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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Native Priests Of The Parish

Source: P.MacSuibhne book 'The Parish of KILLESHIN, Graiguecullen'. 1972.


Native Priests of The Parish of Killeshin
Fr. Patrick Hickey.
On your way from the road gate to St. Diarmuid's well you see the native place of a remarkable priest. He is Fr. Patrick Hickey, P.P., Arles who died 26th November, 1857. From 31st March 1800 to 31 May 1805 he was a student of Carlow College. He was a 149 day-scholar to 31 August 1801. For part of his time there he has the title "Rev." which suggests he may have been a priest. He became P.P. Hacketstown in February, 1814, and in January 1821 P.P. Arles. In the Knockbeg Centenary Book we read: "Fr. Hickey was born at the back of the old chapel in Killeshin on land now owned by Mr. Fennell of Stanney.' He lived in Cloneybacon. The ruins of his house are still there. Mr. John Brennan owns the land. The priests lived there till Mrs. Butler left the house and seven acres of land at Raheen, now the C.C.'s residence, for the priests. Fr. Hickey was an uncle of Pat Cahill of Castletown, founder of the "Leinster Leader" and nephew of Dr. D. N. Cahill. Mr. Michael Deegan of Ballinagall to whom we are indebted for these particulars, remembers Pat Cahill.

Dr. Doyle's manner, generally austere especially at visitation-time, was not proof against Fr. Hickey's wit. "Who preached to-day, my Lord" he asked the bishop after confirmation in a Co. Kildare parish. "I preached myself was the reply. "That is more than St. Paul did, my Lord," rejoined the loquacious priest, "He preached Christ crucified, but you have preached yourself." The bishop restrained a smile. A knock at the door announced the arrival of other priests. "Who comes so late" asked Dr. Doyle. Fr. Hickey ran to the window pulled aside the blind and said: "It is the Prosperous parish priest and the Clane curate!" Dr. Doyle could no longer restrain laughter and a pleasant evening followed. Like Fr. James Maher, he pleaded with the bishop on behalf of brother priests with whom the bishop was not for the moment fully pleased.

From an obituary notice we learn that Fr. Hickey was born 13th October 1773. He was ordained at Tullow by Dr. Delany on Holy Thursday 1805. He was appointed on Easter Sunday to Hacketstown where he remained as C.C. and P.P., with five years at Baltinglass until 1821, when Dr. Doyle transferred him to Aries. He erected and beautified his chapels. Before the national schools were in existence he provided his people with a suitable education, and at his death left in his parish eight schools which could hardly be equaled in any parish in Ireland ... on the tithe question he co-operated with his great bishop, Dr. Doyle ... He was the friend and confidant of O'Connell . . . But a memorable service of Fr. Hickey's life was ... to suppress the secret society of the Whitefeet and to restore peace and order to the community .. . Never was a priest so endeared to his flock."

Fr. Hickey is buried at Aries. Part of his former dwelling at Killeshin is slated. The neat haggard still provides a welcome shelter for livestock. 150

Fr. Peter Kavanagh.
We read in the Knockbeg Centenary Books "Peter Kavanagh, Graig, student of Carlow College 4th March 1802 to 1st July 1812. Day scholar to 1st July 1809. 31st March 1807 by salt and _ candle-wick £1.12.7. 28 September 1810, by hay £23.11.3. He was born in Sleaty where Mr. Patrick Fennell now lives and there also he died. C.C. Aries 1817-20." No further record till he began duty as chaplain to Presentation Convent, Bagenalstown 30 May, 1847 and "by his fidelity, piety and amiability of manner gave promise of universal satisfaction." Having been chaplain for many years he died 27th May, 1863 - Catholic Registry 1864. His grave in Killeshin is due west of the church tower and centre walk. It is surrounded by a granite kerb and surmounted by a granite headstone, with biretta cut in limestone in marble inset and commemorating Fr. Kavanagh's "labours in the vineyard, which for over half a century have borne abundant fruit. Combining the simplicity of the child with a full knowledge of human nature, he was beloved and respected by all as a sincere friend and an experienced spiritual director."
Rev. Simon McWey.
He was baptised 28 December, 1837, son of James and Ellen nee McDarby, Slaty (now Sletty). Sponsors Rev. Michael Rafter P.P. and Biddy Byrne. Student of Carlow College 1859-1862 and 1865-69. Ordained 1869, P.P. Kilcock.

Thomas McWey and his wife nee Coffey lived originally where the City Tailors came later, one door from Cox's Lane. They had six sons and four daughters. They went to Sletty in 1782; Montgomerys had previously been there; so said old Dr. T. O'Meara. Tom born in 1723 died in 1800, according to his tombstone in the Graves; his wife died in 1827 aged 76. He was great grandfather of Tom, Wellington Square and the late James McWey, Sletty. Possibly they kept on Dublin Street after going to Sletty.

Mat the eldest son married in Ballyking, Ballyroan. James the youngest got the place, Sletty. Simon, one of the six sons died in Straboe in 1842. Born in Sletty, he was buried in the Graves. Murtha had Grange Mill. Born 1783 and died 1854, a bachelor aged 51 (or was it 71?). Thomas was three months old when the family moved to Sletty in 1782. He married Anne Gaskin, daughter of Pat Gaskin, at the Shop, Wellington Square. The grandfather of Tom, Wellington Sq., who gave these notes, heard Mass in the old parish chapel which preceded the Cathedral.

John McWey, another son, had mailings in Green Lane, in the big house facing Carlow where later Boland's man lived. Mathias lived where the postmaster Mr. O'Neill lived later. He had the land now owned by the College. McWey's house and farmyard were burned by accident in 1849. A lot of cattle were burned. James was urged to have the loss put on the rates but of course he refused. The house was re-built then.

James and Miss Ellen McDarby had three sons. Tom. Mathias and James. Tom built Grange about 1862. He was married to Miss Kelly, Coolanoule and had no family. He left the place to his wife and after her death it reverted to his brother Mathias who died there in 1926. Mathias was married to Miss Mullally of Tipperary by her uncle who was president of All Hallows and by Fr. Simon McWey.

The second Mrs. McWey in Sletty was Miss McDarby. Springhill, an only daughter. The third was Miss Johanna Carey of Curragh, niece of Fr. Carey P.P. Borris. The fourth was Miss Johanna Holohan of Lower Grange.

To return to Fr. Simon His first curacy was Graignamanagh. Without following his career, however, we find that he was C.C. Kildare from November 1883 till August 1886 when he was transferred as C.C. to Rathangan in the same parish. In both places he left the memory of a devoted, zealous priest. In January 1889 he became P.P. Kilcock succeeding Dr. Thomas Geoghegan, P.P. V.G. He died 27 June, 1 898.

Fr. Patrick Carey P.P.
Fr. Patrick Carey P.P. Borris was a native of Curragh, Killeshin parish. He was a relative of Cardinal Cullen and helped the Cardinal in 1861 when he was giving his memorable evidence concerning the Poor Law System. In June he became P.P. Borris. He died 15 December 1890. He wished to be buried where the people would walk over his grave. The church was extended over his grave so that his wish is fulfilled.
Frs. Sean and Liam McWey
Two grand-nephews of Fr. Simon became priests. Fr. Sean was ordained 1st June 1947 for Kildare and Leighlin. His twin brother, Fr. Liam, of St. Patrick's Missionary Society, Kiltegan was ordained on Easter Sunday 17th April 1949 at Killamoat. Both were born at Sletty. Fr. Sean is C.C. Eadon Doire, Ua bhFailghe. Both were educated at Knockbeg.
Fr. Thomas Fennell, P.P.
Fr Thomas Fennell also of Sletty was ordained 7th June, 1942 at Carlow College. He is P.P. in Sydney diocese, at St. Bonaventure's, Leura, N.S.W.

The three Fr. Creede brothers:

Mrs. Creede nee Gaskin began work as a typist in William M. Byrne, solicitorís office, Carlow in 1911. There she met William Creede who had been working in the office since 1904. He was born in Caragh (or Carogh) on 6 June 1888 shortly after his father Peter Creede had been transferred to Kildare, working on the G.S.W. Railways. William lived in Caragh till he was three; then his father was transferred to Rathvilly. At the age of 15 he attended the Christian Brothersí School in Carlow where he became proficient in shorthand and typing. William and Mary Gaskin were married at Killeshin on 16th June 1915 with nuptial Mass by Fr. James Dunny C.C. The wedding breakfast was at Cappalug, on tables placed on the grass outside the house. Fr. Dunny rode out on horseback to be present.

Their first home was in Carlow near St. Patrickís College. In 1917 William Creede who was an insurance agent was changed to Kilkenny; then in 1922 to Dublin. In 1927 he left for Australia to prepare a home for his wife and children. Mrs. Creede returned to Cappalug where Fr. William D. was born 11th April 1927. The family left for Australia in 1928. Mrs. Creede died in Sydney on 16th July 1943, William her husband died 30 June 1955. Their grave in Rockwood cemetery is marked by an inscribed Cross.

Fr. Thomas Creede C.S.S.R. was ordained 14th March 1943 at Ballarat, Australia.
Fr. Peter Creede C.M. ordained 7th December 1944 at Sydney.
Fr. William Creede C.S.S.R. ordained 16th March 1952 at Ballarat, Australia.
Fr. Denis Haughney
Sletty St., son of James Haughney and Mrs. Haughney, nee Essie Walsh. Educated at Graigue N.S. and Carlow C.B.S. Paterson Diocese, U.S.A.

Source: P.MacSuibhne book 'The Parish of KILLESHIN, Graiguecullen'. 1972.


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