AGHADOE THROUGH THE AGES

 

SECTION 1. Description of Aghadoe churchyard and environs.

SECTION 2. Chronological history of Aghadoe churchyard and townland of Nunstown.

 

SECTION 1.

In the Barony of Magunihy and in the townland of Nunstown lie the ruined church and churchyard of Aghadoe. Pictures.

Aghadoe is pronounced A-had-oe by the local populace. The Desmond Survey (1590) refers to "Ahado". It would appear therefore that the pronunciation A-had-oe was in use as far back as the 16th century when the whole area would, of course, have been Irish-speaking. In the course of time, the pronunciation of Achad Deó had morphed into Ahado. The Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee (830 a.d.) refers to Achad Deo. The Annals of of Inisfallen refer to Achad Deó in six references between 939 a.d. and 1450 a.d. Thereafter the McCarthys Book written in the 1630's and also the Annals of the Four Masters written likewise in the 1630's refer to Achad Dá Eó.
Aghadoe, as a place-name and geographical area, has historically meant different things. Originally it probably meant the church and the churchyard only. Today the local inhabitants would understand Aghadoe to mean a rectangular strip of land extending along the Aghadoe ridge no more than two miles long and no more than 1/2 mile wide. However Aghadoe can also have a much wider meaning. The civil parish of Aghadoe was in use for local government purposes until the beginning of the twentieth century. It comprised some 17,000 acres and extended southwards almost to the foot of the mountains and eastwards to Headford, beyond the present Killarney town. It probably represented the area ministered to by the Aghadoe church in the eleventh century. In this history, Aghadoe is used mainly to refer to the Aghadoe churchyard.

It is generally accepted that Aghadoe translates as "the field of two yews" (Achadh Da Eo). But could the previous term in use Achad Deó have, in fact , meant in medieval Irish "God's acre"? Yew trees are often found growing in churchyards and cemeteries. Yews are toxic to man and animals. The Latin name for the yew is taxus. An extract from the bark of the Pacific yew, Taxol, is used in chemotherapy in certain cancer treatments to stop cancer cells from dividing and thus prevent the cancer from spreading. The yew tree can have a lifespan of up to 3,000 years. It sends down branches which, on touching the ground, burrow into it and become roots. Thus the tree is forever renewing itself. It is therefore possible that the two yews mentioned in the place-name are still growing in the churchyard. The first yew to be planted in a churchyard was usually planted close to the path leading to the entrance of the church. In the shade of this yew tree, the priest and his clerks would receive persons bringing a body for burial. The yew tree was sacred to the druids.

 

The druids tended to have their places of worship in stone circles in sacred groves on tops of prominent hills. Later Christian churches were often built on the druidical sites. It is probable that the Aghadoe church was built on an ancient druidical site.

 

There are many examples of the Celtic Cross in the cemetery. The Celtic Cross is believed to be a combination of the druidical symbol, the circle and the Christian symbol, the cross.

 

The church building measures 80 feet from gable to gable and twenty feet in breadth.  The western part of the church is the oldest. It was finished in 1158 by Auliff (Olaf) Mor na Cuimsionach, the chieftain of the Ó Donoghue clan, who was buried here in 1166. This church replaced an earlier stone church.

At this time the Ó Donoghues were newly arrived in this part of Kerry. They had been driven out of  west Cork and they subsequently wrested control of the mountainous lands around Loch Lein from the Moriartys. They acknowledged McCarthy More , the chieftain of the McCarthies, as overlord and paid tribute to him. McCarthy More had his palace at Pallas until 1519. McCarthy More would have had little or no influence in the day-to-day running of the Ó Donoghue clan. The Ó Donoghues held their Loch Lein lands against allcomers for the next four hundred years i.e. until the late 16th century.

Under the Brehon system, which lasted until the end of the 16th century, the chieftain was elected by the clan and was all-powerful within the clan lands. With few exceptions , there was no private ownership of land. Land, a small-holding of 30 acres or less, was allocated to each eligible clan member by the chieftain for lifetime. However the occupier did not occupy the same land for a lifetime. Every four years or so, there was a general re-allocation and each farmer was allocated a different farm to cultivate, depending on his needs and abilities at that time. The farmer/occupier paid a rent to the chieftain who, in turn, provided basic administrative, judicial and defence services. At the death of the occupier, the land reverted to the clan. The scheme was somewhat similar to the present-day public housing Council-house scheme. One of the exceptions to the scheme was Church land. Church land was held in perpetuity by the Church. However, rent for the land was paid by the Church to the local chieftain until the 12th century. But we find that the Archdeacon in 1590 was paying a rent or levy to the McCarthy Mór. "The Archdeaconrie of Ahado. The Archdeacon of Ahado in the baronie of Magonny did yeald out of his luinges to the earle of Clancartie a Cuddy or refection or fiue markes halface money yearlie which was at the Archdeacons choice et val. per annum." The Desmond Survey (1590) . This states that the Archdeacon had the option of either a) providing a night's lodging ("cuddy") for the McCarthy Mór and his retinue every year or b) paying five marks per annum in lieu. At the present time, 100 acres is deemed to be the minimum economic acreage for a farm. Under the Irish Brehon law, the land was owned communally by the clan. However under the English common law, the chieftain of the clan was the sole owner of the land. In fact, in some cases when the Brehon system ended, over time, the chieftain became the outright owner and landlord and the clan members became his rent-paying tenants.

The newly finished church at Aghadoe in 1158 was dedicated to the Holy Trinity and St. Mary. It has a Hiberno-Romanesque west doorway with a three-order arch (i.e. three semi-circular sets of inlaid stones), the innermost order plain and the two outer ones bearing Romanesque decoration. The arch is an 11th century Irish version of the Roman arch. The Roman arch was semi-circular in shape. The Goths later introduced the Gothic arch to Europe. The Gothic arch is pointed and was an improvement on the Roman arch.

 

The eastern part of the Aghadoe church was added in the 13th century. It includes an east window which has a head and a flower at the intersection. The church is now divided into two separate compartments or churches by a dividing wall. To date, there has been no satisfactory explanation for this. The dividing wall could have arisen in different ways. It may be that when the eastern part was added, the outer wall of the previous church was not demolished but left in place. Alternatively, the dividing wall may have been added at some date after the extension had been built. It seems to be the opinion of the majority of those who have examined the wall that it is free-standing and was thus added after the extension had been built. It is also conjectured that the eastern compartment may have been created to serve as the living quarters of a resident priest.

 

In medieval times, there were no seats in churches. The congregation stood or knelt during the service. Bearing this in mind, it is doubtful if there would have been standing room for more than 50 worshippers in each section of the Aghadoe church.

 

On top of the south wall of the church is an Ogham stone bearing the inscription BRRUANANN. Ogham writing had its heyday from the 3rd to the 6th centuries when it was largely superseded by the Roman alphabet. Also secured to the wall is a sculpture of the crucifixion.  Outside the doorway of the church stands a large bullaun stone (bowl-stone) with a single centrally-placed hollow. A bullaun is a large flat stone with a central hollow. It is not certain what they were used for but the most probable explanation is that they were used for holding holy water. In 1867, an elaborately carved ivory crozier was dredged from the mouth of the Laune where the river connects to Loch Léin. The crozier carried a carved depiction of the Aghadoe church. It showed the church as it appeared after it had been rebuilt in 1150. Experts therefore traced the crozier's origin to the Aghadoe church and dated it from 1150. It is now known as "the Aghadoe Crozier" and is on display at the National Museum of Ireland. A crozier normally forms part of the regalia of a bishop but it is difficult to see how this crozier could have belonged to the Bishop of Aghadoe as the sees were amalgamated prior to 1111. If it did belong to the Bishop of Aghadoe, we can only speculate as to why the crozier of the departing bishop should have been found in Loch Léin.

 

Christian churches were initially set up in the 5th century in Ireland at the time of St. Patrick's apostolate. Possibly the Aghadoe church may date from this period. Church buildings until quite late were usually constructed from wood or aggregate in Ireland. Stone churches were the exception. The Aghadoe church was closely linked to a monastery in Inisfallen Island founded by St Finian the leper in the 7th century. Leper colonies were often established on islands. According to the Annals of Inisfallen, the monks in Inisfallen eventually adopted the rules of the Society of St. Augustine.

 

Aghadoe is assumed to have been the seat of an ancient bishopric although records are scant. A near townland is called Faranaspig, "the bishops plot". Until the 12th century, bishops in Ireland did not have the care and control of a defined geographical area. Instead they were attached to the local monastery and and were subject to the control of the abbot of the monastery and also were influenced by the local chieftain. Local chieftains sometimes became bishops in Ireland while continuing in the office of chieftain. At the beginning of the 12th centruy, Rome stepped in and at the the synod of Raith Bressail held in 1111, bishops in Ireland were given the care and control of a defined geographical area. It is clear therefore that the bishop in Aghadoe never had the the care and control of a defined geographical see. The question must be asked. Did the bishop and the abbot of Inisfallend quarrel? Was the bishop forced out? Perhaps we shall never know the answer. By the year 1111, Aghadoe had become united with the bishopric of Ardfert. We do not know the exact year the unification occurred. However the unification was confirmed at the the Synod of Raith Bressail held in 1111. From then onwards, the bishop of the Kerry region was known as the Bishop of Ardfert and Aghadoe and resided at Ardfert. The title of the Catholic bishop was officially changed to Bishop of Kerry (from Bishop of Kerry and Aghadoe) in 1952. The Church of Ireland bishop still retains the title of Bishop of Ardfert and Aghadoe but the see has been united with that of Limerick since 1660. When, in the 12th century, the bishopric was moved to Ardfert, Aghadoe was henceforth in the charge of an Archdeacon. In those times, the Archdeacon  had much greater responsibilities than he does in the Catholic church of today. He could be described as deputy-bishop for his area. Apparently both the Catholic and Anglican Churches still appoint a cleric to the office of Archdeacon of Aghadoe.

 

It is probable that the church building was in use until sometime after the Reformation. The church was in ruins in 1622. The Diocesan Returns for the Anglican Church for 1622 gives us the following: "There is one prebend (Ed. Note: source of tithe) left of the ruined church of Aghadoe ". It is also possible that it may have been reoccupied until Cromwellian times just as Muckross Abbey was. From the Reformation to 1870, Aghadoe churchyard was under the ownership and control of the Established Church but nevertheless it continued to be used by the Catholic community as a burial ground.  It then passed under the control of the local government authority.

 

Until 1838, tithes were paid (sometimes in kind, when paid at all) to the nominal Archdeacon of Aghadoe by the land-leasing inhabitants of the surrounding countryside.

 

In the 19th century, the landlord of the area west of the Aghadoe churchyard and beyond was Lord Headley. He resided at Aghadoe House which is now the An Óige youth hostel   He let his estate to tenants for an annual rent of 2 pounds to 2.25 pounds per acre. At this time, the wages of an agricultural labourer was 8 pence per day or 10 pounds per year, if fully employed. Samuel Lewiss "Topography of Ireland" published in 1837 has this  to say "On the expiration of the lease of this manor, held under its proprietor, Lord Headley, in 1826, his lordship took the estate under his own management; the farms, previously consisting of small portions of land held under middlemen by cottier tenants, were surveyed and improved upon, an arrangement adapted to the mutual benefit of landlord and tenant, and let on leases of 21 years in portions varying from 100 to 200 acres, with stipulated allowances for building comfortable farm-houses, making fences and drains, and drawing the requisite quantities of lime for the improvement of the soil. Several miles of new road have been constructed, and extensive plantations made solely at his lordship's expense. The hovels formerly occupied by the cottier tenants have been superseded by good farm-houses built of stone and roofed with slate; attached to each are orchards and gardens, and the whole face of the district presents an appearance of improvement." A later Lord Headley became notorious for his policy of evicting smalholders in the interest of creating larger land-holdings. See below for the different types of landholding in 1824 and 1853. The last Lord Headley to live in Aghadoe converted to Islam in 1913 and became a leading light in that faith. The title became extinct in 1994 with the death of the last Lord Headley in England.

 

There is a well-known lyric "Aghadoe"by John Todhunter (1900). It is usually stated that it depicts events that occurred in Aghadoe in Co. Cork in a "mopping up" operation following the 1798 Rising. However, the allusions to a "mountain", a "glen" and a burial place lend credence to the view that the events occurred in Aghadoe in Co. Kerry.

 

The earliest headstones in the churchyard date only from the late eighteenth century.  There are no headstones or markers over a large part of the older section of the cemetery. The main reason for this is that no headstones were erected over persons interred in the paupers section of the cemetery.

 

Close to Aghadoe church is the lower portion of a round tower. It is referred to locally as the "the bishops chair". The tower is the remnant of a bell tower and dates from 1026. Could it also have been the somewhat cramped residence of the Bishops of Aghadoe in the 11th century?

 

A short distance south east from the church is an obelisk monument to a much-loved Killarney doctor, Myles Ó Mahony, in appreciation of his services to the victims of the Famine in the 1840s. The inscription on the monument reads "Erected by the clergy, gentry, traders and peasantry of Killarney to testify their sorrowing bereavement at the early demise of the upright man and self-sacrificing friend, the zealous and charitable physcian". Nearby is the tomb of Richard Ó Connell who was bishop of Ardfert & Aghadoe from 1645 to 1653. He was the only bishop appointed by Rome to the Kerry diocese in the 17th century. He sat on the Council of the Confedereacy during the Insurrection. He was later captured by the Cromwellians but he was released on the payment of a large ransom.

 

Further down the hill from the church lie the ruins of a round castle, Parkavonear castle, surrounded by a moat. It is sometimes referred to locally as "the pulpit". This name obviously derives from the similarity to a pulpit of the first-floor landing. The castle contains an inner spiral staircase and the remains of a fireplace on the first floor. Recent commentators state this structure to have been a Norman castle. They state that in 1215 Norman invaders erected a wooden structure on this site as they moved across Kerry and that the present stone castle replaced the wooden structure at the end of the 13th century. It is not known on what evidence they base these assertions. (Readers who can shed light on the origins of these assertions are asked to email me). It is difficult to fit this version of events into the overall picture of the Norman conquest of this part of Ireland. In 1261, at the Battle of Callan near Kilgarvan, Norman attempts at further expansion were stopped. Henceforth their main stronghold was at Castlemaine in north Kerry while south Kerry was Gael-dominated. Perhaps an archaeological "dig" would shed further light on the origins of Parkavonear castle. It is also stated by some commentators that for some time, the ridge at Aghadoe represented the dividing line between the Norman (and descendants)-controlled north and the Gael-controlled south.

 

The road adjoining the cemetery on the west side is known as Boreen-na-Marbh, "the road of the dead". It was in use to bring bodies for burial to the churchyard. A common mode of transporting the dead in medieval Ireland was a dray drawn by two bullocks. The dray would have been followed by "keening" women. The road was also probably the communicating road between the abbey at Inisfallen and the church at Aghadoe for possibly 1000 years. Prior to this, it may have been the ceremonial approach to a druidical shrine.

 

The field to the south of the cemetery is known locally as the "The Glebe". This name can be traced back as far as the 18th century. The land was set aside on which to build a protestant rectory (which never eventuated) and create an adjoining glebe. "A glebe of 10 3/4 acres, belong also to the archdeacon. There is at present neither church nor glebe-house: the ancient and much used burial-ground adjoining the ruins of the cathedral of Aghadoe has been enlarged by the addition of a slip of ground given by Lord Headley". (Lewis, 1837). Soon afterwards, in 1838, a new church, together with adjoining rectory for the Archdeacon, was built over a mile distant to the west. This church is now in disuse and the rectory is an hotel.

 

In 1903, under a government sponsored scheme, tenants of Irish farms were given the means to buy their farms from the landlords. In 1909, tenants were given the right to compel landlords to sell under the scheme. In essence, the money to buy the farms was advanced by the government and the tenants (now owners) repaid the loan over 68.5 years. In many cases, the loan repayments were less than the previous rent. In time, inflation meant that the loan repayments were negligible.

 

NUNSTOWN

Aghadoe churchyard is situated within the townland of Nunstown. The townland extends eastward and southward from the churchyard.

It appears that in medieval times, the ecclesiastical establishment extended from the Aghadoe church eastward to the Madam's Height. We can glean this from the townland names. It must be remembered that in medieval times the clergy were married and the ecclestical establishment would have included housing for their wives and children and also workshops. The church and churchyard remained Church property until 1870. It is not known when the rest of these lands ceased to be Church property.The surrounding land would have been owned by the Ó Donoghues until the late 16th century. The lands of the Ó Donoghues were confiscated following the Earl of Desmond's rebellion.   Most of the Ó Donoghue lands were given to McCarthy Mór who had taken no part in the rebellion. The Desmond Survey (1590) says the McCarthy Mór owned the following in 1590. "Ahado, three plowlandes". A plowland was equal to 120 acres, thus making the total owned in Aghadoe 360 acres. McCarthy, in turn, later sold a large portion of his lands to Sir Valentine Brown. However, the Books of Survey and Distribution show "Daniel McCarthymore" of "Pallace" still owning extensive landed estates prior to the Cromwellian Plantation. Under the Brehon law system, the lands would be deemed to be owned by the McCarthy clan collectively. The clan chief, McCarthy Mór, would have leased the land to clan members. The"Books of Survey and Distribution for the Civil Parish of Aghadoe" show that all of McCarthy Mór's lands were confiscated in the Cromwellian Plantation and given to Sir Valentine Brown. The Books of Survey and Distribution also show most of the land bordering Nunstown was included in the confiscation but they make no mention of any land recognisable as Nunstown land. A survey and mapping of all lands in Ireland was completed in 1655. It was called the Down Survey. It has this narration for the Nunstown area "Unforfeited Protestant lands". It appears therefore that the Nunstown lands were not included in the Cromwellian Plantation. Presumably they were owned by a settler, or perhaps the Established Church, prior to 1641 and so were not subject to confiscation. All land confiscated in Ireland would have been owned by landlords from 1660 onwards until the early 20th century. The landlords would have rented out the land to small tenant farmers.

Nunstown Cavern
Griffiths Valuation (1853) has this to say"Situated in the centre of the townland of Nunstown. The entrance to this cavern is very narrow over which stands a rock about 4 feet high. There are three apartments in this cavern, one of which is shut up by a perpendicular flag, which forms a door. The inhabitants do not think it expedient to brake open this door, through a superstitious idea." Elsewhere it is stated "Aghadoe church is in the south end of this townland and a cavern in the N.E. end". There is no trace of this cavern today. It is understood that it was filled in during the 1930's.


Nunstown is obviously a translation from the Irish and indicates the existence of a convent there. Thomas Gallwey, a Killarney lawyer and magistrate, in his Lays of Killarney" (1871) has this to say about Nunstown. Its "real name is Killeen-cailaight, or the little church of the nuns; from Killeen (little church) and caillaght (nuns), which word again is derived from caille, a veil or hood". Faranaspig translates as "the bishop's land". The bishop would have lived on the land or close by, possibly in Caher. The Madam's Height takes its name from the Madam Ó Donoghue who was the mother of one of the later traditional chieftains of the Ó Donoghues of the Glen and who owned adjacent land at the beginning of the 19th century. Adolphus Lynch in his 1828 publication "Legends of the Lakes" has this to say. "Speaking of Charles Ó Donoghue, Esq. the present representative of the ancient chiefs of Glanflesk (sic), Mr. Wright, in his Guide Book, says "his mother, who resides in the village of Killarney, is universally distinguished by the appellation of 'The Madam' as a mark of respect to the matron of the family". The name Killarney is usually stated as being derived from Cill (a church) and Airne (a slow or blackthorn) i.e. "the church of the sloe". A more probable derivation is "coill" ( a wood) and "airne" (a sloe) i.e. the wood of the sloes or blackthorns. The sloe is the purple edible fruit of the blackthorn tree or bush. Shillalays have traditionally been made from blackthorn. It must be remembered that Irish place-names were first anglicised and written down in the 17th century. "Coill" and "cill" have similar pronunciations and were sometimes confused. A useful line of enquiry would be to look for evidence of a blackthorn wood in the area.

SECTION 2.

CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF AGHADOE CHURCHYARD AND TOWNLAND OF NUNSTOWN.

It is claimed that the first reference to Aghadoe occurs in a poem ascribed to Oisín. However most, if not all, poems attributed to Oisín were not written until a much later era, mostly in the 12th century. The Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee( "List of martyrs by Aongus the monk"), composed possibly circa 830 A.D., has the following entry in old Irish for October 17th "saph indarpu demnai .i. achad deo in iarthar erenn" i.e. a person not identified "is a strong expeller of demons in Aghadoe in the west of Ireland". This probably refers to the performance of the exorcism rite.

 

The Annals of Inisfallen

contain references to Aghadoe church and churchyard, the first for the year 939 A.D. and the last for 1450 A.D.. The following are the references in the Annals of Inisfallen.

939

Repose of Aed, son of Mael Pátraic, abbot of Achad Deó;

1010

Mael Suthain Ua Cerbaill {of Eóganacht}, eminent sage of Ireland, rested in Christ in Achad Deó.

1044

Repose of Maenach Muccruma in Achad Deó.

1061

Ua Cathail, royal heir of Eóganacht Locha Léin, was taken out of the stone church of Achad Deó and afterwards slain.

(Ed. Note: his right to sanctuary in the church was denied to him.The following rulers of the Loch Lein area were slain in the years 1060 to 1077. It would appear that each ruler was slain by the chieftain who succeeded him. 1060 - Ó Flynn. 1061 - Ó Cahill (mentioned above). 1061 - Ó Carroll. 1064 - Unknown. 1064 - Ó Carroll. 1077 - Ó Flynn.

In the 145 years from 1033 to 1178, the Annals record the slayings of 20 kings or rulers of the Loch Léin area and one death by natural causes. This gives an average term-in-office for each chieftain of 7 years. From 1033 to 1042, the slain rulers were chieftains of the Ó Cahill clan. From 1046 to 1060, they were mainly chieftains of the Ó Flynn clan. From 1061 to 1077, they were as shown above. From 1086 to 1128, they were mainly chieftains of the Ó Moriarty clan. From 1161 onwards, they were mainly chieftains of the Ó Donoghue clan. The Annals also record that the Ó Donoghues plundered the monastery at Inisfallen in 1180).

1109

Heavy rain and bad weather in the summer and autumn of the above year, and fastings and abstinence were observed and alms given to God that it might be dispelled.

1111

A great assembly of the men of Ireland, both clergy and laity, in Fiad Mac nAengusa, i.e. in Ráith Bresail, including Muirchertach Ua Briain, high-king of Ireland, Ua Dúnáin, eminent bishop of Ireland, Cellach, coarb (i.e.ecclesiastical successor) of Patrick, and other Irish nobles, and they enacted discipline and law better than any made in Ireland before their time. The number of the pure clerical order in the synod of Ráith Bresail was three hundred priests, a perfect festival, and a fair fifty bishops.

(The above entry refers to the Synod of Ráith Bresail held in Tipperary. See above for the changes made by this synod to the structure of the Church in Ireland. This synod also confirmed the amalgamation of the Aghadoe and Arfert bishoprics).

1177

Corcach was invaded by the grandson of Domnall Ua Carthaig and by grey foreigners (i.e. Normans), and was besieged by Miles de Cogan and by FitzStephen. One of their companies made an expedition to Achad Deó, spent two days and two nights in it, and from there proceeded again to Corcach. After that they went to attack Port Láirge, but the Gaedil assembled against them to the east of Les Mór, and they were almost all slain.

1231

Aed, son of Conchobor Ó Donnchada, died, and was buried in the old monastery in their [the monks'] own habit..

1282

Great frost in the above year, followed by snow, so that not a single day's ploughing or harrowing was done [...] from Christmas until a week before the Feast of Brigit [February 1].. And there was also very bad weather generally from that on, which prevented any useful work being done to [...] In the same year there was many a violent windstorm, and ricks and many houses were damaged; also the great church of Achad Deó (which had been standing undamaged for six score and four years) (i.e. since 1158), its holy cross, too, being broken which I much deplore.

1308

Feidlimid, son of Donnchad Mac Carthaig, was (mortally) wounded by his own spear in the Glas Lathaige north of Achad Deó as he was gaffing a trout he had seen in the ford.

1450

In this same year died(?) Fíngen Ó Súilliubáin, erenagh of Achad Deó . (Ed. Note: the erenagh in general was the manager of Church revenue and property. The office was often hereditary)

 

 

The McCarthy's Book (1630's) contains the following references to Aghadoe.

1158 Amhlaoibh son of Aonghus Ó Donnchadha went on a foray to Uaithne; and Ó hIfearnin, Ó Cathail and many others were killed by him.

The great church of Achadh Dá Eó was completed by Amhlaoibh son of Aonghus Ó Donnchadha.

The same Amhlaoibh Ó Donnchadha, high king of Eóghanachta Locha Léin, usurper of West Munster, was killed in Magh Breoghain on the bank of the Suir by Muircheartach son of Toirdhealbhach Ó Briain and [the men of] Thomond, and Mathghamhain son of Mathghamhain son of Mac Carthaigh was killed with him. His own family and his people took the body of Amhlaoibh to Achadh Dá Eó, and he was honourably buried by them with hymns and psalms and Masses on the right side of the church which he himself had built in honour of the Trinity and Mary

 

The Annals of the Four Masters (1630's) gives this description of an engagement during the Earl of Desmond's rebellion. "The Earl of Desmond was encamped at Achadh-da-eo; and at that time an English captain, namely, Captain Siuitse, was appointed by the Queen and the Lord Justice to preside over Desmond and Kerry. This captain marched day and night with a party of cavalry to make an attack on the camp of the Earl of Desmond; and it was on a Sunday morning that he arrived at the camp. The Earl and all those who were with him were at this time buried in deep sleep, and profound slumber, for they had remained vigilant and on the watch all the night, and until that time. The captain immediately and alertly attacked all those whom he found standing in the streets, and slew them without mercy; nor did he wait for battle or engagement, but proceeded directly till he reached Castlemain. The following were amongst the freeborn persons slain by the captain at Achadh-da-eo on that day, i.e. Thomas Oge, the only son of Thomas; the son of Maurice Duv, son of the Earl; Mulmurry, the son of Donough Bacagh, son of Mulmurry, son of Donough Mac Sweeny; and Teige, the son of Dermot, son of Cormac of Magh-Laithimh."

The lands of the Ó Donoghues were confiscated following the Earl of Desmond's rebellion.

Most of the Ó Donoghue lands were given to McCarthy Mór who had taken no part in the rebellion. He, in turn, later sold a large portion of his lands to Sir Valentine Brown. The remainder of the land now owned by McCarthy Mór was confiscated in the Cromwellian Plantation and given to Sir Valentine Brown. See "Survey."

1790

Archdeacon Leslie of Aghadoe was dismissed from the office of Archdeacon on the grounds that he resided solely in Dublin and neglected his archdeaconry in Aghadoe.  His income appears to have comprised half of all the tithes received from the townlands within five miles of the Aghadoe churchyard but excluding those townlands within five miles to the east. An interesting point is that the names of the townlands are virtually the same today as they were  in 1790. A notable exception is that the area around Fossa Cross is called Meenisky.Reference

The 1659 Pender census has the following entry for the townland of "Aghadoe & Lisnagaune (Headford?)". Total population 26; Irish 24; English 2. We have records of the ownership of the Nunstown lands from the mid 17th century onwards. The Downs survey (1655) has this narration for the Nunstown area "Unforfeited Protestant lands". It appears therefore that Nunstown was owned by a settler or perhaps the Established Church prior to 1641 and was not included in the Cromwellian Plantation. The next record we have states that a Captain Joshua Markham owned the Nunstown lands at the end of the 17th century. Joshua was the son of John Markham, an officer in Cromwell's army, who had obtained grants of land in Ireland. The son, Joshua Markham, was made an officer in 1689 in the army of William and Mary.Reference43 . Reference. The family of Markham/Marshall/Leeson owned the Nunstown lands until the end of the 19th century. "John Markham, gent." is recorded as owning the freehold of Nunstown in 1736. He was High Sheriff of Kerry in 1739. He also owned an estate of 6,000 acres in Milltown (Calinafercy). John Markham's only daughter married Ralph Marshall. Presumably, Ralph Marshall inherited the Nunstown and Milltown estates. The next relevant record we have states that John Markham Marshall of Milltown and Nunstown died in 1849. He left his Nunstown estate, but not his Milltown estate, to Robert Leeson. Robert Leeson was the second son of the Earl of Milltown and was married to John Marshall's niece. When Robert Leeson inherited the Nunstown estate, he changed his name to Robert Leeson Marshall. Reference. In 1853, Robert Leeson Marshall owned four acres of the Nunstown property for his own use and was renting out the remaining 148 acres to Michael Barrett. It appears that Robert Leeson Marshall eventually sold his property to Michael Barrett. Robert died in 1873. A Robert Marshall is shown in the 1911 census for Caher as living in the Price farm household. It records he was aged 18 and employed as a farm labourer there. Part of the Nunstown lands were owned and farmed by the Kissane family from 1930 to 2008.

It is also recorded Morgan Ó Connell of Derrynane was considering buying the Nunstown lands in 1792. Morgan Ó Connell's mother died in 1792. Morgan Ó Connell was then elderly and unmarried and was advised to move from remote Derrynane. His brother Daniel Ó Connell was the last colonel of the Irish Brigade in France. The Brigade were ardent supporters of the French king. The king was executed by revolutionaries during the French Revolution. The Brigade was disbanded soon after in 1792 after 100 years of service to the French crown. The remnants of the Irish Brigade, including Daniel Ó Connell, transferred to the British service. Daniel wrote the following to his brother in Derrynane in 1792 "I had yesterday the pleasure of a visit from Counsellor Dom. Rice, who told me that he should soon conclude with you about the purchase of a place called Nunstown, part of the concern in Aghadoe. This would afford me singular satisfaction...". Reference. It does not appear the Morgan Ó Connell proceeded with the purchase of the land at Nunstown.

PERIOD 1824 TO 1926.

Below are recorded the following details for Nunstown residents for this era; a) ownership of land, b) occupation of land i.e.tenancy, c) census details, d) baptisms and e) marriages.

The Irish church records

contain additional details for Nunstown residents baptised and married. For baptisms, the following additional details are recorded viz. 1) name of father, 2) maiden name of mother, 3) date of birth of child and 4) names of sponsors (godparents). For marriages, the following additional details are recorded viz. 1) wife's maiden name, 2) wife's address, 3) name of father of groom, 4) maiden name of mother of groom, 5) name of father of wife, 6) maiden name of mother of wife and 7) names of the two witnesses to the marriage.

The following record baptisms and marriages of Nunstown residents prior to 1824.

John Murphy was baptised on 13th September 1803.

 

 

TITHES OCTOBER 1824

 

Occupiers Names

Total Acres

 

 

Dan MCarthy

 8.50

Patrick Geran

12.75

Denis McCarthy

 4.25

Darby McCarthy

15.00

James Murphy

30.00

Daniel Moriarty

19.00

 

 

 

 

The following record baptisms and marriages of Nunstown residents from 1824 to 1853

Margaret Murphy was baptised on 3rd January 1836.
Ann Kelly was baptised on 30th May 1837.
Timothy Mahoney was baptised on 3rd September 1837.
Ellen Murphy was baptised on 21st June 1838.
Julia Murphy was baptised on 5th April 1840.
John McCarthy was baptised on 2nd December 1840.
Honora Murphy was baptised on 12th June 1842.

GRIFITHS PRIMARY VALUATION OF TENEMENTS 1853

                                   

OCCUPIER

LESSOR

ACREAGE

 

 

 

Michael Barrett

Robert Leeson Marshall

 148.86

Archdeacon Forster

In fee (i.e. freehold)

   17.07

Jeremiah Coffey

Archdeacon Foster House

 

John Falvey and M L Sullivan

Thos. Finn

      .70

Robert Leeson Marshall

In fee (i.e. freehold)

    4.075

 

 

 

TOTAL ACREAGE

 

170.705

                       

 

From the above, it appears that the Archdeacon owned the churchyard, adjoining house and glebe in freehold. (17.77 acres). The remaining 152.93 acres in Nunstown appeared to have been owned in freehold by Robert Leeson Marshall. Robert lived on 4.075 acres and rented out the remaining 148.86 acres to Michael Barrett who actually farmed the land. The measurements are in statute acres.

 

 

The following record baptisms and marriages of Nunstown residents from 1853 to 1901.

John Barrett was baptised on 4th February 1863.
James Curtayne of Ballyearneen married Mary Lombord of Nunstown on 17th April 1863
James Barrett of Nunstown married Margaret Lombard of Killarney on 27th September 1863.
Michael John Barrett was baptised on the 28th June 1865
John Patrick Curtayne was baptised on the 15th March 1867
Catherine Mary Curtayne was baptised on the 3rd October 1868
James Teahan of Nunstown married Julia Houlehan of Nunstown on 6th February 1869
Honora Mary Curtayne was baptised on 31st December 1869
Mary Curtayne was baptised on the 24th January 1870
Deborah Sullivan was baptised on the 17th July 1870
William Curtayne was baptised on the 15th May 1872
Thomas Curtayne was baptised on the 15th May 1872
Helen Curtayne was baptised on the 11th September 1873
James Curtayne was baptised on the 4th January 1875
Thadeus Murphy of Nunstown married Mary Leahy of Gortroe on 28th January 1876
John Coffey was baptised on the 19th June 1877
James Coffey was baptised on the 13th December 1880
Jeremiah Lynch of Killarney married Mary Clifford of Nunstown on 6th January 1881
Roger Donoghue of Drounmabraka married Helen Cronin of Nunstown on 19th February 1884
Bartholomew Coffey was baptised on the 10th May 1884
Denis Cronin was baptised on the 13th February 1887
Mary Cronin was baptised on the 21st July 1888
Jeremiah Coffey was baptised on the 14th October 1888
Denis Cronin of Nunstown married Helen Collins of Aghadoe on 5th March 1889
Helen Cronin was baptised on the 24th December 1889
Mary Cronin was baptised on the 14th May 1890
Helen Cronin was baptised on the 9th August 1891
Eugene Cronin was baptised on the 10th November 1891
Mary Kenny was baptised on the 7th May 1893
John Cronin was baptised on the 17th June 1894
Julia Cronin was baptised on the 17th March 1895
Ellen Kenny was baptised on the 11th September 1895
Mathew Cronin was baptised on the 11th April 1896
Catherine Cronin was baptised on the 7th August 1897
Margaret Cronin was baptised on the 6th March 1898
Honora Mary Cronin was baptised on the 8th May 1900
Honora Mary Cronin was baptised on the 6th April 1901

1901 CENSUS

Nunstown, Aghadoe Parish

                                                                                                                                          

The 1901 census show 29 persons residing in Nunstown in four households. (For all persons listed below, birthplace is County Kerry)

 

 

SURNAME

FIRST NAME

RELATION

EDUC.

AGE

SEX

OCCUPATION

MARITAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cronin

Dennis

Head

R & W

39

M

Farmer

Married

 

Ellie

Wife

R & W

36

F

Farmers wife

Married

 

Mary

Daughter

R & W

9

F

Scholar

Single

 

Sissy

Daughter

R & w

8

F

Scholar

Single

 

John

Son

R & W

7

M

Scholar

Single

 

Martin

Son

R & W

5

M

Scholar

Single

 

Margaret

Daughter

R & W

5

F

Scholar

Single

 

Mary

Daughter

Cannot R & W

2

F

Scholar

Single

Nagle

Jack

Servant

R & W

46

M

Farm servant

Single

Leary

Thade

Son

R & W

56

M

Farm servant

Single

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cronin

Eugene

Head

R & W

43

M

Farmer

Married

 

Mary

Wife

R & W

 32

F

Farmers wife

Married

 

Dennis

Son

R & W

13

M

Scholar

Single

 

Mary

Daughter

R & W

12.6

F

Scholar

Single

 

Ellie

Daughter

R & W

11

F

Scholar

Single

 

Eugene

Son

R & W

9.5

M

Scholar

Single

 

Julia

Daughter

Cannot R & W

6

F

Scholar

Single

 

Catherine

Daughter

Cannot R & W

4

F

 

Single

 

Matt

Son

Cannot R & W

2.6

M

 

Single

 

Hannah

Daughter

R & W

6 days

F

 

Single

 

Mary

Mom

Cannot R & W

80

F

 

Widow

Kissane

Mary

Servant

R & W

21

F

Domestic

Single

Kellhier

Timothy

Servant

R & W

25

M

General servant

Single

Cronin

Michael

Servant

R & W

18

M

General servant

Single

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leahy

Richard

Head

Cannot R & W

70

M

Farm labourer

Married

 

Margaret

Wife

Cannot R & W

70

F

Farmers wife

Married

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sullivan

John

Head

Cannot R & W

70

M

Agric. Labourer

Married

 

Margaret

Wife

Cannot R & W

50

F

 

Married

 

Bridget

Boarder

R & W

10

F

Scholar

Single

 

 

 

 

 

 

.
CENSUS OF IRELAND 1901--NUNSTOWN

 

HEAD OF FAMILY

LEASEHOLDER

 

 

Denis Cronin

Denis Cronin

Eugene Cronin

Eugene Cronin

Richard Leahy

John Leahy

Jeremiah Coffey

Same

John Sullivan

Same

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following record baptisms and marriages of Nunstown residents from 1901 to 1911.

Catherine Cronin was baptised on the 28th June 1902

CENSUS OF IRELAND 1911--NUNSTOWN. The 1911 census show 38 persons residing in Nunstown in four or five households.

 

SURNAME

FORENAME

AGE

SEX

 

 

 

 

Coffey

Jeremiah

65

M

Coffey

Margaret

55

F

Coffey

Ellie

30

F

Coffey

Jeremiah

21

M

Coffey

Edward

16

M

Coffey

Michael

12

M

Coffey

John

33

M

Coffey

Margaret

36

F

Coffey

James

12

M

Coffey

Michael

10

M

Coffey

Patrick

9

M

Coffey

Mary

8

F

Coffey

Hannah

6

F

Coffey

Kitty

4

F

Coffey

Christina

1

F

 

 

 

 

Cronin

Denis

60

M

Cronin

Ellen

48

F

Cronin

Mary

21

F

Cronin

Ellen

19

F

Cronin

John

17

M

Cronin

Mathew

15

M

Cronin

Margaret

13

F

Cronin

Kate

9

F

Cronin

Michael

5

M

 

 

 

 

Cronin

Eugene

65

M

Cronin

Mary

49

F

Cronin

Denis

24

M

Cronin

Mary

22

F

Cronin

Eugene

20

M

Cronin

Magan

18

F

Cronin

Julia

16

F

Cronin

Mathew

12

M

Cronin

Hanna

10

F

Cronin

James

5

M

 

 

 

 

Leahy

John

50

M

Leahy

Ellen

40

F

 

 

 

 

Connor

Lizzie

9

F

Toley

William

27

M

 

 

 

                       

 

 

 

 

1926 REGISTER OF ELECTORS

                                                                                                                                                                       

Ellen Coffey

Batt Coffey

Matt Cronin

Mary Cronin

Matt Cronin

Margaret Cronin

Julian Cronin

Eugene Cronin

Ellen Leahy

Margaret Kenny

Michael Kenny

Jeremiah Kenny

 

 

 

 

(Revision 09/06/11)

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