from the parish of Cappagh (also called Nantenan).
The name Kilcornan is derived from Cill Churnáin,
which means Curnan's or Curnáin's church. The feastday of St. Curnán
is January 6th.
The church in Kilcornan is dedicated to St. John the Baptist whose feastday is on June 24th. The 24th of June was the parish holiday until Fr Patrick Condon ended this tradition during his time as parish priest from 1896 until his death in 1917. The church was built in 1828 while the parish was called Stonehall.
The church in Kilcornan is a small stone building that is
just off the main Limerick- Tralee road. A list of the people who gave donations
to the church is displayed in the porch of the church. The porch was built
in the 1950s and the windows in the porch were donated by Kathleen O'Connell
to the memory of John and Brigid Kennedy and her brother Dan.
Inside the church on the right, there is a mosaic of Our Lord,
which is to the Sheahan family. The altars in the church are to the memory
of John Ranahan who died on August 26th, 1954. The altar to the right of the
main altar is to the Immaculate Conception.
Behind the main altar, the Crucifixion is in the middle, with a statue of the Sacred Heart on the left, and a statue to the Virgin Mary on the right. In the gallery of the church, there is a stained glass window to the Crucifixion that is in memory of Michael McKnight who died on May 10th 1936.
In the centre of the nave are two stained glass windows, one
to St. Brigid on the left and another to St. Columcille on the right. Mary
O'Donoghue donated both of these windows. There are two stained glass windows
at the top of the nave. On the left the window is to John the Baptist and
is in memory of Mrs. Chapman. The window on the right depicts St. Patrick
and it is to the memory of Fr M. O h-Aodha who was parish priest from 1925
until 1930. Fr O h-Aodha died in 1934. Mrs. Patrick Walsh donated the stained
glass windows at the back of the church.
Buried within the church:
Parish Priest 1827-1849
Died October 13 1849.
Buried in the grounds of the church:
Parish Priest 1896-1917
Died January 14 1917, aged 69
Died Easter Sunday, 1920, aged 60
According to Westropp the churches of Gleande and Kilcornan were the same church. The old church in Kilcornan was renamed Kilcornan in 1418.
The ruin of the first church in Kilcornan, St Churnáin's was reputedly used as part of the Waller vault in Castletown graveyard. John Waller, a Protestant, built a church in 1828 in Boherbuoy. There were also churches in Kilbreedy and Mornane. The sites of these churches are now forgotten.
Westropp measured the church in Killeen as 45 feet by 24 feet and in good condition. Begley in his "History of the Diocese of Limerick" believed that the church in Monehuryn might be the old name for the church in Cowpark. This date of the church is unclear as some believe it to date from the fifteenth century and other accounts date it as around 1611. This church was used as a place of worship until 1811. Westropp also mentions the chapel of St Meranus, which he says might be Killeen-Cowpark.
The church was repaired in the 1930s under the direction of
Canon Wall. The stones that formed the window were discovered during this
renovation and replaced. The belfry is also in very good condition.
Local tradition claims that this church was one of three churches that were built by three sisters but no saint or founder is remembered in the parish. The other two churches were Cappagh church and Beagh church in the parish of Askeaton/Ballysteen.
Begley mentioned that there was a chapel in Newtown Hall. However, Westropp does not mention this church, and we did not come across it on our visit to the parish.
From the book "Kenry" by Máirtín Ó Corrbuí, we found a short note that there was a mass house in Boherbwee. This mass house was at the rear of Kilcornan church. Ó Corrbuí also mentions a mass house in Stonehall or Ardloman as it was then called. This house was used until 1828. Near the site of this house there is a field called "the priest's haggart".
The present graveyard in Kilcornan is about two hundred yards from the church in Kilcornan on the opposite side of the road.
Castletown graveyard is situated on the outskirts of Pallaskenry village. There is a cross at the entrance. This graveyard contains the vault of the Waller family, who gave the site for the church. The only name on the vault is that of John, a Member of Parliament who died on November 15, 1836.
In the graveyard there are a number of other tombs. There are also a large number of stone markers without inscriptions. A lot of the headstones were difficult to read because the writing has become faded over the years. We came across a headstone to Fr Edmund Connery, who was parish priest in Fedamore and Manister. Fr Connery died on January 15th 1858, aged 70. The oldest headstone that we found here was to James Sheehy who died on November 6th 1733, at the age of 26.
There were a number of children's burial grounds in the parish,
one at the church in Killeen and another in Kilbreedy. Usually unbaptized
children were buried at these locations.
St Brigid's well is located in the townland of Kilbreedy. It is about a half-mile walk from the road and there is a clear path that guides you from the roadway to the site of the well, which is in a valley. The well is a clear spring and is surrounded by a stone wall. There is also a statue to St. Bridget over the well. A small tree beside the well has a large number of rags tied to it as a form of offerings.
Rounds are still made at the well especially on February 1st, which is St. Bridget's feastday. By praying at the well and bathing your eyes in the water, the well is believed to cure eye ailments. It is believed that St. Bridget was praying at this spot when the well sprang up.
There is also another well that might be in the parish. In the townland of Curraghchase, which is in both the parishes of Adare and Kilcornan, there is said to be a Holy Well called Toberveenanee. This well is believed to be a Holy Well but no tradition or location can be found.
In his book "Kenry", Máirtín Ó Corrbuí mentions a well in Curragh called Siveen. Ó Corrbuí refers to a conversation between R. F. Herbert, a former Librarian of Limerick City Library and the then gardener at Curraghchase. This story first appeared in the North Munster Antiquarian Journal Vol. II 1940-41.
The gardener told Hebert that his grandmother told him that lepers visited the well. Tradition has it that the well was originally near the 'big house' but a woman washed clothes in the well and it dried up. The well reappeared at a new site. This well maybe the same well as the well called Toberveenanee by Danaher.
John Hunt built Curragh House in the latter half of the seventeenth century but the existing house dates from the eighteenth century. Hunt was granted the land, which consisted of 380 plantation acres during the Cromwellian plantations. John Fitzgerald originally owned the land.
At this time, the estate was called Curragh. When one of John Hunt's descendants, Aubrey Hunt, changed his surname by Royal License to de Vere in 1833, he also changed the name of the property from Curragh to Curraghchase. Aubrey De Vere married Mary Spring Rice and they had a family of eight, with their son Aubrey being the best known of the family, i.e., famous poet.
The younger Aubrey recalled that the lake at the bottom of the house was rich meadow when he was in his youth. A slender stream divided this meadow. Across the lake a monument to the de Vere family stands on a small hill. Near the house, there is a small cemetery to the de Vere's family pets.
The house was accidentally destroyed by fire in December 1941.
The grounds at Curraghchase were bought by the State in 1957 and the property
is now used as commercial timber. Some of the state forest is used as a public
amenity and includes tourist trails, camping and caravan park facilities,
which make the area a popular tourist attraction.
|English Name||Irish Name||Meaning|
|Bansha||An Bháinseach||The small tract of lea-ground|
|Ballycahane||Baile Uí Chatháin||The town of Ó Catháin|
|Ballymartin||Baile Mháirtín||The town of Máirtín|
|Ballynamona||Baile na Móna||The town of the bogland|
|Ballymacdonagh||Baile Mhic Dhonnchú||The town of Mac Donnchú|
|Ballyshonickbane||Baile Sheoinic Bháin||The town of Seoinic Bán|
|Ballyvogue||Baile Dhabhóg||The town of Dabhóg|
|Blossomhill||Sceach na Bláithche||The hawthorn of the buttermilk|
|Boherboy||An Bóthar Buí||The yellow road|
|Castlegrey||An Caisleán Riabhach||The striped castle|
|Castletown||Baile an Chaisleáin||The town of the castle|
|Cloonnagalleen||Cluain Ó gCoilín||The meadow of Uí Choilín|
|Cow Park||Páirc na mBó||The field of the cows|
|Cragreagh||An Chraig Riabhach||The striped rock|
|Croker’s-park||Baile Shitric||The town of Sitric|
|Currahchase||An Chora||The weir|
|Deegerty||Na Dígirtí||Meaning uncertain|
|Derreen||An Doirín||The small thicket|
|Drominaclara||Dromainn an Chláraigh||The ridge of An Clárach|
|Dromlohan||Drom Locháin||Ridge of the chaff|
|Drommoher||Drom Aichir Beag||The small ridge of Aichear|
|Garranard||An Garrán Ard||The white grove|
|Graigues||An Ghráig||The hamlet|
|Kilbreedy||Cill Bhríde||The church of Bríd|
|Kilcornan||Cill Churnáin||The church of Curnáin|
|Killeen||An Cillín||The small church|
|Moig East Glebe||Cill Churnáin||The church of Curnáin|
|Moig West||Maigh Thiar||The plain|
|Morenane||Boirneán||The rocky place|
|Newtown||An Baile Nua||The new town|
|Rintulla||Rinn Tula||Meaning uncertain|
|Shanbally||An Seanbhaile Mór||The big old town|
|Stonehall||Ard Lomáin||The high place of Lomán|
|Summerville||Drom Aichir Mór||The big ridge of Aichear|
|Tinaculla||Tigh na Coille||The house of the wood|
|1704 - ?||William Shaughessy|
|1737 -? *||William Cronin|
|1825 – 1827||Edmond Lee|
|1827 – 1827||Thomas Coll|
|1827 – 1827||D. Hogan|
|1827 – 1835||Timothy Foley|
|1835 - 1836||Robert Bourke|
|1837||Robert Bourke||Charles McDonnell|
|1840||Robert Bourke||James O’Sullivan|
|1841||Robert Bourke||James Hogan|
|1842||Timothy Foley||Richard Mulcahy|
|1843||Timothy Foley||Richard Mulcahy|
|1844||Timothy Foley||M. Coghlan DD|
|1845||Timothy Foley||Patrick Reeves|
|1846||Timothy Foley||Patrick Reeves|
|1847||Timothy Foley||Patrick Reeves|
|1848||Timothy Foley||Patrick Reeves|
|1849||Timothy Foley||Patrick Reeves|
|1853||D. Kennedy||Patrick Keynon|
|1855||D. Kennedy||William Toumy|
|1917||Patrick Condon||Ed. R. McCarthy|
|1925||M. O h-Aodha|
|1926||M. O h-Aodha|
|1927||M. O h-Aodha|
|1928||M. O h-Aodha|
|1929||M. O h-Aodha|
|1930||M. O h-Aodha|
|1931||Tomas de Bhall|
|1932||Tomas de Bhall||Daniel Costello|
|1933||Tomas de Bhall|
|1934||Tomas de Bhall|
|1935||Tomas de Bhall|
|1936||Tomas de Bhall|
|*The parish name changed from Stonehall to Kilcornan|
|2007||William Russell (Adm.)||Michael Irwin (Priest in Residence)|
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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