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Kilraghtis Graveyard, Barefield, Ennis by Edel Greene and Mary Kearns


Kilraghtis Graveyard

The timing of this project, recording the grave inscriptions in Kilraghtis Graveyard, was very opportune as a number of burials in the interior of the church go back to the 18th century and are now becoming very difficult to read. We transcribed and recorded all the burials and noted the location of unmarked stones of an indeterminate age. Graveyards often contain unmarked memorials that indicate the location of burials by those who could not afford the costs of an inscribed memorial and should not be removed from the surface of the graveyard. We came across an interesting collection of tombs and headstones dedicated to a wide range of people including clergy and representing family names still numerous in the parish today.

To add flesh to the bones of the inscriptions, we have provided some background information on the big houses and reports and obituaries from journals of the period associated with some of the families buried in Kilraghtis. We hope that our recordings will be interest and assistance to the local community and to genealogists. We have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible and it should be noted that we did not make assumptions when transcribing incomplete or much worn inscriptions and noted only what was readable; in some instances we came across fragments of the inscription e.g. Rou, Ro, etc.

Kilraghtis Graveyard

The Parish of Kilraghtis

O’Donovan & Curry’s Ordnance Survey letters (1839) state that Kilraghtis or Kilraughtish parish is located in the north east portion of the County of Clare, in the Barony of Bunratty Upper, bounded on the north by the Parish of Inchicronan, south by the Parish of Doora, east by Inchicronan and Doora, east by Inchicronan and Clooney and west by Templemaley. The parish name translates as Cill Reachtais, the Church of Reachtas. A more recent translation of the name Kilraghtis provides the interesting interpretation ‘Church of the legislation’ (Flanagan 1994). O’Donovan and Curry deliberate whether Reachtas is the name of a saint or the place. The Letters say that St. Finghein of Quin was worshipped in Kilraghtis but all memory of the Patron Day is lost, that is if there was one to begin with. A 1601 reference to the place in the Annals of the Four Masters is also noted in the Letters.

The sons of John Bourke and Teige O’Brien…sent forth marauding parties on both parts of the River Fergus into the lower part of the Territory of O’Fearmaic and the upper part of Clann Cuilein. Some of these advanced to Baile-Ui-Aille and to Clonroade and they returned that night with spoils to Cill Reachtais…

O’Donovan and Curry also note that Kilraghtis was the birth place of Teige and Maoilin Mac Brody. The name Brody and the alternative spelling Brodie are recorded in the transcriptions and members of this family continue to live in the parish today.

Burial No. 2 Hogan Tomb
Burial No. 2 Hogan Tomb

The focus of the old parish centred on the now defunct and roofless, but relatively well preserved, Kilraghtis church. O’Donovan and Curry note in 1839 that the walls of the church ‘remain perfect’. “It measures sixty three feet four inches in length and seventeen feet nine inches in breath. There is a semicircular doorway in the south side and a semicircular window with the little arch rudely scooped out of a rough flag stone, the whole built up of common field stone. The east window is circular at top divided into two arrow-head divisions in front by a mullion”.

In ‘The History and Topography of County Clare’ (1893), Frost refers the ‘raths and forts of the parish are unworthy of description’. Frost also mentions Maoilin Mac Brody, who he says resided in Ballyogan and makes reference to Donogh Neylon, who was ‘parish priest of Kilraghtis for many years’ in the post medieval period. Frost (1906) translates Ballymaconna as Baile Mac Conad, ‘O’Conna’s Home’.

Westropp dates Kilraghtis church to the later 15th century. He refers to its well built and perfect state, noting in particular the double-lighted trefoil-headed east window and slightly pointed south door. In a paper, dating to 1902, Westropp refers to the Kilraghtis area as ‘diversified and interesting, formed by a group of low rounded hills with a curious fortress-like outcrop of stratified rock at Dromgloon.’ He mentions that the church was called Kilrathusa in the Papal taxation of 1302. Westropp provides a detailed description of the possible wedge tomb in Ballymaconna and notes that the ‘Dermot and Grania’s Bed’ designation had no resonance locally, the monument being referred to simply as the ‘Lobba’. Mention is also made of Maoilin MacBrody, who dwelled in Ballyogan between 1640 and 1668, father to the ‘well known monastic historian, Anthony Bruodinus’. In a later paper, dating to 1917, Westropp again refers to the church and the wedge tombs in Ballymaconna and Ballyogan and remarks that the ‘…forts are featureless and of little interest’.

Houses associated with the burials in Kilraghtis

Cappagh House
Weir (1999) states that Cappagh House house was a plain, gable-ended two story Georgian structure facing south, with a yard and utility buildings to the rear. The one-storey, three bay, brick-built gate lodge was erected across the road from the gates, which had tall cut stone gate piers incorporating scrolls. The house is now demolished.
The families associated with the house are listed as Kirwin, Curtin, Gregg and Hickey. Richard Gregg lived at Cappa (sic) in 1814. By 1855 John Curtin was in possession of this house and its one hundred and thirty five acre estate, according to Griffith's Valuation, but the Greggs are recorded as having been of “Cappagh” in the nineteenth century, and as having intermarried with the Vesey Fitzgeralds of Ashgrove and other leading families (Weir, 1999). Thomas Cullinan, Esq., resided at Cappa House in the 1870s; he is acknowledged in the Clare Journal (1871) with a list of donors who contributed £1 towards the building of the new Catholic Church in Barefield. (Kearns, 2009)

Kilraghtis Graveyard

Kilraghtis Graveyard

The Gregg Family (Ref. Richard Gregg Esq & Barbara Fitzgerald)
Richard Gregg resided at Cappa in the 1700s and was married to Elizabeth Robinett, they had four children. Their son Richard born 1747 married Barbara Fitzgerald born about 1760, daughter of William Vesey Fitzgerald Esq of Ashgrove House in 1780. They had ten children the most famous being Bishop John Gregg (1798–1878). There were two John Gregg’s, one having died shortly before Bishop John Gregg was born (1790–1798). While he died at Cappa there is no mention of his burial in Kilraghtis. Richard Gregg died the 24th February 1808 in Dublin and his burial place is not given. A notice in the Ennis Chronicle of Feb 27 1808 reads as follows: Death, Richard Gregg of Cappa a serious misfortune to the indigent of his neighbourhood, who daily participated in his bounty. His wife Barbara died 1 September 1836 and is buried in Kilraghtis graveyard. The gravestone has no dates and includes her two sons Richard and William Gregg. Richard (1781–1842) married Margaret Cusack in Cappa, Ennis, 1820, she died 12 September 1877 in Adelaide, South Australia and is buried in West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide. William Gregg (1785–1860) married Eleanor Blood. One other member of this family is recorded as being buried in Kilraghtis, Frances Gregg born Cappa Ennis 1796, died 27th Mar 1816 Ennis, Clare. (No record of this burial in Kilraghtis).
“From the Memorials of the life of Bishop John Gregg, D.D” (Gregg, 2008) we get information on the Gregg family at Cappa. It was a small property and when Richard Gregg died of fever in Dublin in 1808 without making a will the family property then passed to the eldest son, Richard in whose hands it did not prosper. It appears that Richard Gregg had not intended that the property descend to Richard Jnr. as the mode of living was displeasing to him. John Gregg (who later became bishop), continued to live with his mother, to whom he was deeply attached. He attended the private school in Ennis kept by a Mr. O'Halloran and later attended Trinity College. Barbara Gregg was at this time a member of the Roman Catholic Church, although before her death the life and teaching of her son led her to “embrace a purer faith” and become a Protestant. The Gregg family had a large number of Church of Ireland clergy within its ranks; the grandson of Bishop John Gregg was John Allen Fitzgerald Gregg CH DD (1873–1961) who was Archbishop of Armagh from 1939 – 1959. In St. Coloumba's Church of Ireland one of the stained glass windows is dedicated to John Gregg D.D., Bishop of Cork and this was presented by his son Robert S. Gregg, Archbishop of Armagh.

Ashgrove House

Ashgrove House
Ashgrove House (courtesy of the Marlborough family)

Ashgrove House in the townland of Ballyogan was associated with the Fitzgerald, Comyn and McMahon families and in 1855 Ashgrove and its sixty-nine acre farm were in the hands of Francis Marlborough. The Marlborough family continue this association today (Weir, 1999). (Barbara Fitzgerald who married Richard Gregg aforementioned was born here).
The house is an eighteenth-century, one-story, seven bay house (originally one-and-a-half storeys) facing east over a garden towards a small lake. A long avenue approaches from the south. The original yard buildings to the north east are now completely modernised. A cairn stands to the south of the property (Weir, 1999).

Durra House and Durra Cottage
Durra House in the townland of Kilvoydan North was associated with Butler, Roche, MacNamara, O'Brien, O'Donoghue, and Flanagan. Today it is the residence of the Glynn family (Weir, 1999).
All that remained of Durra House was the walls before the Glynn family carried out restoration. Durra Cottage the main house on the property, before Durra House was built still stands to the north-west of the big house (Weir, 1999). It is now the residence of Christy McNamara who has restored it.
Weir, 1999 gives the following description: Durra House was a large, late nineteenth-century, two-storey, three bay, brick and stone built, hip-roofed house, facing north-east, with a late nineteenth-century porch protecting the central fan and side lit front door. There is a two-story, three bay wing to the south-east, with a three-story tower linking it with the main house. At the rear of the house are two large, square, stone-faced tripartite windows overlooking a terrace. A large walled garden and pleasure ground adjoins the house to the rear, and there is a courtyard adjoining the wings to the east. The house is approached by a long winding drive through parkland from the west.
Durra was in the hands of the Roche family, members of which are buried in Ennis Abbey in late seventeenth century, and early eighteenth century. They were a transplanted Roman Catholic family from Castletownroche, County Cork. In 1775, the McNamara’s were in residence, by 1855, Frances O'Brien lived in the old house, from which he farmed the two hundred and seventeen acre farm. In 1887, the property was in the hands of Pierce O'Brien, Justice of the Peace for Clare (Weir, 1999).
Pierce was born about 1829 and he died about February 1902 (Waldron, 2012). Pierce married Eliza Borough daughter of William Borough and Katherine Comyn on the 12 March 1855 in Tulloh, Clare (Waldron, 2012). His first wife Eliza died before 1878 and he married Sophia Hickman of Fenloe, Co Clare on the 14 November 1878 in the Parish of St. Stephen, Dublin (CO).Witness for Pierce was R. Whitty and for Sophia, Luke Brady (Waldron, 2012). His daughter, Catherine Amelia O'Brien (born 1881) an accomplished mosaic artist, was a co-founder of An Tur Gloine (the Tower of Glass) with Ethel Rynd, Edward Martyn, Sara Purser and others (O'Connell, 1981). Examples of her work are to be seen at St. Columba's Church of Ireland, Ennis, Loughrea Cathedral and other churches in Dublin and Cavan (O’Connell, 1981). In the sanctuary of St. Columba's the arcaded reredos has twenty four biblical figures in ceramic tiling with mosaic finishing completed in the 1930s by Catherine Amelia O'Brien (O’Connell, 1981). A memorial to her parents Pierce O’Brien and his wife Sophia Angel is incorporated in this reredos which depicts St. Patrick and St. Brigid and reads: “Pierce O'Brien and Sophia Angel his wife”; Two small windows in the north porch representing Mary and Martha are dedicated to her three sisters with the following inscription: “to the Glory of God and in loving memory of my three dear sisters Henrietta, Norah and Betrice sometime of Durra House. They were baptised, confirmed and received their first Holy Communion in this church” (O’Connell, 1981).

Cahereiny House
Cahereiny House in the townland of Ballyogan was associated with the Blake, Brody, Butler, Coffey, Garvey and Hogan families (Weir, 1999). To-day it is occupied by the Galvin family.
It was originally a one-and-a-half story, bay house with dormer windows, facing south, but with no doors on the south side. A yard and utility buildings adjoin the north, there is a garden to the front, and an orchard beside the house to the south east. The outhouses were originally roofed with Liscannor flags. A twentieth-century, one-storey, one bay kitchen was added to the south and there was a walled garden to the north (Weir, 1999).
In 1814, this was the probable residence of Mr. Cons. Brody. In 1855, Henry Butler leased the house and its one hundred and six acre farm to John Hogan. It was valued a fifty pounds for rateable purposes (Weir, 1999).

Kilraghtis Graveyard


Current and historical local newspapers and journals are invaluable sources of information regarding the lives of prominent members of society and often contain references to the causes of death, funerals and burial places of individuals. The following notices regarding those buried in Kilraghtis were found.

Kilraghtis Graveyard

John Curtin (Burial No. 21) (John Curtin was linked to Cappagh House in 1855).
The Clare Journal, Monday, August 8 1859.
On Saturday morning at his house in Jail Street, deeply regretted by all who know him, John Curtin, Esq., aged 65 years. Mr Curtin was well known for a number of years as an extensive trader in Kilrush and was highly respected for the integrity and uprightness which always characterised his dealings.
He had obviously left Cappagh House and his epitaph late of Cappagh confirms this. His extensive trade in Kilrush is listed in Slater’s Directory of 1846 for Kilrush: Grocers and Spirit Dealers, John Curtin, 78 Moore Street. In 1856 John Curtin was an agent for British Commercial Fire Assurance in Jail Street. (Spellissy, 1996)

Rev. John Coffee (Burial No. 45)
The Clare journal and Ennis Advertiser Oct 10 1836.
Yesterday morning at the house of the Rev. Dean O'Shaughnessy, in Jail-street, of fever, the Rev. J. Coffee. It is only a few days since we noticed the appointment of this gentleman to the Curacy of New-market. His piety and mildness of his disposition gained him the esteem of those who knew him, by whom he is greatly regretted, and to his sorrowing parents and relations his premature death is a source of great affliction.

Ennis Chronicle 1810
Frances McMahon, Esq. On Thursday last, in Mill Street, in the meridian of life, Francis McMahon, Esq. His remains were taken this day for interment in his burial place in Kilraghtis, attended by the Ennis Corps of Cavalry and Infantry (of the former of which he was a sergeant) and, being a mason, by his brethren of Lodges No. 51 and 60, of this town, and that of Leitrim Militia in their proper costume the whole of which formed a procession solemn and impressive. He had been frequently appointed Vice-Provost of this borough, the duties of which office he discharged with general satisfaction; he possessed a good-natured sincere disposition, and was much esteemed by all who knew him.

Burial No. 84 is a McMahon burial and more than likely the one associated with Francis McMahon. The inscription is much worn, but the dates tie in, and while it is difficult to fully make out the Christian name it appears to be Fran/Flan. We note from the journal that Francis McMahon’s death was recorded Sat 2nd of June 1810 and that he died the Thursday before confirming the date as 31st May as stated on gravestone.

Perry (Burial No. 87) Captain Andrew Perry is credited with erecting the tomb to his brother and this entry in the Ennis Chronicle may possibly be linked to him:
The Ennis Chronicle Jan 17 1810
To be let 21 acres of land at Killula now in the possession of Mr. Andrew Perry… half mile from Newmarket-on-Fergus… Proposals to Charles Mahon, Ennis or Andrew Perry, Atterbury.

O’Briens of Durra Tomb
No. 82 O’Briens of Durra Tomb

Carmody Family – Josephine Carmody (Burial No. 93a)
On the 15th of January 1958 the upper floor of Carmody's Hotel collapsed during an auction and eight people were killed including Josephine Carmody.

Comyn (Burial No. 81) Ennis Chronicle & Clare Advertiser Saturday January 27th 1810 – Last Thursday, deservedly lamented, George Comyn, of Ashgrove Esq; - AN HONEST MAN.

Burial No. 20 (Interior of church) Thos. Roche P.P.
Burial No. 20 (Interior of church) Thos. Roche P.P.

Thos. Roche P.P. (Burial No. 20), this gravestone dates from the 1700s and is an example of how erosion has almost completely obliterated the writing. Through research we learned that the burial is of a parish priest which was an interesting discovery as P.P. and the end of Thos. Roche is now but a blur and would not have given us any indication of the significance of the burial.
Mangan, n.d., noted the burial and inscription: Here lyes the body of Thos. Roche p.p. of Doury and Kilraghtis for 50 Yrs., died 2nd July, 1766. (We could not fully decipher this date). Murphy, 1991, writes that the figure 58 years recorded in Doora Parish Notes is misleading and most likely for 38 years.
Murphy provides further information on Thomas Roche: parish priest of the church of St Catherine, canon, rural dean, and apostolic notary; after the death of Bishop Patrick MacDonagh in February 1752 a group of nine priests met in Ennis and Roche's name was among those forwarded to James III. He was parish priest of Doora & Kilraghtis at this time. When the various recommendations for the vacant see of Killaloe eventually made their way to Propaganda where a document was drawn up listing the candidates, Roche was mentioned with two others, as having no interest abroad and as this was very much to the point, they were listed without comment making it evident that they were non-starters for the vacant see of Killaloe.

“Although no inscribed monument was found recording this internment the following reports record the following”:
Clare Champion – (Banner in Bygone Days – July 1st 2011, 125 years ago) (1886)
Funeral of a Nationalist.

The funeral of the ill-fated young man, Meere, whose tragic death is fully reported in another column, took place on Thursday. The Tulla and Crusheen bands were present and with muffled instruments played the 'Dead March'. Upwards of 800 members of the National League marched in the procession, all wearing emblems of mourning. The remains were interred in Kilraghtis. A large force of police was present in the vicinity of Spancilhill. Everything passed off quietly and without the slightest semblance of any disturbance.

The Clare Journal and Ennis Advertiser (1886) – Full report from the column referred to above.

Kilraghtis Graveyard

Horrible Murder near Spancilhill.
To-Day we have to publish the details of a horrible outrage which occurred on Tuesday night within a short distance of Ennis, the victim being a young man of 23 years of age, named Michael Meere. At about half past nine o’clock he left Barefield and proceeded towards his home in the neighbourhood of Spancilhill. When within 200 yards of his own door he was attacked by the assassin. He received three pellet wounds and one bullet wound, which might not have been fatal, but he was knocked down and his head battered in such a frightful manner as to render identification difficult. The unfortunate man’s cries were distinctly heard by those in the vicinity, but they evidently considered discretion the better part of valour and did not venture outsider their doors. The body was found before ten o’clock by a man named Hogan. Meere’s mother immediately sent for the police, who were soon on the spot, but did not succeed in taking or tracking the malefactor. Such outrages as those which have lately been committed in Clare are sufficient to make people stand aghast with terror, and we trust the arm of the law will be long enough to reach the villain who committed this act of callous cruelty. The Rev. Mr. Hogan, C C, was in attendance almost immediately after the discovery of the body, but his services were unavailing, life being already extinct. There seems to be no reason to suppose that the murder was an agrarian one, the little farm on which Meere lived being in the possession of his mother.

Further report from the Clare Journal (1886) – Another Diabolical Murder in Clare.
Another most cold blooded and diabolical murder was committed at Bonnard, about half a mile from Spancilhill, on the road to Barefield on Tuesday night about 10 o’clock, and there can scarcely be a doubt as to its having being inspired by private revenge. The young man was a young man named Michael Meere about 25 years, second son of the widow Meere of Tullyvohan; and the particulars of the crime show that it was premeditated, cold blooded and brutal in every respect. It appeared that Meere had spent the day in Ennis, and did not leave till late in the evening; he remained some time at Hassett’s public house, Barefield, and after leaving it, there was no person in company with him; he was walking home alone and within two hundred yards of his own house when shots were fired at him; he was hit on the left thigh, and one of the bullets penetrated the abdomen; he shouted “murder and help;” his cries were heard by his servant boy who was sitting on a stile at the gate; he hurried to the spot and found deceased lying on the road quite dead. The assassins made sure of his death, for beside him was a large stick which had been used to stop a gap, and with that heavy weapon they battered his skull to pieces. It is clear from what took place, that his death must have been planned long before, and that the assassins had been lying in wait for him, and how determined they were he should not escape was seen in the manner in which they completed their bloody work within view of his own house, and with two police protection posts, one at Drumloon [Drumgloon] and another at Spancilhill within half a mile at either side. It will be remembered that a small farmer named John MacMahon, who had been living within a couple hundred yards of Spancilhill, was shot dead on the road to Roslevan about eight o’clock the evening of the 15th August, 1884, (Lady Day) as he was proceeding home from Ennis. He had a large helpless family, and when his widow made a claim for £500 compensation under the Crimes Act, it was refused by the Lord Lieutenant on the ground that the murder was not agrarian, or did not arise out of an illegal conspiracy. There was something about the crime that suggested motives different from these often actuating parties in agrarian disputes. One conclusion all parties came to was, that a faction feud was at the bottom of MacMahon’s murder, and when a brother of the deceased man, Meere, went to attend the funeral, he was ordered off by the MacMahon party. Up to the present there has been no arrest, nor is there the slightest clue to the perpetrators of the horrible crime. Deceased was an extreme Nationalist, and his brother is secretary to the Barefield branch of the National League.

An inquest was held yesterday afternoon by Mr. Coroner Frost. The officials present were – Mr. F W Purcell, R M, County Inspector Whelan, Inspector Joyce, Criminal Investigation Department; District Inspector Rogers, and District Inspector Siddall.
After the post mortem examination, and the Jury had viewed the body, the following evidence was taken:--

Patrick Meere was the first witness, and in reply to District Inspector Rogers, said—I live at Tullyvohan with my mother; I remember last night in or about 10 o’clock my brother, Michael Meere was murdered; the body now lying dead in the cut-house is that of my brother.

Patrick Hogan, Ballylunna, deposed—I remember last night coming home last night from Clooney; it was after nine o’clock; I saw a man lying on the road; I came off the car and turned him on his side and found he was dead; there was blood on his face; I sent my brother and sister to Mrs Moylan’s close by, to call them up; James Moylan came out; I then sent my brother and sister to tell the Meere’s; the body was lying on the hill on the road at Bennard; I met James O’Connor coming from Meere’s.Dr. William Cullinan deposed—I made a post mortem examination of the deceased with Dr. Hynes; he had over his right loin two holes, caused by one bullet, two on his left thigh caused by pellets, and three on outside of left thigh; none of them would have been sufficient to cause death; he has a wound in the stomach at the right of the navel penetrating into the abdomen; it would not kill him in a hurry, it might kill him eventually; the whole left side of his head is broken in peaces behind his left ear, you could hear it rattle like shells in a bag, it was caused by some heavy weapon like a bludgeon, some heavy instrument; it was the direct result of his death; his brain was exposed.

Dr. Wm Hynes deposed—that he made a post mortem examination of the deceased with Dr. Cullinan, and agreed with him in the evidence he gave.
James O’Connors deposed—I am a workman living with Mrs Meere; About 10’clock last night I heard shouts for police or relief; I heard shots at the same time; I could not recognise the voice I heard; I met a boy and girl on the road, they said Michael Meere was lying on the road; when I got to the hill I found him lying on the middle of the road; I did not know he was dead; saw blood on his face and blood on the ground; I ran for a priest and I came back with his brother and Father Hogan, he was dead; I put the body on James Moylan’s car and brought it here.

This closed the evidence.

The Coroner, addressing the jury, said—Upon the evidence you have heard you will be able to decide what caused this man’s death. There is no evidence to show at whose hands the dreadful deed was perpetrated that brought this young to an untimely end. We won’t be able to get any direct evidence to enable you to find a verdict that may implicate any party. Still you will be able to discharge certain functions and arrive at a conclusion that he was feloniously and wickedly murdered by some person or other. Abler men will then follow up the investigation, and the authorities will leave nothing undone to hunt up the perpetrators of this foul murder. With the state of this unfortunate country you have nothing to do. We must all deeply deplore such crimes, but you duty is simply to find a verdict according to the evidence you have heard.

The jury then found that the deceased, Michael Meere, was wilfully and feloniously murdered at the Bonnard, on Tuesday 29th June, 1886, by some person or persons unknown.

Clare Champion – Banner in Bygone Days – November 18, 2011 (1886)
Moonlight Raid

On Tuesday night six men armed with revolvers and without any disguise, came to the house of Pat Woods, Durra, herdsman to Mr. Peirce O'Brien, JP, put him on his knees and made him swear he would not bring his master's cattle to the fair in Clarecastle today; when they were leaving the house Woods said something, and one of the party turned back and gave him a punch of a revolver in the eye, which cut him slightly. The reason assigned for the outrage is that Mr. O'Brien, who has been very popular up to this, was obliged to obtain decrees at the last Quarter Sessions against some tenants on the property of his son-in-law, Mr. FW Hickman, JP, Kilmore, for whom he was agent.

The Woods family who came as herdsmen to Durra estate were given a land divide and Durra cottage through the Land Commission (McNamara, 2012).

Ennis Chronicle Jan 18, 1817
Last Tuesday night, at so early a period as between nine and ten o'clock a numerous cavalcade appeared at Cappa, the seat of Richard Gregg, Esq. They may be said to consist of between forty and fifty at the least; two mounted on each horse. A party of the ruffians entered the Gate-keepers’ Lodge to search for arms. They were equally mischievous as insolent and injured every article in their way, until they discovered a fouling piece which they took with them. We learn they traversed a very considerable part of the county making their course by every species of outrage and licentious indulgence... (Crusheen and Port were mentioned in their escapades).

Richard Gregg, Esq., with commendable zeal and manly spirit, pursued the course which he understood the above banditti had taken and having with him two or three resolute men, it is much to be lamented that he had not been able to fall in with them. Had Mr. Gregg been timely advised of the circumstance they would not have escaped, but the trepidation of the gate-keeper prevented him from venturing out, more timely, to apprise his master of the outrage and plunder which had been committed by these unpleasant visitors.

Tamplin -Burial Nos. 167 and 145.
The Rev. Edward Tamplin of Ennis was a signatory to a letter published in the Clare Freeman’s Journal of 7 May 1841. The letter was sent by members of the Catholic clergy of the county expressing their wish to be enrolled in the National Repeal Association [a group seeking the Repeal of the Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland 1801).

According to Griffith’s Valuation of 1855 the Rev. Edward Tamplin was living in Drumgloon townland in the parish of Kilraghtis. Members of the Tamplin family still resided in Drumgloon in 1901 and 1911 according to the national census. In 1901 Susan Tamplin, a widow, lived here with her son John. In 1911, Susan and Thomas were still resident in Drumgloon, along with Thomas Bertram Brodie who is recorded as Susan’s grandson.

The Tamplins have lived in Drumgloon and in the vincinity of Kilraghtis since at least the early 19th century. According to the County Clare Tithe Applotment Books John Tamplin and Joseph Tamplin held separate holdings in Drumgloon, and the Doora-Barefield Marriage Register Index records the marriage in 1823 of Eliza Tamplin to a Mr. John James.

Clare Journal 1871 had a notice acknowledging contributions towards the completion of the church in Barefield. Some of the names listed are associated with those found in Kilraghtis see table 1, page 13.

Irish Times 29/12/2012- Burial (No. 24 inside church)
Robbie McMahon, who has died aged 86, was a songwriter and singer whose rendition of Spancil Hill is widely regarded as the definitive version. He reckoned he sang it more than 10,000 times since he learned it as a teenager.

The ballad is named after a crossroads between Ennis and Tulla in east Clare, the site of a centuries-old horse fair held every June. In 1870 a young man from the locality, Michael Considine, bade farewell to his sweetheart Mary McNamara and left for the US. He hoped to earn sufficient money to enable her to join him.

However, he died in California in 1873. Before his death he wrote a poem dedicated to Mary which he posted to his six-year-old nephew, John, back home.

Seventy years later McMahon was given the words at a house party. His singing of the ballad was warmly received by those in attendance, who included the author’s nephew, then an elderly man.

Table 1: Contributions towards the completion of the church in Barefield

Contributions towards the completion of the church in Barefield


Sincere thanks are offered to:
Peter Beirne and Brian Doyle of the Local Studies Centre, Ennis for their help.
Margaret McNamara for the historical information on Kilraghtis Parish.
Transcriptions: Edel Greene and Mary Kearns.
Graveyard Map: Alan Sexton and Jimmy Kearns.
Layout: Fiona Kearns.
Sponsors: The Clare Archaeological and Historical Society.

Flanagan, D & Flanagan L, 1994, Irish Placenames, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 228.

Frost, J, 1893, The History and Topography of County Clare, Mercier Press, Dublin.

Frost, J, 1906, County of Clare Irish Local Names Explained, McKern & Sons Ltd., Limerick.

O’Donovan, J and Curry, E, 2003, The Antiquities of County Clare, Ordnance Survey Letters 1839, CLASP, Ennis, 175-176.

Westropp, T. J. 1900, The Churches of County Clare, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 6, 100-176.

Weir, Hugh, Houses of Clare, 1999, Ballinakella Press, (Cappagh House).

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The Clare Champion (Banner in Bygone Days)
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Ennis Chronicle
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Clare Freeman’s Journal

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