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Farewell from Kinvarra, Duras and Killinna – 1867

Freeman’s Journal 16th December, 1867 p3 (abridged)

Dun Guaire, Kinvara Photo: Norma Scheibe
Dun Guaire, Kinvara
Photo: Norma Scheibe

Address of the parishioners of Kinvarra, Duras and Killinna to the Rev. Francis  P.P. Croughwell and Ballimana.
Rev. Dear Sir,
We have been deputed by our fellow parishioners of the united parishes of Kinvarra, Duras and Killinna, to offer you in the first instance their sincere and heartfelt congratulations on your recovery from your late severe and dangerous illness, and in the next to convey to you their, and our own, deep regret at your having been so soon after removed from amongst us.
For four and twenty years have you discharged the onerous duties of Pastor to these parishes with a pious zeal truly edifying, and the benefits conferred on religion and morality by your counsel and teaching during that eventful period it is not in our power to convey an adequate idea of, but we fondly cherish the hope that they will be appreciated by Him whose faithful servant you have ever been and who is sure to reward those who faithfully do His work.
It would be difficult, Rev. Sir, to enumerate all the advantages which your late Parishioners have derived, both spiritually and temporally, from the interest you have ever evinced in their welfare.
Need we refer to your exertions in their cause when famine and all its sad consequences, fever, cholera, &c, &c, stalked abroad, and like and avenging angel was devastating the land.  Then, indeed, it was that the good and zealous Priest of Kinvarra proved the interest he felt in his flock, in not only being found day and night in the midst of contagion and approaching dissolution, ministering to their spiritual wants, but also in relieving by his purse, and frequent appeals in their behalf to the charitable throughout the kingdom, their distressed condition.
We would be ungrateful and unworthy of the benefits conferred on the parish by him did we omit the name of your respected and beloved Curate in this address, of him  who, which on the mission amongst us, has won for himself not only our esteem and affection, but the respect and regard of all those who had the happiness of hearing his exposition of the Word of God during his mission in the parish.  We felt much, and were truly sorry to learn, that your respected Bishop had resolved on removing you, Rev. Sir, to another parish, but which removal we, however, sincerely hope will prove to you a well-merited reward for your past invaluable services in this.
We cannot give expression to the feelings of regret entertained by all when it was ascertained that his Lordship felt it necessary to remove the Rev. Mr McDonogh also from amongst us.
In conclusion, we beg to observe that, although the scene of your labours is now elsewhere and amongst other people, we are convinced that your prayers will still be offered to the Throne of Mercy for those who have commissioned us to present you with this Purse and its contents as a trifling token of the love and esteem in which you have ever been and will be held by them, as well as by your sincere and ever faithful friends.
Signed on behalf of the Committee.
Isacc B. Daly, Chairman
D.J. Hynes, M.D.(Vice Treasurer)
Martin Kerin (Vice Treasurer)

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Kinvara to Bunratty – 1939

Connacht Tribune 21st January, 1939 p.5

County Clare Photo: Norma Scheibe
County Clare
Photo: Norma Scheibe

Arising out of a letter from Mr. J.J. Linnane, Bellharbour, that the potato crop in North Clare had been severely damaged by weather conditions this season, the Clare Farmers’ Party requested Dr. Ryan, Minister for Agriculture, to take steps to ensure that an adequate supply of seed potatoes would be available for farmers next season.  P. Brassil said that farmers did not always grumble but they certainly made a protest when they saw their hay, corn and other crops flying in the wind and every crow from Kinvara to Bunratty having a peck at their property.

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Three wishes – 1928

Nenagh Guardian 15th September, 1928 p.5

Dun Guaire Photo; Norma Scheibe
Dun Guaire
Photo; Norma Scheibe

The Three Wishes

In Iniscaltra’s holy fane,
Once in the long ago,
In pious converse sat, their hearts
With love of God aglow,

Kevin, the abbot of the Isle,
From penance worn outright,
And he whom still Confert reveres,
Cumain the erudite;

And, with them, Guaire, Connaught’s King,
To Eire’s utmost bound.
For his beneficence to all
Who sought his aid, renowned.

“And now, O Guaire,” Kevin said,
“Did Heaven grant you your will,
With what, as most desired, would you
This house of prayer fill?”

With gold I’d fill it to the roof,
Nor then be satisfied,
Wishing it held as much again,”
The King to him replied.

“With gold,” said Kevin in surprise
“Guaire, can this be true?”
“With gold,” he answered, “for the good
That I, with it, would do.”

“Part to the churches; part I’d give
The saints, for me to plead;
And alms to all who’d ask me grant,
And no one leave in need.”

“Guaire,” said Kevin, “as to all
You’re helpful in their need,
God, in return, yourself will help,
And Heaven shall be your need.”

“Well be thankful,” Guaire said; “and now
Cumain, had you your will,
With what instead of gold, would you
This house of prayer fill?”

“I’d fill it all with books,” he said,
“For studious men to read,
And with the doctrine in them stored
Christ’s hungry flock to feed.”

“And now, O’Kevin”, said they both,
“With what, had you your will,
“Instead of books or gold, would you
This house of prayer fill?”

“I’d fill it,” Kevin to them said,
“With all the ills that be;
All human sorrows, ailments, pains,
And wish them all on me.”

Each had his wish.  To Guaire gold
was in abundance given;
With books unnumbered Cumain gained
Unnumbered souls for Heaven.

And Kevin suffered. With disease
His flesh dissolved; with pain
His frame was racked till scarce a bone
Did in its place remain.

By Charity and doctrine true,
And, for our sins, by pain
Should God ordain it so – may we,
Like them, to Heaven attain.

P.S. Iniscaltra, now called Holy Island, is situated in Lough Derg, a few miles above Killaloe.  The
“Great Church” there, destroyed by the English, was erected by St. Kevin
the Abbot of the island.

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One morning – 1887

Cork Examiner 8th October, 1887

Forget-me-not Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

One morning when the earth was new
And rainbow-tinted lay the dew,
The Father came.
Upon his waiting flows he cast
A gentle glance, and as he passed,
Gave each a name.

The twilight deepening as before
He walked among his flowers once more
And asked each one
What name apart from all the rest
He gave, its faithfulness to test
When day begun.

The aster, columbine and rose
All answered – every flower that grows
In field or wood,
Save one wee blossom from whose eyes
Shone back the colour of the skies,
That silent stood.

The flowers were still, “I love thee so!”
She said, then trembling, withered low,
“Yet I forget!”
“Dear child, thy name thou may’st forget
And be forgiven – only yet
Forget “Me Not.”

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Kilmacduagh – 1933

Connacht Tribune 7th January, 1933 p.11 (abridged)

Kilmacduach Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Kilmacduach (Cill Mac Duach – Mac Duach’s Church), County Galway, three and a half miles from Gort, is situated in rather bleak country on the Clare border.  St. Colman Mac Duach founded a monastic settlement there in the seventh century.  He spent the earlier part of his life as a hermit in the wilds of Clare, and many are the legends told about him and the holy wells dedicated to him in the neighbourhood.  Then, having the good fortune, like most of the Connacht saints, to belong to a royal family, he received a grant of land at the present Kilmacduach from his kinsman, King Guaire.

There are several ecclesiastical ruins. The Cathedral of the old diocese of Kilmacduagh is a large building, but ruined.   The west gable and doorway and part of the side-wall, built of large polygonal stones, are ancient, and probably part of St. Colman’s original church; but the rest of the church is fifteenth century. There is a good doorway in the north wall of the nave. North of the Cathedral is Teampal Iun (St. John’s Church) with a fifteenth century nave.  The east windows, round-headed, displays the graceful Irish Romanesque style at its loveliest.  The opes are only eight and a half inches wide but eight feet high, with rich mouldings on the internal jambs and external reveals.  A slender torus encloses the whole window.  The south windows, of one light, with a hood moulding, is almost as beautiful.  The piers of the chancel arch are transepts, but preserve some of the best points of the Irish Romanesque style.  They consist of three engaged pillars, with sculptural capitals and bases.  There are quoinshafts to the chancel, beautifully pointed.  This church was evidently built between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, before the Norman invasion disturbed the place of the bishops of Kilmacduach.

There are remains of several other churches, and some tombs, notably those of the O’Shaughnessys, in whose territory the village stands.  St. Colman’s reputed tomb is shown nearby.

The Round Tower is one of the finest in Ireland, and is nearly perfect. It belongs to the”fourth” type, with a typical semicircular arch to the doorway, built with three stones.  It was probably built at the same time as Teampul Iun.  It is 112 feet high with a base circumference of sixty-five and a half feet.  The base has a plinth of large stones dressed to the round and the top has been restored with inferior masonry.  The tower leans some four feet out of the vertical, the result probably of a subsidence of the foundations, though cannon balls fired at it by Cromwell’s soldiers is the reputed cause.  The numerous windows are triangular, with inclined sides.  From the tower there is a wonderful view, as the builders intended there should be, across miles of country, and over a good part of Galway Bay.

Ed. Lynam

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Corcomroe Abbey – 1929

Connacht sentinel 20th August, 1929 p.2 (abridged)

 Corcomroe Abbey Photo: Shaun Dunphy Wikimedia Commons

Corcomroe Abbey
Photo: Shaun Dunphy
Wikimedia Commons

Corcomroe Abbey is in Co. Clare.  It is about four miles from Kinvara and five miles from Ballyvaughan. “Corcomroe” (in Irish, Corcomoruadh) means the descendants of Moruadh who is said to have been a son of Queen Maeve. Corcomroe Abbey is a Cistercian abbey. Like other Cistercian abbeys, it was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and had a special name – “de petra fertile” (of the fertile rock) or “de petra saxo” (of the green rock). In his Ordnance Survey letters, O’Donovan states that according to local tradition it was founded by the son of Conor na Siudaine O’Brien on the spot where Conor was killed c. 1267 by Guaire O’Shaughnessy of Dun Guaire, near Kinvara.  In his “Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History,” O’Curry states that it was founded by Conor na Siudaine O’Brien. Ware and Archdall are in doubt as to whether it was founded in 1200 by Conor’s father, Donogh Cairbrech O’Brien, or in 1194 by Conor’s grandfather, Donal Mor O’Brien. Other writers state that it was founded by Donal Mór O’Brien in 1182. It is, therefore, certain that the abbey was provided by the O’Briens, and it is probable that it was founded by Donogh Cairbrech O’Brien about 1200.

The following are the most important historical events connected with the abbey;

Soon after its foundation it established a branch at Kilshanry in County Clare. In 1249 it became subject to the abbey of Furness in Lancashire. Not far from it, at Sindaine, which, according to the Ordnance Survey maps, is near Newtown Castle, a battle was fought in 1267 between Conor na Sindaine O’Brien and his uncle, Donal Connachtrach O’Brien who was aided by the O’Connors and the O’Loughlins of Burren. Conor was killed; he was buried in the chancel of the abbey church, and his grave was covered by a stone effigy which is still in existence. In 1317 another battle was fought near the abbey between Murtagh O’Brien, the Chieftain of Thomond, and his cousin, Donogh O’Brien, who endeavoured to depose him and who was assisted by the English. Donogh and the English were defeated, and the bodies of Donogh and his followers were interred in the abbey church. In 1418 the abbot, who seems to have been a very distinguished man, became Bishop of Kilmacduagh. In 1544 the abbey was dissolved, its monks were banished, and its possessions were granted to Murrough, Earl of Thomond.

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Duras House -1962

The Abbey Theatre Wikimedia Commons
The Abbey Theatre
Wikimedia Commons

Connacht Tribune August, 25th 1962 p.25 (abridged)

The Kiltartan Society will meet at Duras House Kinvara, on Sunday next to celebrate the first anniversary of the rebirth of this romantic house, which was presented to the nation as a Youth Hostel by Denis and Adrian Elrill of Limerick.
A paper will be read entitled “The colourful de Basterots 1793-1904.” In “Dramatis Personae” Yeats wrote:

I first spoke to Lady Gregory in the grounds of a little country house at Duras, on the sea-coast, where Galway ends and Clare begins (1897).  She had brought me to see the only person in Galway, perhaps I should say in Ireland, who was in any sense her friend – Florimond Count de Basterot.  In his garden, under his friendly eyes, the Irish National Theatre, though not under that name, was born.”
Happily, since last year, a plaque commemorates that historic meeting.  Lady Gregory wrote that her son and his young friends liked to go out in a hooker at Duras and see the seals showing their heads, or to paddle delicately among the jelly-fish on the beach.  It was a pleasant place to pass an idle day.
When Count de Basterot died in 1904, Lady Gregory wrote:

I know that there is many a prayer said on the roads between Kinvara and Burren and Curranrue and Ballinderreen for him who was never without a bag of money to give in charity, and who always had a heart for the poor.
Guy de Maupassant and Paul Bourget, two eminent French writers of his day, spent holidays with the Count in this remote spot near Kinvara.

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Ballyvaughan – 1920

Irish Independent 22nd September, 1920 p5.

Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare Photo: Velela Wikimedia Commons
Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare
Photo: Velela
Wikimedia Commons

A report reached Ennis that the police barracks at Ballyvaughan was attacked.  Military went from Ennis to the assistance of the garrison.  All wires in the district were cut.  A Republican flag floating from the roof of the Town Hall was removed by military and another which was replaced there was also removed.


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Mistletoe – 1933

Western People 18th March, 1933 p.5

Mistletoe Photo: David Monniaux Wikimedia Commons
Photo: David Monniaux
Wikimedia Commons

Since our great woods were destroyed,  mistletoe is not very common in this country.  In ancient times  mistletoe was one of the most famous of all plants. As it grows as a parasite on trees, and has no root in the ground, it was supposed to have come direct from the gods as the preternatural product of a sort of virgin birth. The Druids cut it with a golden sickle (for iron must not be used for the purpose) and they let it fall upon a sheet lest it should touch the common earth. The Druids sacrificed two white bulls in its honour. Pliny tells us that in Gaul they cut it on the sixth day of the moon, because then the moon was in its youthful strength and presumably this gave the plant more power or virtue. In north Italy they cut it on the first day of the moon for the same reason.