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Kilcornan Parish

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

Brief Parish History & Geographical Location

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 River.

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:

Timothy Foley
Parish Priest 1827-1849
Died October 13 1849.

Buried in the grounds of the church:

Patrick Condon
Parish Priest 1896-1917
Died January 14 1917, aged 69

Stephen Culhane
Parish Priest
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.


Holy Wells

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.


Curraghchase House

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



List of Priests

Year Parish Priest Curate(s)
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
1838 Robert Bourke  
1839 Robert Bourke  
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
1850 Timothy Foley  
1851 D. Kennedy  
1852 D. Kennedy  
1853 D. Kennedy Patrick Keynon
1854 D. Kennedy  
1855 D. Kennedy William Toumy
1856 James O’Shea  
1857 James O’Shea  
1858 James O’Shea  
1859 James O’Shea  
1860 James O’Shea  
1861 Richard Cooke  
1862 Richard Cooke  
1863 Richard Cooke  
1864 John Clifford  
1865 Richard Power  
1866 Ed. Costello  
1867 Ed. Costello  
1868 Ed. Costello  
1869 Ed. Costello  
1870 Ed. Costello  
1871 Ed. Costello  
1872 Ed. Costello  
1873 Ed. Costello  
1874 Luke Glesson  
1875 Luke Glesson  
1876 Luke Glesson  
1877 Luke Glesson  
1878 Luke Glesson  
1879 John Carrick  
1880 John Carrick  
1881 John Carrick  
1882 John Carrick  
1883 John Carrick  
1884 Charles McNamara  
1885 Charles McNamara  
1886 Charles McNamara  
1887 Charles McNamara  
1888 Charles McNamara  
1889 Charles McNamara  
1890 Edmond Tracy  
1891 Edmond Tracy  
1892 Edmond Tracy  
1893 Edmund Russell  
1894 Edmund Russell  
1895 Edmund Russell  
1896 Jeremiah O’Grady  
1897 Patrick Condon  
1898 Patrick Condon  
1899 Patrick Condon  
1900 Patrick Condon  
1901 Patrick Condon  
1902 Patrick Condon  
1903 Patrick Condon  
1904 Patrick Condon  
1905 Patrick Condon  
1906 Patrick Condon  
1907 Patrick Condon  
1908 Patrick Condon  
1909 Patrick Condon  
1910 Patrick Condon  
1911 Patrick Condon  
1912 Patrick Condon  
1913 Patrick Condon  
1914 Patrick Condon  
1915 Patrick Condon  
1916 Patrick Condon  
1917 Patrick Condon Ed. R. McCarthy
1918 Michael O’Carroll  
1919 Michael O’Carroll  
1920 Stephen Culhane  
1921 Jeremiah O’Gorman  
1922 Jeremiah O’Gorman  
1923 Jeremiah O’Gorman  
1924 Jeremiah O’Gorman  
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  
1937 David Fitzgerald  
1938 David Fitzgerald  
1939 David Fitzgerald  
1940 David Fitzgerald  
1941 David Fitzgerald  
1942 David Fitzgerald  
1943 David Fitzgerald  
1944 Patrick Lynch  
1945 Patrick Lynch  
1946 Patrick Lynch  
1947 Patrick Lynch  
1948 Patrick Lynch  
1949 Patrick Lynch  
1950 Patrick Lynch  
1951 Patrick Lynch  
1952 Patrick Lynch  
1953 Patrick Lynch  
1954 James Bluett  
1955 James Bluett  
1956 James Bluett  
1957 James Bluett  
1958 James Bluett  
1959 James Bluett  
1960 James Bluett  
1961 James Bluett  
  *The parish name changed from Stonehall to Kilcornan  
1962 James Bluett  
1963 Daniel O’Keeffe  
1964 Daniel O’Keeffe  
1965 Daniel O’Keeffe  
1966 Daniel O’Keeffe  
1967 Daniel O’Keeffe  
1968 Daniel O’Keeffe  
1969 Daniel O’Keeffe  
1970 Daniel O’Keeffe  
1971 Daniel O’Keeffe  
1972 Daniel O’Keeffe  
1973 David Wall  
1974 David Wall  
1975 David Wall  
1976 David Wall  
1977 David Wall  
1978 David Wall  
1979 David Wall  
1980 David Wall  
1981 David Wall  
1982 David Wall  
1983 John Irwin  
1984 John Irwin  
1985 John Irwin  
1986 John Irwin  
1987 John Irwin  
1988 Patrick Bowen  
1989 Patrick Bowen  
1990 Patrick Bowen  
1991 Patrick Bowen  
1992 Patrick Bowen  
1993 Patrick Bowen  
1994 Patrick Bowen  
1995 Muiris O’Connor  
1996 Muiris O’Connor  
1997 Muiris O’Connor  
1998 Muiris O’Connor  
1999 Joseph Noonan  
2000 Joseph Noonan  
2001 Joseph Noonan  
2002 Joseph Noonan  
2003 Joseph Noonan  
2004 Joseph Noonan  
2005 Joseph Noonan  
2006 Michael Hanley  
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.

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

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