Boherbue Website

The Parish of Kilmeen
(Boherbue - Kiskeam)
by Louis McCarthy.

The Parish of Boherbue - Kiskeam is one of the nine Co. Cork parishes in the diocese of Kerry.

The parish was known as the parish of KILMEEN up to the year 1888. At that stage, Kingswilliamstown, Ballydesmond today, became a seperate parish, but Boherbue and Kiskeam continued to be called Kilmeen until the name faded in the early part of the last century.

The origional parish church was situated evidently where Kilmeen graveyard is today. The graves of priests are still visible - their headstones facing in the opposite direction to those of lay people.

In a questionaire from Bishop Coffey to our Parish Priest Fr. Sheahan in 1890 regarding parish, he answers the question about the ruins of Kilmeen church by stating that the walls were razed some time ago and used to make Tombs. Some of these questions were rather carelessly answered.

Regarding headstones, A. T. Culloty in his excellent book about Ballydesmond Parish, once part of Kilmeen parish states that the earliest legible name in this graveyard is that of W. Bullen, who died on February 11, 1777, aged 22 years.

Scholars disagree regarding the meaning of the word Kilmeen, the first part of the word 'Cill' meaning church but the second part of the word does not mean level or smooth. Some scholars including O'Rahilly and Fr. Ferris, friends of former P.P. Fr. Breen, a great historian himself, were of the opinion that Kilmeen was a very ancient settlement and that a saint called Maon lived there. Many parishes were and are still called after a local Saint or the Saint's church.

We do not know when the church moved from Kilmeen graveyard to Boherbue village, but it was situated in the vicinity of the parocial hall. This small thatched church was also used as a school, according to the Hedge School report in 1862.

Four Mass Paths converged on this church but due to difficulties in travel etc. in those days mass attendance was probably very small. These Public paths are still visible but not used anymore. As far as I can ascertain, you had only one public road through Boherbue at this time (A.D. 1880), and that was the Kanturk - Killarney road, through Ballyhoulihan, Boherbue, Knocknagree etc.

The origional Kilmeen parish was very large, stretching from Knockaclarig near Brosna to Killenleigh near Kanturk.

Where the priests residences were situated in that far - flung area in those far off days is not really known with any degree of accuracy. Various places have been mentioned regarding the sites of residences and indeed of churches. Had the priests any permanent residence or chapels? We are talking about a very disorganised church during and after the Penal times when only the power of 'The Holy Spirit' and the practice of the 'Stations' kept the Church from disintegrating. The 'Stations' brought the church to the people, as it were.

Today's presbytery dates from the time of Fr. McMahon (1861 - 1888) and immediately before that time the presbytery was located in Derryleigh.

Up to the year 1830 the whole story is very vague regarding the origion of the name of the parish, the boundries of the parish, the sites of the churches, the residences of the priests and indeed the names of the priests who in my opinion were not too numerous.

I have discovered that a Daniel O'Keeffe was P.P. for Kilmeen and Cullen in 1704. Going further back, I find a John Iscolay as P.P. in 1500 and in 1503 a Willian V. Mirrchu (Murchu?).In 1806 our P.P. was Fr. McGillacuddy and he is buried in Kilmeen.

Our baptismal records begin in 1833 with a gap from 1860 to 1863, for some reason or other.

Our marriage records begin in 1863. So, in our history of the parish, we can safely say that accurate information dates from roughly 1830.

Today, the parish church in Boherbue is situated in the east end of the village. It is a beautiful, well kept, modern type building, erected in 1969 by local contractor Christy Feehan and blessed and opened by the then Bishop of Kerry, Dr, Moynihan, on April 29th. 1969.

See Boherbue Church