LOCAL HISTORY - PAUL
In the centuries preceeding the church
reforms of the twelfth century which led to the creation of dioceses and parishes under a central episcopal authority, the
religious history of much of West Clare belongs, for the most part, to the island monastery of St. Senan at Iniscathaigh (Scattery).
St.Senan, from time immemorial, was patron saint of the tribes of Corca Baiscinn and churches associated with his name are
found throughout that territory. Many of these ancient churches and attaching termons (i.e. church lands) became the nuclei
of the new diocesan parishes in the twelfth century.
The twelfth century reforms
were designed to dismantle the old Irish monastic system which had been upset by tribal disasters and religious abuses, and
bring it into line with the more ‘mainstream’ centralized system existing throughout Europe. Many of the newly
reformed European religious orders, notably the Canons Regular of St. Augustine (Augustinian Canons) and the Cistercians,
were encouraged to set up houses in Ireland in order to give a stimulus to the reforms. As part of the development a community
of Augustinian Canons were established at Clareabbey in 1189 under the patronage of the local ruling family, the O’Briens.
This was followed by two more houses of the same order at Canon Island and Killone, the latter a foundation for Augustinian
nuns. The economy of these new religious houses was secured by endowing them with a rectorial income or tithe from various
parishes in their neighbourhood in return for which the canons exercised a pastoral ministry, either directly
by their own staff or sometimes by vicars (curates) which they appointed in the various parishes.
what we have outlined about it becomes clear that the Augustinian ’province’ in south-west Clare impacted on the
ecclesiastical history of that area right down to the dissolution of the religious houses at the Reformation. Kilfiddane was
included in the charter to Clareabbey in 1189 and its rectory (parochial income) later became part of the endowment to Killone
Abbey. It is probable therefore that the old church of Kilfiddane derives from the building activity of the Augustinians in
the fifteenth century.
Kilfiddane parish is listed in the Ecclesiastical Taxation
of 1302, the oldest list of parishes now available.
This church appears to be of
fifteenth century date and is an imposing building even in its ruined state. It measures 67. 5 feet in length and 18 . 5 feet
in breadth. As already stated the church may have derived from the building activity of the Augustinians. In any event, it
shares many architectural features with the old church at Kilchreest and Killofin.
church would have appear to have altered but little since O’Donovan surveyed it in the course of the Ordnance Survey
in 1839. His description notes that; the church at Kilfiddane as being 67 .5 feet long and 18 .5 feet wide. The side walls
are 3 feet 9 inches thick and built of hammered quarry stones. The west gable contains a round topped belfry, and the corner
stones of the church are cut limestone.
Font at Coolmeen Church In St.
Benedict’s church Coolmeen a medieval font, probably also from Kilfiddane or Canons’ Island was built into the
wall. As only a small part was protruding the antiquity of the font was not evident until it was removed from the wall and
cleaned during renovations in the 1980’s. The font was then seen to be octagonal on the exterior with a bowl shaped
interior. The cleaning also revealed a series of delicate designs of rich interlace and triquetras. In January 1989 the restored
font under the instructions of Fr. Pat Conway was fitted with a limestone base and cover. The font was
blessed for use as a baptismal font and placed in the sanctuary of Coolmeen church. The Vault in Kilfiddane Church.
Within the ruins of Kilfiddane church there is a vault “erected by Richard B Silles
for self and family”. Richard Bolton Silles was eldest son of Richard Silles Esq of Ballinvoher, Co. Kerry by Lucy Bolton
of Mount Gale, Co. Kerry. He married Anne, daughter of Francis Cunningham Esq of Aylroe, Coolmeen.
following is taken from the Clare Journal Thursday February 17th 1898.
Death of Mr. R.B. Silles
J.P. WIMBLEDON TO KILFIDDANE
We have heard with deep regret of the death
of Mr. Richard Bolton Silles J.P., a member of an old respected West Clare family, which occurred at his residence, Woodlands,
Wimbledon. He bore a long and painful illness with characteristic Christian fortitude. The most that medical skill could do
was directed towards smoothing the bed of pain as any hope of ultimate recovery was very remote from the earliest stages,
and when the end came he was found quite resigned. Throughout his illness he was assiduously attended by the Rev. Father Kerr,
S.J., whose ministration gave him much comfort.For many years Mr. Silles took an active part in the public
life of West Clare. As a magistrate and member of the local boards he was found to fulfill his duties with independence and
energy and in the former role his decisions, while tempered with mercy, were upright and just. In the discharge of the functions
which falls to the lot of a resident gentleman, he was fortunate in securing the confidence of the people in whose midst he
resided so long, as well as their respect and esteem. He had been lately living in England, where his death occurred, but
absence from the old country did not tend to abate one jot of kindly interest he evinced in the welfare of the people to whom
he was much attached, indeed in his case “absence only tended to make the heart grow fonder”. In private as in
public relations he enjoyed the friendship of a large circle of acquaintances who regretting his departure, will ever hold
dear the warmest recollections of his sterling worth, integrity of character, and consistent life. To his dearly beloved sons,
Messrs R.O’C. Silles and F. Silles, who are so well known in Clare we offer our condolence in their bereavement.
The remains were removed from Woodlands on Saturday for interment
in the family Vault at Kilfiddane, near Kildysart, as it was one of special requests of Mr. Silles to sleep his last sleep
in Irish soil. The coffin was a plain oak one, and, as also desired, there were no wreaths. The funeral was intended to be
of a private character, but the many friends of the deceased in Clare would not permit themselves to be denied the sad privilege
of paying by their attendance a last tribute of respect to Mr. Silles’ memory. The cortege included many of his old
friends from Querrin, where his earliest days were spent.
The chief mourners were
– Mr. R. O’C. Silles, Newtown House; Mr. Francis Silles, Woodlands, sons; Mr. Thomas B. Silles, Brother; Dr. C.P.
Kemp, London. Some of those present included Messrs E. McElligot, J.P., Listowel; Mr. F.J. O’Doherty, J.P., Wm. Glynn,
J.P. do; Thomas Kelly, solt, H.R. Glynn, Dr. Vaughan. J.P. Kilkerrin House; P.O’ Ryan, Manager Provincial Bank; Mr.
L. O’Brien C.T.C. M. O’Meara; J.T. Lillis, N.T.;
S. McMahon, H. Talty,
Mr. Downes, Rahanisky, T. Brew, Newtown; F. Power, Ennis; M. O’Donoghue, S. Cunningham, M. Brew, etc. Messrs Shank,
of Ennis had charge of the funeral arrangements.
It may be of interest to note that
Mr. Silles was owner of an estate and Herd’s House at Cullina, Labasheeda.
More information on Kilfiddane Graveyard
From the Folklore Survey
of 1937/’38 (Drumdigus N.S.) we learn “In the years of the famine the hunger-stricken and fever-stricken people
not only died in their own houses but in fields; on the road sides and by ditches. The breath used scarcely have left the
people’s bodies when they used be buried. Many of them were buried uncoffined and other people’s
bodies were buried in trenches. Many an old person says that at one time Kilfiddane graveyard was one mass of coffins, as
the people were too weak to open the graves for those who were dead”. The Labasheeda Notes Friday,
December 1, 1989 by the late Jimmy Hartigan inform us that graves outside the ruins of Kilfiddane church names appear such
as Neala, O’Brien 1841, Myres 1852, and Price, Kildysart 1864. At the northern side there is a forged iron cross denoting
the final resting place of an admirable lady known as Nell George. (her husband’s name was George). In famine times
she took on herself the difficult task of rearing three families.
More information on Kilfiddane Parish
As already mentioned the Augustinians
from their abbey in Canon Island from 1189 catered for the Kilfiddane area. In 1543 Henry V111 suppressed the Monasteries
but the Canons continued to do church duties in a smaller scale. In 1651 Cromwellian soldiers desecrated the Abbey, hence
saw the end of the Canons in the Kilfiddane parish. The secular priests then took over and continued the ecclesiastical duties
of the region. The end of the seventeenth century saw the introduction of the penal laws. It is not clear
if mass rocks from the penal days remain in the parish.
In the 1704 according to
the Registration List of Priests Terlagh McMahon was parish priest of the following parishes Kilmaleery, Kildysart and Kilfiddane.
He resided in Clenagh Castle (not far from the present Shannon Airport). He was a near relative of the Clonderlaw McMahons
and became bishop of Killaloe Diocese in 1724.
From the publications on the Diocese
of Killaloe by the late Monsignor Ignatius Murphy we learn that Kildysart and Kilfiddane parishes were united for most of
the eighteenth century and in the nineteenth century until 1868 they then commenced as separate parishes. The new boundaries
involved slight adjustments. Clonkett (Kildysart) was allocated to Kilfiddane, while Effernan (Kilfiddane) was included with
Kildysart. The whole of Cahercon, partly in both medieval parishes, was given to Kildysart.
At the time of Kildysart and Kilfiddane becoming individual parishes
the death of Fr. Michael Roughan P.P.occurred, he had been parish priest since 1837. He served in Clarecastle and became Parish
Priest of Kilmurry McMahon in 1823. Transferred to Kilferagh and Killard in 1827 by Bishop O’Shaughnessey, he returned
when people did not allow him to enter churches to celebrate Sunday masses.
Sheehy succeeded Fr. James Coffey as parish priest of Kildysart and Kilfiddane a few months after the latter was removed from
office in August 1828.
Fr. Sheehy’s first visit to Coolmeen shows that in this
instance at least there was little consultation with the parishioners. In the Coolmeen area it was felt by some that a priest
who was a native of the parish should have been appointed to succeed Fr. Coffey. When Fr. Sheehy arrived at Coolmeen chapel
for the first time to say mass the door was locked against him. After some discussion the door was opened and when Fr. Sheehy
preached during mass “he lambasted the congregation from behind the ramparts of the chasuble”.
He told the people that their chapel at Coolmeen was a disgrace and that he would soon give them
a new one, a promise which he kept. The book titled ‘ Kilfiddane – Cranny & Coolmeen’ informs us of
a chalice in Coolmeen church with this inscription ‘Kilfiddane P. Sheehy, P.P. 1828’.
Patrick Sheehy, who later became well known as a repealer and advocate of tenant right, was a man of extraordinary energy.
When he died in January 1856 it was remarked that he had built the three chapels of, Kildysart, Coolmeen and Cranny ‘without
the slightest trouble or expense to his parishioners, having collected the means by which they were built through most of
the parishes of Ireland, and large sums were also given by wealthy ‘Catholics of England’. From
the above information we learn of the era when the present churches of Cranny and Coolmeen were constructed. Of course this
wasn’t the first church at Coolmeen apart from the old church at Kilfiddane graveyard. The Catholic School Census gives
us the information that Michael Houlihan was a Catholic lay teacher and taught 78 pupils in the parish chapel at Coolmeen
in 1824. Fr. Bartholomew Scanlan.
Scanlan was a native of Kilrush, he was the first Parish Priest to live in Coolmeen. He was responsible for the building of
the Parochial House, St. Benedict’s in 1872.
The following extracts will give
you a greater knowledge of the untiring work carried out by Fr. Scanlan………… The
Clare Journal, May 1872BENEDICTION AND HIGH MASS AT THE CHAPEL
On Sunday, 12th
instant the Solemn Benediction of two new Altars took place in the Chapel of Coolmeen. High Mass commenced at 12 o’clock
– Rev. B. Scanlan, P.P. Kilfiddane, Celebrant; Rev. T. Stanley C.C. Kilfiddane, Deacon; Rev. J. McInerney C.C. Kilmurry
sub-deacon; Rev. P.McMahon, P.P. Kildysart Master of Ceremonies.
From all sides as
time approached for the commencement of the ceremonies might be seen large crowds wending their way to the direction of the
chapel. From Kilrush, Kildysart, Labasheeda, Kilmihil, Ballynacally vehicles of every description covered
the roads leaving their contingents, anxious to be present at the touching solemnity.
admirable choir was in attendance and the beautifully music if Mosart’s Mass No 12 was exquisitely rendered by the distinguished
amateurs who kindly gave their services on the occasion.
The church beautifully situated
and commanding a view of the picturesque bay of Clonderlaw is now entirely remodeled. Within it a beautiful Gothic High Altar
and an artistically designed Virgin Altar have been erected. The ceiling over the transept consists of stained work paneling
and a very handsome stained glass window diffuses a dim religious sight through the edifice.
joxta position with the church is the handsome glebe which the Rev. B. Scanlan is now erecting and which is at present in
an advanced state of progress.
After Mass a sermon was preached by the Rev. B. Scanlan,
P.P. on the beauty and excellence of public worship and the ceremonies concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
CHAPELThe Rev. B. Scanlan P.P. Kilfiddane, Kildysart, begs to return his most grateful acknowledgements to the
under mentioned subscribers towards the erection of his Parochial House;-
M.J O’Connell, Esq, Ballylean
William Foley, Esq, M.D. Kilrush 2-0-0
Very Rev. M Bugler, V.G. Birr
Rev. John Touhy, C.C. Birr
Rev. P Hurley, C.C. Birr
Rev. Robert Little, C.C. Birr
Rev. P Flannery, C.C. Toomavara
John Scanlan, C.C. Toomavara
Rev. William Meagher, P.P. Shinrone
Rev. John Kennedy, C.C. Dunkerrin
Rev. Denis Molony, P.P. Cloughjordan
Rev. George Corbett, P.P. Kilbarren
John Wall, P.P. Kennety
M Clune, P.P. Sixmilebridge
Rev. Edward O’Leary, Toomavara
M O’Donoghue, P.P. Portroe
Rev. Timothy Hogan, C.C. Portroe
Rev. James Meagher, C.C. Roscrea
Andrew Connellan P.P. Feakle 1-0-0
Rev. P Hennessey, P.P. Castleconnell
Rev. Thomas Devler, C.C. Castleconnell
Rev. John Egan, P.P. O’Gonneloe
T McMahon, P.P. Donass
Rev. T. Brennan, C.C. Donass
Rev. M. Cleary, P.P. Kilkee
M Culligan C.C. Kilrush 1-0-0
Rev. T Furniss C.C. Kilrush
M Quinlivan, P.P. Ballynacally
Rev. James Vaughan, C.C. Ballynacally
Rev. Daniel Smith C.C. Carrigaholt
R & M Foley, Kilrush
Mortimer O’Brien, Limerick
John Quinn, Limerick
Mrs. O’Connor, Kilrush
37, Francis Street, Kilrush, 4th May 1872
My Dear Father Scanlan,
In reply to
your esteemed circular, announcing your intended sermon on the 12th instant, permit me to state I greatly regret
I will not be able to be present on that interesting occasion, and am to be deprived of the pleasure of enjoying the eloquence
of my gifted friend, and also of testifying by my presence this great pleasure my brother and I feel, that the day has nearly
arrived when the worthy P.P. of Kilfiddane and his successors will be able to reside within their own parish, when the Parochial
House, which you have undertaken the erection of, in the face of great difficulties, will be finished.
accept the enclosed £2 as the contribution of R&M Foley in the aid of the good work. With best wishes for the complete
success of the many great undertakings you are engaged in for the honour and glory of God.
am, my dear Father Scanlan, very faithfully yours, Richard Foley. THANKS
Rev. B. Scanlan, begs to return his kind thanks to all his kind
friends for their liberal donations towards the erection of his Parochial House:-
Rev. Dr. Ryan, Bishop of Killaloe
Vandeleur, M.P. Kilrush House
Colonel White, Lord Lieutenant of Clare
V. Rev. M. Dinan, V.G. Kilrush
Rev. P. McMahon P.P. Kildysart
J. Bowles P.P. Tulla
Rev. P. Shannon C.C. Kilmaley
P. Roughan C.C. Kilkee
P. O’Meara C.C. Doora
John McInerney, C.C. Kilmurry McMahon
Rev. M. O’Gorman C.C. Kilmihil
Jeremiah Vaughan, P.P. Doora
E. O’Shaughnessey, P.P. Miltown Malbay
Rev. P. Moran, P.P. Mullagh
Rev. Charles Stewart, C.C. Miltown
Michael Pyne, P.P. Killimer
J. McMahon, P.P. Corofin
J. O’Neill, C.C. Corofin
Rev. M. O’Sullivan, C.C. Cooraclare
P. McDonnell, C.C. Kilrush
M.Culligan, C.C. Kilrush
L. Browne, C.C. Kilkee
Kelly, National Bank Kilrush
E.W. Griffard, Manager, Munster Bank Kildysart
Robert Fitzgerald, C.C. Ennis
Garrett Doherty, Kilrush
Mrs. Gavin, Kildysart
Thomas Ginnane, Kildysart
Rev. Michael Quinlivan, P.P. Ballynacally
Rev. James Vaughan, C.C. Ballynacally
Michael Kelly, Kilrush
friend through Andrew Madigan, Kilrush
John Culligan, Kilrush
Stephen McMahon, Kilrush
Doctor Ryan, Clonakilla
Dr. Vaughan, Labasheeda
Daniel O’Connell, Kildysart
Michael Glynn, Kilrush
Denis Cleary, Killaloe
Rev. T. Minton, Killaloe
Peter Murphy, C.C. Nenagh
T. Phlean, C.C. Roscrea
Michael McInerney, Kilrush
Thomas Slattery, Kilrush
John O’Donoghue, Ballina
Thady Clancy, Kildysart
Mr. Broden, Labasheeda
David Fitzgerald, Kildysart
William Connors, Labasheeda
Mr. O’Connor, Kilrush
Mr. McMahon, Kildysart
Mr. D. Ginnane, Kildysart
5s Clare Journal 23rd May 1872
B. Scanlan gratefully acknowledges the following contributions towards the erection of his Parochial House:-
Rev. Michael Meehan, P.P. Carrigaholt
Michael Spain, P.P. Ruan
John Clune, P.P. Doonbeg
Catholic Church – Clare Jounal 20th May 1872
Rev. B. Scanlan, P.P.
Kilfiddane begs to return thanks for the following additional subscriptions:-
Rev. Dean Kenny, Ennis
Patrick White, New Market on Fergus
Rev. T. McMahon, C.C. Carrigaholt
J. McMahon, C.C. Quin
John Molony Esq. Kildysart
Rev. Sylvester Malone, ADM. New Market on Fergus
Rev. Mortimer Hartney. P.P. Clarecastle
Rev. M.Carey, C.C. Ruan
Rev. Peter Meade, P.P. Crusheen
Dan Corbett, P.P. Quin
Fr. Scanlan left for Doora in 1879 to take up his appointment as parish priest he was
replaced in Coolmeen by Fr. Hugh J. Gleeson who remained for eighteen years. The following extract from the Clare Journal,
March 22, 1897 gives a summary of Fr. Gleeson’s work carried out during his ministry.
Removal of the Very Rev. H.J. Gleeson P.P. KilfiddaneWith mingled feelings of pleasure and regret
we hear of the removal of the Rev. H.J. Gleeson, pleasure at his promotion to a better parish, and regret at parting with
a clergyman who endeared himself to all, by his courtesy and his zeal for the welfare of his people both temporarily and spiritually.
The poor were the special object of his care. He was most assiduous in the discharge of his duties, and omitted no opportunity
of forwarding the interests of his people. He established several religious societies during his time here, built three schools
and roofed two churches at little expense to his people. He was an impressive preacher and a sincere friend and a staunch
Nationalist. He had frequent communication with the landlords who held properties in his parish, and never
failed to secure substantial abatements. Where ever he labours for the future in the service of the Lord, his name will be
remembered by the people of Coolmeen.
SAD DEATH OF REV. JOHN O’DEA P.P., COOLMEEN Clare
Champion Sat. January 6th 1934A Beloved Pastor
The announcement of the
death of Rev. John O’Dea P.P., Coolmeen, one of the best loved Pastors in the Diocese of Killaloe, created pangs of
deepest sorrow not alone in the whole Diocese but far beyond!
Details of the accident
that caused his death are simple but tragic in the extreme. Returning on horseback from a visit to the local National School
on Tuesday evening last, he met in the yard of his home, a little niece Creina O’Dea, Ennis. She asked him to allow
her ride the horse, and the kindly priest acceding the child’s wish placed her on the animal’s back. The horse
inclined to be restive and Father O’Dea apparently thought it wiser to remove the child. He did so, and then made an
effort to quieten the still restive animal. Unfortunately the horse attempted to break away and in doing so struck against
Fr. O’Dea who was dashed against a stone wall. His head came in contact with a sharp stone and the violence of the impact
caused very serious injuries to which he succumbed three hours later. Dr. O’Keeffe of Kildysart was on the scene before
he died and telegraphed for the assistance of Dr. Devane of Limerick, the latter immediately set out for Coolmeen, but when
passing through Kildysart was informed that the good priest had gone to reap his eternal reward.
in Quin 56 years ago, Fr. O’Dea was a brilliant member of a brilliant and highly respected family. He was educated at
St. Flannan’s College and Maynooth. After his ordination he was appointed to Cartin, Glasgow; returning to the Diocese
of Killaloe he was accorded permission by Most Rev. Dr. Fogarty to do temporary duty at Loughrea in the Diocese of Clonfert
some time after he was recalled by the Bishop of Killaloe and appointed Diocesan Inspector. He acted in the capacity for a
number of years and was then appointed Curate of Kilballyowen and subsequently in Bodyke. Where by his own personal ability
and popularity he succeeded in securing the co-operation of all classes to erect a splendid curates residence. From Bodyke
he was transferred to Killaloe and then in succession to Kilrush and Coolmeen of which parish he was appointed pastor just
two years ago. Thousands of Irish Priests are the beloved of their flocks, but of Fr. O’Dea it can be truly said that
he was one in a thousand. His zeal for the spiritual and material welfare of his parishioners was boundless. He never spared
himself to advance their interests in every way that human ability possibly could. From his ecclesiastical superiors he never
received anything but the highest commendation for the manner in which he discharged the onerous duties of his sacred calling.
He was an enthusiastic lover of the language and Irish game. In this connection it may be mentioned that he and Rev. Fr. Roche,
now administrator in Ennis were the first to introduce hurling in Maynooth College, about 30 years ago. At that time when
returning to the College after their Christmas holidays they brought with them 35 Clare manufactured hurleys and since then
the game holds an honoured place in the athletic life of that institution. He was also a lover of horses and an excellent
horseman. It is sad to think that a horse should now be the cause of his untimely death under such particular sad circumstances.
He was a brother of the Rev. D. O’Dea another highly esteemed clergyman in the Diocese of Killaloe; Mr. Frank O’Dea
Dentist Dublin; Mr. Stephen O’Dea Irish Land Commission; and Mr. O’Dea Secretary of the County Clare Agricultural
Committee. To his sorrow stricken relatives we tender our deepest sympathy on their irreparable loss, and pray that God in
His infinite mercy may assuage their grief, which is shared by countless friends and admirers of the deceased pastor. Clare
Champion January 13, 1934. Beloved Priest Laid To Rest. President DeValera attends obsequies.
had lain in the church since they were conveyed to it from the Pastor’s adjoining residence at 5 o’clock on the
evening of the 3rd inst.
Numerous priests attended, Fr. Culligan Adm.
Kilmurry McMahon (cousin) was the celebrant and President Eamon DeValera made the journey by motor car from Dublin. During
the Mass President DeValera occupied a seat in front of the high Altar and walked immediately behind the remains as they were
borne from the Church to the graveside.
Numerous messages of sympathy were received
by letters and wires from various people all over the Country.
Messages under the
following headings appeared in the Clare Champion dated 13/1/1934
Work in Killaloe, Kilrush in Mourning, Resolution
of Sympathy, Kilrush Urban Council, Cranny F.F., Coolmeen F.F., Effernan Gaelic League, Clare Board of Health, Clare Agricultural
Committee, Voc. Committee, Sean O’Dwyer Fianna Fail Cumann Kilrush, Carrigaholt F.F. Cumann, Quin & Ennis F.F.,
Kilrush Town Tenants. Final Part of ‘Information on Kilfiddane Parish’ – Paul Markham
PARISH PRIESTS OF COOLMEEN PARISH
Fr. Bartholomew Scanlan
(1868 – 1879)
Fr. Hugh J. Gleeson
(1879 – 1897)
(1897 – 1915)
Fr. James Carey
Fr. John O’Dea
(1932 – 1934)
Fr. John Kelly
(1934 – 1944)
Fr. J.J. Ryan
(1944 – 1949)
Fr. Michael Lynch
(1949 – 1957)
Fr. James Campbell
(1957 – 1981)
Fr. Kevin Hogan*
(1981 – 1986)
Fr. Liam Murray*
(1986 – 1989)
Fr. Colm Hogan (2010
Fr. Albert McDonnell
(2012 - present)
Fr. Hogan and Fr. Murray resided respectively at St. Mary’s Cottage, Cranny while
serving in the parish.
Fr. John O’Keeffe the present Parish Priest now
resides at St. Mary’s. This year 2002, the Cranny-Coolmeen parish priest was awarded the Tadhg Mac Conmara commemorative
trophy in recognition of his services to the community. In an interview with Martina Scanlan (Clare Champion)
in October 2000, we learn of Fr. O’Keeffe as the priest who has travelled all over Europe and returns, several times
each year, to share the joys of its cities with a new generation of young people from a small rural community in West Clare.
Fr. O’Keeffe is described as the man who may well be the most popular parish priest in County Clare. CURATES OF COOLMEEN PARISH
Fr. J. Vaughan
(1868 – 1869)
Fr. J.J. Stanley
Fr. J.K. O’Doherty
(1869 – 1874)
Fr. J. McInerney
Fr. D. Courtney
(1874 – 1875)
Fr. M. Corry
(1875 – 1876)
Fr. D. Hayes
(1876 – 1880)
Fr. J. Maguire
(1880 – 1882)
Fr. T. Kelly
(1882 – 1887)
Fr. M. McKenna
(1887 – 1891)
Fr. W. Foley
(1891 – 1894)
Fr. P.M. Kinnerk
(1894 – 1897)
Fr. Ml. Hayes
(1897 – 1906)
Fr. P. Hayes
(1906 – 1913)
Fr. D. McNamara
(1913 – 1924)
Fr. J. Austin
(1924 – 1930)
Fr. J. Campbell
(1930 – 1932)
Fr. D. Conheady
(1932 – 1935)
Fr. J. Kenny
(1935 – 1940)
Fr. M. Sexton
(1940 – 1945)
Fr. J. O’Leary
(1945 – 1950)
Fr. J. Donnelly
(1950 – 1952)
Fr. E. Gaynor
(1952 – 1954)
Fr. M. McInerney
(1954 – 1957)
Fr. P.A. Murphy
(1957 – 1960)
Fr. J. Long
(1960 – 1964)
Fr. D. McMahon
(1964 – 1970)
Fr. P. Flannery
(1970 – 1977)
Fr. P. Quinlan
(1977 – 1981
Fr. J. Campbell A.P.* (1981 –
Fr. P. Conway *
(1987) – 1989)
Fr. F. Twomey A.P.*
(1989 – 1999)
Fr. James Campbell on retiring as Parish Priest in 1981 remained
as Assistant Priest in Coolmeen until June 1987. His death occurred at the Parochial House on June 5th 1987.
Fr. Patrick Conway resided at the Parochial House during his stay in the parish.
He is now based as a curate in Ennis.
Fr. Flannan Twomey moved to St. John of Gods,
Cahercalla, Ennis in 1999. While Assistant Priest in Coolmeen parish he resided at the Parochial House.
Tombstone Inscriptions – Priest Burials Coolmeen
In Memory of Very Rev. James Campbell P.P.CoolmeenOrdained
23rd June 1929Died 5th June 1987Aged 83 YearsRequiescat
in Pace Dil CuimhneAn Athar Sean O Deaghaidh
S.P.Cuilmin CrannaigeSagart Diadha, Cara DilisFuair
Bas An 3 u La D’Eanair 1934In Aois 56 BlianaSolus Na Bhflaitheas Da
Tombstone inscriptions priest burials Cranny
Pray for the soul of Rev. Patrick J. Doody C.C.
Doonbeg 1989 - 1991Born 3rd March 1945Ordained
1st June 1975Died 25th August 1991Requiescat In PaceThe
Lord Is My Shepard Pray For The Soul Of Rt. Rev.
Monsignor P. DonnellyPastor Of St. Joseph’s ChurchMarysville California
U.S.A.Born 2nd June 1882 Ordained May 5th 1918Died June
9th 1968 Fr. P.J. O’Connor C.S.Sp.Birrinfadda,
CrannyHoly Ghost Missionary PriestOrdained June 1949Called
To Eternal Life June 1995After46 Years Faithful Priestly Service In
Nigeria and GambiaWest Africa (30 Years)Terryglass
Co. Tipperary 14 YearsSt. John Of God’s Cahercalla Ennis2 YearsDEO
and Sources – Thanks to Michael McMahon of the Clare Archaeological and Historical Society. The late Monsignor Ignatius
Murphy, the late Very Rev. Fr. Michael Hillery. The Books – ‘Kilfiddane – Coolmeen & Cranny’.
‘Kilmurry McMahon and Killofin Remembered’ – Paul Markham.