St Patricks Church in Donoughmore
It is said that St Patrick built a church in Donoughmore and that the custom at the time was to commence building on Sunday. Therefore, churches built by St Patrick have the name Domhnach, Gaeilge for Sunday. The name of the area at the time was Dun-N-Oac-Fene. The title Donoughmore first appears as Douenathmor or Donaghmor in 1201.
The title Dounaghmor appears in 1302 and 1410.Donnachmore appears in 1418.
The old church, the ruins of which are in the graveyard across the road from the current church, is not the original church as claimed to have been built by St Patrick. The original church was built very near this structure.
This building is 26 feet long and 39 feet 6 inches wide and in recent times has been stripped of the ivy which covered it for many decades.
It is said that a church built of timber mud and a thatched roof was built in Donoughmore in 1820. Rev James McNamara O.S.A. was Parish Priest at the time. This church could house a congregation of 700 people and cost £600.The church was renovated in 1904 by Father Michael McCarthy.
The roof was raised and replaced with slates which begs the question that the original walls may not have been mud as mud walls may not have been strong enough to support such a roof.
Fr McCarthy initiated many other works in the parish including the parochial house, Knockea church, Donoughmore and Roxboro Schools and Drombanna creamery. He was a very popular Parish Priest and is buried in the grounds of Donoughmore Church.
The new church was further renovated in 1933 under the direction of Fr James Wallace, and again in the 1960’s while Fr Kirby was Parish Priest. In 1989 a new belfry was added. The church renovations of the early 1960 ‘s changed the look of the church as the eaves were extended and the bell tower was removed.
A crucifix to the right of the main door was also removed. This crucifix is now in the parish church of Ogonnelloe in Co. Clare.
The only plaque to remain is one to commemorate Daniel Clancy a local farmer who made a large contribution to the church . Buried in the church grounds are Fr Michael Kennedy P.P. 1978 to 1983,Fr Michael Mc Carthy P.P. 1901 to 1919, Fr Charles Mc Carthy P.P.1927 to 1933. Fr Partick Mc Grath of the parish is also buried here.
St Patricks Church in Knockea
The present day church in Knockea was built in 1822 under the direction of Rev James McNamara P.P.Before this the people worshipped in a timber and stone church on Knockea Hill at the opposite side of the road on the border of Powers and Maddens land.
Indeed the Church today is in the townland of Drombanna. However, as the original building was on Knockea hill, the church is since called Knockea Church.
It is said that during the penal laws that Mass was often celebrated in the open air on Knockea Hill. Carrigmartin and Cahernorry were also places associated with the celebration of mass in open air during penal times. Prior to there ever being a church in Knockea , the Catholic place of worship in the locality was Cahervalley located in Raheen graveyard. In various periods in the past, it has been known as St Matthew’s Church and more recently St John’s Church. Having a registered Parish Priest did not necessarily mean that the churches in the parish were in good repair. Indeed, the opposite was generally true and the erection of a timber church on Knockea Hill in 1780 would suggest that the existing church in Cahervalley/Raheen was in very poor repair. The current church has undergone many restorations and renovations.
In the 1960’s Fr. Kirby initiated extensive renovations which included building the wall behind the altar. The addition of a carpark by direction of Fr Denis Browne in 1988 involved the removal of a boundary wall in which stones which were originally in Lickadoon Castle were used. These stones now form part of the newly erected back wall behind the carpark.
The stainedglass panels to the side of the altar came from the Presentation convent and The Stations of the Cross came from the Good Shepherd convent during the 1990’s.
New entrance doors have been added in the last year.
Many parishioners will recall the three entrances to the church sometimes known as the Lickadoon, Drombanna and Ballyneety entrances. When the gallery was removed the Ballyneety entrance was blocked up. A close inspection of the wall shows the imprint of that entrance. Buried in the church grounds is Fr.Timothy Halpin P.P. 1879 to 1900.
Sunday Mass is celebrated in The Holy Spirit Chapel in Roxborough school Ballysheedy . The chapel became part of the school shortly after the new school was opened in 1987. It comprises of a small oratory that opens onto the school hall. Mass was first celebrated in the early 1980’s in a prefab in the grounds of the old school across the road from the present school. The first sacristan in the chapel was Mary O’Dwyer assisted by her daughter Mim and her late husband Paddy. When Mary retired after thirty years of service, Ann Costelloe took on the role for the next 13 years. Now that Ann has retired the sacristy duties in the chapel are shared between Oliver Power, Mary Scanlon and Denis Ryan, the school caretaker.