SEIRKYRAN, or ST. KEIRAN, a parish, in the barony of BALLYBRIT, KING'S county, and province of LEINSTER, 4 miles (E. by S.) from Parsonstown, on the road to Kinnitty; containing 1484 inhabitants. This place derives its name from St. Kieran the elder, who in the earliest period of the Christian church, founded a monastery here, and is said also to have made it the seat of a small bishoprick. So early did he exercise his mission that he has been styled the father of the Irish saints. This establishment was repeatedly plundered by the Danes and other freebooters; and in 1052 the see of Seir-Kieran was removed to Aghaboe, and thence finally to Kilkenny. To this see the manor anciently belonged, and it was recovered to the bishops by trial of single combat in 1284. In succeeding ages a monastery, dedicated to St. Kieran, was founded here for Canons Regular of the order of St. Augustine, of which the ruins are still to be seen: the possessions of this monastery, at the dissolution, were granted to Sir William Taafe, and by him assigned to James, Earl of Roscommon.

The parish comprises 6480 statute acres, of which 162 are woodland, 64 bog and waste, the remainder being arable and pasture. Limestone is found, and agriculture is improving. Oakely Park is the seat of — Stoney, Esq.; and Grange House, of — Harding, Esq.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Ossory, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory is impropriate in J. Curtis, Esq.

The tithes amount to £162. 17. 5., of which £84. 9. 8. is payable to the impropriator, and the remainder to the vicar: the glebe comprises 12 acres, and the glebe-house was built by a gift of £450 and a loan of £88, in 1814, from the late Board of First Fruits. The church stands on the site of the monastery, and is a very old building out of repair. The R. C, parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and contains two chapels, one at Clareen, and the other at Fancraft, both plain buildings in good repair. There are two private schools, in which about 120 children are educated. Ruins exist of the old fort of Ballybrit, once a place of some importance, and from which the barony has derived its name: at Drumoyle are the remains of a village Here is the holy well of St. Kieran.

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »