Our Parish

In Our Parish by Pete Coghlan B.A. by admin


Our Parish

Knochane – alias Keelohane,alias Tuogh, alias Beaufort.

Our parish as can be seen from the above list has undergone a variety of changes in name since it’s origin in the very distant past. At the present time it is ecclesiastically known as The Parish of Tuogh (Paroiste na Tuaithe). But by an increasing minority is also called Beaufort (Liosaphuca).

The old names Knochane (Cnocan) or to give it it’s full name Cnocan na h Eaglise and Keelohane (Cillochain) by which the parish was known in early ecclesiastical history are almost forgotten.

Knochane (Cnocan) and Keelohane (Cillochain) from a document known as obligations Pro. Annatis Dioceses Ardfertensic, which is a study or research made by Rev. M.H. Costello O.P. Rev. Jerh O’Connell (one time curate in the parish) and Rev. James Hanley (Late P.P. Killorglin), into the status of each Parish in the Diocese of Ardfert, now Diocese of Kerry, the original name of this parish was Knochane (Cnocan na h-Eaglise).

Those men had full access to the Vatican Archives in Rome, where the histories of each parish under Papal jurisdiction are carefully stored. Then as now, each parish has to subscribe towards the upkeep of the Holy See, now, by what is sometimes called “Peter’s Pence” but in olden times were called “Annates”. In those Annates as far back as 1203 A.D. this parish went under the name Knochane (Cnocan na h-Eaglaise). Later on however it sometimes had an alternative name, Keelohane (Cill Lochain)


The Latin version of that Annate of 1302 was as follows:

Die decima ejusdem (Dec) una bulla pro Mauricio O Tuoma super vivaria Parvochielis ecclesiae de Cnockayn Nachergaglsy Alias Kyilloccayn Ardferensis Diocesic quia non-ascendit summam XXIV lib. Turon.

Those Annates also add that according to the monastic system in Ireland, Knochane was under the Rectorage of the monastery, Innishfallen. But with a secular Vicar – Parish Priest who did the work of the Parish, said Mass, administered the Sacraments, collected the “dues”, but was entirely subject to the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, in Innisfallen had not behaved properly, as a matter of fact, probably in the townland of Tomies.

The Prior, Donal O Sega (O’Shea) refused to come back and so the Roman Curia appointed Rev. Donal O’Sullivan, a Canon in the Diocese of Ardfert to be Parish Priest of Knochane and acting Prior of Innisfallen “in commendium”. In the hope that he would induce the scattered community to return to the Monastery.


He had not succeeded up to the time of his death in 1486 and on the 15th June 1481 Canon Maurice O’Sullivan was appointed by Rome to succeed him. In 1494 a noted Pluralist named John Moriarty took charge of Innisfallen and Fr. Florence O’Sullivan became Parish Priest of Knockane in 1511.

The name Keelohane (Cill lochain) appears in the Vatican lists of the year 1302 in conjunction with Knockane, but with no name of an appropriating religious house. But perhaps was a Chapel at Ease under the Patronage of the McGillycuddy of the Reeks who lived nearby in Castle Corr (Cáisleán an Chorraig). Parts of the ruined walls of the little church can still be seen at the end of Dan Guerin’s garden.

And in the not so distant past was used as a “Cillin”, a burial place for unbaptised children, we also had a “cillini” at Dunloe, beside the Castle in Kilgobnet, near St. Gobnait’s cell and in Árdraw near the large fort there.

But to return to Knockane, the Annates also state that the Parish of Knockane, Cnocan na hEaglaise, the Irish name was also included, was a very large Parish.

As a matter of fact it occupied the whole Barony of Dunkerron North in the Middle Ages and according to Samuel Lewis who wrote “Topographical Dictionary of the Parishes of Ireland”.

In 1837 it was very extensive “consisting of about ninety modern townlands centred round the Parish Church of Knockane and in 1837 “comprehended an area of more than 40 miles in circumference of which 59,079 Statue acres are plotted under the “Tithe Act and valued at £6,980 per annum with a population of 4716 inhabitants”. It extended from Moll’s Gap and Dinis in the east with the river Laune, as it’s northern boundary.

Reaching to within a mile of Killorglin town and extended through Shanara and Glencuttane to Glencar and including all lands east of Caragh River and bounded in the south by the Spine of the Dunkerrons, due north of Loughbrin to Moll’s Gap and Upper Killarney Lake.

Today it is not so large, extending from Derryard in South East Twomies in the East – River Laune in the North – the Black Valley (an Cuimin Dubh) to the South and the stream the Fionn Glaise to the West and including also the district of Brida.



A large area from Shanara to Glencar has been taken off and included in the Parishes of Killorglin and Glenbeigh. It is still one of the largest parishes in Ireland, but so much of it is occupied by the McGillycuddy Reeks, the population cannot be very large 1560, at last census.

Up to 1600 A.D. or so we are sure that Knockane (Cnocan na hEaglaise) was the focal point of all our religious activities around our parish church, the ruins of which are still to be seen in our local cemetery.

From 1600 onwards with the enforcement of the Anti Catholic Laws under Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, things became rather difficult for Catholics and of course definitely from 1700on with the approach of the Penal Laws.

Knockane as a place of worship had to be abandoned, and the church shortly became a ruin and the Parish as a unit disintegrated. Priests had to go “on the run” and the only places where they and their flocks could come to together to celebrate Mass were hidden out-of –the-way places. In the open air with a rock as an altar which we remember today as “Mass Rocks” as the ones in Gortcullinane in the Black Valley and perhaps in Kilgobnet.

But the people did not forget Knockane, it became our burial place and down to this very day remains the only cemetery in the parish where the dead of almost every family in the Parish lay at rest.

When the Protestants took over they changed the name “Knockane” to Churchtown which now includes the townlands of Fearain na gCat.




In 1822 a Protestant Church was erected near the ruin of the Catholic one by a gift of £800 from the Board of Works. That Church was pulled down in 1822 and that led to the Tithe War in Kerry. It was rebuilt in 1825. Seán Cronin, a poet from Ballyledder wrote a poem about the pulling down of the Church.

It began:

“Cé léag an teampall? Arsa an an seanbheán bhocht

Siofrai na Tuaithe agus muintir cois na leamhna”

Síle Ní Rúairc a thug dhá óice a feireacht.”

Tradition had it that the Protestant Church was destroyed twice at that time. The local young men pulled it down on the first occasion. They expected a troop of soldiers from Tralee and they prepared an ambush for them. They dug a trench across the road at John Clifford’s, Ards, entrance and took up position beside it.

They were armed with axes and pikes and one man, named “Antrim” Fogarty had a gun. He was called Antrim as he was ex-British Soldier. However the troops never turned up.

The Church was again built and a guard of soldiers kept watch over it night and day.

Later on a carpenter who worked at McGillycuddy Reeks and lived in Carnahone had a plan. He was well known to the soldiers as he passed that way to and fro every day going to and coming from work. One evening on his way home he cut out the lock and entered the church and put a fire in the middle of the floor. When morning came it was burnt to the ground.

It was again rebuilt and a law was passed whereby if the church was inferred with the local people should pay compensation.

A Glebe House was built in 1828 by the Board if First Fruits by a gift of £276 and a loan of £461 and a Glebe farm was also added, where Dan Coffey now lives. About 1898 Dr. Digby an ex-British Army Doctor took up residence in the Glebe House. He was a very kind, charitable man and for many years gave his medical services to the people of the parish at very little cost and often entirely free. He died in 1928.

Catholics had to pay one – tenth hence the word “Tithe” of the value of their income each year towards the upkeep of the Protestant Church and even when Catholic Emancipation was passed in 1829 they still had to pay and hence the continuation of the Tithe War. In 1800 Tithes were paid on crops, not on cattle, at the rate £1 per acre on potatoes and 5/ -on hay and in 1828 the Tithes collected in the parish amounted to £260.2.2½d.