Killahan, in the parish of Abbeydorney, barony of Clanmaurice, County of Kerry.  It comprises of four thousand, two hundred and thirty-nine statue acres of which one-fourth consists of mountains and bog and the remainder of the land of variable quality.  The ruins of the old church still remain, formerly called Tonaknock Abbey, built for Canon Regular in the 7th century.  It was a collegiate Church which had a college for the education of priests attached to it.  The place was taken over by the Knights Templar in the 12th Century.  On the road opposite to the entrance to the Church yard stands a Celtic High Cross which could date from the 9th century.

 This Cross was knocked and one arm broken by cannon ball, by the forces of Queen Elizabeth 1 during the Desmond insurrection.  This cross is supposed to mark the burial place of a one-time Bishop of Kerry.  The Church was in existence up to the year 1600 and tradition has it that the last P.P. Fr. Goggin, was hanged there for treason against her Majesty because he would not conform to the Protestant Religion.  A few miles to the west of the Abbey are the ruins of Ballymacaquin Castle which belonged to the branch of the Fitzmaurice family.  The residence in the parish of Killahan in olden times was Fortwilliam.  This townland was formerly called Clahane O'Rourke but the name was changed in honour of the landlord whose house was a fortress to protect him from tenants.  This place dates back to around 1650 B.C.

The legends and mythology of the Fianna lead us to believe that the forces of Cahernade fought here in the preliminary skirmishes of the great battle of Knockanore in pre-historic times.  This site is known locally as Clahan-a-folla.  There was a hedge school in existence up to the building of a new school house in the 1840s and it served the children of the parish until a more modern school was built in 1953.  The game of hurling has a special place in the hearts of Killahan people and listening to the folklore it must have been played there going back to the time of Fionn McCumhaill and the Fianna. Killahan has its own National School and also one of the last Blacksmith's Forge to be seen in the area.


               Killahan Graveyard  





John. J. Edwards.


Amidst North Kerry's green clad hills,                  Picture of John J Edwards

And pleasant shinning bowers,

There lies the prettiest little vale,

Where I've spent my happiest hours,

Its there the song-birds sing so sweet,

Their warbling notes with glee,

In the vale of sweet Killahan,

So beautiful to see.


The scenery of this lovely place,

Is the rarest can be seen;

Its pleasant groves sweet to behold

Are decked in emerald green,

The verdant slopes and hillsides gay,

Where oft I've roamed so free,

In the vale of sweet Killahan

So beautiful to see.


'Tis sweet to view charming scene,

By streamlets flowing free,

Where many roved in years gone by,

But now they're o'er the sea,

Cead mile failte, we'd give them back,

With hearts all tenderly,

To the vale of sweet Killahan,

So beautiful to see.

From the Book  Abbeydorney Our Own Place  Copyright (c) 1989