Clare County Library
Clare Genealogy

Donated Material: Graveyard Inscriptions
Killeinagh Graveyard: Relig Cill Eidhneach, Clooney (Corcomroe)

History of Killeinagh Graveyard

The word Killeinagh had many meanings, the Ivy Wood, The Little Church and The Children’s Graveyard. Although there is some disagreement on the meaning of the name, most local people agree that it was the graveyard of the parish of Clooney which the river Inagh divides in two. The likely reason for this was that the landlord for the parish of Clooney was a Mr. Fitzgerald who resided at Moy House, Cregg, near Lahinch. On the North side of the river are Cahersherkin, Clooney North and South, Lisroe, Carrownaclough, Teerleheen and Cullinagh. On the south side of the river are the townlands of Gurrane, Lavareen, Feargreen and Moughna. Traditionally the people of Gurrane and Lavareen have been buried across the river in Killeinagh while the burial ground of Moughna lay just beside them.

Before the famine there was no road going to the graveyard but it was served by a number of pathways. These paths are known to have stretched from the old Ennis – Ennistymon road up to the graveyard and continued down to Cullinagh. It is always said that the old big grave slabs that are in the graveyard had to be carried along these paths by hand as they were too narrow to bring a horse and car down.

Up to the 1960s there was only a narrow pathway into the graveyard down through the middle of a field. This was very awkward as the remains had to be carried from the road. However in 1966, Clare County Council built the roadway into the graveyard where it is today.

Part of Killeinagh Graveyard
Part of Killeinagh Graveyard

The graveyard itself is circular in shape except for one corner. The reason for this occurred in April 1883 when land owner Michael Shannon decided to emigrate to America with his eight children. Before he left he sold his part of the farm to his cousin and gave a piece of land to his neighbour and friend Jack McGuane for a grave. This can be seen going in the gate on the right.

The headstones in Killeinagh are in both Irish and English and each tells its own story and has its own bit of local history. For instance Blacksmith John David from near Hogan’s fort in Cullinagh is buried in the bottom left-hand side of the graveyard. His son Michael carved out all that was important to his father on his grave slab: an anvil, hammer, horseshoe, nails and even a horse are still plain to be seen almost 190 years later. Finally Michael carved out his own name on the slab and left the date blank so it could be filled in when he died.

Back though the years Killeinagh graveyard has seen all types of funerals, some terribly tragic while others celebrated the person’s life - everything from song and music at the graveside to the army firing shots over the coffins of the members of the old IRA volunteers.

In one of the graves along the eastern wall lies Michael Conway from Knocknagraga. On July 20, 1920 he and a friend, Seamus McMahon, tried to take guns from a British solider on the Bridge in Ennistymon. This tragically went wrong. Seamus McMahon was wounded and taken to a safe house, Maloneys in Ballagh. Michael Conway was not so lucky and was shot dead on the bridge. The following day his tricolour-draped coffin was brought to Killeinagh flanked by huge crowds. The oration that day was given by Brian O’Higgins who first gave his speech in Irish and then in English.

Michael Conway’s Mortuary Card
Michael Conway’s Mortuary Card

One would be mistaken in thinking the only soldiers that are buried here are soldiers that fought for Ireland. In fact, there are people buried here that fought for many causes, in many wars all over the world Thomas Shannon from Cahersherkin emigrated to America as a young man where he joined the US army. When the Americans entered WWI he was sent to battle but tragically lasted only two months and was killed in France on August 12th, 1918. Shortly afterwards his steel coffin was sent home and was buried in Killeinagh.

Just below the grave of Thomas Shannon lies the unmarked grave of John Curran from Carrownaclough. John was always known as Pensioner Curran because he was in receipt of a British Army Pension. He was in the British Army for many of his younger years and even fought in India in the 1870s.

He was an old man in failing health when World War II broke out but he still wanted to go off and fight for the King of England and had to be stopped by his family and neighbours.

On the southern side of the graveyard lies Martin Connulty and his wife in a greenstone tombstone. The Connulty family (husband, wife and three daughters) were evicted from their house in the Derrymore area. They received the place of a cow and a mud cabin from Michael Costelloe (Dinny’s great grandfather). One daughter went to America and sent home the fare for the younger daughters who then went to America.

A granddaughter of the above couple called Jean Buckley returned from America in 2000 to see where her grandmother was born and where her great grandparents are buried.

During the years Killeinagh graveyard has had some great caretakers. Paddy Curran from Carrownaclough was caretaker from the early 1920s until near his death in 1967. After that Tom Crosse took over his job. These two men had acquired a huge knowledge of the graveyard especially all the unmarked graves. There is always a sense of regret that their wonderful knowledge was never recorded.

Thanks to the work of the Corofin Heritage Centre all the old headstones (up to 1980) have been recorded and have now been updated by the Killeinagh Graveyard Committee. This will enable future generations to be able to remember their ancestors the way in which we are trying to do now.

In carrying out research and work here in Killeinagh we would most importantly like to remember the many scores of people who are in unmarked graves. Let us remember these people when we remember our loved ones.

Although it is great to see all the work and improvements in Killeinagh, it is also tinged with sadness, as the main person behind the project, Maureen Rynne, never got the chance to see it completed. Maureen organised everything that had to be done through phoning, writing or calling in person. This project would never have got off the ground but for her and now that it nears completion, it will stand forever a testament to a great organiser and a great person.

Go ndéanaí Dia trócaire ar a hAnam uasal.

Back Arrow
Killeinagh Graveyard: Relig Cill Eidhneach, Clooney (Corcomroe)