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Archiver > Beara > 2002-10 > 1033853665

From: "riobardodwyer" <>
Subject: Snippits of Church History of Eyeries Parish.
Date: Sat, 5 Oct 2002 23:13:05 +0100

Eyeries Parish in the Beara Peninsula, Co. Cork (South-West) was
known in the olden days as Kilcatherine Parish, called after a cleric named
Caitighearn who was brought from France by the Beara Luingseachain (later
known as Lynches ---- sea traders) in the middle of the 3rd century. To
quote in Gaelic the tradition handed down from generation to generation of
the Gaelic speakers of the parish: "I lar treas aoise thainig se". So
Christianity existed in this parish long before the advent of St. Patrick.
The Church which the Luingseachain built for Caitighearn, and which was
extended over the years, has been known since as Cill Chaitigheairn (hence
the original name of the parish), and his memory was celebrated for
centuries on January 31st (known locally as St. Catherine's Day). when the
people of the parish did the "rounds" (saying the Rosary, etc.) at Tobaireen
Beannuithe, a holy well very close to the present Eyeries Village.
There are traces of an ancient small 29 feet 6 inches X 18 ft. 6
inches Church, with a surrounding Cilleenach (the burial place of children
who died before they were Baptised), in Pairc a' Teampaill (pairc = a field;
teampall = a Church), Cahirkeem, and a Cilleenach with an ancient carved-out
stone cross and a collapsed Beehive-Church high on the hillside in
Cahiravart in the Kilmacowen district. The last Church in Beara to be closed
down during the terrible Penal Laws was in what is now the Cilleenach beside
the O'Sullivan (Croumhane) house in Coulagh. The stones from the ruins of
this Church were later used in the building of Kilmacowen Primary School.
During the Penal Laws a Priest celebrating Mass at a Mass-Rock on
the hillside high up over Glenbeg Lake (near Ardgroom Village) was beheaded
by the Red-Coats (British soldiers) and his body buried about 200 metres
away. Another Mass-Rock is to be seen at Cnocan an Aifrinn (= the hillock of
the Mass) in Cahirkeem. The priests often lived in caves near the Mass-Rocks
in those times.
There are two Churches in use in the Parish now. Eyeries Church
was built in 1823-1825. The original Church was a much smaller one -----
from north to south on both sides of the present altar. It was enlarged in
1843, and further improved on in 1883. Ardgroom Church, the building of
which began during the Famine, was officially opened in 1848. "Station"
Masses (= Masses in houses in the villages and townlands of the parish at
certain times during the year, which all the neighbours of the particular
village or townland attend) still take place here.
Parish Priests:- Fr, Barth O'Sullivan (1809-1823); Fr. John
Halpin (1823-1832), Fr. Morty O'Sullivan (1832-1835). Due to a "gap" in the
parish marriage records from May 1835 to June 1843, we don't know who was
Parish Priest during that space of time. Fr. Daniel Healy (1843-1856), Fr.
Michael O'Reilly (1856-1875). His brother Fr. John O'Reilly (1875-1880), Fr.
John Larkin (1880-1904), Fr. James O'Callaghan (1904-Dec. 1919), Fr. Michael
Daly (Adm. Mar-July 1920; P.P. until 1935); Fr. Jeremiah Casey (1935-1946),
Fr. Michael Costello (1946-1953), Fr. Francis George Mangan (1953-1962), Fr.
John Gerard Curran (1962-1971), Fr. Tom McMahon (1971-1976), Fr. Sean Hickey
(1976-1984), Fr. Tom Pierse (1984-1993), Fr. Roger Kelleher (1993-1998), Fr.
Maurice (or "Mossie") Brick (1998-2000), and Fr. Eamonn Mulvihill
If it is of any consolation to any Priest sent to minister here in
the future, no serving Parish Priest ever died in the Eyeries Parish.
----- Riobard.

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