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St Finnian | Patrick "Staker" Wallis | Gabriel Rosenstock

St Finnian

St Finnian resided in a small hut beside the River Lubagh at the time of St Patrick's conversion of Ireland. His hut was located close to Tobernane, a little spring. The area was known as Fobar Fionán. St Finnian led a monastic life in this area, praying and meditating daily. Residents in the nearby village became curious as to the purpose of his visit to the area. They observed his actions, and heard his prayers and psalms. Eventually they became converted to his way of thinking. When St Finnian left the area, the local people built a house of worship in his honour, and named it Cill Finnian, the church of Finnian. With the passing of time the surrounding area became known as Kilfinane.

Patrick Wallis

Local man Patrick "Staker" Wallis was a small farmer who joined the United Irishmen and subscribed to the movement's objectives that all Irishmen should be free. Wallis's views began to annoy the local landlord Captain Charles Oliver, who believed that his life was under threat from the middle-aged farmer. Oliver decided to capture Wallis who tried, unsuccessfully, to evade arrest. Despite repeated torturing from Oliver, Wallis never informed on his friends in the United Irishmen. A few days later he was hanged and beheaded. His head was set on a spike above the market house in the square. A monument stands in the Main Street to commemorate his life and death.

Gabriel Rosenstock

A native of the parish, wrote the following poem on the Moat in Kilfinane.

I think I understand, Even back then it would outlive us.
That it was more ancient, more permanent than the sweet clash of hurleys.
There were things around us when we were growing up,
That blessed us with sweetness and terror, a Holy Well - do they still visit it?

A Protestant Church choirs were heard in the graveyard in the dead of night.
Did the Moat mute mysterious echo of the forgotten historical pageant.
You had a view from the top of the fertile plains of Limerick
A flighty cloud over a wooded hill.

A miserable old greyhound sunning himself in front of the grotto,
And at night the stars looking down on the moat as though their orphan
It was our own Tara, if the truth be told.
The deep heart of the universe.

St Finnian | Patrick "Staker" Wallis | Gabriel Rosenstock

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