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On September 22nd 1992, Pope John Paul II beatified Bishop Patrick O'Healy, O.F.M. and Conn O'Rourke, O.F.M. Both were Franciscans. It is believed that O'Healy was a native of Dromahaire, County Leitrim and was born between 1543 and 1546. He spent his education in Rome, Paris and Spain. Pope Gregory XIII appointed O'Healy as Bishop of Mayo in July 1576.

Later Bishop O'Healy was in Portugal where he met up with James Fitzmaurice, who was trying to raise funds for a crusade to be sent to Ireland against the English. The Bishop changed his mind about taking part in the expedition but despite this, the English continued to assume that O'Healy was involved in the plot.

Conn O'Rourke joined up with Bishop O'Healy when he was on his way back to Ireland. It is thought that Conn originally came from Breifne, which was in Connacht. They both arrived in Sligo from France at the turn of 1576-7. At his execution in 1579, O'Rourke was around 30 years of age.

He also entered the religious life at Dromahaire. Both sailed from Brittany and landed in Smerwick. They went to Askeaton to meet the Earl of Desmond but with the absence of the earl, they had an audience with his wife, Eleanor instead.

Bishop O'Healy and O'Rourke set out for Connacht where they planned to do some pastoral work via Limerick. However, Eleanor had informed the English of their plans and they were captured in the city. They were then transferred to Kilmallock where they were then imprisoned.

O'Healy and O'Rourke never received a trial as such but there underwent several interrogations. O'Healy refused to acknowledge the Queen as the Supreme Head of the Church and stated that the Pope held this title. For this they were condemned to death. Bishop O'Healy was also tortured during his stay in Kilmallock jail. Both were hanged in Kilmallock on the 13th of August 1579. O'Healy was the first bishop to be killed by the English.

Crochta monument
© Crochta monument

A sculpture memorial to these men, known as the Crochta memorial, was erected in the grounds of Kilmallock church. This memorial is by Clíodhna Cussen. It was unveiled on June 14th 1988 by Bishop Fiachra Ó Ceallaigh and was erected in a fairy fort-like structure. Also remembered on the memorial is Fr Maurice Mac Enraghty who was from Kilmallock. Fr Mac Enraghty was chaplain to the Earl of Desmond and was captured in September 1583. Mac Enraghty was imprisoned in Clonmel and in Easter 1585, Victor White, a prominent Catholic in Clonmel arranged with the jailer that Mac Enraghty could walk out of the prison.

However, the jailer went and told the authorities where they could seize the main Catholics in the area. The following morning soldiers entered the house of Victor White just as mass was about to be celebrated. Victor White was arrested but Fr Mac Enraghty escaped. White was told that he would be put to death unless he brought the priest to the authorities. When Fr Mac Enraghty heard this he returned to Clonmel and turned himself in. Under extreme pressure he refused to renounce his religion and was executed in Clonmel on April 30th, 1585.

A native of Ballingaddy, John J. Flanagan won three Olympic Gold medals in the games of 1900, 1904 and 1908 in the Hammer for the USA. At the 1900 Games in Paris, Flanagan threw 163 ft 1 ½ inches (49.73 metres) which was an Olympic record. The hammer is said to have almost hit some spectators, such was the length of the throw. At the next Games in St Louis, Flanagan won the Hammer again throwing 168 ft 0 ½ inches (51.23 metres), which was a new Olympic record. In 1908 in London he won his third Gold medal in the Hammer throwing 170 ft 4 inches (51.92 metres), another new Olympic record.

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