We Remember

While the history of the parish of Loughmore was for centuries dominated by the Purcell family it is right to recall the names of a few other parishioners of more recent times who have made significant contributions to the Church both at home and further afield.


Bishop Thomas Bonacum, son of Edmond Bonacum and Mary McGrath, was born at Penane, Loughmore and baptised in the local church on 31 January 1847.  The entire family emigrated to the U.S.A. either during or soon after the Famine.


Thomas Bonacum was ordained to the priesthood on 18 November 1870.  Seventeen years later, on 30 November 1887, he was ordained as bishop of Nebraska.  Dr Bonacum died on 4 February 1911.


Tom Ryan, father of Bishop Hugh Ryan (1888-1977) of Sandhurst and later of Townsville dioceses,  was born in 1838 in Mooneenafulla in the townland of Clogharailybeg in the parish of Loughmore.  The family emigrated to Australia in 1858.


Bishop James Ryan of Alton, Illinois (1888-1923) was son of Denis Ryan and Nancy Stapleton of Loughmore.  The family emigrated to the United States in 1855 following their eviction from Farneybridge.


The former Bishop Emeritus of Waterford and Lismore, Dr Michael Russell, was born at Ballyduagh on 10 December 1920. He was ordained to the priesthood in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth on 17 June 1945.  Following three further years of postgraduate studies in Maynooth he obtained his doctorate in Canon Law.


Dr Russell was Professor of Moral Theology and Sacred Eloquence in St Patrick’s College, Thurles for over seventeen years (1948-65).  During this time he also served as Diocesan Secretary (1960-65) and Vice President of the College (1962-65).


Appointed bishop of Waterford and Lismore on 11 November 1965, Dr Russell was ordained to the episcopacy on 19 December 1965.  Having ministered as bishop of Waterford and Lismore for over twenty seven years, Dr Russell retired in July 1993.


Fr Walter G. Skehan, parish priest of Loughmore and Castleiney (1960-71), is best remembered for his lifelong interest in history and genealogy.  Among his contemporaries he had an incomparable knowledge of the history of the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly.  His Index of Clergy provides valuable biographical material on priests who served in the archdiocese over recent centuries.  It is a precious legacy and a lasting testimony to his painstaking and scholarly research.

Fr Skehan was also a regular contributor to the Irish Genealogist.


Numerous other priests provided able leadership in the parish over the years.  Fr David Dee (parish priest 1833-55) was a noted Irish scholar who frequently treated his congregation to eloquent discourses in the native tongue.


Fr Thomas Meagher (parish priest 1861-65) was an impressive preacher.  His memorial tablet describes him as the Bossuet of Munster.


The founder of Muintir na Tíre, Fr John Hayes, served in the parish during the years 1927 to 1934.  The seeds sown by Muintir na Tíre continue to bear fruit in the many community organisations in town and countryside throughout Ireland today.