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Loughill-Ballyhahill Parish

History | Churches | Graveyards | Holy Wells | Mass Rock | Townlands | Priests of the Parish

Brief Parish History & Geographical Location

The village of Loughill is situated between Foynes and Tarbert on the N69, the road from Limerick to Tralee. The river Owvaun runs through both Loughill and Ballyhahill.

Loughill had been part of the parish of Glin until the death of Fr Daniel McCoy, parish priest of Glin, in 1855 when it became a separate parish. Ballyhahill was part of the parish of Shanagolden/Kilmoylan in 1855 but with the death of Fr Mortimer Collins P.P. of Shanagolden/Kilmoylan in 1857, Ballyhahill joined with Loughill to form the present day parish.

The name Loughill comes from the Irish Leamh Choill, which means 'the elm wood'. Ballyhahill is translated into Irish as Baile Átha Dhá Thuile that is translated as 'the ford at the mouth of two floods' or 'the town of two floods'.

The area of Loughill developed following the arrival of the Normans to the region in the twelfth century. In the past there were ironworks in Loughill where the large supply of timber in the area was converted into charcoal for the smelting of iron ore.


There are two churches in the parish, one at Loughill, the other at Ballyhahill. The church in Loughill was built in 1819 and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is not clear whether William MacEnery or Daniel O'Sullivan was the parish priest when the church was built. According to a plaque in the right porch, the church was blessed and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into Heaven, by Bishop Murphy DD, and James O'Byrne, PP, on February 12th 1961.

In the grounds of Loughill church, there is a shrine to Mary, which was erected to the memory of Fr James O'Byrne, PP, Loughill, and his sisters, by William and Mary Lucy O'Byrne.

The altar rails in Loughill church were donated by exiles of the parish in New York. The altar was donated by the O'Shaughnessy family, Jointer, Loughill. The base of the altar was donated by exiles from the parish in the USA and England.

Thomas Fitzgerald, Loughill House, donated the crucifix behind the altar. The confessional box was donated by McNamara, USA and Knocknaboula.

Buried within the church are:

Bernard McMahon
PP Glin and Loughill
Died June 26th 1847

Daniel McCoy
PP Glin and Loughill
Died October 21st 1855

Buried in the grounds of the church are:
James Byrne
Parish Priest 1958-1967
Died November 25 1967

Ballyhahill church was built in 1829 under the leadership of Dean Patrick McNamara P.P. of Shanagolden. The church was dedicated to Our Lady of the Visitation. According to a plaque in the main porch, the church was renovated in 1969 and was reopened in 1971 by Bishop Murphy and Patrick O'Dea P.P.

The altar in the church was erected to the memory of Fr W. Walsh P.P. of Longton, Staffordshire, England. There is a statue to Joseph and the Infant in the left transept of the church. To the left of the altar, there is a painting of Jesus and Piontus Pilate washing his hands. There is also a painting of Jesus and the crown of thorns, which was a gift of Mrs Joyce.

To the right of the altar, there are two paintings, one of Mary and Child, and the other of Jesus being laid in the tomb. In the right transept there is a statue to Mary. There is a stained glass window to the Sacred Heart in the right porch.

In the left porch of the church, there is a stained glass window of Mary Immaculate, erected August 15th 1927.

Over the main door of the church, there is a wood carving of the Last Supper.

Buried within the church are:
James Hogan
Parish Priest 1863-1876

John Reeves
Parish Priest 1876-1892
Died September 14 1892

Stephan Danaher
Parish Priest 1892-1918
Died October 16 1918

Buried in the grounds of the church are:

Patrick J. O'Regan
Parish Priest 1973-1985
Died October 3, aged 72

Thomas O'Sullivan
Parish Priest 1948-1958
Died May 28 1958

Before the building of the church in Ballyhahill, parishioners attended mass in Kilmoylan church, the ruins of which are now in the neighbouring parish of Shanagolden/Foynes.

According to Westropp there was an early church in Loughill prior to the building of the parish church in 1819. This church was dedicated to St Colmog. However, only small fragments of the church remained when Westropp carried out his survey of the churches in Limerick in 1905. All that remained of the church were the choir and the nave. St Colmog's well is believed to be near the church ruin.

There was also a church in Kilteery, the site of which was believed to be near the shoreline. Gerard Curtin's "Recollections of Our Native Valley" suggests two reasons for suspecting this to be the location of the site. Firstly, a chalice was found here in the 1940s and, secondly, a large altar shaped stone was found at the same location in 1993.

There was also a church in Lisready but it was probably a mass house as it was mentioned in the Hearth money return of W. Blood in 1784 as such. This mass house continued to be in use until 1814/15.

Lewis also mentions an ancient church on the mountains of Flean. According to tradition three bishops were buried here. We found no trace of this church.



The parish graveyard is situated off the Loughill-Ballyhahill road. The oldest headstone that we came across dated from 1837 and was erected to the memory of Mary Collins (nee Doody), who died on August the 20th of that year.

Mount Trenchard graveyard is multi-denominational. A tower that was part of the Protestant church marks the graveyard. The Vere O'Brien's are buried in the graveyard.

There was a graveyard in Kyle Tinnakil, as well as Ardnakisha graveyard in the townland of Finnoo and Ahenogorp graveyard in the townland of Cloonlahard East. There was also a kyle in Ballyhahill. No traces of any of these sites remain.


Holy Wells

St Colmog's well is situated about 100 yards from the old church ruins in Loughill. St Colmog was reputedly a hermit who had a little church in the area. It is claimed that the well can cure eye ailments.

Tradition had it that the well should be visited before sunrise or after sunset. People usually left pieces of material as a token of their visit to the well. These rags were placed on an oak tree that sheltered the well.

The rounds of the well consisted of walking seven times around the well and on each round reciting one Our Father and three Hail Marys. At the end of each round, a pebble was dropped into the well. So by the end of the rounds of the well the person should have dropped seven pebbles into the well.

It is claimed that a girl who lived locally washed clothes in the well instead of the river. The following day the well was dry and a new well had sprung up a short distance away from the original well. The well has been covered in with topsoil in the recent past.

Danaher also mentions another well in the parish. In the old parish of Kilmoylan, there was a well in the townland of Tinnakilla called Tobercloonagh. The well was built with stone and clay and roofed with flagstones. No tradition about the well survives today.


Mass Rock

"Recollections of Our Native Valley" mentions two mass rocks. One of these was at Cromleac in Tinnakilla townland. From a nearby vantage point all of the surrounding countryside can be seen so it was ideal location to evade the authorities, and escape before a raid could be made.

The second mass rock was near Loughill old bridge, which was near the village of Loughill. This mass rock has now been covered over with soil.



English Name Irish Name Meaning
Ballyhahill Baile Dhá Thuile Town of two floods
Ballyroe An Baile Rua The red town
Carrowbanebeg An Cheathru Bhán The white quarterland
Carrowbanemore as above  
Cloonlahard East Cluain Leathaird Meadow of the inequity
Cloonlahard West as above  
Currabeg An Chora Beag The weir
Curramore as above  
Dromagarraun Drom an Gharráin The ridge of the grove
Finnoo Fionnú Bright hill
Glenbaun An Gleann Bán The white glen
Kilteery Coill Tíre Wood of the district
Knocknabooly East Cnoc na Buaile The hill of the booley
Knocknabooly Middle as above  
Knocknabooly West as above  
Fleanbeg Fliain Beag Meaning uncertain
Knockaclugga Cnoc na Chlogaigh The hill of An Clogach
Knockdown Cnoc Donn Brown hill
Lisready (Clare) Lios an Riadaigh The enclosure of An Riadach
Lisready (Cripps) as above  
Loughill Leamhchoill Elm wood
Mohernagh Motharnach Place of thickets
Mount Trenchard An Cheapach The tillage plot
Tinnakilla Tigh na Coille The house of the wood



List of Priests

Year Parish Priest Curate(s)
1856 Daniel Kennedy Mr Kelly (co-adj.)
1857 Daniel Kennedy Mr Kelly (co-adj.)
1858 Daniel Kennedy James Hogan
1859 Daniel Kennedy James Hogan
1860 Daniel Kennedy James Hogan
1861 Daniel Kennedy James Hogan
1862 Daniel Kennedy James Hogan
1863 Daniel Kennedy William Tuomy
1864 Daniel Kennedy John Mulcahy
1865 Daniel Kennedy John Mulcahy
1866 James Hogan Stephen Hayes
1867 James Hogan Edward Clifford
1868 James Hogan Stephen Danaher
1869 James Hogan Stephen Danaher
1870 James Hogan Stephen Danaher
1871 James Hogan J. O’Shaughnessy
1872 James Hogan J. O’Shaughnessy
1873 James Hogan John Fitzgerald
1874 James Hogan John Fitzgerald
1875 James Hogan John Costello
1876 James Hogan John Costello
1877   John Costello
1878 John Reeves John Costello
1879 John Reeves John Costello
1880 John Reeves John Ryan
1881 John Reeves Laurence Curtin
1882 John Reeves Michael Mulcahy
1883 John Reeves Michael Mulcahy
1884 John Reeves Patrick Kenrick
1885 John Reeves Patrick McNamara
1886 John Reeves Patrick McNamara
1887 John Reeves Patrick McNamara
1888 John Reeves Patrick McNamara
1889 John Reeves Patrick McNamara
1890 John Reeves John Curtin
1891 John Reeves John Curtin
1892 John Reeves John Curtin
1893 Stephen Danaher John Reeves
1894 Stephen Danaher John Reeves
1895 Stephen Danaher John Reeves
1896 Stephen Danaher John Reeves
1897 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1898 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1899 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1900 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1901 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1902 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1903 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1904 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1905 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1906 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1907 Stephen Danaher Michael O’Carroll
1908 Stephen Danaher Patrick McNamara
1909 Stephen Danaher Patrick McNamara
1910 Stephen Danaher Patrick McNamara
1911 Stephen Danaher Patrick McNamara
1912 Stephen Danaher Patrick McNamara
1913 Stephen Danaher Patrick McNamara
1914 Stephen Danaher Patrick McNamara
1915 Stephen Danaher Patrick McNamara
1916 Stephen Danaher Patrick McNamara
1917 Stephen Danaher Patrick McNamara
1918 Stephen Danaher Ed. R. McCarthy
1919 Stephen Danaher Ed. R. McCarthy
1920 Michael O’Connor Ed. R. McCarthy
1921 Michael O’Connor Ed. R. McCarthy
1922 Michael O’Connor Edward Punch
1923 Michael O’Connor J. J. Lane
1924 Michael O’Connor J. J. Lane
1925 Michael O’Connor J. J. Lane
1926 Michael O’Connor M. O’Grady
1927 Michael O’Connor John Carroll
1928 Michael O’Connor John Carroll
1929 Patrick Casey James Lyons
1930 Patrick Casey R. O’Sullivan
1931 Patrick Casey R. O’Sullivan
1932 Patrick Casey R. O’Sullivan
1933 Patrick Casey R. O’Sullivan
1934 Patrick Casey R. O’Sullivan
1935 Patrick Casey R. O’Sullivan
1936 Patrick Casey William McDonnell
1937 Patrick Casey William McDonnell
1938 Patrick Casey William McDonnell
1939 Patrick Casey William McDonnell
1940 Patrick Casey William McDonnell
1941 Michael Ryan William McDonnell
1942 Michael Ryan William McDonnell
1943 Michael Ryan William McDonnell
1944 Michael Ryan John Connors
1945 Michael Ryan John Connors
1946 Michael Ryan John Connors
1947 Michael Ryan John Connors
1948 Michael Ryan Joseph O’Beirne
1949 Thomas O’Sullivan Joseph O’Beirne
1950 Thomas O’Sullivan Joseph O’Beirne
1951 Thomas O’Sullivan Joseph O’Beirne
1952 Thomas O’Sullivan Joseph O’Beirne
1953 Thomas O’Sullivan Joseph O’Beirne
1954 Thomas O’Sullivan Patrick Houlihan
1955 Thomas O’Sullivan Patrick Houlihan
1956 Thomas O’Sullivan Patrick Houlihan
1957 Thomas O’Sullivan Patrick Houlihan
1958 Thomas O’Sullivan Patrick Kelly
1959 James O’Byrne Patrick Guiry
1960 James O’Byrne Patrick Guiry
1961 James O’Byrne Patrick Guiry
1962 James O’Byrne Patrick Guiry
1963 James O’Byrne Richard Murphy
1964 James O’Byrne Samuel Winters
1965 James O’Byrne  
1966 James O’Byrne John J. Slattery
1967 James O’Byrne John J. Slattery
1968 Patrick O’Dea John J. Slattery
1969 Patrick O’Dea James Costello
1970 Patrick O’Dea James Costello
1971 Patrick O’Dea James Costello
1972 Patrick O’Dea James Costello
1973 Patrick O’Dea James Costello
1974 Patrick O’Dea James Costello
1975 Patrick O’Regan James Costello
1976 Patrick O’Regan James Costello
1977 Patrick O’Regan James Costello
1978 Patrick O’Regan James Costello
1979 Patrick O’Regan James Costello
1980 Patrick O’Regan Joseph Shire
1981 Patrick O’Regan Joseph Shire
1982 Patrick O’Regan Joseph Shire
1983 Patrick O’Regan Joseph Shire
1984 Patrick O’Regan Joseph Shire
1985 Patrick O’Regan Joseph Shire
1986 John Sheehy Joseph Shire
1987 John Sheehy Sean Murphy
1988 John Sheehy Sean Murphy
1989 John Sheehy Patrick McManus
1990 John Sheehy Patrick McManus
1991 John Sheehy Patrick McManus
1992 John Sheehy Patrick McManus
1993 John Sheehy Patrick McManus
1994 John Sheehy Patrick McManus
1995 John Sheehy Séan Sweeney
1996 John Sheehy Séan Sweeney
1997 John Sheehy Séan Sweeney
1998 John Sheehy Séan Sweeney
1999 John Sheehy Séan Sweeney
2000 John Sheehy Séan Sweeney
2001 Canon John Sheehy Timothy O'Leary
2002 Canon John Sheehy Timothy O'Leary
2003 Canon John Sheehy Timothy O'Leary
2004 Timothy O'Leary  
2005 Timothy O'Leary  
2006 Timothy O'Leary  
2007 Des O'Grady  

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 | Mass Rock | Townlands | Priests of the Parish

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