Kildorrery Parish Townlands

Kildorrery has an area of 18.3 km² / 4,526.5 acres / 7.1 square miles. The modern day R.C. Parish of Kildorrery is made up of 6 medieval parishes called:

While these are still Civil Parishes they have been in the Kildorrery R.C. Union since parish record keeping began so records for all are in one collection but this is where census records and parish differ as the census uses the civil parishes listed above except Aghacross, Carraigdownane and the Townlands of Rockmills (St. Nathlash) have been included in Derryvillane.

These parishes are also the reason why we have 6 graveyards in the parish today as each one belonged to its own little medieval parish.
Location 52° 16' 3" N, 8° 26' 23" W
The Civil Parishes are broken down into Townlands which are based on an ancient administration system and they still exist today.

The Townlands are most often the key to identifying your ancestors if they came from a rural area as they are listed in the church records in Baptisms and Marriages. They can also be the key to locating a homestead.

There are 12 townlands that we know about in Kildorrery parish. This represents 100% of all the area in Kildorrery.



Mass Rock, Farahy
The Mass Rock in Farahy became a place of worship during the penal law era but archaeologists believe it may have been a spiritual place going back to the Neolithic era over 4,000 years ago. A park was established around the rock by the local Historial Society to celebrate the millennium year in 2000.

A time capsule was enclosed at the back of the site which contains coins, postage stamps, grains of wheat and many other objects to represent leisure, art and working life in Kildorrery in 2000.

A mass is held there every August to commemorate the suffering of our ancestors.
St. Colman's Church, Farahy
St. Colman's Church in Farahy was built in 1721 on the site of a medieval church. Farahy was listed as the seat of the Dean of Cloyne as early as 1225. This seat passed to the established church during the ear of the penal laws and Farahy held this seat until the middle of the 19th century.

The church was built by funds provided by the Bowen family who became the owners of 800 acres in Farahy after the Cromwelian conquest of Ireland. The Glebe house was built nearby and is a private residence today. Farahy
Elizabeth Bowen C.B.E. 1899-1973 and Bowen's Court 1775
The Bowens were originally Welsh. The first Henry Bowen came to Ireland as a colonel in Cromwell’s army. The story goes that he brought with him a pair of hawks, one of whom was killed by Cromwell. To make amends Cromwell promised Bowen as much land as the hawk would fly over. The hawk circled 800 acres of the finest land in County Cork and this was to become Bowen’s Court estate. Colonel Bowen set up home in a castle by the banks of the Farahy River. 

It was one of his descendants who built Bowen’s Court on the other side of the river in 1775: a beautiful Italianate mansion, with very large windows that as Elizabeth said ‘let in lots of light’. Elizabeth Bowen inherited Bowen’s Court in 1930. Apart from the war years, which she spent in London, her summers were always spent at Bowen’s Court and it was always full of visitors. She loved to host dinner parties, to dance, to eat and to drink. The Duhallow Hunt Ball was sometimes held in Bowen’s Court, when she would open all the windows so that the local people could enjoy the music.

After her husband’s death in 1952, Elizabeth found it increasingly difficult to maintain the house and finally sold it 1959. She told no-one of her plans. When her relations heard about the sale they came straight to Kildorrery, with the intention of offering financial assistance, but it was too late. Sadly the house was demolished by its new owner in 1960, simply a victim of the economic conditions of the time. Had it survived another decade it would probably have become a visitor attraction as country houses became very popular with tourists and domestic visitors in the 1970s. All that remains today is the walls of the 2.5 acre garden.

“Places are peopled with such people”
“Nothing can happen nowhere. The locale of the happening always colours the happening and often to a degree shapes it.”

These two quotations from the writings of Elizabeth Bowen illustrate how she frequently examines the interaction of people and places and the influence each has on the other. All her books are to an extent, explorations of identity and belonging. Perhaps her fascination with places is a consequence of her Anglo-Irish heritage and her self-confessed ambiguous identity. She herself said that the only place she felt truly at home was in the middle of the Irish sea! Kildorrery and Bowen’s Court were places that played a major part both in her life and in her writings.

Elizabeth Bowen was born in Dublin in 1899. It is said that a jig was danced on the table at Bowen’s Court when news broke of her arrival. When she was six weeks old she was brought to Bowen’s Court for the first time and placed in the nursery over the drawing-room, which was to remain her bedroom until she married. Most of her early childhood summers were spent in Bowens Court.

Although privileged as an only child, her life was, non-the less, full of tragedy. Her father was diagnosed with mental illness when Elizabeth was still quite young, and she and her mother were advised to live apart from him. They lived at first in Dublin and then in England. When she was in her early teens, her mother died of cancer and she was subsequently reared by a ‘succession of relatives’.

Elizabeth was twenty and living in London when she began to write.  Her first book of short stories was published in 1923. In the same year she married Alan Cameron, a civil servant with the Dept. of Education. Her novels include ‘The Hotel’, ‘The Last September’, ‘The House in Paris’, and ‘The Death of the Heart’.

The North Cork landscape and a thinly disguised Bowen’s Court is used as a background for her novel, ‘The Last September’. Made into a film for her centenary in 1999, directed by Deborah Warner and starring Fiona Shaw, the setting is the ‘troubles’ of the 1920’s and  tells the story of an Anglo-Irish family living at ‘the big house’. The family finds itself in a rather equivocal position - interest and tradition should bind them to the British but affection ties them to the now resistant people of the surrounding countryside. Many paradoxes are presented. Tennis parties and dances go on while ambushing and burnings occur. Soldiers socialise with young women and enjoy themselves and shortly afterwards they patrol the countryside armed and ready for conflict. Bowen cleverly explores the effects of this transitional period in Irish history on her own class. While the Anglo-Irish attempt to hold on to the old order, fate and time hurdle them towards change.

A similar theme is found in ‘Bowen’s Court’ which was published in 1942.  Here she gives an account of her family history and again tackles the vexed subject of Anglo-Irish identity. Elizabeth is buried in Farahy churchyard with her husband, Alan Cameron, between the graves of her father and her aunt Sarah up at the top of the churchyard, facing the door of the church.  At the north-west corner is the Famine plot where the bodies were buried in an unmarked grave during the great famine.

Book reviews: Elizabeth Bowen and the lost art of love, letters - Michael Duggan, Irish Examiner 03 Apr 2021


Rockmills Village
Rockmills (Irish: Carraig an Mhuileann) is a small rural village located in the parish of Kildorrery, in the Avondhu region of County Cork, Ireland. The village derives its name from the large mill that once operated on the banks of the River Funshion, that runs to the east of the village.

Rockmills was once the largest village in the area because of its flourmill. Following a succession of owners the flourmill closed around 1900 and the village gradually lost its population.

The flour mills was the scene of a sharp fight during the Whiteboy risings, when it was attacked to capture the money kept on hands for the purchase of wheat. The assailants were repulsed with the loss of seven lives. St. Nathlash
Saint Nathlash Church of Ireland
Saint Nathlash Church of Ireland in Rockmills was a freestanding three-stage tower and spire built in 1823 and was razed to the ground in 1899 and all that remains today is its steeple. The parents of Dr. John O'Brien, Bishop of Cloyne and Ross (1746-69) are buried in the adjoining graveyard. Dr. O'Brien wrote the first Irish-English dictionary, which was published in 1768.
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