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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


Co. Carlow

Lewis's Topographical Dictionary 1837

Painstown (Oak Park)

OSi map of Painstown church ruin in Oak Park

Painstown Graveyard and church in ruin Oak Park

Bing map of Painstown church ruin in Oak Park

PAINSTOWN, a parish, partly in the barony of KILKEA and MOONE, county of KILDARE, but chiefly in the barony and county of CARLOW, and province of LEINSTER, 1 ¾ mile (N.) from Carlow, on the road to Dublin and Athy, and on the river Barrow; containing 177 inhabitants.

This parish comprises 2232 statute acres, under a highly improved system of agriculture; there is no bog. The Barrow navigation affords great facility for the transmission of goods to Waterford and Dublin. Oak Park, the seat of Col. Bruen, is more particularly noticed in the article on the town of Carlow. The living is an impropriate cure, in the diocese of Leighlin, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory is appropriate to the dean and chapter of Leighlin. The tithes amount to £89. 0. 0 ½., of which £59. 6. 8. is payable to the dean and chapter, and £29. 13. 4 ½.to the impropriate curate. Divine service is performed in a private house licensed for the purpose. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Carlow. Here is a school, supported by Col. Bruen. There are ruins of a church and a burial-ground, on the townland of Painstown; and the ruins of a church at Duganstown.

Parish Priest

Manus Egan was PP. in Killeshin in 1731. He and Bryan Moore, PP. Arles are mentioned in a return of that year.2  Fr Egan appears as PP. Painstown in the return of 1704. He is there stated to be residing at Painstown, aged 36, PP. Painstown, ordained in 1694 at Blarney, Co. Cork by Dr. John Slayne, Bishop of Cork. His sureties were Michael Gelagh of Carlow - saddler and John Lawler of’ the same, cottoner. Probably Fr. Egan was chaplain to the Cookes of Painstown and on the death of Fr. McGinis he was appointed P. P. Killeshin. In a list of the PP's of the diocese of Leighlin written by Walter Skelton, dean of Leighlin and entered by him on the fly-leaf of a theological treatise in M.S. the name Egan is given as PP. Killeshin. 3 Painstown is in Carlow parish and includes Oak Park.

2. Collections I. 269
3. Ibid 274

The Painstown Church & Graveyard

OSi map of Painstown church ruin in Oak Park

Painstown Graveyard and church in ruin Oak Park

Bing map of Painstown church ruin in Oak Park

Painstown Church. in Oak Park Estate (in ruins).

Here lyeth ye Body of RICHARD LYNAM and Family he Died March 1768 Aged 20 years
Here Lieth the Body of EDWARD LYNAM Father to the Above RICHARD who Depd this Life November the 6th 1791 aged 75 years Also his wife MARGRETH LYNAM Alias CROW who Depd this Life January 9th 1795 Aged 75 years Lord have Mercy on their Souls Amen."

JPMD, Vol V., Issue 1901, 02 , 03, CARLOW, Page 310.

The Graveyard and Church are located in the Farmyard about 400 metres south of Oak Park House. The origin of the small ruined Church is uncertain. It is most likely that some stage it was used as a private Chapel for early Coke (or Cooke) landlords who were Catholic. An engraved stone slab with the date 1670 was found during a clean-up but according to some experts there are indications that part of the ruins date to an earlier period. Two table-tombs within the ruins contain the remains of some of the Coke who owned Oak Park.


Miss Alice Treacy gives this account of
on one of our Summer Excursions during 1956

THE ruins that remain at Painstown (Oak Park) were the subject of another Summer excursion. Miss Tracey gave an outline of the local history. She said that they are probably those of a house where Friars sheltered and perhaps said Mass, and to which the people made their way along the "Friary Lane."

The place itself was then known as the Hill and was part of the Kilkea and Moone estate. We can picture it as something of a wilderness covered with trees and dense scrub. In the third decade or so of the last century it was purchased by Col. Bruen to make a public road in lieu of the one which ran through his property.

He also bought the Best property, and romantic legend has it that Best gambled his estate on a last throw of the dice and lost, but in any case the small holdings round about disappeared, and the Colonel enclosed his demesne and built his imposing entrance providing relief work during the Famine years. The road was duly built and the Hill fenced in as a deer park, eventually becoming as it is now, a very fine golf links in a setting of attractive scenery.


Though it is on record that Painstown Church was used as a parish church, there is no indication as to the period—probably it was before the time of the old penal chapel at the College Street end of the Dublin Road.

Even the traditional pattern day has not come down to us, and consequently there is not even that clue to its dedication. Painstown estate was, in 1514, in the possession of a Protestant named James Barry. His name re-appears in the Down Survey map which was drawn in 1359 by George Marshall. The acreage is given as 589 Statute with a church and castle to the South-East of it.

The adjoining property of Dunganstown (now Bestfield and Newgarden) consisted of 271 acres and a castle near the Barrow, and was owned by James Butler, an Irish papist. Strangely, in contrast with Carlow's position as an outpost of the Pale and the struggle between the Confederate and Government forces centering around Carlow about this time, most of the properties in the vicinity were owned by Catholics. In  fact, Barry was about the only Protestant land owner in the district.

Kernanstown, Pollerton (Big and Little) and the parishes of Killerig and Urglin were completely in the hands of the Irish Papists, as it was the custom of the time to dub them. The predominating name in the locality in those days was Wall (or Wale as it was often spelt). Apropos of this I may recall one Mick Wall mentioned by William Farrell in his diary of " Carlow in '98."

Wall was a relative of Farrell and suffered abominable tortures in an endeavour by the authorities to extract information re the activities of the United Irishmen, of which Society he was a member. He lived at Painstown, comfortably situated " owning £100 in cash, a few acres of land and had five cows, besides his trade." Poor Wall collapsed under torture, but the " walking gallows," a Sergeant of the Ninth Dragoons, completed his work, and the body was added to the pile in Croppy Hole.

Farrell goes on: "His ancestors (the Walls) held large estates in the County Carlow and in the wars of Ireland held the rank of Captains and Colonels in the army. Though they lost their estates and were obliged to earn their bread, they did not lose the ancient noble spirit,"

The name Painstown recalls another family name prevalent in the area. Lewis tells us that the townland consisted of 2,153 acres, of which 1,855 are in the barony of Carlow, and that the name is at least as old as Queen Elizabeth's reign. It is probably derived, he says, from one of the persons named Paganus who were connected with the district early in the 13th century. The modern form is, of course, Payne.

Source: Carloviana Vol. I, No. 5, Ser. New, pp. 23-24, December, 1956

Oak Park

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