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

Parish of Killokennedy (a)

This Parish is situated in the Barony of Tulla Lower. It is bounded on the north by the Parish of Kilno; on the west by Killuran, Kilseely and Trooagh; on the east by Killaloe and on the south by St. Patrick’s and Kiltinaanlea.

The name of this Parish is in the original language Cill O’gCinnéide, which means the Church of the O’Kennedys, so called from the family of O’Kennedy who were the ancient chiefs of the beautiful valley district of Glenomrae, with which this Parish is exactly coextensive. It is curious to see how tradition and the natural features of the Country throw light upon and prove the authenticity of the ancient Irish documents. The poem of O’Heerin thus speaks of the Territory of O’Kennedy:-

O’Cinnéide chorcras ga
Ar Ghleannfairsing, Reidh Ómra,
Sliocht ár nDuinnchuain, tre chródacht
Na fuinn fuair gan iarmhóireacht.

O’Kennedy, who reddens darts
Over the extensive smooth Glen Omra
Offspring of our Doncuan, who, thro’ valor,
Obtained these lands without contention.
i.e., no other person contests it with him.

The old Church of Kill-O’Kennedy is situated in Glen-Omra about two miles to the north east of Broadford. It is fifty six feet long and twenty three feet ten inches broad. The north wall is built of large field stones and appears ancient, but the south wall is built of quarried stones and does not exhibit so much of the impress of age as the north one. The south wall contains a pointed doorway placed at the distance of sixteen feet from the west gable, and measuring on the inside seven feet in height and three feet nine inches in width, and on the outside six feet one inch in height and three feet in width. It does not appear to be of coeval erection with the north wall. The two gables are destroyed down to the very foundations but some of the foundation stones remain in the original position, by which I was enabled to ascertain the exact length of the Church as given above. This was never divided into nave and choir; its side walls are ten feet high from the present level of the ground. The north wall contains an ancient little window measuring on the inside three feet five inches in height and three feet two inches in width, and on the outside three feet two inches in height and four and a half inches in width, and covered at top inside and outside with small lintels. It has been ascertained at this window that the wall is three feet three inches thick. There was another window on the south wall near the south east corner, but it is so injured that its characteristic features cannot be ascertained.

A short distance to the south east of this Church is a holy well dedicated to Saint Cronan, the Patron of the Parish, who is probably Saint Cronan of Tomgraney. This well is two feet in diameter and covered overhead. Beside it grows a very large ash tree, which, according to an inscription on a stone near it, was planted by W. Doogan P.P. in the year 1733. The tomb of this Priest is in the Churchyard. It was erected by himself long before his death: “This thomb was erected by William O’Doogan, Rector of the Parish of Killalowe, Killsely and Killogenedy, 1723.”

There can be little doubt that this Church had been called Kilcronan or Templecronan before it received its present name from the Chieftain of Glenomra.

In the College List of the Castles of Thomond, I find set down “Glan-Omra belonging to Terilogh Mac Donel Roe” who was in all probability a Macnamara. The site of this Castle is shewn in the Townland of Cloongaheen East, and tradition says that some years ago considerable parts of the walls, vaults, etc., were to be seen, but at present no trace is visible. An English family of the name Hovendon had a dwelling house near this Castle, but even that is now destroyed. Sic transit gloria mundi!

The others remains of antiquity in this Parish are forts and pagan graves, which are incorrectly called by natives Beds of Dermot and Graine. One is situated in the Townland of Cloonconrymore, another in Fermoylemore and a third in the Townland of Killokennedy. They are constructed of large rough stones placed on edge in two rows about nine feet in length and five feet asunder, and covered overhead with large flag stones placed horizontally. It would be very easy to open any of those graves. The names of the forts I have set down in the Field Name Books.

The Townland of Formoyle in this Parish is mentioned in the Wars of Turlough under the year 1317, but nothing particular said about it.

A Bhriain, a Donnchadh Daoile ) Qu? Were these
A dha onchoin Form aoile ) O’Kennedys?

I expect to finish the writing of the Parishes of Clare early tomorrow.

                                                                                                 Your obedient servant,
                                                                                                              John O’Donovan.

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                                                                                                              Monday 9th Dec. 1839.

Dear Sir,
The writing of Clare is almost interminable; but it will not stand us long now as we are working fifteen hours every day without cessation. The labour of writing for the Survey is becoming heavier and heavier upon me every year, but I am wearing very well, as the Connaughtman said of himself at the age of 47.