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The Annals of Kilfenora or Ye Citie of the Crosses by Charles Ffrench Blake-Forster


The Annals: 1602-1657

1602-On the 2nd of December this year the Protestant See of Kilfenora was vacant. This vacancy was probably caused by the death of Bishop Daniel, before alluded to under the date 1585.

1606-Bernard Adams, M.A. of Trinity College, Oxford (who was consecrated Protestant Bishop of Limerick in 1604) also held this See by dispensation.

1617-Bernard Adams resigned this Bishopric. John Steere, M.A. an Englishman, Treasurer of Ardfert and Archdeacon of Emily, was appointed Protestant Bishop of this See.

1622-John Steere was translated, on the 20th of July, to the See of Ardfert, and on the 18th of December William Murray, D.D. was consecrated in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, by Launcelot Bulkely, Archbishop of Dublin, James Ussher, Bishop of Meath, and Rowland Lynch, Bishop of Clonfert, Bishop of this diocese.

1625-Bernard Adams (Bishop of Limerick), who resigned this See in 1617, died at Limerick on the 22nd of March, and was buried in the Cathedral there.

1627-William Murray was translated from this See to that of Landuff Wales. The Rev Richard Bettes, D.D., was appointed by Charles I, Bishop of Fenabore. On his arrival in Ireland, being informed it was the smallest See in the country he refused its acceptance, and he returned to England without being consecrated. His disappointment was very great, and said he; "I have no mind to become Bishop of the poorest See in Ireland”. Dr Heyfin calls Dr Murray John, and says he was translated in 1628, so does Le Neve also.

1628-John Steere, Bishop of Ardfert (who was translated from this See in 1622) died in May.

1630-On the 9th of May, James Higate, a native off Glasgow, Arch-deacon of Clogher, was consecrated Bishop of Fenabore, together with Archibald Adaire, Bishop of Killala, in St Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin, by Launcelot Bulkeley, Bishop of Dublin; Thomas Ram, bishop of Fernes and Leghlin, and Robert Dawson, Bishop of Clonfert.

1638-On the 30th of April James Higate, Bishop of this diocese died, and was interred at Cloones, County Monaghan. Robert Sibthrop, Treasurer of Killaloe and Prebendary of Maynooth was consecrated Bishop of this See on the 11th of November in St Patricks Cathedral Dublin.

1642-Robert Sibthrop, Bishop of this diocese, was translated to the diocese of Limerick, on the 7th of April, but owing to the war which then raged, never profited by it.

1649-In the imperfect list of Bishops of Kilfenora, given the Catholic Directory for the year 1837, Andrew Lynch is returned as being Catholic Bishop in 1649, and Daniel Andrews in 1678. It would appear, however that Dr Andrews was the predecessor, and not the successor of Dr Lynch – (see 1667, which is the first year I find any mention of Dr Andrews, and 1669 the first year I find mention of Dr Lynch.)

Robert Sibthorpe, Bishop of Limerick, died at Dublin in April, and was interred in St Werburghs Church.

1657- The Rev John Collins, a Dominican Friar, and a native of Kilfenora, suffered martyrdom for his faith this year. When the Cromwellian garrison of Bunratty Castle was besieged by the Catholic troops, though the Papal Nuncio and many Bishops and Priests accompanied the Army, none exhibited such religious zeal and patriotism as this pious clergyman, for no tortures which the enemy could devise were sufficient to shake his fidelity to his country - for, if necessary,

Oh he would rather houseless roam
Where Freedom and his God may lead
Than be the sleekest slave at home
That crouches to the conqueror’s creed!

He headed the troops in the habit of his order, and holding aloft a crucifix in his right hand, made every exertion to encourage the army to fight for their Altars and their Homes.

Son, husband and brother
Arise to the strife
For sister and mother
For children and wife
O’er hill and o’er hollow
O’er mountain and plain
Up, true men, and fellow
Let dastards remain.

Several shots were discharged at his person by the besieged, but still he escaped unscathed though he remained at the head of the army until the enemy were compelled to surrender the castle. Being at last arrested by his enemies, who had portraits of him circulated amongst them, he was put to a cruel death, which he met with the greatest fortitude.


The Annals: 1434-1599


The Annals: 1660-1796