Parish History

PARISH OF LOUGHMORE AND CASTLEINEY

 

Church of the Nativity of Our Lady, Loughmore                 Erected 1977

St John the Baptist Church, Castleiney                                 Erected 1830

Catholic Population                                                               1,057

Area in Hectares                                                                     6,119  (15,121 acres)

 

The parish of Loughmore and Castleiney is situated in the north east of the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, in the baronies of Eliogarty and Ikerrin.  The river Suir flows through the centre of the parish, dividing it in two.

 

The modern parish embraces three medieval parish units,  Callabegs or Loughmore East, Loughmore West and Templeree.

 

The population of the parish today is but one sixth of the pre-Famine figure of 6,512 which was recorded at the State census of 1841.

 

Names

Many forms of the name Loughmore appear throughout the centuries – Locma, Lochma, Luacmo, Luachmagh, Loghmo, Loghmagh, Loughmo, Loughmoe and Loughmore.   The Annals of the Four Masters refer to the parish as Luachmagh, the plain of the reward.  The latter refers to the legend concerning a member of the Purcell family who was supposedly awarded the manor and estate of Loughmore when he succeeded in killing a wild boar which had been terrorising the countryside.  The area was also referred to as Pubble Purcell, thus reflecting the strong Purcell influence in the area over many centuries.

 

The ancient annals recount a number of pre-historic battles at Luachmaighe as well as one in historic times at Lochmagh when the Uí Néill and the Leinstermen crossed swords.

 

Perhaps the most authentic name of Loughmore is Rath Lochmuighi, the rath of the lough of the plain.  The lake in question was probably the now largely drained lake in the townland of Carrickloughmore, marked as Moneenascythe in the Ordnance Survey maps, though it may instead have been located in an area now flooded by the river Suir.

 

Parish Boundary

The present boundary of the parish was finalised c.1760 when Templeree was detached from Templemore and united to Loughmore.  This change occurred either before or during Fr William Meagher’s ministry in Templemore (c.1755-60).  At the same time, Killavinoge (Clonmore) was separated from Moyne and Templetuohy and united to Templemore and Killea.

 

Ancient Church Sites

The parish of Loughmore and Castleiney abounds with sites of former churches.  The extensive remains of the pre-Reformation Abbey Church in Loughmore are situated in the cemetery adjacent to the present church.  The structure consists of three parts, a stone-roofed, barrel-vaulted tower, now truncated and only one-story high, in which priests or monks lived, a chancel and a nave.

Kilnasare (cill na saor, the church of the craftsmen) was the site of an ancient monastery which was founded in the 7th century by St Pecaun (or Began) of Kilpecaun in Bansha.  In medieval times this church was supposedly occupied by the Knights Templars.  Until recently a small portion of the walls of this church was still standing at Kilnasare, as indicated on the 1843 Ordnance Survey map.

 

A small section of the ruins of an old church at Templeree is still extant.  These are surrounded by a cemetery  which is still in use.

 

Numerous townland names in the parish suggest religious associations.  Some, if not all, may have been the locations of former churches e.g. Killahara, Kilkillahara, Killeenleigh, Lisheenataggart, Kilbrickane and Killanigan. Kilcurkee had an ancient church and children’s burial ground while Cuguilla was the location of an ancient church and Lady’s Well.

 

It is also believed that there was once a church in Clonamuckoge, though no such tradition exists concerning one in Kilcoke.

 

Penal-Day Chapels

The fact that one of the archbishops of Cashel, possibly Dr Christopher Butler

(1712-51), confirmed children in a fort immediately west of the present church in Loughmore may suggest that there was no permanent chapel in the parish at this time.  However, the Protestant Report of 1731 records the presence of a Mass-house in Loughmore.  It was but a wretched cabin and may be the chapel ruins marked on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey maps adjacent to the site of the old church in Kilnasare.  The inaccessible location of the Kilnasare chapel may suggest its use during the most difficult part of the Penal era.

 

A Decent Chapel

When Archbishop James Butler I visited Loughmore on 1 July 1752 he found “a decent chapel” with satisfactory furnishings, including “a good plate chalice” bearing the name of Fr William Delaney and dated 1626.  A less serviceable pewter chalice was “ordered to be broke”.

 

The 1754 visitation report provides further details regarding Loughmore chapel.  It was in good order and had three doors and six windows.  The report mentions a chapel-of-ease at Kilnasare.

 

Aughall Wood

There was a Penal-day chapel at Aughall Wood.  It was on the south of the road from Castleiney to Templemore, close by the Suir, at a corner named Seanaban.  Here, in this inaccessible location in 1754, Archbishop James Butler I recorded the presence of a “barkhouse” which was “used for a chapel”.

 

At this time Aughall Wood, which is in Templeree old parish, was part of Templemore.

 

 

 

 

Late 18th Century Chapels

There is a tradition of a late 18th century chapel situated to the west of the present church in Loughmore. It was on the by-road leading to Clondoty, close to the cross-roads.

 

About this time, too, there certainly was a thatched chapel further down the village of Loughmore, on the left hand side of the road, close to the location of the present overhead railway bridge.  A few stones of the corner of this chapel can still be seen.   This chapel was replaced in 1825 by a new church which stood on the site of the present Loughmore church.  The1843 Ordnance Survey map records the presence of a school building in the middle of the village.

 

It is difficult to explain the presence of two late 18th century chapels so close to each other.  Perhaps the chapel on the road to Clondoty was short-lived and was replaced by the one in the village.

 

Barn-Style Church of 1825

In 1825 Fr James Mullally (parish priest 1798-1832) presided over the erection of a barn-style church in Loughmore.  Dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the church was periodically refurbished, most notably in 1908 when decorative towers and an ornate entrance were added.

 

This church was replaced in 1977.

 

Church Of Ireland

During the 1850s the Trant family, which was one of the major landowners in the parish, initiated the ambitious project of developing a Protestant village  which they named Dovea in the townland of Killahara.  This included the building of a cluster of houses for their tenants as well as a church, rectory and school.   A century later, the project had not flourished.  Firstly the school and then the church were converted into private dwellings some years ago.