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Kilbaha – 1852

Old Church near Kilbaha Photo: Fred Creative Commons

Old Church near Kilbaha
Photo: Fred
Creative Commons

The Sydney Morning Herald 21st February, 1852 P6 (abridged)

The Clare Journal states, that on Sunday, the 28th of September last, at a chapel in the county of Clare, sentence of excommunication was pronounced by a priest, at the altar, on all the people of Kilbaha, who had sent their children to Kiltrellig school, or who would send their children there for the future. Consecrated candles were extinguished, the bell was rung, the book was closed, the crucifix was prostrated, and the following curse pronounced :-

“I pray God to send down all vengeance on those who sent their children to Kiltrellig school last week, particularly two; may the devil be their guide on the right and on the left, lying and rising, in bed and out of bed, sitting and standing, within and without; may all misfortune attend their families and labourers.  And any person or persons sending their children to this school henceforth, may they be struck blind and deaf, so as never to see any of their children again; and may the children sent to this school go wild; may they never leave this world until they be such examples as that the marrow may come out through their shin bones; may they be pained both sitting and standing, and may they never leave this world until they are in such a state that the dogs could not bear coming near the carcasses when dead. I pray to God that every child who goes to the school, that for every day he spends in it his life may be curtailed a twelvemonth, and that they may never enjoy the years of maturity; and those people who send their children to the school, that their crops and their goods may be taken away by the devil, and may all these misfortunes attend any person taking their posterity in marriage thirty years hence. I pray the Almighty to hear this prayer, as the Minister of God; and I now strictly command this congregation to kneel down and pray to God to grant my prayer.”

Note: The above was attributed to a Fr Meehan, priest at Kilbaha. The sentence of excommunication was passed due to the proselytising nature of Kiltrellig school. Tensions were exacerbated by a local landlord who obstructed the building of a Roman Catholic Church in the vicinity. Father Meehan’s solution was to build “The Ark”, a church on wheels in which mass was celebrated.

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