Most of the parish of Parteen/Meelick is situated in the county of Clare, although the Coonagh part of the parish is in the county of Limerick. Parteen, Meelick and Coonagh were assigned to the Diocese of Limerick at the Synod of Rathbrassill in 1111 AD when the boundaries of the dioceses were drawn up.
The village of Parteen was formerly known as Ardnacrusha but when the hydroelectric station opened in the area, the plant took the name for the station. In response, the locals decided to rename their village Parteen. Today the population of the parish is around 4,800 and growing due to the area's close proximity to Limerick City.
The name Parteen is derived from the Irish An Póirtín meaning the little port or landing place. Meelick is from the Irish Míliuc, which in turn is derived from Máighe Fhliuch, or the low marshy land. The Irish for Coonagh is Cuanach, a place indented with bays and harbours.
A notable feature of the parish is the Ardnacrusha HydroElectric Power Station. Building of the station commenced in 1925 under the direction of the German firm of Siemens & Schuckard of Berlin. As the Irish Free State was in its infancy, this was more than just a scheme that would give electricity to the country as a whole - it was also to show that the new country could provide for its citizens.
Thousands flocked to the area to work on this vast project. Rivers and streams had to be re-routed to accommodate the project, bridges were constructed, a 7 ½ mile stretch of land was dug out to form the Head Race from the Weir to Ardnacrusha, new railway lines were laid, and the power station itself was built.
The total cost of the project, completed in 1929, was £5
½ million. Taoiseach William T. Cosgrave opened it on July 22nd 1929
and by the end of the year it was supplying electricity into the national
There are presently two churches in use in the parish, one in the village of Parteen, and the other in Meelick village. Both churches were built during the term of Fr Edmond Sheehy as parish priest.
Parteen church is dedicated to St Patrick and was built between 1831 and 1835 at a cost of £764. The church was renovated in the 1950's, when a new chancel and porch were added.
On the wall of the church there is a Mission Cross that commemorates a mission by the Augustinian Fathers in April 1879. Inside, the church has a high ceiling and stained glass windows of a plain design.
There is a crucifix over the high altar. The background of the altar is blue. To the right of the altar, there is a statue to St Joseph and to the left of the altar there is a statue to the Virgin Mary.
Buried within the church are:
Died June 18 1874, aged 74
Parish Priest 1850 - 1874
Died November 24 1834, aged 52
Parish Priest 1816 - 1834
Buried in the grounds of the church are:
Died October 5 1957, aged 82
Parish Priest 1927 - 1949
Died June 22 1902, aged 75
Parish Priest 1878 - 1902
Canon Edmond Russell
Died February 29 1928, aged 80
Parish Priest 1902 - 1926
On the plaque to Fr Sheehy he is titled as parish priest of Kilquane & Meelick while Fr O'Sullivan is titled as parish priest of Parteen & Meelick.
Meelick church is dedicated to St John the Baptist and was built in the early 1830s by Fr Sheehy. This church was renovated in 1905. The church is surrounded by a graveyard. To the right of the church grounds, there is a seat that is to the memory of Patrick Quinn who died in 1997.
Inside the church, there is a statue to St Joseph on the left-hand side at the back of the church with a statue to St John the Baptist on the opposite side. Towards the centre of the church there are statues to the Virgin Mary and Sacred Heart. The ceiling of the church is wooden.
The stained glass window behind the altar is divided into three sections and depicts (from left to right) the Virgin Mary, the Sacred Heart and St Joseph. The artist, Harry Clarke, designed the windows. To the left of the altar, there is a shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Help while to the right there is a shrine to The Baptism of Jesus by St John the Baptist.
Prior to the building of the present church in Parteen village in 1835, the church was situated between the present village and Kilquane graveyard. This church was built around 1704 and dedicated to St Patrick. No trace of the building remains standing today.
Before the building of the present day church in Meelick, there was a thatched chapel in Mountgordon at the foot of Brennan's Hill. No trace of this chapel now remains.
There is a church ruin in the townland of Kilquane. This church was ruined in the 17th century when it was destroyed during the Confederate Wars. However the first church on this site is believed to have dated from the 7th or 8th century. In The History & Folklore of Parteen and Meelick by Dónal Ó Riain and Seámas Ó Cinnéide, the authors suggest that the original church may have been the place of worship of the local aristocratic family.
Kilquane means the church of Cúan and mass is believed to have been celebrated here from the 10th century. With the building of the new church in Parteen in 1834, Kilquane started to fall into decay and all that remains is a small part of one wall of the church, which is covered in ivy.
The church ruin is not visible from the roadside but it is accessible through a roadway on the land of the Holmes family. Mass is usually celebrated once a year at the site on August 15th, weather permitting. The church ruin is about ½ mile south of Parteen village.
Locals also claim that there was an old church called Sean
Chill that was located on Heffernan's land.
There is a new graveyard in the parish located in Ballycannon. This graveyard is under the care of Clare County Council and is located at a site midway between Parteen and Meelick. This graveyard was opened in 1987.
The graveyard at Kilquane is situated around the site of the church ruin. This graveyard contains a large number of tombs and vaults. There are large tombs to the Holmes and Fitzgerald families. The graveyard is kept in good condition and the oldest headstone that we came across was to the memory of Joane Mynaha who died in April 1708.
According to the Ordnance Survey Letters Clare Vol. II of 1839 Philip Mac Adam is also buried in Kilquane graveyard. Mac Adam showed the army of King William where they could cross the River Shannon to attack the city of Limerick from the north in 1691. A chain was placed across the river to enable the soldiers to cross the river. The chain was tide to a rock on the north side, which became known as Carraig a tSlabhra, the Rock of the Chain.
MacAdam died on 24 June 1729 at the age of 33 but during our
visit to Kilquane cemetery we were unable to located Mac Adam's grave.
There is also a graveyard in the church grounds in Meelick village. The oldest headstone that we came across was to the Nix family. One of the inscriptions on the headstone was to Robert Nix who died on December 18th 1911.
There is a graveyard in Moneennagliggin South called Moneen.
This graveyard is situated about 200 yards form the roadside. From the graveyard
there is a clear view of the surrounding countryside. The graveyard has fallen
into disuse in recent years. There are some tombs in the graveyard. The oldest
headstone that we came across was from 1801 and it is to the memory of Margaret
Donohue who died on July 7th of that year aged 17. There is no evidence of
a church at this site.
There is also a famine graveyard in Rossmadda, near the Headrace canal belonging to the power station in Ardnacrusha. There was also a children's burial ground at this site. The site is visible but is now overgrown by trees.
According to local man John White, a number of Roman Catholics are buried in the grounds of the Church of Ireland church in Meelick. This church is sometimes referred to Punchbowl church even though it is in the townland of Knockroe. Three catholic families use this graveyard, the Ringroses, the Frosts, and the Woods. According to The History & Folklore of Parteen and Meelick there is a headstone to the Ringrose family in the graveyard. Today four plots to various members of the Frost family are clearly visible in the graveyard.
Alongside the main road in Meelick in the townland of Knockalisheen, there is a famine graveyard called Killavoha. The name is derived from the Irish Cill a Bothar, which means the Church of the Road. However, there is no evidence that a church was ever on this site. There is only one visible headstone in this small, narrow graveyard. It is to the memory of John Brinan (Brennan) who died on March 22nd 1727, aged 32.
There are references to a burial ground in Coonagh and a place
for unbaptised children called Cealltrach in the townland of Clonconane in
The History and Folklore of Parteen and Meelick.
There is a Holy Well in Ballycannon North that is situated near the roadside at the back of a disused dwelling house. The well is no longer visited. Traditions about the well were handed down through the generations. The well is now over grown and is near a stream that passes behind the house.
There is a shrine to Our Lady at O'Connor's in Athlunkard.
It was erected in the mid-1960's.
|English Name||Irish Name||Meaning|
|Athlunkard||Ath an Longphuirt||The ford of the boatstead|
|Ballycannan East||Baile Uí Chainín||The town of Cannon|
|Ballycannan West||as above|
|Ballyfineen||Baile Fhinghín||The town of Finghin|
|Ballyglass||An Baile Glas||The green town|
|Ballykeelaun||Baile Uí Chaolain||O’Keelan’s town|
|Blackwater||An Dubh Uisce||The Black Water|
|Boolanacausk||Bolán na Cásca||The cowpasture at Easter|
|Bullsfarm||Páirc an dTairach|
|Cappantymore East||Capach an Tí Mhór||The tillage plot of the nettles|
|Cappantymore West||as above|
|Cloonoughter||Cluain Uachtar||The uppermost meadow|
|Clondrinagh||Cluain Draighineach||The meadow of the blackthorn|
|Coonagh Lower||An Cuanach||A place indented with bays|
|Coonagh Upper||as above|
|Derrybeg||An Doire beag||The little oak wood|
|Derrymore||An Doire mór||The great oak wood|
|Drummin||An Drummín||The little ridge|
|Fairyhill||Cnoc na Síog||The hill of the Fairies|
|Garraun||An Garrán||A shrubbery|
|Glennagross||Gleann na gCros||The valley of the crosses|
|Gortatogher||Gort an Tóchair||The field of the causeway|
|Gortgarraun||Gort an Gharrán||The garden of the shrubbery|
|Kilquane||Cill Chúain||The church of Cúan|
|Knockalisheen||Cnoc Lisín||The hill of the little fort|
|Knockballynameath||Cnoc Bhaile na Méad||The hill of the town of the Meads|
|Knocknaskeagh||Cnoc na Sceach||The hill of the thorn bushes|
|Knockroe||An Cnoc Rua||The red hills|
|Lakyle||Leamh Choill||The elm wood|
|Meelick||The low marshy land|
|Moneenagliggin North or Boston or Moneen||Móinín na gCloigeann||The little meadow of the skulls|
|Moneenagliggin South||as above|
|Parkroe||An Pháirc Rua||The red field|
|Parteen||An Poirtín||The little port|
|Reanabrone||Réidh na Brón||A marshy flat of the millstone|
|Rosmadda East||Ros Madadh||The dog’s wood|
|Rosmadda West||as above|
|St. Thomas Island|
|Shannakyle||An Sean Choill||The old wood|
|Stonepark||Páirc na gCloch||The park of the stones|
|Woodcockhill||Cnoc na gCreabhar||The hill of the woodcocks|
|1704 - ?||Francis Grady|
|1722 - 1737||Bartholomew MacNamara|
|1737 - 1740||Christopher Bermingham|
|1740 - 1763||Francis Nolan|
|1763 - 1769||Cornelius Kirby|
|1769 - 1794||James Ryan|
|1794 - 1806||James Ryan|
|1806 - 1816||Denis Cahill|
|1816 - 1834||Edmond Sheehy|
|1834 – 1836||Maurice Fitzgibbon|
|1837||Maurice Fitzgibbon||Michael Egan|
|1840||Maurice Fitzgibbon||Garrett O’Sullivan|
|1841||Maurice Fitzgibbon||Garrett O’Sullivan|
|1842||Maurice Fitzgibbon||Garrett O’Sullivan|
|1843||Maurice Fitzgibbon||Garrett O’Sullivan|
|1844||Maurice Fitzgibbon||Garrett O’Sullivan|
|1845||Maurice Fitzgibbon||Garrett O’Sullivan|
|1846||Maurice Fitzgibbon||Garrett O’Sullivan|
|1847||Maurice Fitzgibbon||Garrett O’Sullivan|
|1848||Maurice Fitzgibbon||Garrett O’Sullivan|
|1849||James O’Moore||James O’Donnell|
|1850||James O’Moore||Patrick Reeves|
|1851||No mention in this year’s||Catholic Directory|
|1852||Garrett O’Sullivan||Patrick Reeves|
|1853||Garrett O’Sullivan||Patrick Reeves|
|1854||Garrett O’Sullivan||D. O’Connor DD|
|1855||Garrett O’Sullivan||D. O’Connor DD|
|1856||Garrett O’Sullivan||D. O’Connor D.D.|
|1857||Garrett O’Sullivan||D. O’Connor D.D.|
|1858||Garrett O’Sullivan||D. O’Connor D.D.|
|1859||Garrett O’Sullivan||D. O’Connor D.D.|
|1860||Garrett O’Sullivan||D. O’Connor D.D.|
|1861||Garrett O’Sullivan||D. O’Connor D.D.|
|1862||Garrett O’Sullivan||D. O’Connor D.D.|
|1863||Garrett O’Sullivan||D. O’Connor D.D.|
|1864||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1865||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1866||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1867||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1868||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1869||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1870||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1871||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1872||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1873||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1874||Garrett O’Sullivan||Jeremiah Halpin|
|1875||James Enraght||Thomas Graham|
|1876||James Enraght||John Doody|
|1877||James Enraght||John Doody|
|1878||James Enraght||John Doody|
|1879||Luke Glesson||John Doody|
|1880||Luke Glesson||John Doody|
|1881||Luke Glesson||John Conway|
|1883||Luke Glesson||Edmond Tracey|
|1884||Luke Glesson||Edmond Tracey|
|1885||Luke Glesson||Edmond Tracey|
|1886||Luke Glesson||Edmond Tracey|
|1887||Luke Glesson||Edmond Tracey|
|1888||Luke Glesson||Edmund Russell|
|1889||Luke Glesson||David Hanly|
|1890||Luke Glesson||David Hanly|
|1891||Luke Glesson||David Hanly|
|1892||Luke Glesson||David Hanly|
|1893||Luke Glesson||David Hanly|
|1894||Luke Glesson||David Hanly|
|1895||Luke Glesson||David Hanly|
|1896||Luke Glesson||David Hanly|
|1897||Luke Glesson||David Hanly|
|1898||Luke Glesson||David Hanly|
|1899||Luke Glesson||Thomas Hogan|
|1900||Luke Glesson||Michael Hayes|
|1901||Luke Glesson||John Tierney|
|1902||Luke Glesson||John Tierney|
|1903||Luke Glesson||William O’Dwyer|
|1904||Edmund Russell*||William O’Dwyer|
|1905||Edmund Russell||William O’Dwyer|
|1906||Edmund Russell||David Barry|
|1907||Edmund Russell||David Barry|
|1908||Edmund Russell||David Barry|
|1909||Edmund Russell||Stephen O’Dea|
|1910||Edmund Russell||Stephen O’Dea|
|1911||Edmund Russell||Stephen O’Dea|
|1912||Edmund Russell||Stephen O’Dea|
|1913||Edmund Russell||Stephen O’Dea|
|1914||Edmund Russell||John Molony|
|1915||Edmund Russell||John Molony|
|1916||Edmund Russell||John Molony|
|1917||Edmund Russell||John Molony|
|1918||Edmund Russell||John Molony|
|1919||Edmund Russell||John Molony|
|1921||Edmund Russell||Patrick Ruddle|
|1922||Canon Edmund Russell||Patrick Ruddle|
|1923||Canon Edmund Russell||Patrick Ruddle|
|1924||Canon Edmund Russell||M. Molony|
|1925||Canon Edmund Russell||Ed. Condon|
|1926||Canon Edmund Russell||Ed. Condon|
|1927||Thomas Hogan||Ed. Condon|
|1928||John Moloney||Ed. Condon|
|1929||John Moloney||John Kelly|
|1930||John Moloney||John Kelly|
|1931||John Moloney||John Kelly|
|1932||John Moloney||John Kelly|
|1933||John Moloney||James Culhane|
|1934||John Moloney||John Halpin|
|1935||John Moloney||John Halpin|
|1936||John Moloney||John Halpin|
|1937||John Moloney||John Halpin|
|1938||John Moloney||John Halpin|
|1939||John Moloney||John Halpin|
|1940||John Moloney||John O’Donnell|
|1941||John Moloney||John O’Donnell|
|1942||John Moloney||John O’Donnell|
|1943||John Moloney||John O’Donnell|
|1944||John Moloney||John O’Donnell|
|1945||John Moloney||John O’Donnell|
|1946||John Moloney||John O’Donnell|
|1947||John Moloney||John O’Donnell|
|1948||John Moloney||John O’Donnell|
|1949||John Moloney||John O’Donnell|
|1960||David Rea||Francis Moriarty|
|1961||David Rea||Francis Moriarty|
|1962||Michael Purtill||Patrick Howard|
|1963||Michael Purtill||David Browne|
|1964||Michael Purtill||David Browne|
|1965||Michael Purtill||David Browne|
|1966||Michael Purtill||David Browne|
|1967||Michael Purtill||David Browne|
|1968||Michael Purtill||David Browne|
|1969||Michael Purtill||David Browne|
|1970||Timothy Culhane||David Browne|
|1971||Timothy Culhane||David Browne|
|1972||Timothy Culhane||David Browne|
|1973||Timothy Culhane||Bernard O’Connell|
|1974||Timothy Culhane||Bernard O’Connell|
|1975||Timothy Culhane||Bernard O’Connell|
|1976||Timothy Culhane||Albert Nix|
|1977||Michael Frawley||Bernard O’Connell|
|1978||Michael Frawley||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1979||Michael Frawley||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1980||Michael Frawley||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1981||Gerard M. Griffin||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1982||Gerard M. Griffin||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1983||Gerard M. Griffin||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1984||Gerard M. Griffin||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1985||Gerard M. Griffin||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1986||Gerard M. Griffin||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1987||Thomas Coughlan||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1988||Thomas Coughlan||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1989||Thomas Coughlan||Anthony Mulvihill|
|1990||Thomas Coughlan||Terence Loughran|
|1992||Thomas Coughlan||William Aherne|
|1993||Thomas Coughlan||Donn Shelly|
|1994||Thomas Coughlan||Donn Shelly|
|1995||Thomas Coughlan||Donn Shelly|
|1996||Thomas Coughlan||Laurence Madden|
|1997||Thomas Coughlan||Laurence Madden|
|1998||Liam Kelly||Laurence Madden|
|1999||Liam Kelly||Laurence Madden|
|2000||Liam Kelly||Laurence Madden|
|2001||Liam Kelly||Brendan Fitzgerald|
|2002||Liam Kelly||Brendan Fitzgerald|
|2003||Liam Kelly||Fred McDonnell|
|2004||Liam Kelly||Fred McDonnell|
|2005||Liam Kelly||Fred McDonnell|
|2006||Liam Kelly||Fred McDonnell|
|2007||Tom Carroll||Fred McDonnell|
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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