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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Succession of Parish Priests

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

This is based on Dr. Comerford's work up to 1886 1. The district of Sletty was detached from Arles and united with Killeshin parish in I821

Edmond MacGinis is named in a return of 1704 as as residing at Ballinrohun in the barony of Sleumaragah, aged 47, “this present July,” PP. Killeshin now and since November 1691. Ordained 20 July 1681 at Portumney, Co. Galway by Thady Keogh, Bishop of Clonfert, His sureties were Mark Quigley of Gallyhide, (Bahlyhide) gent, and Theobald Denn of Killabban, gent

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.

Nicholas Gernon dean of Leighlin became P.P. of Carlow and Killeshin in 1751 the two places were together at that time. In a return of 1766,4 he is named as PP. of Carlow and Kileshin, having Tim Dowan  - Thady Duane afterwards P.P. Mountmellick as his coadjutor. According to the inscription over him in the Graves, Carlow, he died 4 March 1787 aged 80, P.P. Carlow and Killeshin 36 years; hence he became P.P. in 1751

Richard Fitzgerald became P.P. Killeshin in 1787. In that year Kileshin had been again detached from Carlow in Dr. Doyle’s Clergy List of 1820, he is entered as “Rev. Richard Fitzgerald of Carlow, P.P. Killeshin. In 1807 or possibly in 1803 he built the old church in Graigue which consisted only of the portion facing the steps and the river. It was built on a site granted by Browne-Clayton who had bought it from the Earl of Thomond. it was designed possibly by Cobden who came to Carlow early in the century. The original church became the gospel transept when the church was enlarged about 1825. Fr Fitzgerald died in 1823., but in his latter years he was in great measure relieved from the charge of the parish. At his death Dr. Doyle thought of reuniting Carlow and Killeshin. Eventually however he detached Sletty from Arles and attached it to Killeshin.

On 12 October Dr. Doyle appointed Fr. Michael Rafter as PP. Fr. Rafter had possibly been a day-scholar at Carlow College 1811-12. He may have belonged to the Family at Ballytarsna. He was bursar at Carlow College from 1821 to 1823. About 1825 he enlarged the church in Graigue by adding the large portion alongside Chapel Street. This became the nave of the enlarged church which probably at this time was called St. Fiacc’s Church as it catered for the additional population coming from Sletty. Cobden was the architect. The windows resemble those of Carlow Cathedral. Cobden also designed the pillars around the altar and the hanging ornament of the tabernacle lamp over the altar rails. A former PP, he loved to visit Killeshin district and the church of the Holy Cross. He used to spend days and even nights in the room above the sacristy. This was probably Fr. Rafter who died 17 January 1840 at 21 minutes to 6 am. The day and hour are entered in the baptismal and marriage registers by the curate Fr. Brian Kinsella. He is buried in the sanctuary at what used to be called the gospel side of Holy Cross Church.

Fr. James Maher was appointed his successor on 27 January, 1840. Born in 1793 at Donore in the parish of Muinebheag his parents were substantial farmers. A sister Mary became the wife of Hugh Cullen at Rathornan in the parish of Leighlinbridge. They were the parents of Cardinal Cullen. Shortly after James’ birth his parents and family removed from Donore to Kilrush in Suncroft parish. In October 1795 Hugh Cullen and family removed from Rathornan to Ballitore, six miles from Kilrush. Soon both areas became centres of insurgent and military activity. Night after night the Maher family had to take refuge in a sandpit near the house. Meantime his brother-in-law Hugh Cullen was tried for his life for sympathy with the insurgent cause. He was acquitted. In 1807.  James became a day-pupil at the Quaker school of Ballitore. While there, he stayed at the Cullens’ home at Prospect, Ballitore. Both homes at Prospect and Kilrush were steeped in vivid memories of 1798. So also was Carlow College which James entered in September 1809. There was always a strong tradition of patriotism in that college. In June 1817 James set out for Rome. He stayed at the Vincentian house at Monte Citorio and for the next four years he read his theological course. He was ordained on the 9 September 1821.

You can read more on this article in P.MacSuibhne book 'The Parish of KILLESHIN, Graiguecullen'. 1972.

1. Collections III. 265
2. Collections I. 269
3. Ibid 274
4. Collections III. 406

Succession of Curates

The catholic Registry is the first public record we have of curates. It began in 1836.

1835-1842 - Bryan Kinsella. Fr. Bernard was born in Ballon parish. Of the same family as Bishop Kinsella, a native of Ballynunnery. Came first to Kinsellas’ of the Carlow-Tullow road, where Kinsellas’ quarry was; went to Grange, Montacilia. Same as Kinsellas', Sandbrook. Fr. Bernard was PP. Paulstown where he died 25 February, 1870.

1843-1848 - John Walsh. A first cousin of Fr. John Walsh C.C. Burns who was murdered at Kilgreany. 30 July, 1835 in the tithe war. Fr. John CC. Borris was born at Lower Grange, midway between Gowran and Goresbridge. His brother Pat lived in the home place and died in 1884 without issue. The farm was bought by Michael Donohoe whose wife, nee Walsh, was a first cousin of Fr. Walsh, C.C. Burns. Fr. John C.C. Graigue was P.P. Clonbullogue from December 1856 to 1863 when he retired.

1849-1860 - Michael Conroy. A native of Mountmellick where his people had a business house. He was ordained the 12th Day, the year of the big wind 1836. He was a contemporary of Fr. Geoghegan P.P. V. G. Kilcock. In the cholera days he was sixteen or seventeen days without changing his clothes. In November, 1860 he became PP. for Myshall where he died 23 June 1883. He is buried right in front of the High Altar, at the 5th or 6th Station. “A grand priest” said the late Mrs. O’Donoghue, Myshall.

1860-1871 - Patrick Maher succeeded Fr. James Maher as P.P.  See the succession of Parish Priests.

1872-1874 - Thomas Delany. A brother of Fr. Wm. Delany S. J. D. Litt. well known in the history of Clongowes and of University College, Dublin. Fr. William preached Bishop Foley’s consecration sermon. it has been said that he was a cousin of Dr. Foley whose mother was Delany, but Fr. J.P. Donohoe PP. Leighlin denied this. He was an uncle of Fr. Michael Maher S. J author of works on philosophy. They were born in Main St. Leighlinbridge where Mrs. McDonald was later. The McDonnell's of Carlow came from there. Fr. Delany was a brother of Mrs. Bacon, and uncle of John Bacon, first registrar of U. C .D. Ray McDonnell was born in Leighlin.
At the Jesuit house in Lower Leeson Street there are letters from Cardinal Cullen to Fr. Tom CC. Carlow-Graigue written during Fr. James Maher’s illness and at his death. The present writer’s uncle told him that Fr. Delany was CC. Ballon at the time of the Land League and that he was on the tenants’ side.
At the house of Mr. J. J. O’Connor Sol.. 2 Clyde Rd., Ballsbridge the present writer made an imperfect copy of an address to Fr. Toni CC. “from the parishioners of Killeigh and Geashill’’ on “his removal to Geashill.” They paid tribute to the fostering care which he bestowed on the poor “who should occupy a large place in a pastor’s thoughts.” Signed by Michael Conroy, Edmund Mooney, Larry Delany, James Dunne. Illuminated by A.F.D. at St. Michael’s Convent Portarlington. Date not recorded.
Fr. Tom was from 1857 to 1859 a student at Carlow College. He died 23 Oct. 1880 at Killeigh.

1874-1885 - Fr. James Dempsey was curate with Fr. Delany for a time in 1874. He was born at Clongarrett, Clonbullogue. He was related to Fr. Pat Gorry P.P. He had a brother Luke. Fr. Dempsey, Fr's. Mahon P.P. Tinryland and Mat Gorry, uncle of Fr. Pat Gorry PP. used to stay at Cappyroe, Fr. Gorry’s native place, and attend a secondary school at Tullamore; no such school any nearer. The Dempsey's were cousins of the Rathangan Dempsey's and were later at Blakefield. Fr. James was at Carlow College 1862-4. Ordained 1870. PP. Arles from 1889 to his death 25 Oct., 1908.

1886-1887  - Fr. William Maher at Carlow College 1865-7. Ordained 1872. A brother of Fr. John, Carlow College 1873-4. Ordained 1880. Natives of Ballyloughan. Their mother was Byrne; their father married in there from Whitehall. Fr. John was C.C. Luggacurran at the time of the evictions there. Became P.P. Clonaslee where he added the dining room to the parochial house. Died January, 1916. Fr. William died 29 October 1926.

1888-89 - Fr. John Foley, born in Leighlin parish at the Cross-road between Old Leighlin and Bananagole, the country in the hill. He was related to Bishop Foley and also a class fellow of his, as well as of Fr. Tim Fenlon and Father Keenan. He died in Borris, attended by Fr. Mat, afterwards Bishop Cullen.

I890-1893 - Fr. James Farrell. A native of Clane Parish. Carlow College 1884-90. Ordained 31 May I890, P.P. Arles from April 1918 to his death 30 June 1930..

I893-1898 - Fr. Arthur Murphy. A native of Tullow. PP. Emo from August I918 to his death 25 September, I 939.

1899-l904 -  Fr. Patrick Campion.. A native of Valleyfield, Ballinakill. Carlow College 1889-92. Ordained 21 June 1896 at Maynooth. P.P. of Kill from August I929 to I1 October 1930 when he died.

I905-1950 - Fr. Peter Kavanagh. A native of Stradbally. Carlow College 1896-7. Ordained 26 July 1903. PP. Daingean from January 1937 to his death 22 January, 1950.

1906-1918 - Fr. James Dunny. A native of Kilmeade, Athy. Nephew of Fr. James Dunny CC. Clonegal who died 23 March I883 and of Fr. Paul Dunny PP. Rosenallis who died 15 December 1939. The uncles were born in Newtown, Suncroft where their grandniece Mrs Dunny nee Flood lives. It was Fr. Lockie McMahon RP. who fostered their vocation. Fr. James, junior, became PP. Tinryland September 1940. Retired 1972.

1919-1924 - Fr William Fanning. Born in Tullow near the Fairgreen he was at Carlow College 1903-6, 1908-12. Ordained 14 April, 1912. In January 1938 he became PP. Doonane and in October 1945 PP. Leighlin to his death 11 June, l947.

1925-1926 - Fr. John James. A native of Carlow, he was at Carlow College 1890-95. Ordained 1895. Was P.P. St. Mullins from September 1926 to August 1936 when he went as PP. to Rhode where he died 21 December 1954.

1927-1953 - Fr. E. I. Campion. A native of Bracknagh, Offaly. Was at school in Knockbeg. At Carlow College 1902 to 3 April. 1910. He was instrumental in having the Barrow Mills opened. He was P.P. Kill from June 1943 to his death 9 December, 1953.

1943-1959  - Fr. Nicholas Cullen. A native of Ballysax, Suncroft Parish, he is a nephew of Fr. John Cullen P.P. Tinryland who died 13 December 1913.  He was educated at Knockbeg and Maynooth. He was ordained 11 June 1933. He became P.P. Rathvilly in January 1959.

1959-1971 - Fr. Edward Mathews. A native of Portlaoise he was educated at Knockbeg and Maynooth.  He was ordained 22 June 1941. In August 1971 he became P.P. Clonegal where he built a Parochial house. The parishioners of Killeshin were deeply grieved to hear of Fr. Mathews death. R.I.P.

1971. Fr Sean Ryan No information


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