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
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
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,
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
- 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
- Fr. Tom was from 1857 to 1859 a student at Carlow College. He died
23 Oct. 1880 at Killeigh.
Fr. James Dempsey was curate with Fr. Delany
for a time in
1874. He was born at Clongarrett, Clonbullogue. He was related to
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.
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
Tim Fenlon and Father Keenan. He died in Borris, attended by Fr. Mat,
afterwards Bishop Cullen.
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
Fr. Arthur Murphy. A native of Tullow. PP. Emo from August I918
to his death 25 September, I 939.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
PRIESTS OF THE PARISH
- The information contained
in these pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others
researching their ancestors in County Laois.
- © 2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects,