The Churches of County Clare
By T. J. Westropp, M.A.
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Clare County Library

Survey of the Churches

Diocese of Kilfenora

Barony of Corcomroe

23. KILLILAGH, Sheet 8.—Parish church, 57 feet 6 inches by 19 feet. A late plain building, probably c. 1500. It has a southern side chapel, 17 by 22 feet. The east window is round-headed, and the west gable has a square bell chamber; the west and south walls have several plain, flat-headed and chamfered window slits; the south door is pointed. A beautifully chiselled round arch, with patterns punched on its blocks, leads into the side chapel, which has an ogee-headed light to the east and west, and a double window, with similar heads, to the south; its shaft is gone. Founder, probably St. Lonan, to whom the well is dedicated, c. A.D. 550. “Killadlagh,” in 1302. Monuments, Queley, 1779; Davoren, 1784; Haverty and Kilmartin, 1794; Thynne. Description, R.S.A.I., 1900, p. 287.

24. OUGHTDARRA, Sheet 4.—Killilagh Parish. Only a few feet of the walls remain in a graveyard. Founder and age unknown. Possibly the “Wafferig,” of 1302, and the Owghtory, of 1584. [114]

25. TOOMULLIN, Sheet 8.—Killilagh Parish. A late church, probably c. 1480, 33 feet by 17 feet 6 inches. The east window has a single light, with a trefoil head, and triquetras in the spandrels of the outer face. There is a bell chamber on the west gable, and outside it a priest’s room, with a pointed door. Founder, possibly Brecan, to whom the well is dedicated, c. 500. It was a separate parish, “Thuomlynny,” 1302. Description, R.S.A.I., 1900, p. 287. View of interior, O’Hanlon, VII., p. 388.

26. KILMACREEHY, Sheet 15.—Parish church, nave and chancel, 40 feet by 22 feet 6 inches, and 35 by 17 feet. It is built of flagstones, but part of the north wall is of large, early masonry, the rest being of the late fifteenth century. The east window has two ogee headed lights, the shaft entire; the splay has a neatly built semicircular head. Traces of the altar remain. In the north wall is a tomb of very late decorated Gothic, with a mitred head, at the apex of the arch, two trefoil-headed arches, and a quatrefoil. There was a somewhat similar monument, with twisted columns, on the south side, but it has fallen. The chancel arch is rude and pointed, 13 feet 9 inches wide. The south porch has two plain pointed doors; there was a bell chamber on the west gable. Founder, Macreiche, c. 550; his mediæval “Life” says he built it in his old age. “Kilmaccrik,” 1302. Monuments, O’Heo, 1642; Macdonough, 1745. Descriptions, Dr. Martin, R.S.A.I., 1872, 1873, p. 13; T. J. Westropp, R.S.A.I., 1900 (illustration), p. 290.
East Window, Kilmacreehy
East Window, Kilmacreehy

27. KILLASPUGLONAN, Sheet 15.—Parish church. Totally levelled before 1839. Founder, Bishop Lonan, a friend of St. Maccreiche, to whom the well is dedicated, c. 550; “Killesconolan,” 1302, cil easbuig lonain, 1599 (Annals Four Masters).

28. KILSHANNY, Sheet 15.—Parish church, 75 feet 10 inches by 20 feet 5 inches. Portions of the sides date probably about 1080; the north door and a slit window in the south wall belong to that period. The rest is late—the pointed west door, and the more eastern of the south window (with three trefoil heads though the shafts and middle blocks lie on the ground) are of the later fifteenth century, and the eastern windows still later, with two interlacing shafts and circular head pieces. The altar exists; there is a flat-arched long tomb recess to the right of it (in the north wall), and a round-headed ambrey to the south. Founder, perhaps Seanach, probably Senan’s brother, 550. Traditional patron, Cuanna, identity uncertain; the saint’s bell, now called (like the holy well) after St. Augustine, is in the British Museum [115] ;“Kilsanyg,” 1302. In later times it was a cell of Corcomroe, or even a Cistercian Abbey, for Florence, its abbot, was bishop of Kilfenora, in 1273. [116] Monuments, Thynne, 1717-1752; Crowe, 1799. Description, Keane, p. 374, R.S.A.I., 1900 (with plan), p. 280.

29. KILFENORA, Sheet 16.—ST. FACHNAN’S CATHEDRAL. The nave is used as a Protestant church; the chancel is in ruins; they measure 67 feet 9 inches and 35 feet 9 inches long, being each 20 feet 9 inches wide. The east window, the south piscina, and north wing are of the later twelfth century, c. 1170. The pointed arcade of the nave is of the fourteenth or early fifteenth century, and there are several other features of the latter period. The east window has three semicircular lights; one capital has a group of little clerics. The north wing has plain, round headed window slits, and opened by pointed arches into the nave; one is closed by a fine monument of good decorated Gothic, the other by a low door. Founder, St. Fachnan, perhaps of Ross Carbery, c. A.D. 560. Kilfenora was annexed to the Archbishopric of Cashel in 1152. The name appears in the Book of Rights (450-902) in the name Cathair Fhionnabhrach, Fenabor in 1189, Funbranensis 1273, Fenaborens 1302. Monuments, cleric with supposed Celtic tonsure, bishop in full pontificals (later mediæval). A slab, with incised cross, forming the sill of the northern canopied monument. A beautifully decorated high cross, the fragments of a second, and two plainer ones, remain; another has been removed to Killaloe; and the site of a sixth is shown in the fields to the north of the village. Dean Lowe, 1638; Macencharni and O’Dea 1650; Dean Blood, 1683-1700; Macdonough, 1685. The well of St. Fachtnan has an inscription of the Macdonoughs, 1684. Descriptions, Dunraven Notes, vol. II., (view); Fallon’s “Cathedrals of Ireland” (view); Frost, p. 98 (view); R.S.A.I., 1900 (plan and three views); P.M.D., II. (1892), p. 38. The nave and crosses are vested as National Monuments.

30. KILCARRAGH, Sheet 16.—Kilfenora Parish, hospital and church, 26 feet by 14 feet 6 inches. A fragment stood 1839, now levelled.

31. KILTONAGHTA, Sheet 16.—Kilfenora Parish. Levelled since 1839.

32. KILCAMEEN, Sheet 9.—Kilfenora Parish. A burial ground and cist in a levelled caher near Ballykinvarga. Founder, possibly Caimin of Inniscaltra, c. 640. Description, R.S.A.I., 1897.

33. KILMANAHEEN, Sheet 15.—Parish church, entirely levelled. Founder, probably Mainchin, a friend of St. Maccreiche; the “Life of Maccrecius” attributes it to the latter saint, who built it at the “dun” of Baoith Bronach, king of Corcomroe, c. 570. “Kilmankyn,” 1302; Cil mainchin, 1573.

34. ENNISTYMON, Sheet 15.—Kilmanaheen Parish is said to have been the residence of Luchtighern in the “Life of Maccrecius,” c. 540. This may have originated in a confusion of Inisdiomain with Inisdia or Moy. If not, the founder may have been Diman or Dioma. [117] The present ruined church is late, having been built in 1778.

35. CLOONEY, Sheet 16.—Parish church. The east gable and side walls remain; it was 19 feet 9 inches wide. The east and south windows have semicircular heads. Founder, probably Lonan, c. A.D. 550, to whom the well is dedicated. “Clonurpis,” 1302; “Cluain,” 1390. [118]

36. KILLEINAGH, Sheet 23.—Clooney Parish. Entirely levelled, graveyard remains.

37. KILTORAGHT, Sheet 16.—Parish church. Mr. J. Frost says this has been “utterly ruined,” and Dr. G. Macnamara tells me that it was a modern church, but has been in ruins since before the present reign. Locally called Kiltorachtagh.

38. KILMORE, Sheet 24.—Kiltoraght Parish. Some enclosures and a rude dry stone altar, with small pillar stones, remains near Lough Fergus. One enclosure is called “Cashlaun Beannaighte.”

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