On the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary

One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1830, the people of Ballingaddy, though poor, were alive and well and full of Faith. It was in that year that the decision was taken to build a new church. Catholic Emancipation had been won in 1829 through the able efforts of one whom many consider the greatest man Ireland ever produced: Daniel O'Connell. At that time new churches were being built all over the country, at least 15 of them in the Diocese of Limerick. Until this time a small thatched chapel, that stood a short distance away on the property of the Verdan family, had served the people well. But now the time was ripe to build anew.

Ancient Site

Of course, Ballingaddy did not just appear suddenly like a mushroom on an August morning. The Ordnance Survey maps show some ring forts in Ballingaddy such as Gotoon Fort, Knockaunmacoomsa in Kilmihill or Rathard in Ballinahoun. These forts were the homes of a family or families. They were constructed by building up a bank of earth in a ring and then another bank of earth in a ring around the first with deep trenches outside to protect themselves. Within were the family and animals. This whole area was inhabited from the earliest times. This is not surprising since ten miles to the north lies Lough Gur which is recognised as one of the oldest inhabited locations in Ireland. The inhabitants ventured outside during daylight to hunt wild game and deer. Doubtless, the legendary Fionn McCool, whom legend tells us hunted around Blackrock and Seafin, part of the Ballyhoura hills, often pursued his quarry into the parish of Ballingaddy. Like him, the locals must have fished the Loobagh and feasted on brown trout and salmon. The country was covered in dense forest, so they had no worries about obtaining materials for building, or fuel for making fires to cook their food. A land of plenty.


Christian Land

It was in the fifth century that St. Patrick made his journey to the region and built a church on the hill which became known as Ard Padraig (Ardpatrick). Would it have been one of his followers who built the first church in Ballingaddy? At any rate, one of the earliest churches in the parish must have been in the townland of Kilmihill. As the name suggests this was the Church of St. Michael. Unfortunately, no trace of the actual building remains. However, there is a field behind Jim Brennan's house called 'the Church Field'. And there still exists Tobar Mhichill - the well of St. Michael. In Ballingaddy South, on Herbert's farm, is situated Lady's Well, St. Brigid's Well and the one called 'Toberreendoney'. A little further north, beside the boundary ditch of O'Mahoney's is the one called the Lurgadan's Well. Clarks well is beside the houses at Hawkins Cross. All these are marked on the Ordnance map of 1841 and also in the map of 1923. It would appear that the people of Ballingaddy had many holy places which they surely visited to pray, as we still do on 15th August, Lady's Day, at Malua Well and Castletownconyers.



The Irish name of the Parish is Baile an Ghadaidhe, which means the town of the thief. He was traditionally known as "an ghadaidhe dubh ua dubhain', the black thief O'Dwane, some say O'Donovan. The place name is not unique to Ballingaddy, for it is also found in Scotland (P. W. Joyce). It was spelled in many different ways according to the language in which it was written, English, Irish or Latin, such as Ballygaddy, Ballinghaddie, Ballingaddin and Ballyohadding. It is described in many surveys and history books as a parish in the Barony of Coshlea, two and a half miles east by south of Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, Munster. It was a very large parish, incorporating Ardpatrick. The townlands were: Ballingaddy North, Ballingaddy South, Ballygillane, Ballynahoun, Bawnmore, Bohernagore, Coombs, Flemingstown, Glebe of Ballingaddy North, Glebe of Flemingstown, Gotoon, Kilmihill, Millmount, Milltown, Mount Russel.


The Old Church

The original church of Ballingaddy stood in the Glebe of Ballingaddy North, surrounded by the Churchyard (Graveyard). The ruins are described in 'O'Donovan's ordnance survey letters'. There is evidence of a Nave and Choir.

We do not know when this church was built. However, there are references to it as early as 1302 when the taxable valuation for the relief of the Holy Land levied on the Church of Ballingaddy was set at £10. Thus the tithe was £1. There is another reference given by Westropp (p. 424) which tells us 'John Le Troy held the living in 1378. The Pope ordered that Ric. Bondwell, priest, be given a canonry and the perpetual vicarage of Ballingaddy, worth 10M. Grant was treated as void and transferred to Thomas de s'Jacobo, 1394'.

Again in the Black Book of Limerick we find Ballingaddy Church placed under the authority of De Rochford, Bishop of Limerick, 1337-1353. In Papal Letters (Col Papal L. IV p. 471) we find mentioned 'Ballinghaddie' dedicated to B.V.M. 1410. This was when Cornelius O'Dea was Bishop of Limerick.


Ballingaddy and Ardpatrick

It is interesting to note that Ardpatrick was at one time in the parish of Ballingaddy. In 1302 and 1307 in the taxations already referred to Ardpatrick is referred to as a 'Church'. A hundred years later during the time of Bishop O'Dea (1400-1426) another taxation, imposed to finance the thirty years war and later used for the upkeep of the parishes, referred to it as a 'chapel', thus denoting the change in status that may have taken place between these two dates. (See Appendix I).


The Dark Days

We come now to the Reformation when it was firmly believed that two religions could not exist together in one country. Most especially, imperial rulers thought it their duty to persecute those with whom they disagreed. Up to this Munster or Desmond, as it was then known, was to all intents and purposes very independent of English rule and was a kingdom within a kingdom, wherein ruled the Geraldine family. An attempt was made now to impose the Protestant religion in Ireland. Because to oppose the new religion was to oppose the King, confiscations were taking place and colonists were taking over the dispossessed lands. In the ensuing Geraldine rebellion, the countryside was ravaged.

There is no doubt that Ballingaddy in such close proximity to Kilmallock, chief town of the Earl of Desmond, was included in the systematic burning and destruction of the countryside. Was it then that Ballingaddy Church was destroyed? Or was it later, during the nine years war when Sir George Carew, President of Munster, carried out a reign of terror, burning and killing all before him. Or maybe later again, when Lord Inchiquin (Murrough O'Brien or 'Murrough of the Burnings', as he was nicknamed) burned the town of Ardpatrick which was situated on a little plateau at the top of the hill in 1642, and in May 1643 laid siege to Kilmallock at the head of 700 men.

It must have been during this period of troubled history that the large parish of Ballingaddy began to disintegrate.



In the Civil Survey of 1640 of the 24 landed proprietors in the parish, 21 are listed as Papists. One of these was John Gould, listed as the proprietor of Ballingaddy. Thus the persecutors during the reign of Elizabeth failed to dispossess Catholics. It was only in the wake of the Cromwellian campaign that the lands passed out of the hands of their traditional owners.

For this purpose a Civil Survey was carried out between 1654 and 1656. The "Civil Survey', so called because it would be 'essentially a testified record of the facts concerning the possessions of the subjects, the citizens and declared to on oath before courts appointed to ascertain such facts.' Thus is the Survey book prefaced. However, the real purpose of this survey was to prepare for the confiscations which were to follow.

It describes Ballingaddy in the following manner:

'The said parish of Ballingaddy nears and bounds on the North with the Liberties of Kilmallock, on the East with Ardivolane, Fanstown and Ballincrana. On the South with the lands of Castlepooke and Doneraile in the County of Corke and on the West with Jamestown, Ballinvily, Cheyhagh and the Manor of Tobinnea in the Barony of Coshmae'.

The following is a list of the confiscations in Ballingaddy Parish after the Cromwellian Campaign. The grantee is Chidley Coote, the ancestor of the Cootes of Mountcoote and Ashill, Kilmallock.

William Meagh, townland Milltown.

Richard Creagh, Flemingstown.

Sir Richard Hayes, Ballingaddy Bog.

Richard Creagh, Bohernabottery.

Sir Richard Hayes, Garrykilten.

Sir William Hayes, Carowgarriffe.

John Meagh, Old Gort (two parcels).

John Meagh, Old Gort (a curragh) John Gould, Knocksowney, Amiansberney and Ballymaluagh. Robert Gneasy of Kilnesey, Ballingarry.

Pat Kearney of Ballynephoyne.

Garret Fitzgerald, Ballynesey (a curragh).

Vie Daly, Ardpatrick.

Vie Daly, Ardivelane.

John Fox, Ballynehow.

Randel Hurley, Ballyvedane.

Randal Hurley, Garrypheeky, Graigue and Glendeenase.

Over 4,000 acres in all.

All these are old Norman names and families. Many of them had houses in the town of Kilmallock. Their lands were used to repay adventurers or investors who had financed the war in Ireland and also to pay the soldiers who had taken part.



After the Williamite War and the Treaty of Limerick, which was immediately broken, the penal laws came fully into force. This caused great suffering to the Catholic population and uprooted the Catholic clergy who now had to minister to their people in secret. All Catholic bishops had to leave the country. No Catholic church could have a bell. No Catholic could teach school, purchase land, be a member of parliament or hold public office. No Catholic could own a horse worth more than £5 and if the eldest son became a Protestant he could take the land of his father.

Subsequently there was a shortage of priests in the country. The remaining friars of Kilmallock went from parish to parish helping the local curates or even taking charge of a parish. More penal laws were added as time went on. In 1703 priests were obliged to register. It was enacted that 'every Popish priest in the country should return himself at the next quarter sessions after the feast of St. John the Baptist before the Clerk of the Peace in his County, giving his name, place of residence, his age, the time and place of receiving Orders and from whom received etc.' (Begley)

Registered Priests

Here are the names of some of the registered priests as recounted by Canon Begley:

John Rahilly, lived in Kilmallock, aged 50 years, registered for Kilfinane, Particles, Ardpatrick and part of Ballingaddy; ordained in 1676, Bazas in France, by the Bishop of that place. He died in either 1719 or 1720 and was succeeded by Thaddeus O'Hea. He was buried in Ballingaddy Churchyard. According to Canon Begley (1938) a small headstone bearing the following inscription was to be seen outside the Eastern gable of the ruined Church:
Here lieth the body of
Revd Matthew O'Hea
who died 25th September 1775
aged 38 years.
Pray for him.
Paul Slattery, one of the Dominicans of Kilmallock Priory served in Effin 1759 to 1763 and went to Kilfinane in 1764. He too is buried in Ballingaddy beside Matthew O'Hea. He too had a small headstone bearing the inscription:
Glory be to God
Here lieth the body
of ye Rev'd Paul Slattery
Died 5th Day of December 1787
in the 81st year of his age.
Pray for him.


No trace of these headstones can now be found!

This period was obviously a rather disturbed one and it is very surprising that the structure of parishes was so well maintained and the discipline of the priests was so good.

Another priest has a bearing on our little story of Ballingaddy. He was Murtagh Moriarty. He lived at Kilmallock, registered for the parishes of Effin, Kilbreedy Minor, Tankardstown, part of the Parish of Kilmallock and part of the parish of Ballingaddy. Ordained 1679 at Curragh by James Dowley, Bishop of Limerick. He died in 1728 and after his death, Ballingaddy was fully joined to Kilmallock. The parish henceforth consisted of Kilmallock, Tankardstown and Ballingaddy as at present.


Penal Laws Relaxed

Ballingaddy people lived through the dark penal days and survived as best they could. Some lightening of their burden was at hand. In 1778 an act was passed allowing Catholics to inherit and take a lease of property for 999 years. The act which gave the whole property to an eldest son who became a Protestant was repealed. So was the act by which priests and school masters were liable to prosecution and transportation. The penal code against Catholics was gradually falling apart and penal laws against religion were not so strictly enforced as formerly.

The priests were enjoying more liberty and Mass houses, such as the mud-walled thatch chapel mentioned at the beginning, were built. A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis was published in 1837 and describes the civil parish of Ballingaddy as follows:

'A parish in the Barony of Coshlea, two and a quarter miles (S) from Kilmallock on the road to Kilfinane, containing 1031 inhabitants, it comprises 5615 statute acres as applotted under the tithe act of which 400 are mountain and the remainder is generally in a good state of cultivation... The ruins of the old church are situated near Riversfield and adjoining the church yard are 24 acres of excellent glebe. In the R.C. divisions it forms part of the Union or District of Kilmallock: the Chapel is a small thatched building. There is a pay school in which are about 40 boys and 30 girls'.

According to the Parliamentary Gazeteer of Ireland in 1834, the Roman Catholic chapel had an attendance of 350. Most of them must have worshipped in the open air!


Plight of the People

There now existed at least three strata of society in Ireland: the Landlord, the Tenant and the Labourer or ‘the mere Irish’. The Landlord was usually an ‘absentee'. The tenant or farmer had to struggle to pay the high rents and the ‘mere Irish’ were what the name suggests: the lowest form of society. Their homes were hovels, their labours never ending and their circumstances pitiable. In Graiganster there are the remains of two such houses or cabins which were built on the double ditch between the fields. They must have relied on whatever patch of land their farmer employer allotted to them to grow the potatoes on which they fed their families.

Leading by Example

In 1820 the rents were between 40 and 50 shillings an acre and tenants felt both oppressed and aggrieved. Something had to be done. Through the Christian attitude and good will of one man, whose ideas fortunately spread through the whole county, a change of attitude was brought about. Sir Edward O'Brien, a landlord of Killoghten in the Courtenay Estate in East Limerick, reduced the rents to £1 per acre, thus reducing the tenants' burden to more bearable proportions. This example was used by the priests to influence other landlords who responded readily. Parochial committees were set up and help given, (c.f. Begley p. 367)

Although much freedom was allowed for the practice of religion, the economic life of the people in the years preceding Catholic Emancipation was truly pitiable. In 1822 there were between ten and twelve hundred paupers in the parishes of Kilmallock, Ballingaddy and Tankardstown who had no means of subsistence for three months. It was the age of Good Will and Committees in which the priests played a leading part. Money was collected and food was distributed free or at a reduced price. Over 1,600 people were helped in this way during the famine of 1822-23. Some 40 families were given seed potatoes without which they could not plant their gardens and feed their families. Lower rents were also a great help and after a few years people began to flourish. Thus when Catholic Emancipation came they could turn their thoughts to building a new church.


New Chapel

We can only imagine the sense of importance and excitement and comment that ran through the parish at the suggestion of a new chapel. Unfortunately we have no accounts of the actual building, though it has been mentioned that the same masons who built Effin Church in 1837 also built Ballingaddy. We do know that the Landlord was Captain Christopher Sanders. It would appear from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland that the whole of Ballingaddy South, which had formerly belonged to the Coote Estate, was then in the possession of the Sanders family. He lived in Sanders Park in Charleville. In the spirit of the times, when landlords were showing some goodwill towards their tenants, Sanders donated the site of the church to the people of Ballingaddy. A letter published in Limerick Chronicle 18th August 1838 runs as follows:

Ballingaddy Chapel
"A meeting of the Parishioners of Ballingaddy having been convened on Sunday 12th inst to express their thanks to Christopher Sanders Esq. of Sanders Park, for his donation of a site for their chapel, Michael O'Donnell Esq. of Millmount, was called to the chair, and the following resolution was passed amidst the acclamations of the meeting.
Resolved: That the generosity evinced by Christopher Sanders Esq. in bestowing on this parish a site for a chapel deserves our warmest gratitude and that our Chairman be requested to convey to that gentleman this expression of our thankfulness and the assurance of respect and admiration with which we are impressed by his consistently liberal conduct on all occasions since his arrival in this neighbourhood.
In reply to a highly complimentary note conveying the foregoing Resolution, the following letter has been received by the Chairman from Captain Sanders:
Sanders Park
I have the honour to acknowledge your letter conveying to me the Resolution of a meeting, of which you were Chairman, held at the Chapel of Ballingaddy.
I assure you. Sir, that I derive the highest gratification from the sentiments which your meeting was pleased to express of my gift and of my conduct and I value them the more, on account of the nattering manner in which you have the goodness to announce them to me.
I hope the Parishioners of Ballingaddy will believe that the handsome edifice they design must always be a source of pleasure to myself, because by their acceptance of a site for its erection, they so far allow me to participate in the honour they do to religion. I cannot but feel, from my connection with your parish, that although myself a Protestant, I have only performed a duty - yet a pleasing duty to me.
With my best wishes for yourself, your very respectable and amiable Parish Priest, and your fellow Parishioners, among whom I number many friends.
I am, Sir, your most faithful
and obedient humble servant,
C. Sanders.


This same Sanders was posted overseas to join his regiment the following year and notice of an auction at Sanders Park in the Limerick Chronicle, 16th January, 1839 includes "a large quantity of very scarce and valuable seed potatoes (Golden Doe)'.

The Michael O'Donnell who chaired the meeting lived in Millmount House, known later as Ardvullen (Ard Mhuillean) which was described as "a handsome two storey high house, with suitable offices and several neat plantations.' This Michael O'Donnell was probably a relative of John O'Donnell who was one of the 37 elected members of the Board of Guardians of Kilmallock Union (Workhouse). It is interesting to note that J. K. Bracken, one of the seven men who founded the G.A.A. in Hayes' Hotel, Thurles on 1st November 1884, lived in Ardvullen for two years before his death. He is buried in Tankardstown.

The farmer who tenanted the land on which the chapel was built was called Condon. Possibly this is the same Edmond Condon who was appointed as one of the Wardens of Kilmallock Union (Workhouse) in 1841.

Fr. Michael Murnane was curate and later Parish Priest in Kilmallock. He ministered from 1814 to 1837. He suffered greatly from poor eyesight and when he retired in 1837 Fr. John Brahan, who was already in the Parish, became Administrator. We don't know which one of these Sanders refers to as 'the amiable Parish Priest'. Perhaps both. Fr. Murnane retired and died about 1855. "He is buried in Ballingaddy Churchyard, outside the Western gable, without a stone to mark his resting place.' (Begley p. 500)


The Great Day

The Consecration and Blessing of the new Chapel took place on 15th August, the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, 1838. Like the medieval church of the 14th century, the new chapel was consecrated in honour of Our Lady, probably under the title of 'Our Lady Queen of Heaven'.

In the absence of contemporary accounts it takes little imagination to visualise the opening or dedication day of Ballingaddy Chapel. The ‘strong farmer's wife’ would have worn a hunting style jacket over a long black dress, topped by a ribboned hat. Himself in his best frieze coat and top hat. The less well off women wore their large black shawls or maybe the lighter shoulder shawl with a white head-kerchief, while their menfolk wore perhaps knee breeches, a waistcoat and a cap. Their strong shining brogues would have resounded on the bare new timber floor. The more affluent would have owned the few seats where they sat. The rest would have crowded into the church, eager to be part of this historic occasion. Later there was much rejoicing in the large number of cabins which lined the roads near the newly-built chapel. As part of the celebrations there was surely dancing at the cross-roads that night. The passengers on the day post coach from Limerick to Cork, passing through Bruff, Kilmallock, Kildorary, Fermoy and Rathcormac every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings would have been able to admire the grand new building. It was certainly sturdy enough to withstand the night of the Big Wind on 6th January 1839.

The only memorial of the Ballingaddy Mass House that remains is in the possession of the O'Grady family at the Cross o' Black: one brass candlestick now almost 300 years old. Once the Chapel was built, very few embellishments were possible for a long time. Firstly came the famine years and penury of priests and people when the population of the parish was very much depleted by death from starvation or by emigration. Then Dr. Downes, who was appointed Parish Priest of Kilmallock and Ballingaddy in 1841, had more than enough on his hands to finance and build the imposing parish church in Kilmallock.


Agrarian Troubles

In the ensuing years the people of the Parish would have been very much preoccupied with the Land Reform movements. Ballingaddy took a leading part in the Land League movement. About a mile from Ballingaddy chapel is situated Lisheen which was the scene of a memorable eviction in 1881. Clifford Lloyd R.M., an Englishman who was sent over to be Resident Magistrate of the area, drafted in hundreds of police, infantry and a large body of Scotch Greys to protect the Sherriff, Land Agents and Bailiffs at the eviction of Denis Murphy. The patriotic Fr. Eugene Sheehy was curate of Kilmallock at the time.

The arbitrariness of the imposition of rents is illustrated by a story told by Mrs. O'Grady, of the Cross o' Black. Her grandfather had two sons who were studying to be priests, one in Maynooth and the other in Carlow. When the rent collector came to their farm and saw the two young men he wanted them to go to work for the landlord. Their father refused, explaining that both of them were at college studying to be priests. On hearing this the Agent immediately upped the rent by £100- Their father had to sell a horse at the fair of Cahirmee to raise the extra money.

One of these young men was Fr. Gerry O'Shea who later became Parish Priest of Glin and who presented a silver chalice to Ballingaddy Chapel. He died in 1928 and is buried just outside the Chapel door. The other one was Fr. John O'Shea who is still remembered by the people of Ballingaddy. He ministered in America, contracted malaria and came home to die. He lived in retirement on the farm in Ballinahoun which now belongs to Brosnahans. In fact he celebrated the 8.30 Mass in Ballingaddy in the Thirties and outlived his brother, Fr. Gerry, by eleven years. He died on the 8th of October, 1939 at the ripe old age of 84. He is buried beside his brother in the Chapel grounds.

Another famous man buried in Ballingaddy was John Flanagan who established ten world records and won three Olympic gold medals in weight throwing. His grave is to be found against the West wall of the Graveyard.


Church Improvements

Kilmallock Church was finished in 1889 and Dr. Downes died the following year. His successor. Dr. Meehan, devoted all his energies to the furnishing of this church in the most beautiful and up-to-date style. He also improved Ballingaddy by erecting a new altar and installing a new window behind it. Dr. Meehan died in 1904. The Venerable Archdeacon James O'Shea carried on the good work by adding a Belfry and Bell and improving the seating accommodation. This bell was rung by the Sacristan, Mrs. Madge Howard, on two very important occasions for the Church. To herald the Holy Year in 1950 and again in 1954 at the beginning of the Marian Year. In 1910 he installed the Stations of the Cross. These were donated by the following parishioners:

1. Mrs. James Mortell, for her husband's soul. R.I.P.

2. Mrs. Maurice Clery, for her husband and family.

3. Thomas Griffith, for his father and mother.

4. Given by Mrs. Mary Treacy, for her husband and son.

5. Jeremiah Carroll for his wife and mother.

6. Mrs. Timothy Leo, for her husband's eternal rest.

7. Roger Dwane, for Mrs. Dwane and family.

8. Jim Mortell, for his uncle and parents. R.I.P.

9. William Browne, for his father and brothers.

10. James and Mrs. Sheedy, for their deceased friends. n. Thomas and Mrs. Bowen, for God's honour and glory.

12. Patrick O'Shea, for father, mother and brothers. R.I.P.

13. Thomas and Mrs. Clarkson, for their deceased parents.

14. The Rev. Jas. O'Shea P.P. to the parishioners 1910.

Fr. Woulfe is credited with installing the sanctuary lamp and putting in wrought iron gates in the sanctuary instead of the wooden ones which were there since the Chapel was built. Rail cloths of heavy green material were draped inside the altar rails during the week and were replaced on Sunday mornings with white linen ones. These white cloths were brought forward over the altar rails and held with hands underneath by the people while receiving Holy Communion.


Centenary Celebrations

The church saw many improvements on the occasion of the Centenary in 1938. Dean Mulcahy was the Parish Priest at the time. A beautiful terrazzo floor was laid at the entrance. Jack Hennessy prepared the floor and a company from Cork did the actual terrazzo work. In order to complete the work, the doors had to be locked and everybody had to get out, including Mrs. Biddy Verdan, the Parish Clerk, who thought it a dreadful thing to be locked out of her own church. The terrazzo commemorates the fact that the church is dedicated to Our Lady. Underneath a crown are words: MARIA. Sub tuo praesidio (Under your protection, O Mary) 1838-1938.

On 15th August, the Feast of the Assumption, 1938, High Mass was celebrated by Rev. Canon Mulcahy P.P. V.F. with Fr. Condon C.C., Deacon and Fr. Moynihan C.C. Bulgaden, Subdeacon. The Venerable Archdeacon Begley P.P., Bruff, the renowned historian to whom we have referred many times in this booklet, preached a most eloquent sermon suitable to the occasion. The roads leading to the Chapel were festooned with streamers in Papal colours. Everybody who had statues of Our Lady brought them and made little shrines in the surrounding ditches. The celebration ended with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.


Further Improvements

Marble altar rails were installed in the early forties. Fund raising was organised by the Miss Gaffneys of Lord Edward St., Kilmallock. A well remembered concert was held in the People's Hall. Kitty O'Donohoe's (later Mrs. Pat Joe Prendergast R.I.P.) troupe of Irish Dancers performed to her own accompaniment on the violin. Jimmy Russell, later to become Br. Stephen of the Alexian Brothers brought the house down by swirling round the stage in a kilt.

Although candlelight lent something special to worship, especially on dark Christmas mornings, when Mass was celebrated at 7.45 a.m. the benefits of Rural Electrification eventually reached Ballingaddy Chapel in the fifties. The electric light was temporarily connected through Maurice Clery's shop. Then later the church was properly wired up by Gay Clery.

In Canon Cowper's time, the sacristy roof was repaired by the Dowling Brothers free of charge. A very large church renovation took place in 1972. It was at this time that the porch was added where there is a plaque which is inscribed as follows:

Please pray for the intentions of the following donors to Ballingaddy Church Renovation Fund, including the monthly Cess donors, and for all our parishioners who have been contributing towards our Church and School Building and Renovation Funds over the years.
Barry Walshe, Mrs., Kilmallock.
Burke, The Misses Mary and Kathleen, Kilmallock.
Ballingaddy Mineral Bar Committee.
The Casey family, Ardkilmartin.
Conran, Miss, Kinsale.
Keane, The Misses Olive and Betty, Kilmallock.
Kilmallock Parents Association. Kilmallock Festival Committee. I.C.A.
Leahy, John, Ballingaddy.
McAuliffe, Clement, Ballingaddy.
The O'Loughlin Family, Kilmallock.
O'Kelly, Mrs. Mary, Kilmallock.
O'Shea, Miss Mary J., London.

The beautiful stained glass window, depicting the Assumption of Our Lady was donated by Mrs. Peg Watt of Riversfield. The altar was changed in compliance with Vatican II by Canon Minihan. The Baptismal Font was donated by the O'Grady and O'Shea Families in 1978. For the comfort of the parishioners the heating system was installed in December 1979. This would have been a great boon to the saintly Mrs. Biddy Verdon who struggled to light the stove in the sacristy to air the priests' vestments. The people themselves raised funds by holding a barn dance on Friday 25th May, 1979 on the farm of Davy O'Connor. There was also a raffle for a calf donated by Seamus Sheedy and some other events. The side windows were renewed, water was laid on in the sacristy and the main body of the Chapel was carpeted in 1985. The Tabernacle was polished by J. & O. McLoughlin Ltd. The land for the car park was given by Mr. Crowley and the work was done by Limerick County Council. At the moment toilets are being installed.

The Public Light was procured through the efforts of Ned Murphy, present owner of Ardvullen (Millmount House) and Mrs. Lily Mulvihill, Parish Clerk. This light makes the Chapel visible to all passers-by after nightfall.

The improvements in the Chapel have reflected the improvements and changes in the livelihood of the people. The noble horse has given way to the combustion engine and the micro-chip. The refrigerated bulk milk lorry has replaced the tankard and the local creamery. The silage harvester has almost put the hay-fork in a museum. The people are certainly seeing better days.

And so we come to 1988. Very Rev. Canon Gerard Wall P.P. and his curates Rev. John Leonard C.C. and Rev. Laurence Madden C.C., with the aid of the parishioners, are striving to make the 150th Anniversary celebrations a great success.



The above pages contain some echoes of the history of Ballingaddy to date. But the story is not yet finished. If there is one characteristic of the people of Ballingaddy which stands out, it is their ardent faith and their devotion to Our Lady. It is this strong faith which was the inspiration of most of what is recounted above. Thank God, in spite of the challenges of our modern way of living, this faith and devotion is still alive. Thus the story of Ballingaddy continues to be written in the lives of its faithful sons and daughters.




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