On the 20th Anniversary of the release of
“A History of Kilmurry”
you can now view some of the articles online.
Photos and more articles to be added soon.
The full Irish name is Ciii Mhuire na nGall (Kilmurry of the foreigners) which means “Church of the foreigners dedicated to Mary’. It is said that Norman adventurers, under De Clare, built, if not restored, a church outside the village circa 1300 and hence the name.
Kilmurrynagaul is described in Lewis’ Topographicai Dictionary of Ireland,
1837 as follows:
A parish, in the barony of Tulla, county of Clare, and province of Munster, 2/4
miles (N. by W.) from Sixmilebridge, on the road to Tulla, containing 628 inhabitants. It comprises 2199 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, mostly under tillage: the state of agriculture has of late been much improved, chiefly through the exertions of T. Studdert, Esq. of Kilkishen, whose residence, a handsome mansion surrounded by a well-wooded and highly-improved demesne, is within the limits of this parish, and adjoining the village of Kilkishen, in the parish of Clonlea. It is in the diocese of Killaloe, the rectory forms the rectorial
union of Ogashin, and the vicarage part of the union of Kiifinaghty. The tithes
amount to £78-9-2/4, of which £41l09hI4 is payable to the rector, and the remainder to the vicar. In the R C. divisions it is part of the union or district of
Sixmilebridge, and has a chapel near the village of Kilmurry. The ruins of the
old church still remain in the burial ground, and within the limits of the
parish are the ruined castles of Rossroe, Kilmurry and Kilkishen; the last
stands in Mr. Studderts’ demesne.
Kilmurry Parish is described by J. Frost in his “History and Topography of Co.
Clare as follows:
Although this parish is so-called after the B.V.M. there is no reason to
suppose that it was originally dedicated to some Irish saint. A holy well, a
little way from the site of the church, is called Tobar Faoile after the virgin
saint of that name who had a religious establishment at Ath Cliath Meadhraidhe
in the county of Galway and another near Limerick from which the parish of
Killeely is designated. Of the church itself not a trace remains but the
graveyard surrounding it is greatly used by the people of the neighbouring
country as a place of burial.
It is a matter of great pride for me to introduce this book marking the Centenary of Kilmurry National School.
Kilmurry School is indeed a worthy subject for the careful research and
preparation which this committee has undertaken in the production of this book.
This commemorative book contains very interesting reading for our past pupils
and their families. In addition, it will provide an invaluable record of some
names, dates, places and events, as it chronicles the key role our school has
played in the lives of the families of this small community over the last
hundred years and more.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who so generously
supported our fund raising activities and in particular those who participated
in our 300 club draw.
A special word of thanks to those committee members who voluntarily and without any material gain gave so freely of their time and resources during the year.
I trust this book will rekindle many a mixed memory of Kilmurry among its
readers at home and abroad. It will provide a catalyst for debate and
controversy, but above all I am confident it will increase in value with the
passing of time as the celebrations of our centenary year fade into history.
Cupla Focal On bPrlomhoide
Is ocáid mhór í do Chill Mhuire an Cómóradh Céad Bliain atá a céiliáradh againn I mbliana. Is iomaI cor a chuir an saol de I rith an chéid ó 1891 i leith.
BhI has Parnell mar ábhar cainte acu i gCill Mhuire an bhliain sin; spreag Eirf
Amach na Cásca 1916 an náisiimn go léir ach, le tamall anuas, ta ár n-aigne
dfrithe i dtreo scoil Chill Mhuire a togadh sa bhliain 1891. Táimid ag
smaoineamh ar na müinteoirf agus na páistf a chaith tamall sa scoil seo. Dar
ndóigh, bhf scoil i gCill Mhuire ar feadh a bhfad roimhe sin. Is maith an rud
diuinn go léir süil a chaitheamh siar ar na laethanta sin. Is é mo thuairim gur
cheart “an stair áitidil” a chur os comhair na bpáistI chomh maith le Stair na
hElreann agus an domhain. Déanfaidh an leabhar seo cuid mhaith den stair sin a
thabhairt chun cuimhne.
On behalf of the teachers and pupils, I am glad to have this opportunity to
thank the Centenary Committee and all those who helped us in any way over the
past year. I would also like to thank the Boards of Management of former years
and Frs. Tom Fitzpatrick and Albert McDonnell who were always so enthusiastic
and helpful when suggestions regarding improvements were made to them. Many
necessary things were accomplished over the past seven or eight years. It would
not have been possible to achieve success without the backing of the parents
and the local community. Hopefully the present and future pupils of the school
will appreciate the effort that was put in on their behalf. It is only right
that we should recall, at this time, the teachers and pupils who were not so fortunate and who laboured under very difficult circumstances. It is they who would appreciate the changes best of all!
As well as making sure that each child has the basic skills of reading, writing
and maths, it is also important that they be given the opportunity to develop
their potential in music, art and physical education. But learning is a two-way
process and children have to be encouraged to make the best use of the
opportunities provided. So it is vital that there be positive co-operation
between parents and teachers.
In this Centenary year we are doing two very important things. Firstly, we are
looking back at our history and finding out how our forefathers lived.
Secondly, we are gearing ourselves for the next century and preparing for the
challenges that will face us. Let us hope that, as has been the case up to now,
the pupils of Kilmurry N.S. will leave the education system with a respect for
themselves and their neighbours and a love for their country, language and
Facing into 1992, it is my belief that we will automatically be good Europeans
if we are proud of our own Irishness first.
Cuirfidh an leabhar seo alan daoine siar ar “bhóithrIn na smaointe”.
Beidh áthas ar mhuintir Chill Mhuire i London, New York agus ar fud an domhain.
Cuirim mo bheannacht chugaibh go léir agus tá sitl agam go mbainfidh sibh
Seosamh 0 Brádaigh, PrIomh Oide
A Messaqe from very Rev. Gerard Fitzpatrick Chairman, Kilmurry School Board of Management
This year our neighbours in Limerick are celebrating the Third Centenary of the Treaty which guaranteed, inter alia, that Catholics would enjoy free exercise of their Religion. Unfortunately that guarantee was soon broken, and the Penal Laws were enacted. The Laws against Catholic Education were passed to drive Irish Catholics into Protestant Schools, but in this regard the Laws failed. The Light of Faith was kept burning in the Hedge Schools, the number and influence of which by the year 1731 were a source of great anxiety to the Government. There were some 580 Hedge Schools all over Ireland. In 1831 the Government established the National Schools System and Primary Schools were built in every Parish.
When a School was sanctioned for Kilmurry, the site was acquired by Very Rev. Robert Little, P.P.; Robert Ashworth Studdert and Denis Donnellan. The School Trustees were Father Little, James Shuley and Michael Cunneen. On the 27th August, 1890, the Commissioners for National Schools gave a grant of £457-7-6d. towards the erection of the school which was to cover an area of 100 feet by 60 feet.
As we approach Centenary Day, 21st June, 1991, I, as Chainnan of the school Board of Management, express sincere thanks to the members of Centenary Committee under the chairmanhip of John Cullinan who have made our elebrations possible. I thank Father Albert McDonnell and the various members of the school board who have played their parts in preparation for this event. We are indebted to our school patron, Most Rev. Dr. Harty, who will honour us as Chief celebrant of the Mass of Thanksgiving and will bless the school on the completion of the renovations and the laying of the New Court. We will welcome back the last curates together with Fr. Pat O’Neill, C.C., Lissycasey, a past pupil. This will be an occasion when all past pupils will recall memories of their days in the school, and the present pupils will be provided with an event which they will be able to look back on in years to come. We acknowledge with thanks the work of the teachers of the past, some of whom will happily be with us, and the work of the teachers of the present. They have built up and they are continuing to build up traditions that will be appreciated whenever and wherever the name of Kilmurry School will crop up in conversation. It was our sincere wish that all the necessary repairs would be carried out in good time for the celebrations, and on behalf of all concerned I express appreciation of the cooperation given by the officials of the Department of Education, especially Mr. Michael Connolly, District Inspector, and of the Office of Public Works. With confidence they selected Michael Chaplin and his men to do the work, and they have done it excellently and in good time.
The centenary committee will present an opportunity to the locals to chat with our visitors over a cup of tea and we will be grateful to them for doing this. To all who have helped in making the Centenary Celebrations possible and successful I say on behalf of the people of Kilmurry
“go raibh maith agaibh go léir”.
Gerard Fitzpatrick, P.P.
A Missing Landmark !
A whole new generation of Kilmurry people have grown up without realising that the focal point for many of their ancestors is no longer there. That focal point was the big horse-chestnut tree just across from the forge at the cross. Many is the tale and secret that tree could tell! It was used as a meeting place for all kinds of people at all times of the day or night. People used it to advertise dances and concerts for miles around; others used it as the starting post for their various journeys by “shank’s mare”, bicycle or “rubber Jennet”.
Politicians used it as a billboard to promote their various candidates. Many famous names were pinned to it. Big and all as it was, some people failed to spot the tree until it was too late. These people were usually travelling by car from Kilkishen under the influence of some beverage or other! Emigrants who travelled to Australia and America used tell their offspring of Kilmurry’s famous tree and many of their sons and daughters came to see it for themselves in later years.
But modern progress decreed that the tree should go. In order to allow more room for the motor car, the County Council decided that it had to be knocked. Despite some strong local protests, the impressive landmark was brought down, and now no obvious trace of it remains. However, it will remain on in the memory of those who had the pleasure of spending some time “under its spreading chestnut leaves”.
The Big Tree in Kilmurry
By John Joe Walsh
I stood on the roadway one evening,
To watch the sun sink in the west,
And my mind it filled with sweet memories
Of that dear place that! love the best.
I thought of the days of my childhood
When I had not a care nor a worry,
With my friends I played at the crossroads
‘Neath the horse chestnut tree in Kilmurry.
We would gather every evening
‘Neath the Big Tree at the cross,
The boys playing marbles
and the men playing pitch and toss.
And these blithe and comely girls
In our hearts they caused a flurry,
As they sang and laughed and danced
‘Beneath the Big Tree in Kilmurry.
The birds would build their nests there,
In its branches stout and green
And its leaves afforded shelter
From the sunshine or the rain.
And once it was reported
That should you salute that tree
You’d be sure to get an answer
Whatever time ‘twould be.
It’s gone now, yes the tree is gone,
The tree we can’t replace,
Cut down in the name of progress
In this never ending race.
To open up the roadway.
For the bustle and the hurry
There are nothing left but memories
Of the Big Tree in Kilmurry.
There are not many Irishmen after whom the main street of a large town, a railway station, a hotel and a local beer are called. In Kalgoorlie, the famous gold-mining town in Western Australia the main street is Hannan Street, the railway station is Hannan Station, the hotel is Hannan Hotel and you can have a pint of Hannan lager in any pub. The Irishman in question is Paddy Hannan who discovered the richest goldfield in the world — it earned the state an estimated 1100 million dollars in its first seventy five years.
Most people accept that Paddy Hannan was born in Ballyroughan in 1843. Some older people in Kilmurry however, would say that Paddy Hannan was born in Kilmurry and moved to Ballyroughan at a young age. These people can remember the ruins of the old Hannan homestead being still visible in the thirties at the Kilmurry side of Hannan’s Cross. In the Tithe Applotment Books of 1830 (approx.) there is one Connor Hannan who may be the father of Paddy. The Hannan grave was rediscovered one day in Kilmurry graveyard by Paddy Clune.
There was a school in Kilmurry in 1843 run by Pat Slattery. The school moved to Rosroe and to Annagore before the National School was established in 1854. It seems more than likely that Paddy Hannan went to this school. Accepting that the Hannan family moved to Ballyroughan just after the Famine, it would appear that he got his formal schooling in Kilmurry as it is only 1 ‘/2 miles from there to the school. From the school records it is obvious very many residents of Ballyroughan went to school in Kilmurry. The Quinlivan’s and Armstrongs are two such families. Paddy Hannan himself emigrated to Australia in 1863. His story can be read in the “Other Clare” Vol. 5. He died in Melbourne in 1925, having spent his last years living on a state pension of one hundred and fifty dollars per annum even though he had found the mine that yielded over a thousand million dollars.
There is a monument to him in the street named after him in Kalgoorlie. It is a statue of a gaunt, bearded man with a miners water bag — the water bag is a drinking fountain. There is a bust of him in the de Valera Museum and Library in Ennis.
Is he Kilmurry School’s most famous pupil ?