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Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Killimer (a)

This Parish, situated in the Barony of Clonderalaw, is bounded on the north and west by the Parish of Kilrush, on the east by the Parish of Kilmurry Mac Mahon, and on the south by the River Shannon.

The name of this Parish is written Killymurr in an Inquisition taken in the reign of William and Mary, and Killemeere in the engraved map from the Down Survey. It is now called in Irish Cill Iomaighe and believed to signify the Church of the Virgin St. Emma, but I think this is a mistake for Cill Émere, i.e., the Church of St. Emeria. I have however, no historical reference to a female Saint (Saintess) of either name, nor is it likely the Irish hagiology affords (furnishes) any account of the primordia of this Parish, but in this I may be mistaken; it must however be left for future research. But if there be no written document of the antiquity of this Parish there is a certain monument of its age in the remains of its Church, from which the antiquarian may draw his conclusions with more certainty than at least from any written legend.

The Church measures in length fifty feet six inches on the inside and sixteen feet ten inches in breadth. It is all as old as the 9th century except some inserted features, and also the west gable and six feet of the side walls attached to it, which were rebuilt about five centuries since.
The west gable is built of thin flag quarry stones and contains no feature but a little Belfry, now broken, placed on its top.

In the south wall, at the distance of nine feet from the west gable, is a doorway, rectangular at the top on the inside and curvilineally pointed on the outside, and measuring on the outside five feet ten inches to the vertex and three feet five inches in width.

At the distance of six feet five inches to the east of this there is another rude doorway, looking very fresh and constructed of small stones, but this is not two hundred years old. Within two feet two inches of the east gable is a quadrangular window inserted when the Church was remodelled, but now so broken that its measurements could not be given.

The east gable contains a beautiful window in the primitive Irish style, round-headed inside and outside, and in perfect preservation. It is constructed of brownish grit stone neatly chiselled, and measures on the inside six feet seven inches in height and three feet eight inches in width, and on the outside three feet in height and in width four and a half inches at top and six inches at bottom. The head on the outside is formed of one stone beautifully rounded. On the outside is what carpenters in wooden work call a rabbiting (Q? masonic term?) three inches wide and one and a half inches in depth, exactly like the east window in the Church of Aghowl near Tullow in the Co. of Wicklow. Dr. Kenny, P.P. of Kilrush, who is supposed to be the best architectural antiquary in Ireland, says that this window cannot be older than 9th century in consequence of exhibiting this mark on the outside. He says it is not to be found in any of the primitive Irish Churches, and I believe he is right, although I do not know on what authority he places its introduction in the 9th century.

The same very learned Doctor is going to remove this window to the new Chapel of Kilrush, into which he will insert it exactly in its present form. If he do this he will draw down upon his guilty head the curse of me, who am a sinner, and probably of St. Emeria (Emma?) who is in heaven; but it may be possible that as the Doctor’s hands are consecrated he may remove it without drawing down upon him the curse of this holy Virgin, and mine is of no great consequence.

The north wall is featureless and built of large field stones (not quarry stones) not laid in regular courses.

The thickness of the wall in the east gable as ascertained at the window is two feet six inches.

About twenty perches due east of this Church is Leac Iomaighe, the Flag of St. Emma, and a short distance to the northeast of the Leac is a Holy Well called Tobar Iomaighe, at which Stations are still performed, but no particular day of the year is remembered as her festival.

In this Parish is situated the Townland of Dun-na-gCorrog, in which is situated a Castle of the same name, which now forms a part of the residence of George Hodges, Esq.

This Townland is mentioned in the Irish Deed above given in pages 7, 8, 9 and 10, as forming a part of the boundary of Moylough and in the list of the Castles of Thomond in the College MS. as the residence of Tege Mac Muriertagh Cam (probably Mac Mahon).

There is nothing else of antiquarian or historical interest in this Parish but some forts and holy wells, the correct names of which I have written in the Field Name Book.