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Rathkeale Church | Church Ruins

Church Ruins

St Bernard's church
© St Bernard's church

There are some older church sites in the parish. Ballyallinan church is better known as the church of Beinid or St Bernard's church. The site of this small church is near St. Bernard's well. The church is in good condition and an altar has been erected in the body of the church. Large crowds attend Mass when it is said here each year on August 20th, the feast day of St Bernard.

Rathnaseer church ruin
© Rathnaseer church ruin

Rathnaseer church is about two miles south of Rathkeale. This ruin is overgrown by trees and bushes but it is still visible from the roadside. Westropp measured the nave and chancel in 1905 as 37 feet by 23 1/2 feet and 19 feet by 16 1/2 feet. In the past Rathnasser was a parish.

Robert Waspayl reputedly gave the church of Rathkeale to the abbey of Keynsham in Somersetshire between the years of 1212 and 1228. This church was burned by the English lead by Malby in 1579. The Protestant church was built in 1831 near the site of the former church.

Westropp also mentions a church called Kilcolman Superior in the parish of Rathkeale. The townlands of Kilcolman East and West are also in the parish of Knockaderry/Cloncagh. There was also a church in Kilsmattyre, which according to Westropp, the Rev. J. Dowd said might have been 'Castlematrix' near Rathkeale. However, no such church is now known.

Rathkeale abbey
© Rathkeale abbey

The abbey is situated at the upper end of the Main St. and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the instructions of its founder Gilbert Harvey and his descendant Eleanor Purcell. It was founded in 1289. Augustinians from the Order of St Aroasia officiated at the Abbey. It was claimed that in 1436, St. Mary the Virgin worked several miracles here. The abbey was granted to Sir H. Wallop after the death of the prior of the abbey Gerot Baluff in the Desmond Rebellion. The monastery was officially suppressed in 1542 but it is thought that a small community of canons may have remained there until 1581. The abbey is in good condition and Muintir na Tire renovated it in 1970.

Rathkeale Church | Church Ruins

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