The Churches of County Clare
By T. J. Westropp, M.A.
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Clare County Library

Survey of the Churches

Diocese of Killaloe

Barony of Bunratty Lower

85. KILMALEERY, Sheet 51.—Parish church, 38 by 15 feet. It was evidently rebuilt late in the eighteenth century. Founder unknown. Kilmalitrie, 1302. Monuments, Mac Mahon, 1733; P.M.D., III. (1897), p. 399.

86. KILNASOOLAGH, Sheet 51.—Parish church. Fragments of late mediæval windows remain; the present building is late. Founder unknown, but a pattern was held at Newmarket on Easter Monday. “Kellomsolech,” 1302; “Cil Subhalaigh,” 1317. [130] Monuments, Colpoys, 1684. Sir Donat O’Brien, bart., 1717 (P.M.D., II. (1894), p. 51, III. (1897), p. 399, and R.S.A.I., 1890, p. 76), Blood, 1799, &c.

87. KILKEARIN, Sheet 42.—Kilnasoolagh Parish. Entirely levelled.

88. TOMFINLOUGH, [131] Sheet 42.—Parish church, 71 by 25 feet 6 inches. The side walls are very early, of large “cyclopean” masonry in parts; two windows remain, one flat-headed, with inclined jambs; the other is recessed, and has a semicircular head, probably of the eleventh century. The church was evidently partly rebuilt about 1300, perhaps by the English settlers under the De Clare. It had a plain three-light east window, and a richly moulded pointed double-light south window, the capitals carved with leaves, and the hood resting on faces, two pointed heads, and a central detached shaft with moulded bands (now fallen). A well-moulded ambry remains in the south-east corner. The older east window is now defaced by a well-made late fifteenth-century one, with semicircular headed splay and two trefoil-headed lights (shaft intact), with a square hood. The west gable is badly breached; near it are corbels marking the position of a gallery, which was reached by a door (about 7 feet above the ground) in the north wall. The south door is defaced.

South Window, Tomfinlough
South Window, Tomfinlough
The “plague stone” with raised circles, one forming a Celtic cross, is built into the wall: it is said to have kept pestilence from the parish even at the time of the great cholera. Founder, St. Luchtighern, son of Cutrito, c. 550. [132] The place was a monastery, and was ravaged in the Danish wars. “Tuaim Fionlocha,” 944 (Annals Four Masters). “Thonmynloka,” 1302, now passing into “Fenloe.” Monuments, Hewson, 1722, P.M.D., III. (1897), plate ii., p. 385.

89. Same, ORATORY.—To the south-east of the last. Only the end wall remains, having a door with lintel and inclined jambs, and above it three corbels with human faces. A very early building. It is 12 feet wide externally.

90. CLONLOGHAN, Sheet 51.—Parish church, 53 by 15 feet. The west end had fallen before 1839. Now only the east gable and portions of the sides remain. It is a very ancient oratory, perhaps of the tenth century. The east and south windows have inclined jambs, the former having a semicircular head, the latter a lintel. Founder unknown. “Clone . . . kilthany,” 1302. As “Killtheany” is Killeany, 1189, [133] perhaps Clonloghan was founded by Enda.

West Door, Tomfinlough Oratory
West Door,
Tomfinlough Oratory

East Window, Clonloghan
East Window, Clonloghan
South Window, Clonloghan
South Window, Clonloghan

91. KILCONRY, Sheet 61.—Parish church. 55 feet 7 inches by 17 feet 9 inches. A late fifteenth-century church: the east window has two pointed lights; the south window is also pointed, and the splays have flat arches. The door was to the south: the west gable is breached. Founder, traditionally St. Cannara, a contemporary of St. Senan, c. A.D. 550. “Kellchoniry,” 1302. The compound is probably Conaire.

92. DROMLINE, Sheet 51.—Parish church, 72 by 21 feet. The west gable, much of the south wall, and the east window have been destroyed. Founder, possibly Sanctain, son of Samuel the lowheaded, [134] date unknown, who was of Drum Laigill, in Tradree. “Drumligil,” 1302. Drum Laighean (“Annals of the Four Masters”), 1593.

93. BUNRATTY, Sheet 62.—Parish church, 66 by 26 feet. A late building, much probably as late as the sixteenth century. The east window is rectangular and defaced; the south wall has two single lights, one with a late ogee head, and a third window with three rectangular opes (shafts intact). There is a neat, well cut, pointed south door. Founder unknown. “Bunraite” (Dr. Todd reads “Buntradraighe”) is named, in the tenth century; [135] “Bunraht” charter 1189. The place was the chief town of the De Clares, 1276-1318. Monuments, P.M.D., III. (1896), p. 226.

94. BUNRATTY CASTLE, Sheet 62.—There is an oratory in the south-east tower of the castle. It has a piscina, and the ceiling is stucco, richly moulded, probably made by Donough, “the great Earl” of Thomond, 1610.

South Door, Bunratty
South Door, Bunratty

95. FEENAGH, Sheet 52.—Parish church, 56 by 18 feet. 15th century; the east gable has fallen; the south door had a semicircular arch, and an ogee-headed stoup. The window was an ogee head. Founder unknown. “Fudach,” 1302. Monuments, Hensey, 1717, 1760; Garvey, 1776, 1793; Cusack, 1788.

96. KILMURRY NA GALL, Sheet 42.—Parish church. 21 feet of late masonry of the north wall stood in 1839; it is entirely levelled. Founder, probably the English of Bunratty before 1318, [136] whence probably its epithet “of the foreigners.” It is not named in 1302. “Kilmoor,” “it pertained to Killaloe anciently,” 1615. [137]

97. KILFINAGHTA [138] (BALLYSHEEN), Sheet 52.—Parish church, 63 by 22 feet. An ancient church, dating probably about 1080. The west gable was standing in 1839, but part of the north wall had then fallen; the gable has since collapsed. The east window is defaced, ivied, and built up; the large semicircular-headed splay has mouldings and bases; to the right are two moulded ambries, cut in sandstone, the upper with an angular head. Two of the south windows are of sandstone, recessed, and with round mouldings, semicircular heads, and inclined jambs [139]; the third is plain, with inclined jambs. The south door is slightly pointed, and has an ancient corbel with a human face cut in sandstone above it. The masonry throughout is small, bad, and decayed. Founder unknown. “Kilfinity,” 1302. Monuments, Cruice, 1600; Rodan, 1619; Rochford, 1723. P.M.D., II. (1894), p. 448, &c.

South Window, Kilfinaghta
South Window, Kilfinaghta
Ambreys, Kilfinaghta
Ambreys, Kilfinaghta

98. SIXMILEBRIDGE.—Kilfinaghta Parish. It is alleged in “Hibernia Dominicana” [140] that a house of Dominicans stood near this place. No ruin or site is remembered. There is a graveyard attached to the Protestant church, which is at least as old as the Restoration. Monuments, Cotter, 1679; Vandeleur (vault), 1685; Westropp (vault), 1698, 1781; Hickman, 1771.

99. KILFINTINAN, Sheet 52.—Parish church, 32 feet by 16 feet 6 inches. A late looking church. All the features were defaced before 1839; the west gable had fallen. Founder, some suppose Senan, like at Kiltinanlea. “Kilhyntina,” 1302. It was then in Limerick diocese. “Cil fin Tinain” in a deed, 1620. [141] The Rev. Jasper White, in 1658, writes:—“The parish church of Kilienaghta (sic) was the chapel of St. Thomas on the mountain at a place called Ballybuchalane, near Cratloe”—now Ballybroughane, in which the ruin stands.

100. CRUGHANE, Sheet 62.—Kilfintinan Parish. 65 feet by 20 feet 8 inches. A fifteenth-century church. The west gable had fallen before 1839; the east gable had then a pointed window, much broken, and has since fallen. The slightly pointed door and window remain in the south wall. The Rev. Jasper White says it was the parish church of Kilfintinan in 1658. Founder unknown. Monuments, Reddan, 1705. Blood, 1738; Maghlin, 1761; Nugent, 1770. P.M.D., II. (1894), p. 447. Ballinphunta dolmen stands near the south wall of the graveyard. [142]

101. KILLEELY, Sheet 62.—Parish church, entirely levelled. Founder, St. Elia, or Lelia,[143] sister of St. Mainchin, c. 550. Her day was August 11th.

102. KILCREDAUNADOBER, Sheet 62.—Killeely Parish. Entirely levelled.

103. CRATLOE, Sheet 62.—Killeely Parish, 57 by 21 feet. The gables are levelled to the height of the sides. A fluted basin of a piscina remains in the south wall. It and the adjoining well are dedicated to St. John, and it appears to be a very late building. This place was called “Cretsallach” in A.D. 845 in “The Circuit of Ireland.”

104. KILQUANE, Sheet 62.—St. Munchin’s Parish, 36 feet 6 inches by 17 feet 6 inches. The church is very much defaced and ivied; the walls are of large masonry. The east window is hidden in knotted ivy. The side walls are breached, the west gable featureless, and the south door injured. Founder, Cuanna. The Abbot Covanus. [144] “Kilcohan,” 1302. Monuments, Macadam, 1708, P. M. D. II., 1894, p. 452, &c.

105. KILRUSH (OLD CHURCH), Sheet 62.—St. Munchin’s Parish, and in the Liberties of Limerick, 30 feet 6 inches by 19 feet. A very ancient church. The east window is round-headed, the door has a lintel, and both have inclined jambs. The south window was destroyed, and in its space Mr. Robert O'Brien of Oldchurch inserted a window with a late and enigmatical inscription (of the Quinlinan family) which had been found in the city of Limerick. Founder unknown. “ Kilrussce,” 1302.

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