Search billions of records on


Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Ballon, Co. Carlow


Succession of Pastors

The following up to Fr, John Kelly ib from Dr. Comerford Collections III 121-2

Murtagh Doyle, registered in 1704, residing at Kilmurry, aged 50, was Parish Priest of Ballon, Myshall, Kellistown, Temple Peter, Ahada, part of Ardreston and part of Fennagh; he was ordained in 1681 at Garricken, Co. Kilkenny, by James Phelan, Bishop of Ossory; and his sureties were James Sinnott of Ballinrush, Gent., and John Dowling of Carlow, Gent, 50 each. In an account of the State of Popery, in 1731 (See Vol, I. p. 268), Murtagh Doyle is set down as Popish Priest of Grangeforth.

Thomas FitzGerald is named in this account as priest of Kellistown; and in a List of the P.Ps. made by Dean Skelton in 1733, Fitzgerald is named as P.P. of Ballon. It is probable that Fr. FitzGerald was assistant to Fr. Doyle and that he succeeded him as P.P. prior to 1733. It has not been ascertained when this priest died; it is stated that he is interred at Kellistown.

James Brett succeeded; he died the 19th of January, 1764, aged 41, and is interred at Kellistown.

Michael Shortall succeeded; he is named in a return of 1766 as P.P. of Ahade. This priest, who survived up to the year 1794, is interred with his family at Ballyellen.

Nicholas Nowlan succeeded; he was a native of Kilbride, Parish of Clone gal. He was translated to Rathvilly in succession to Daniel Murphy, who died 5 Dec. 1798, aged 102. It is not unlikely that Fr. Nowlan was in charge of the parish of Rathvilly as Administrator for some time before the death of the plusquam centenarian P.P.

John Kelly, D.D. succeeded. He had been professor at Carlow College. He was the first professor on the College books. The College opened 1st Oct. 1793. He began 20th Oct. 1793 at 30 guineas a year. He remained till 16th March, 1794. The late Thomas Fitzpatrick, Rathrush spoke of Fr. Eoin Kelly P.P. He lived at Ballycurra, Rathoe district and died there 5th March, 1799 aged 43. He is buried at Kellistown. Fr. Patrick Byrne, P.P. who died 13 Sept. 1923 told the present writer that in the Chapel in which Fr. Kelly officiated, probably at Rathoe, there was a "pound" or enclosure for obnoxious persons who would be sagfe there from being molested. It was the custom for the priest to give the Asperges, that is to sprinkle holy water on the congregation before Mass. When Dr. Kelly would come to the Pound he would greet those in it with "Black Sheep! Black Sheep!". This was reported to the Bishop who told Dr. Kelly that he should discontinue this breach of charity. Dr. Kelly promised. On the following Sunday Dr. Kelly as usual aspersed the people with holy water and coming to the Pound he addressed the occupants "Ma! Ma!".

Fr. Thady Dunne succeeded as P.P. In 1802 he wag transferred to Rosenallis and Fr. James Conran who had beer P.P. Rosenallis succeeded.

1849-69 Fr. John Kehoe. As John Keogh, he matriculated on 25th August 1838 in Maynooth in Rhetoric. The mural tablet in the nave of the Church of S.S. Peter and Paul reads: "Sacred to the memory of Rev. John Kehoe, P.P. Ballon and Rathoe. Born in the parish of Bagenalstown 2nd October 1819, after a year's preparatory study in Carlow College he in 1837 entered Maynooth from which after a conspicuously distinguished career he was promoted to the Sacred Priesthood in the year 1844. His first mission was the curacy of Clonaslee, next that of Arles, whence he was transferred in 1848 to Ballon where although meantime offered high preferments, he chose to live and toil as curate for twenty further years. On the resignation of Rev. Wm. Kinsella, P.P. in 1868 he was appointed Pastor of the parish, to the temporal as well as spiritual welfare of whose people he had devoted all the vigour and earnestness of his earlier years. His kindness to the poor and his zeal for God's glory should ever be held in cherished remembrance by those amongst whom to spend himself in unceasing exertion was but a labour of love. After a most exemplary and useful life he calmly resigned his sinless soul to his Creator on 21st July 1883. May he rest in peace. Amen".

Fr. Kehoe was an uncle of his successor Fr. P. F. Nolan, P.P. He was born probably at Carrig, Muinebheag. The family-were evicted from Kilconnor, from the place where George Young lived later, opposite Bob Morrissey's. The land is now divided. On the day of eviction their stock and chattels formed a procession a mile long. So said Fr, Pat Broughan, P.P. Caragh in 1944, a neighbour. There is a tradition that the horse which Fr. John Murphy P.P. had in the course of his journey to Ballyveal and Tullow in '98 was given to him by a granduncle of John A. Kehoe, for many years chairman of Carlow County Council. The Kehoe family lived at Toberbride, near Muinebheag, in '98.

Fr. John Kehoe, P.P. was a nephew of Fr. Patrick Kehoe, P.P. Leighlin who died 20th April, 1858 aged 67. Fr. Patrick was born 28 years before Emancipation. Fr. P. Kehoe was C.C. Ballinakill in 1817 and Adm. Graiguenamanagh from the end of 1823 to September 1827. Fr. Pat's brother was Fr. Michael, first P.P. of Abbeyleix who gave evidence before a committee of the House of Commons in 1832. He had been 8 years P.P. Abbeyleix and 16 years living in the parish. J.K.L. had nominated him for the London evidence.

A sister of Fr. James Nolan, first Rector of Knockbeg became Mrs. Kehoe, Carrig. A John Kehoe of Carrig married Annie Brophy, sister of John Brophy of Milltown who was for many years Chairman of Carlow Co. Council. John Brophy was granduncle of the Brophys of Castlemore. He was son of Thomas Brophy Miltown and Johanna nee Walsh of the Harrow. Mrs. Johanna Fenelon of Carrig was a daughter of John Kehoe of Carrig. The grandparents of Mrs. Fenelon nee Kehoe were Michael Kehoe, Carrig and Margaret Brophy, Baltinglass, niece of Cardinal Cullen. The Keoghs of Park and Orchard were distant relatives of the Carrig family. Paddy Nolan of Laragh a near neighbour of the present writer's family used to drive Fr. John Kehoe, P.P. home to Carrig frequently. The Kehoes were related to Johnny Man Jack Nolans, whoever they were.

Source: Ballon and Rathoe Vol. 1 Peadar Mac Suibhne 1980

The information contained in these pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects, IGP TM By Pre-emptive Copyright - All rights reserved