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A Survey of Monuments of Archaeological and Historical Interest in the Barony of Bunratty Lower, Co. Clare by William Gerrard Ryan

Part 3: Pre-reformation church and monastic sites
Chapter 29: Kilnasoolagh Parish

Kilnasoolagh Church (site of); Kilkieran Holy Well; Kilkieran Graveyard?; Kilkieran Church (site of)


Nat. Grid. Ref: R390680; ½” Sheet 17

Present Church at Kilnasoolagh, dating to 1800s
Present Church at Kilnasoolagh, dating to 1800s

R.C. Parish : Newmarket-on-Fergus
Townland : Kilnasoolagh
6” O.S. Sheet number : 51 (Co. Clare)
Reference : 2.8 cm North; 32.8 cm West
Height (G.L.) : c. 50’ O.D.
1” O.S. Sheet number : 133 (Sixmilebridge)

For information relating to this levelled site refer to: - (a) photo above (b) site description

Kilnasoolagh Church:
“… of the ancient Church of Cill Subhalaigh not a vestige now remains, but its site is supposed to be occupied by the present modern Protestant House of Worship…” (O.S. Letters, 1839, page 80).

So states O’Donovan when speaking of sites of historical interest in Kilnasoolagh Civil Parish. It is interesting to read the above early comment and compare it to Westropp’s 1900 reference: “…fragments of late mediaeval windows remain…” (page 149). Field examination (1979) failed to find any window fragments in spite of careful searching about the nineteenth century Anglican Church and graveyard.

Date of Church:
Here we are faced with the problem that no actual remains of the site are now visible. If we use Westropp’s above cited reference we can say that a church existed on this site in, perhaps, the sixteenth century.
However Kilnasoolagh was known, and probably had a church site, some centuries before that date. According to “History of the wars of Thomond” cited by Frost, in 1312 the church of Kilnasoolagh was plundered by Murtagh O’Brien (1893, page 190). However due to the propaganda nature of this work on the wars of Thomond one has to be careful with its references. (This book and the general question of Norman – Gaelic struggles during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries has already been dealt with in some detail in the introduction to the thesis).


Frost, 1893, pages 190 & 191. (In this Frost makes the statement: “…As regards the old church not a fragment of it now remains; the Protestants pulled it down and built a new one on its site…”).

Westropp, 1900, page 149 (general).
O.S. Letters 1839, page 80 (cited previously, see above).

Other Sites of Religious Interest:

A: Kilkieran Holy Well
Kilkieran Townland; 6” O.S. Sheet 42 (Co. Clare) Reference: 28.5 cm North; 42.8 cm West; at 50’ O.D.

B: Graveyard?
“… There is a small burial place for children in the Townland of Kilkieran…” (O.S. Letters, 1839, page 80). The site of this is not marked in on the relevant O.S. Sheets and field examination found no trace of it.

C: Church Site?
Westropp believed that there formerly was a church site in Kilkieran Townland dedicated, as the name suggests, to Saint Cieran. (1900, page 149).
There is no local tradition of such a site.