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Kilfiddane Church

 

LOCAL HISTORY      -  PAUL MARKHAM

Kilfiddane Church 

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.

From 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.

Kilfiddane 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.

The 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 Funeral

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.

Information on Priests

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.

Fr. Partick 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’.

Fr. 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.

Fr. 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.

An 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.

In 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.

COOLMEEN CHAPEL

The 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;-                                         £-s-d

M.J O’Connell, Esq, Ballylean                         2-0-0

William Foley, Esq, M.D. Kilrush                    2-0-0

Very Rev. M Bugler, V.G. Birr                         2-0-0

Rev. John Touhy, C.C. Birr                            1-0-0

Rev. P Hurley, C.C. Birr                                 1-0-0

Rev. Robert Little, C.C. Birr                            1-0-0

Rev. P Flannery, C.C. Toomavara                   1-0-0

Rev. John Scanlan, C.C. Toomavara               1-0-0

Rev. William Meagher, P.P. Shinrone            1-0-0

Rev. John Kennedy, C.C. Dunkerrin                1-0-0

Rev. Denis Molony, P.P. Cloughjordan            1-0-0

Rev. George Corbett, P.P. Kilbarren                      1-0-0

Rev. John Wall, P.P. Kennety                            1-0-0

Rev. M Clune, P.P. Sixmilebridge                1-0-0

Rev. Edward O’Leary, Toomavara                   1-0-0

Rev. M O’Donoghue, P.P. Portroe                 1-0-0

Rev. Timothy Hogan, C.C. Portroe             1-0-0

Rev. James Meagher, C.C. Roscrea                        1-0-0

Rev. Andrew Connellan P.P. Feakle              1-0-0

Rev. P Hennessey, P.P. Castleconnell            1-0-0

Rev. Thomas Devler, C.C. Castleconnell            1-0-0

Rev. John Egan, P.P. O’Gonneloe                 1-0-0

Rev. T McMahon, P.P. Donass                 1-0-0

Rev. T. Brennan, C.C. Donass             1-0-0

Rev. M. Cleary, P.P. Kilkee                          1-0-0

Rev. M Culligan C.C. Kilrush             1-0-0

Rev. T Furniss C.C. Kilrush                             1-0-0

Rev. M Quinlivan, P.P. Ballynacally                  1-0-0

Rev. James Vaughan, C.C. Ballynacally            1-0-0

Rev. Daniel Smith C.C. Carrigaholt                   1-0-0

An old friend                                                    3-0-0

R & M Foley, Kilrush                                     2-0-0

Mortimer O’Brien, Limerick                                   1-0-0

John Quinn, Limerick                                               1-0-0

Michael Kelly, Kilrush                         1-0-0

Mrs. O’Connor, Kilrush                         10 Shillings

 

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.

 Kindly 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.

I am, my dear Father Scanlan, very faithfully yours, Richard Foley.

 THANKS AFTER SERMON

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:-

Right Rev. Dr. Ryan, Bishop of Killaloe                                 £5

Colonel Vandeleur, M.P. Kilrush House                          £10

Colonel White, Lord Lieutenant of Clare                                    £5

V. Rev. M. Dinan, V.G. Kilrush                                     £3

Rev. P. McMahon P.P. Kildysart                                              £2

Rev. J. Bowles P.P. Tulla                                                         £1

Rev. P. Shannon C.C. Kilmaley                                               £1

Rev. P. Roughan C.C. Kilkee                                                  £1

Rev. P. O’Meara C.C. Doora                                                  £1

Rev. John McInerney, C.C. Kilmurry McMahon                    £1

Rev. M. O’Gorman C.C. Kilmihil                                        £1

Rev. Jeremiah Vaughan, P.P. Doora                                      £1

Rev. E. O’Shaughnessey, P.P. Miltown Malbay                         £1

Rev. P. Moran, P.P. Mullagh                                                     £1

Rev. Charles Stewart, C.C. Miltown                                                £1

Rev. Michael Pyne, P.P. Killimer                                                £1

Rev. J. McMahon, P.P. Corofin                                         £1

Rev. J. O’Neill, C.C. Corofin                                                    £1

Rev. M. O’Sullivan, C.C. Cooraclare                                           £1

Rev. P. McDonnell, C.C. Kilrush                                         £1

Rev. M.Culligan, C.C. Kilrush                                         £1

Rev. L. Browne, C.C. Kilkee                                                  £1

Matthew Kelly, National Bank Kilrush                         £1

E.W. Griffard, Manager, Munster Bank Kildysart                      £1

Rev. Robert Fitzgerald, C.C. Ennis                                            £1

Mortimer O’Brien, Limerick                                                           £2

Garrett Doherty, Kilrush                                                 £1

Edward Walsh, Kildysart                                                          £1

Mrs. Gavin, Kildysart                                                                      £1

Michael Nelson, Kildysart                                                          £1

Thomas Ginnane, Kildysart                                                          £1

Rev. Michael Quinlivan, P.P. Ballynacally                              £1

Rev. James Vaughan, C.C. Ballynacally                              £1

Michael Kelly, Kilrush                                                 £1

Andrew Madigan, Kilrush                                                 £1

A friend through Andrew Madigan, Kilrush                         £1

John Culligan, Kilrush                                                 £1

Thomas McInerney, Kilrush                                                 £1

John Glynn, Kilrush                                                             £1

Stephen McMahon, Kilrush                                                 £1

Mrs. Ryan, Kilmihil                                                             £1

Doctor Ryan, Clonakilla                                                         £1

Dr. Vaughan, Labasheeda                                                      £1

Daniel O’Connell, Kildysart                                                          £1

Michael Glynn, Kilrush                                                 £1

John Armstrong, Kilrush                                                 10s

Rev. Denis Cleary, Killaloe                                                 10s

Rev. T. Minton, Killaloe                                                 10s

Rev. Peter Murphy, C.C. Nenagh                                                10s

Rev. T. Phlean, C.C. Roscrea                                                   10s

Michael McInerney, Kilrush                                                             10s

Thomas Slattery, Kilrush                                                 10s

Mr. Meehan, Kildysart                                                          10s

John O’Donoghue, Ballina                                                  10s

Lawrence Ryan, Kildysart                                                 10s

Thady Clancy, Kildysart                                                          10s

Mr. Broden, Labasheeda                                                      10s

David Fitzgerald, Kildysart                                                          10s

William Connors, Labasheeda                                          10s

James O’Connell, Kildysart                                                          10s

Mr. O’Connor, Kilrush                                                   5s

Mr. McMahon, Kildysart                                                            5s

Mr. D. Ginnane, Kildysart                                                            5s

 Clare Journal 23rd May 1872

Rev. B. Scanlan gratefully acknowledges the following contributions towards the erection of his Parochial House:-

Rev. Michael Meehan, P.P. Carrigaholt                               £1

Rev. Michael Spain, P.P. Ruan                                        £1

Rev. John Clune, P.P. Doonbeg                                              £1

 Coolmeen Catholic Church – Clare Jounal 20th May 1872

Rev. B. Scanlan, P.P. Kilfiddane begs to return thanks for the following additional subscriptions:-

Very Rev. Dean Kenny, Ennis                                        £2

Rev. Patrick White, New Market on Fergus                          £1

Rev. T. McMahon, C.C. Carrigaholt                                           £1

Rev. J. McMahon, C.C. Quin                                                        £1

John Molony Esq. Kildysart                                                   £1

Rev. Sylvester Malone, ADM. New Market on Fergus            £1

Rev. Mortimer Hartney. P.P. Clarecastle                               £1

Rev. M.Carey, C.C. Ruan                                                        £1

Rev. Peter Meade, P.P. Crusheen                                              £1

Rev. Dan Corbett, P.P. Quin                                                     £1

 

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. Kilfiddane

With 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.

Born 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. 

The remains 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)

Fr. Daniel Courtney                                  (1897 – 1915)

Fr. James Carey                                   (1915 – 1932)

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. John O’Keeffe*                                (1989 -2010)

Fr. Colm Hogan                                      (2010 - 2012)

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                                    (1869)

Fr. J.K. O’Doherty                    (1869 – 1874)

Fr. J. McInerney                        (1874)

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 – 1987)

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 Anam Amen.   

Tombstone inscriptions priest burials Cranny

 

Pray for the soul of

Rev. Patrick J. Doody C.C.

Doonbeg 1989 - 1991

Born 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 Gambia

West Africa (30 Years)Terryglass Co. Tipperary 14 YearsSt. John Of God’s Cahercalla Ennis2 YearsDEO GRATIAS    Acknowledgements 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.   

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