Clare County Library
Clare History
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | Search this Website | Copyright Notice

Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Feenagh (a)

The Parish of Feenagh in the Barony of Bunratty Lower and southeastern part of the Co. of Clare, is bounded on the north by Kilmurry, south by Kilfintan, east by Kilfeenaghta and Kilfintanan and west by Bunratty, Dromline and Toomfinlough Parishes. See Field Name Book.

The Irish form of the name of this Parish is Fiodhnach, pronounced Feenagh, and means nothing more than the Woody Place, being of the same origin with Fiodhnach of Moy-Rein in the Co. of Leitrim.

There is no recollection or monument of a Patron Saint in this Parish unless a Holy Well dedicated to St. Mochuille of Tulla and situated in the Townland of Rathmore about a mile south of the old Church of Feenagh, might have some connection with him.

The old Church of Feenagh in the Townland of that name measures fifty feet in length and eighteen feet in breadth. The east gable is down to the ground but the other parts remain in good preservation. The west gable has nothing in it worthy of notice. There is a semicircular doorway in the south side fifteen feet from the west gable, measuring seven feet in height and four feet two inches in breadth on the inside; five feet six inches in height and two feet five inches in breath on the outside, where it is built up of well cut lime stones. There is a window in the same side within four feet of the east end, measuring three feet in height and four feet three inches in breadth on the inside where it is quadrangular, and three feet from the present level of the ground; on the outside it measures three feet in height and five inches in breadth, pointed at top.

The side walls are about twelve feet in height and three and a half feet in thickness, built of large rough stones laid in irregular courses; the angles built up of cut stones. There is a small burying ground attached to the Church.

The ruined Castle of Rossmanaher stands in the Townland of the same name in this Parish. It is mentioned in the College List as having belonged to the Earl of Thomond.

There is no appearance or vestige of an ecclesiastical establishment at Rossmanaher now, but there is a faint tradition of a burying place having been there in former times. If it be the place mentioned in the following extract from Colgan, it is strange that no tradition connected with it can be found in the locality.

Rossbeenchoir. AA. SS. page 461, C. 24.
Vitae S. Kierani Episcopi et Confessoris. (Ex Codice Kill-Kenniensi).

The most blessed Bishop Kieranus sent heifers (boves) to St. Cocchae [1] his own nurse, without any one driving them [2] and they came the straight way to the Saint of God; and she herself knew that her own excellent fosterchild (alumnus) St. Kieran sent them (eas) to her; for the purpose of ploughing. The road is indeed very long between the City of St. Kieranus, Sagiria and the Monastery of St. Cocchea, which is called Ross-Bennchoir and is situated near the western Sea of Ireland. And the heifers ploughed each year with St.Cocchaea, and at the completion of the ploughing season, returned to St. Kieran during each year.

Cap. XXV. St. Kieran used on the night of the Nativity of the Lord, when his own congregation (populus) in his own Monastery of Sayghir had received the sacrifice from his hand, go to the Monastery (Monasterium) of Saint Cocchea, namely the aforesaid Ross-Beannchoir, through a very long extent of country, to the end he would offer the Body of Christ on (in) that specially most holy night (ipsa Sanctissima nocte) before (ante - in presence of) Blessed Cocchaea, and when the Saint of God, with (cum) the others (aliis) had received the Communion of the Lord from his hand, he came on the same night before day-break to his own Monastery of Sagir situated in the middle of Ireland. We know not how he went or returned because he disclosed this to none of our own (community) [3] . But we know since God made Abacuc to be led (duci) from Indaea into Caldaea and back (& reduci) in the moderate (short) space of a day; so he made with his own servant, whatever, and in whatever manner he willed.

Cap. XXVI. A certain great stone (lapis) which is now called the “Rock [4] of St. Cocchea” on which rock she frequently prayed to the Lord stands among (or - in) the waves on the sea shore not far from the place of St. Cocchea. Sometimes St. Kieran himself entered (went in) through (per) the sea on this very rock and felicitously returned on it to his (ad suum - qu? its) own place (locum). For it is written, God is wonderful in his Saints.

The following places mentioned in Hardiman’s Irish Deeds are situated in this Parish, viz:-

  1. Rossmaher is mentioned in No. 23 as the place in which this Deed of Mortgage of land was drawn up by Mortagh, son of Conor Oge Mac Clanchy (Flanchy) between Donall, the son of Donogh, from Bel-in-Cuille (Baile Ui Chuilin?) and Shane O’Maolchonaire of Ardchoill, in which Donall pledges the land of Machaire-an-Chloigin and Machaire Baile-na-h-Abha, to Shane, etc. The Deed is dated 9th June, 1548.
  2. Archoill, now Ardkeile (above mentioned).

It is highly probable, if not certain, that the above Shane O’Mulconry was the author of the inauguration Ode addressed to Brian-na-Murtha O’Rourke, Prince of Breifny, published in Hardiman’s Irish Minstrelsy, where it is asserted to have been composed in the year 1566 by Shane O’Mulconry, a schoolmaster of Ard-Choile, in the County of Clare.

The same man is mentioned in No. 24, a Deed of Mortgage to him of the portion of land called Gort-Puill-an-Mharla, i.e., the Field of the Marl Pit, bearing date the 11th day of December 1548.