Mungret parish contains a striking contrast between the urban Raheen section and rural Crecora. Its location on the outskirts of Limerick City means that this parish is growing rapidly, as the city expands. The current population of the parish is estimated at about 9000.
In the Catholic Directory of 1837, Mungret parish is referred to as Loghmore. In the same year the parish name was changed to Mungret. According to Lewis, the civil parish of Loghmore comprised of Crecora, Mungret, Knocknagall and part of Kilpeacon, with chapels in Crecora and Mungret.
The name Mungret is supposedly derived from the Irish Muine Gairid, meaning 'the Short Hill', or 'the Short Thicket or Grove', although according to 'Limerick, the Rich Land', this definition was a guess by John O'Donovan in 1840. Other Irish forms of the name are Imungram and Moungairid.
Crecora is derived from the Irish Craobh Comhartha, which means 'the sweet scented branch' or 'the tree of the sign'. According to local tradition, a whitethorn bush was growing 300 yards north east of the old church. Pilgrims used to hang signs or tokens from the branches. The old church took its name from this bush.
A diocesan college was opened in Mungret in 1878, and was later taken over by the Jesuits.
Extensive ruins of an early Christian monastery exist in Mungret graveyard. Mungret College overlooks these ruins. The monastery is said to have been founded by St Nessan, who was abbot of Mungret in the 6th century
The bell of Mungret was dug up at Loghmore near the abbey.
There are presently three churches in use in the parish, located in Raheen, Mungret and Crecora.
The church in Raheen was built in 1845, and is dedicated to St Nessan. It was built by Fr Jeremiah Halpin, and completed by Fr Michael Casey, who was also responsible for building Crecora's church in 1864. Raheen church was extended and restored in 1992. A stone over the church door is inscribed with the following:
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
Et in Honorem
A plaque on the wall of the left extension to the church reads:
St Nessan's church
Restored and Extended
Most Rev. J. Newman Bishop
V. Rev. Joseph Dempsey PP
There is a statue to the Sacred Heart located to the left of the altar, inside the church. A statue to the Immaculate Conception is situated on the right hand side of the church. The Stations of the Cross were donated by parishioners.
There are three plaques at the back of the church. The plaque nearest to the main door is dedicated to Fr Patrick D'Arcy, the first president of St Michael's Temperence Society. Fr D'Arcy was a former Parish Priest of Loughmore, and he died on April 27th, 1850.
The centre plaque is dedicated to Jeremiah Halpin, Parish Priest, who died on October 3rd, 1845. During Fr Halpin's time as Parish Priest, the church was re-roofed, although the completion of this was interrupted by the Famine. Fr M. Casey, Parish Priest erected the plaque, in November 1856. The roofing of the church was completed under Fr Casey's direction.
The third plaque is in memory of Archdeacon Browne, Parish Priest, Mungret/Crecora, who died January 30th, 1900, aged 75.
Buried in the grounds of the church is:
Rev. David O'Carroll, PP
4 years PP Mungret
4 years PP Banogue
Died 29th April 1932
Mungret church is dedicated to St Oliver Plunkett, and was built in 1981. Bishop Newman and Fr Eamon Dillane, PP opened it on September 20th 1981. A stained glass window on the right hand side of the church depicts Oliver Plunkett. At the top of the church there is a statue of the Sacred Heart, and a stained glass window of the Holy Spirit. There is a stained glass window over the altar of the Lamb of God.
At the top left of the church there is a statue of Mary, and
a stained glass window of the Bread and Wine. To the left there is an altar
to the Immaculate Conception.
Crecora church was built in 1864, and is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. There is a stained glass window of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the left of the altar, which is to the memory of J. Tierney, C.C. To the right of the altar, there is a stained glass window of the Assumption of the Blessed Lady, which was a gift from the Parishioners to Dean Punch, P.P. 1936 - 1970.
There is a statue of Mary to the left of the altar, and a statue of St Joseph to the right of the altar. A statue of St Theresa is at the back of the church.
There is a beautiful holy water font of two angels in the sacristy.
Buried in the grounds of the church is:
Dean Edward Punch
Directly across the road from the present day church and graveyard in Crecora is the ruin of the previous Crecora church. The church dates from approximately 1847. Several hundred metres further on, there is another church ruin, situated in Crecora old graveyard.
Westropp refers to Knocknagall church in Lemonfield. According to him, this church was dedicated to St Brigid in 1410. The church was in repair in 1657, and in Westropp's time about ten feet of the south wall and 30 feet of the north wall remained. Lemonfield graveyard was very overgrown. However, we came across a wall, which we believe may have been part of Knocknagall church. This wall was approximately 6ft high, and 15ft in length. There was a railing at one end of the wall.
Westropp also mentions a church in Derryknockane, which was a parish in 1633. He states that this parish included Knocknagall in 1657, and adjoined Crewmally, and so may be an alias for either parish. No church site is known.
Westropp also mentions church sites called Killonaghan (near the dry well of St Senan) and Killeenoghty, of which no trace remains.
There are three ruined churches located in Mungret graveyard.
St Nessan founded the monastery in Mungret. According to 'Limerick, the Rich Land', the monastery had six churches and 1500 monks. The abbey was founded in the 6th century. The monastery was plundered on several occasions throughout its existence, three times in the ninth century by the Vikings and once by a local chief Murtagh O'Brien in 1107. In 1179, the King of Munster, Donal Mór O'Brien, granted the monastery and its lands to the Bishop of Limerick, Brictius. The monks of Mungret Abbey were the Canons Regular of the Order of Augustine in the 12th century onward.
According to the Psalter of Cashel, this monastery had six churches within its walls. The Psalter of Cashel disappeared from Cashel after Murrough O'Brien attacked Cashel in 1647.
Extensive ruins remain today, although nothing remains of the original 6th century monastery. These include a small 12th century church, and a ruin known as 'the Abbey', which consists of the nave and chancel of the church. Burial grounds surround all of the ruins.
The oldest church ruin is located in the smallest section of the graveyard, across the road from the main graveyard. This church is believed to have originated between 800-1100.
St Nessan's church is believed to have been built before 1100. It is located on the left of the road from Limerick. This ruin is covered by ivy. The oldest of the three abbey building is by the roadside. The window on the east side is from the 12th century but the church dates from the 10th century.
The largest of the ruins is that of the Abbey. It was built between 1251 and 1272. The ruin is divided into three parts, the chancel to the east, which dates from the 13th century, the nave in the centre, the date of which is unknown, and the western portion of the ruin, which dates from the fifteenth century. There is a tower on the northern side of what was once the priests' residence.
The Abbey was used as a Protestant church until 1822. The Board of Works carried out repair work on the ruins in 1932. The surrounding graveyard is still in use and has been extended in the past 25-30 years.
Mainchín Seoighe relates an interesting story about the Wise Women of Mungret. Mungret was renowned as a monastic school and seat of learning. A contest had been arranged between Mungret and another famous monastic school, to decide which monastery had the more learned scholars. The visiting monks were from Lismore in Co. Waterford.
The monks of Mungret, not wishing to be defeated in the contest,
devised a plan to intimidate the opposition. A number of them dressed up as
women on the day of the contest, and began washing clothes near a ford that
the other monks would have to cross. One of the monks asked a washerwoman
for directions to the monastery in Irish. The 'washerwoman' replied in flawless
Latin. A second 'washerwoman' gave more information in flawless Greek. The
monks decided that if the washerwomen were fluent in Greek and Latin, then
the learned scholars of the monastery would surely defeat them in the contest.
They returned home, leaving Mungret monastery unchallenged.
Mungret graveyard is overlooked by Mungret College. The graveyard is in four sections. The present day section is to the left of the church ruin, and is enclosed by a wall.
Across the road from the ruin is another smaller section. What appears to be the ruin of a small chapel is situated in the centre of this section. The oldest headstone that we came across here was in memory of David Fitzgerald, PP for twenty years, who died on July 4th 1832, aged 45.
The third section is that of the Jesuits. There are a number of plain crosses in this section, but the names of those Jesuits buried here do not appear on most of the crosses.
The main section of the Mungret graveyard surrounds extensive ruins. An information board within the graveyard states that the ruins include a pre-Norman church, which dates from around 1100.
There are a number of tombs in the graveyard. In the older section we found tombs to John Wilson Vokes and family, the Shute family, and the Masseys. We also found a tomb to Beauchamp.
There are a number of plaques in the ruin, which are in memory of Michael McNamara, who died April 1892, Denis McCarthy, 1792, and John Hevnes, 1756. A headstone of interest in this graveyard is that of Seamus Ó Dálaigh, a Gaelic poet who died in 1810.
The oldest headstone that we found in this section was to
John Garvy who died December 30th 1773, aged 29.
Crecora graveyard is located beside the present day church. This graveyard is 25-30 years old.
The old graveyard in Crecora is located on the hill across from the present day church. This graveyard surrounds an old church ruin. Both Catholics and Protestants are buried here. There are a number of tombs in the graveyard. Stone markers can be found throughout the graveyard. Many of the headstones have fallen, and of those that are still standing, the inscriptions are quite worn. The graveyard itself is slightly overgrown. The oldest headstone that we found was to John Eustace, who died on January 20th 1770, aged 60.
There is also a graveyard in the townland of Lemonfield, which
is known locally as Lemonfield graveyard. However, Westropp refers to the
church ruin situated in this graveyard as Knocknagall. The oldest headstone
that we came across here was in memory of Mary Anne Watson, who died on the
5th of April 1835, aged 9. This graveyard is quite overgrown, so many of the
headstones were impossible to access.
We did not come across any Holy Wells during our visit to Mungret/Raheen/Crecora parish. However, Danaher mentions a well in the parish of Mungret, in the townland of Skehacreggaun, called Toberpatrick. The well was about eight feet square and seven feet deep, with a flight of steps leading down to water level. According to legend the well lost its virtues when a woman lost clothes in it. Devotions are no longer held here and the location of the well is no longer known.
There was a Holy Well near the abbey but according to tradition,
it moved when someone tried to wash their feet in it. The location is now
A grotto to Mary has been erected at the entrance to Mungret village.
St Nessan is reputed to have founded the monastery in Mungret. St Nessan was also known as St Nessan the Leper, and he was a disciple of St Patrick according to local folklore. However, St Nessan died in 551 or 561 and so this makes it extremely unlikely that he could ever have been a disciple of Patrick. Nessan may have been a disciple of St Ailbe from Emly.
In his book 'Portrait of Limerick', Mainchín Seoighe
relates a tale of how St Nessan met St Patrick, and went on to become the
founder of Mungret monastery.
The hill of Knockea was where Lómán, the King of Uí Fidhgeinte met St Patrick. Lómán ordered a feast to be prepared for Patrick and Mantán, a deacon in Patrick's group assisted in preparing the feast. A company of jugglers arrived and asked Patrick for food. Patrick sent them to ask Lómán or Mantán for food but both men refused the jugglers.
Just then a youth named Neassán appeared carrying a
cooked ram on his back for the feast. His mother accompanied him. Patrick
asked Neassán for the ram and Neassán gave it to Patrick against
his mother's wishes. Patrick then gave the ram to the jugglers and instantly
the ground opened and swallowed them. Patrick cursed Lómán and
Mantán and baptised Neassán, making him a deacon and founded
a church for him in Mungret.
|English Name||Irish Name||Meaning|
|Ashfort||Eanach an Róistigh||The marsh of An Róisteach|
|Ballinroche North||Baile an Róistigh||The town of An Róistigh|
|Ballinroche East||as above|
|Ballinveala||Baile an Bhialaigh||The town of An Bialach|
|Ballinveelish||Baile Mhílis||The town of Mílis|
|Ballyclogh||Baile na Cloiche||The town of the stone structure|
|Ballycummin||Baile Chiomín||The town of Coimín|
|Ballyduane||Baile Uí Dhubháin||The town of Ó Dubháin|
|Ballykeefe||Béal an Chaoith||The mouth of the swamp|
|Ballymacashel||Baile Uí Mhaolchaisil||The town of Ó Maolchaisil|
|Ballymurphy||Baile Uí Mhurchú||The town of Ó Murchú|
|Ballyshane||Baile Sheáin||The town of Seán|
|Ballynoe||An Baile Nua||The new town|
|Barnakyle||An Bhearna Choill||The gap of hazel|
|Baunacloka||Bán an Chócaigh||The lea-ground of An Cócach|
|Bunlicky||Bun Leice||Low ground of the flagstone|
|Caheranardrish||Cathair an Fhardorais||The stone fort of the outer doorway|
|Caheravally||Cathair an Bhachlaigh||The stone fort of the shepherd|
|Camheen||Caimchín||Small winding feature|
|Castlemungret||Caisleán Mhungairt||Meaning uncertain|
|Cloghkeating||Cloch an Chéitinnigh||The stone structure of An Céitinneach|
|Cloghacloka||Cloch an Chócaigh||The stone structure of An Cócach|
|Conigar||An Coinicéar||The rabbit warren|
|Corbally||An Corrbhaile||The noticeable town|
|Crecora||Craobh Chomhartha||Tree of the sign|
|Dooneen||An Dúinín||The small fort|
|Dooneen Upper||as above|
|Derryknockane||Doire an Chnocáin||The oakwood of the hillock|
|Derrybeg||Doire Beag||Small thicket|
|Dooradoyle||Tuar an Daill||The animal enclosure of the blind person|
|Dromdarrig||An Drom Dearg||The red ridge|
|Gouldavoher||Gabhal an Dá Bhóthar||The fork of the two roads|
|Greenhills||Cnoc na Buaile Glaise||The hill of the green booley|
|Greenmount||An Ghráig||The hamlet|
|Islanduane||Oiléan Uí Dhubháin||The island of Ó Dubháin|
|Jockeyhall||Leaca an Mheantáin||The hillside of the titmouse|
|Lemonfield||Léim an Fhia||The leap of the deer|
|Lissanalta||Lios an Fháltaigh||The enclosure of An Fáltach|
|Logavinshire||Log a’Mhuinséir||The hollow of the manger|
|Loughanleagh||An Lochán Liath||The grey small lake|
|Loughmore||An Loch Mór||The big lake|
|Lurraga||An Lorga||The shin|
|Marlbrook||Glaise an Mharla||Meaning uncertain|
|Rathmale||An Ráth Maol||Derelict rath|
|Shanaclogh||An tSeanchloch||The old stone structure|
|Skehacreggaun||Sceach an Chreagáin||The hawthorn of the rocky place|
|Sluggary||An Slogaire||The swallow hole|
|Tonbaun||An Tóin Bhán||The white bottomland|
|1704 - ?||William Ryan|
|? - 1764||John Hynes|
|1764 - 1777||Edward O’Brien|
|1779 - 1791||Michael MacNamara|
|1791 - 1822||Michael MacNamara|
|1822 - 1824||Patrick MacNamara|
|1824 - 1840||James Moore|
|1840 – 1841||Fr. O’Rourke|
|1841 – 1842||James Moore|
|1840||James Moore||Patrick Ryan|
|1841||James Moore||Patrick Ryan|
|1842||James Moore||Patrick Ryan|
|1843||James Moore||Patrick Ryan|
|1844||James Moore||Patrick Ryan|
|1849||Patrick D’Arcy||Thomas McIniry|
|1850||Patrick D’Arcy||Thomas McIniry|
|1851||Michael Casey||Thomas McIniry|
|1852||Michael Casey||Thomas McIniry|
|1853||Michael Casey||Thomas McIniry|
|1854||Michael Casey||Thomas McIniry|
|1855||Michael Casey||Thomas McIniry|
|1856||Michael Casey||Thomas McIniry|
|1857||Michael Casey||Robert Somers|
|1858||Michael Casey||Robert Somers|
|1859||Michael Casey||Robert Somers|
|1860||Michael Casey||Robert Somers|
|1861||Michael Casey||D. Carroll|
|1862||Michael Casey||Robert Somers|
|1863||Michael Casey||Timothy Halpin|
|1864||Michael Casey||Timothy Halpin|
|1865||Michael Casey||Timothy Halpin|
|1866||Michael Casey||Timothy Halpin|
|1867||Michael Casey||Timothy Halpin|
|1868||Michael Casey||Timothy Halpin|
|1869||Michael Casey||Timothy Halpin|
|1870||Michael Casey||Timothy Halpin|
|1871||Michael Casey||Timothy Halpin|
|1872||Thomas Browne||Timothy Halpin|
|1873||Thomas Browne||Timothy Halpin|
|1874||Thomas Browne||Martin Slattery|
|1875||Thomas Browne||Martin Slattery|
|1876||Thomas Browne||Martin Slattery|
|1877||Thomas Browne||Edmond Clifford|
|1878||Thomas Browne||Edmond Clifford|
|1879||Thomas Browne||Edmond Clifford|
|1880||Thomas Browne||Daniel Ryan|
|1881||Thomas Browne||Daniel Ryan|
|1882||Thomas Browne||James Glesson|
|1883||Thomas Browne||John O’Donnell|
|1884||Thomas Browne||R. O’Kennedy|
|1885||Thomas Browne||R. O’Kennedy|
|1886||Thomas Browne||William Mulcahy|
|1887||Thomas Browne||William Mulcahy|
|1888||Thomas Browne||Maurice Leahy|
|1889||Thomas Browne||M. McCoy|
|1890||Thomas Browne||M. McCoy|
|1891||Thomas Browne||D. O’Driscoll|
|1892||Thomas Browne||D. O’Driscoll|
|1893||Thomas Browne||Timothy Riedy (Reidy)|
|1894||Thomas Browne||Timothy Riedy|
|1895||Thomas Browne||Timothy Riedy|
|1896||Thomas Browne||Timothy Riedy|
|1897||Thomas Browne||Timothy Riedy|
|1898||Thomas Browne||Timothy Riedy|
|1899||Thomas Browne||Timothy Riedy|
|1900||Archdeacon Thomas Browne||Timothy Riedy|
|1901||William Fitzgerald||Timothy Riedy|
|1902||William Fitzgerald||Timothy Riedy|
|1903||William Fitzgerald||Timothy Riedy|
|1904||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1905||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1906||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1907||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1908||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1909||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1910||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1911||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1912||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1913||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1914||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1915||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1916||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1917||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1918||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1919||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1920||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1921||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1922||William Fitzgerald||John Tierney|
|1923||Arthur O’Leary||John Tierney|
|1924||Arthur O’Leary||John Tierney|
|1925||Arthur O’Leary||John Tierney|
|1926||Arthur O’Leary||John Tierney|
|1927||David O’Connell||John Tierney|
|1928||David O’Connell||John Tierney|
|1929||David O’Connell||John Tierney|
|1930||David O’Connell||John Tierney|
|1931||David O’Connell||John Tierney|
|1932||David O’Connell||John Tierney|
|1933||Patrick Thornhill||John Tierney|
|1934||Patrick Thornhill||John Tierney|
|1935||Patrick Thornhill||Philip Enright|
|1936||Patrick Thornhill||Philip Enright|
|1937||Edmund Punch||Philip Enright|
|1938||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1939||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1940||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1941||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1942||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1943||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1944||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1945||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1946||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1947||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1948||Edmund Punch||Michael Connolly|
|1949||Edmund Punch||Michael Kennedy|
|1950||Edmund Punch||Michael Kennedy|
|1951||Canon Edmund Punch||Michael Kennedy|
|1952||Canon Edmund Punch||Michael Kennedy|
|1953||Canon Edmund Punch||Michael Kennedy|
|1954||Canon Edmund Punch||Michael Kennedy|
|1955||Canon Edmund Punch||Michael Kennedy|
|1956||Canon Edmund Punch||Michael Purtill|
|1957||Canon Edmund Punch||Michael Purtill|
|1958||Canon Edmund Punch||David McNamee|
|1959||Canon Edmund Punch||David McNamee|
|1960||Canon Edmund Punch||David McNamee|
|1961||Canon Edmund Punch||David McNamee|
|1962||Canon Edmund Punch||David McNamee|
|1963||Canon Edmund Punch||David McNamee|
|1964||Canon Edmund Punch||Charles O’Neill|
|1965||Canon Edmund Punch||Charles O’Neill|
|1966||Dean Edmund Punch||Charles O’Neill|
|1967||Dean Edmund Punch||Charles O’Neill|
|1968||Dean Edmund Punch||David McNamee|
|James B. Connellan|
|1969||Dean Edmund Punch||David McNamee|
|James B. Connellan|
|1970||Dean Edmund Punch||James B. Connellan|
|1971||James Culhane||James B. Connellan|
|1972||Daniel Gallagher||James B. Connellan|
|1973||Daniel Gallagher||James B. Connellan|
|1974||Daniel Gallagher||James B. Connellan|
|1975||Daniel Gallagher||James B. Connellan|
|1976||Joseph Shinnors||James B. Connellan|
|1977||Joseph Shinnors||James B. Connellan|
|1978||Joseph Shinnors||James B. Connellan|
|1979||Joseph Shinnors||Liam Enright|
|1980||Joseph Shinnors||Liam Enright|
|1981||Eamonn Dillane||Liam Enright|
|1982||Eamonn Dillane||Liam Enright|
|1983||Eamonn Dillane||Liam Enright|
|1984||Eamonn Dillane||Liam Enright|
|1985||Eamonn Dillane||Liam Enright|
|1986||Eamonn Dillane||Liam Enright|
|1987||Eamonn Dillane||Liam Enright|
|1988||Eamonn Dillane||Liam Enright|
|1989||Eamonn Dillane||Liam Enright|
|1990||Joseph Dempsey||Liam Enright|
|1991||Joseph Dempsey||Liam Enright|
|1992||Joseph Dempsey||Liam Enright|
|1993||Joseph Dempsey||Liam Enright|
|1994||Joseph Dempsey||Liam Enright|
|1995||Joseph Dempsey||Liam Enright|
|1996||Joseph Dempsey||Liam Enright|
|1997||Joseph Dempsey||Liam Enright|
|Derek Leonard D.D.|
|1998||Joseph Dempsey||Patrick Costello|
|Derek Leonard D.D.|
|1999||Michael Noonan||Patrick Costello|
|Derek Leonard D.D.|
|David Canon MacNamee|
|2000||Michael Noonan||David Canon MacNamee|
|2001||Michael Noonan||David Canon MacNamee|
|2002||Michael Noonan||David Canon MacNamee|
|2003||Michael Noonan||David Canon MacNamee|
|2004||Michael Noonan||David Canon MacNamee|
|2005||Michael Noonan||David Canon MacNamee|
|Eamonn Fitzgibbon (W/E Asst.)|
|2006||Michael Noonan||Jeremiah Brouder|
|Eamonn Fitzgibbon (W/E Asst.)|
|2007||Michael Noonan||Jeremiah Brouder|
|Eamonn Fitzgibbon (W/E Asst.)|
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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