Our Eclesiatical Heritage - Creevaghbaun
Killererin - A Parish History Ch. 16, pps. 665-670
Killererin’s Ecclesiastical heritage
The eclesiastic heritage of Killererin dates back to the beginning of the 14th century. There was a parish church under the control of a rector or parish priest. Killererin was both a rectory and a vicarage and as such was taxed in 1306 at over £1.
Carmelite Church, Burial ground, Sweathouse and Holy Well
The significant Creevaghbaun ecclesiastical site, which was first settled by the Carmelite Friars in 1332, is located mainly in the townland of Creevaghbaun, hence the name, while the nearby Holy Well and Sweathouse, or Teach Allais, are both located in the townland of Kilmore or Culmore. Today the site consists of the remains of an ancient Carmelite church, a burial ground and the aforementioned Sweathouse and Holy Well. Different spellings for this area including Creevaghbawn, Creevaghbaun, Crevaghbane, amongst other variations are noted in various articles and records over the centuries.
According to the Carmelites, the Brothers of our Lady of Mount Carmel who inhabited the priory were originally contemplative hermits and ex-soldiers of the Crusades who lived on the slopes of Mount Carmel in modern day northern Israel. It is said that they could easily be seen, nestling in the hill country of Nazareth – home of the Holy Family. They vowed to imitate the life of the Holy family and at the time of their canonical foundation at the beginning of the 12th century, they lived around a small church whose ruins remain today and the church is named St. Mary’s of Mount Carmel. At the beginning of the 13th century, Christians were persecuted and this initiated the migration of the Carmelites to Europe around 1238; those who stayed were martyred by the Saracensa while chanting the Salve Regina or Hail Holy Queen. ……….
The ruins of Creevaghbaun church lie in the north-east quadrant of this early ecclesiastical enclosure and stand at the extreme east end of the graveyard. This is the site of the Carmelite Monastery founded in 1332 and the visible remains comprise a rectangular church with an east-west length of 16.5 metres and a width of 8 metres. It had deteriorated and was in very poor condition with just three walls standing until 1988 when a Fás youth community training project carried out extensive restoration work.
Local History project
In 1999, Barnaderg N.S. conducted a local history project and they found that there is a flat-headed doorway with a bar-slot at the west end of the south wall while a window is also visible at mid-point in this wall, and the east gable contains a large window which is now restored. There is also a small rectangular window high up in the west gable, suggesting the former presence of a loft at this end of the building.
Three large vaults
Three large burial vaults against the east gable and south wall dominate the interior. The largest, in the centre of south wall, is surmounted by two decorated heads and was erected by James Barry –
‘in memory of his brother, the Rev. Austin Barry, who departed
this life October 1780, aged 97 years, also for the purpose if the
reader would faithfully pray for every member of the family interred
The second tomb reads:
‘IHS this tomb was erected for the Reverend Friars of
Crivaughbane by ye Reverend William Barry, grandnephew to ye
Reverend James Barry, Found of said Convent, anno domini 1780.2
The 3rd tomb is illegible.
The graveyard in Creevghbaun is an intrinsic part of the grounds of Creevaghbaun. It is a beautiful and tranquil place epitomising its ancient history. The earliest recorded memorial in Creevghbaun is that of the Hurley family and dates back to 1711. It is a flat flagstone.
1st chalice – The Creevaghbaun chalice, which dates from 1747, is 22 cm in height, its bowl is 7.5 cm in diameter while the foot of the chalice is 11.9 cm. It is Irish made according to the punched marks on the lip but, unfortunately, its maker’s initials are not legible. The bowl has an everted lip. The stem of the chalice must have met with a mishap at some time as it has been roughly brazed to the foot. It is cylindrical with a peg-top shaped knob chased above and below with leaf decorations. On the dome-shaped foot, the Crucifixion scene is engraved, while around its base is the following inscription
‘PRAY FOR YE SOUL OF FAR JON BOURKE CARMELITE WHO GAVE
THIS CHALICE TO THE CONVENT OF CREIVBANE 1747′
2nd Chalice: on left of photo is a silver chalice 24cm high, cup diameter 8cm. Embossed with scroll at base and Crucifix which is reflected on cup below. There are 6 diamonds in worked central knob. The inscription at the base of the chalice reads:
‘PRAY FOR THE ROBERT DEANE AND MARY KIRWAN AND FAMILY
WHO BOUGHT ME FOR THE HONOUR OF GOD AND THE USE OF
PARISH OF KILLERERAN. ANNO D.ni 1773.’3
Important discovery found in old chest
Fr. Jon Bourke was originally a native of Loughgeorge. This chalice was for many years in the possession of the O’Connor family of Hazelwood, Tuam, and a great debt of gratitude is owed to Mr. EV. Costelloe of Aillemore House, Brownesgrove for information regarding its history. The chalice, some vestments, and a Mass book were found in an old chest in Hazelwood House. These articles were handed over to Fr. J. D. Fitzsimon who later gave them to the late Archbishop Joseph Walsh for preservation and they continue to remain in safe-keeping at the home of the Archbishop in Tuam.
- Killererin P.1 (local book printed as fundraiser for GAA pitch) article by Sylvester Cassidy, ‘Historical Notes on Killererin’.
- Fr. Stephen Josten, Crevaghbane Carmelite Friary, Barnaderg, Tuam, Co. Galway – A Chronological History , 21st February, 1987.
- Information supplied by Canon Kieran Waldron, Ballyhaunis and former P.P. Killererin