The Townlands of Kilmore and Aherinabeg – places of interest

Goretti Considine


A townland is the smallest administrative division in a county dating back to the 17th century, their sizes and shapes relating to local topography and farming practices at the time. The larger the townland the poorer the land in crude terms. Most of the land in the townlands of Kilmore and Aherinabeg would have been woodland in the 17th century. It is now mostly farmland mainly used for grazing and fodder.

The civil parish of Killokennedy (Killokeen) includes the townlands of Kilmore and Aharinaghbeg. The nearest village is Broadford to the north of Kilmore. The smaller village of Clonlara is to the east. Limerick City is just over 7 miles to the south. The parish of Killokennedy was named after the O’Kennedys who were ancient chiefs of the valley district of Glenomrae [sic] they claimed descent from Donnchuan, brother of Brian Boru.[1] The Kennedys were driven out by the Turlough & Brian Roe O’Brien[2]. After the 1640s, the O’Briens became the dominant family. In the 1660s, the largest estate in Clare containing townlands in seven baronies belonged to the Wyndham/Leconfield Irish estate, derived from the O’Briens, Earls of Thomond.[3]

[1]. O’Donovan, John and O’Curry, Eugene The Antiquities of County Clare Ordnance Survey Letters 1839 CLASP Press 2003     pg. 248

[2]. O’Brien, Pat. (Local History Section -Broadford Parish) in Glenomra Park – A Journal to Commemorate the Opening. Broadford Hurling Club – July 1992.

[3]. Frost, James 1893 (reprint 1978) The History and Topography of the County of Clare Mercier Press pg.399

Kilmore (An Chill Mhór – The Big Church or The Big Wood)

Kilmore covers approximately 877 acres[1]. On the eastern boundary of Kilmore is the area of Glenomra Wood, a Special Area of Conservation. This area is conserved for its old sessile oak woods. Kilmore is in the electoral division of Cloghera and the Barony of Bunratty Lower (now Tulla Lower). In the 1659 census, known as the Petty Census, 15 people are listed as living in Kilmore. In the Primary Valuation of Tenements (known as Griffiths Valuation, 1852[2]) the bulk of the properties listed in Kilmore are leased from Timothy O’Brien.


[2] Griffith, Richard General Valuation of Rateable property in Ireland Union of Limerick Baronies of Bunratty Lower & Tulla Lower 1852 Valuation of the several tenements comprised in the rateable property in Ireland Union of Limerick Valuation of the several tenements comprised in the above-named union situated in the County of Clare

Aharinaghbeg (Achadh Roighneach Beag – The Field of Ferns or Black Thorn)

There are a number of spellings for this area e.g. in the Downs Survey Map (1655-6) it is spelt Arrinaghbeg. The townland covers approximately 412 acres is south of Kilmore. The River Blackwater, which flows into the Shannon, is the natural boundary from the next townland, in the south. It is in the same electoral division, civil parish and barony as Kilmore[1]. In 1641, the proprietor was the Earl of Thomond[2]. In the Petty Census for 1659, 20 people are listed as living here. By 1852, according to the Griffiths Valuation, most of the land is leased from Col. George Wyndham, later the 1st Baron Leconfield[3]


[2]. ibid pg.510      8.Ibid   6

Places of Interest in the townlands

Kilmore Church

Kilmore Church (Photo: Goretti Considine Feb. 2020)

Listed on the 1st Edition O.S.6-inch map 1842 and the Griffiths Survey, 1852 as a R.C. Chapel and graveyard. It was built in 1822 and cost £150. Now known as St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church it is, today, one of the smallest churches in the diocese. Originally the building was a thatched school, later converted into a chapel. A slated roof was added in the mid-19th-century.1. A graveyard by the chapel is marked on the 1st edition map,1842. Local information is that is included a cillín (a historic burial site in primarily used for stillborn and unbaptized infants). However, virtually all the headstones in the graveyard date from the mid-1940s.

Earliest Settlements

There are six sites listed for Aharinaghbeg and Kilmore on the Clare Sites and Monuments Record POW/UCC Archaeological Constraint Map, 1996.

Holy Wells

Two of the sites on the map are described as ritual sites (holy wells). The two wells are in the 1st edition O.S. 6-inch map 1842. Tobar Na Mna Rialta – Well of the Holy Women [reference identifier CL05716] and Tobar an Oir – Well of Gold [reference identifier CL05717]. Both wells are in Kilmore, close to the Glenomra Wood. No information on either well is currently available.1.


Aherinaghbeg ringfort (Photo: Goretti Considine Feb. 2020)

There are two enclosures – one described as a ring fort on the side of R465 in Aharinaghbeg [reference identifier CL05715]. In addition, there is a smaller enclosure off the R471 in Aharinaghbeg [reference identifier CL05712] and two more present in Kilmore [reference identifier Cl05713 and Cl05714. These are in fields close to the area of Kilmore House.


1.Frost, James History and Topography of County Clare 1893 rep 1978 Merciar Press pg.141

 The Archaeology Survey of Ireland is in the process of providing information on all monuments on The Historic Environment Viewer. Currently information for the records in these townlands have not been uploaded. To access information – contact Archive Unit, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, The Custom House, Dublin 1.

Lime Kilns

The 1st edition O.S.6-inch map (1842) shows an unusual group of five lime kilns together on the side of the R465. These are on the left-hand side of the road approximately three fields below the R.C. Chapel. They are not present on the 2nd revised edition O.S.6-inch map (1938). There is no clear evidence of their existence today. The kilns were furnaces used to produce lime by burning limestone. It is not known what this limestone was used for in this area but the practice of burning limestone for agricultural uses declined in the second half of the 19th century.


1.Muiris Ó Súilleabháin, Liam Downey, Dara Downey 2017 Antiquities of Rural Ireland Wordwell Ltd, pg.64- 70

Limerick to Broadford Road (R465)

The Limerick to Broadford Road R465 (Photo: Goretti Considine Feb. 2020)

The Grand Jury (the forerunner to the modern county council) comprised of 23 large landowners who were nominated by the county sheriff. The Grand Jury took responsibility for bridge building, road maintenance and construction among other matters. An individual wishing to construct or repair a road required a survey which was prevented to court for approval. The cost of the project was paid by the individual but recouped from The Grand Jury by swearing an affidavit that the work had been completed.(1)

The route of the old road used for coaches etc. is shown on the Taylor and Skinner Maps of the Roads of Ireland. Surveyed 1777, this route can also be seen on the 1st ed. 6-inch O.S. map (1842). From 1846, major road construction was undertaken with significant alterations made to the existing road. The new road by-passed the Royal Irish Constabulary’s barracks (a replacement barracks was later built in Kyleglass, to the north of Kilmore, to be on the side of this new route) and the steep hill climb over to Broadford. Considered as a second-class road it would have been repaired or constructed in sections or perches (perches = five metres) (2)

The workers were paid 8d per working day which was barely enough for an adult to purchase food for himself let alone a family. The combined effect of hunger, disease and emigration led to a dramatic fall in the population of the parish (3). Aharinaghbeg’s population dropped from 212 in 1841 to 79 in 1871 (4). Overall, between 1841 and 1851 there was a 26% decline of population in Clare (5).


  1. Byrne, Joseph. Byrne’s Dictionary of Irish Local History (from earliest times to c. 1900
  2. Lower Bunratty Presentments Granted at Spring Assizes, 1855.
  3. Dudley Edwards, Ruth. An Atlas of Irish History Methuen Press 2nd ed.1981 pg.233
  4. Lynch, Matthew and Nugent, Patrick. Eds. Clare History Society Interdisciplinary essays on the history of an Irish County. 2008 Geography Publications. Chapter 13 pg. 235.
  5. Dudley Edwards, Ruth. Ibid 3.

Public House (The Heights)

The Heights Public House (Photo: Goretti Considine Feb. 2020)

The local public house, commonly known as ‘The Wuthering Heights’ or ‘The Heights’ has had several names over the years. It is currently not trading. The building is located on the left-hand side of the R465 before the church. Local sources believe it could have been operating as far back as late 18th century and that the original building was located slightly behind the current premises. Although not listed in Griffith Valuation in 1852 as a public house, it may well have been operating as a shebeen (a place where alcohol was sold without a licence). The building is listed on the 1901 census as a public house. The residents are listed as Herbert in both the 1901 and 1911 census, which lead to it being known locally as ‘Herberts’. In 1901, the head of the house was Thomas Herbert and his sister in law Mary O’Brien is listed as a barmaid. Local information say that the family also ran a small shop and a form of postal service until the post office was opened. The Herbert family are not listed in the Griffiths Survey 1852 as living in Kilmore.

Kilmore Post Office

Kilmore Post Office (Photo: Goretti Considine Feb. 2020)

Located 7½ miles north of Limerick, on the right of the R465, the post office was on the mail car route from Limerick to Broadford and Whitegate. In this stone building, the room closest to the road was used as the post office. Opened in 1884, it ceased trading in May 1989. The first postmaster was listed as Mr. John Flannery 1886 to 1893.The last postmaster was Mr. John Millane.(1) In the 1901 census, a John Millane is listed as a farmer and post officer. The Post Office is listed on the 2nd rev. edition O.S. 6-inch map, 1938.

Prior to becoming a post office, it is thought this house was lived in by the farm manager for the Angelys’ Estate. In the 1901 and 1911 census returns, it was listed as the only first-class house in the area. The building is now a private house, recently restored.

The coach house next to the main house was, on occasion, used for social gatherings raising money to support the church. Locals would bring food and on the first night the event would take place for the neighbours and the next night the younger people would attend and use up the scraps – these were known locally as scrap dances. (2) Local sources say that scrap dances or parties were held in several local barns.

  1. Mackey, John and Cassidy, Tony Introduction to the Post offices of County Clare, Ireland 1989 FAI Germany

2. Clare Champion 16th September 2016 pg.17 Bridie Maloney (aged 100) recalls local events in the area during her life.

Kilmore House

Ruins of Kilmore House (Photo: Goretti Considine Feb. 2020)

Situated in the centre of the townland of Kilmore off the main Limerick to Broadford old road. Kilmore House was built by the Furnell family around 1759 for £500. It was a two-storey house occupied by the family until 1814, after which it was leased to tenants. (1) There is very little left of the original house – only some ruins.

Local sources say that there was a ‘village’ of Kilmore with 27 houses surrounding Kilmore House. The word ‘village’ may have been used to describe a cluster of settlements known as a clachan. (2) While there are no remains to support this, if the dwellings were early to mid-19th century cabins they may have completely disappeared. Cottages of the labouring classes were almost universally built of stone without and cement. (3).

Kilmore House appears both on the Grand Jury Map of Clare 1787 which includes other large houses and the 1st edition O.S. 6-inch map 1842, but is not on the “Cassini” O.S. map nearly 100 years later. The property is not listed in the NUI Galway Landed Estates database.

1.National Library O.S. Name Books Killokennedy 812 (0748) microfilm

2.Aalen, F.H., Whelan, Kevin and Stout, Matthew Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape Cork University Press 2011 pg.86

3.Dutton, Hely Statistical Survey of the County of Clare Graisbury and Campbell 1808 pg.173

Schools (including Sallybank)

In Aharinaghbeg, there was a hedge school listed in 1824. In 1824, a commission of inquiry was established to survey the state of Irish education. Part of this enquiry involved the collection of statistical data on the number of Catholic schools, their teachers and pupils, in each parish. This census was taken over 3 months in 1824 and an abstract was published as Appendix no. 22 to the Second Report of the Commissioners of Irish Education Enquiry, 1826-27. (1) The returns showed that most Catholic children received their education in hedge schools. The returns give details on each school surveyed including the townland in which it was situated, the name, religion and income of schoolmaster or mistress, a description of the schoolhouse, details on funding and the number of male and female children attending. There are two sets of returns given, from both Protestant and Catholic observers. Held in what was described as a poor cabin, boys paid 2/6 per quarter each and girls 1/3 to 2/6. (2).

The townland of Sallybank (Drumsillagh) is located to the east of Kilmore and Aherinaghbeg. It is worth including this building as most of the children from these townlands would have attended Sallybank N.S. between 1844 and 1968. Many would have walked across the fields to attend. It was built in 1843 at a cost of £112.3. The building is now privately owned. In 2015, a past pupil reunion was held. (3)

In addition, nearby, Sallybank Model Agricultural School was founded in 1847 and was one of 26 such schools in Ireland. There were two in Clare, the other was in Belvoir near Sixmilebridge.  It was closed by 1866. Besides being taught reading, writing and arithmetic, students were also instructed in animal husbandry, tillage, pig and poultry management and horticulture. A farm was attached to each of the schools. Sallybank had 8 acres, while Belvoir had 12. In 1851 Sallybank had 20 pupils, four of whom were free, while Belvoir had 24 pupils of whom 6 held scholarships. (4).


1.Education in Clare by Joe Power

  1. County Clare Hedge School Teachers named in the Irish Education Enquiry, 1824.
  2. Clare Champion – Back to Sallybank – Past pupil reunion August 7th, 2015
  3. Scoil Seanain Naofa Cluain Lara – Commemorative Memento of the Official Opening of the New Extension, May 16th, 2007.

 RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) Barracks

The RIC HQ for this area of Clare was in Killaloe, with the nearest large station based at Broadford. The original barracks located in Kilmore was built for many reasons including the protection of travellers and passing coach services on the Limerick-Broadford Road. The Griffiths Valuation, Parish of Killokennedy (Union of Killadysert) has the barracks listed in 1855. This was located off the main road, roughly opposite the future location of Kilmore Post Office. When the main route was by-passed, a new barracks was built just over the border of Kilmore townland in Kyleglass on the side of the new road. In the 1901 census, the barracks return form identifies one sergeant (Jeremiah Murray) and four constables. The 1911 census, the barracks return from identifies one sergeant (Edward Brady) and four constables in residence. The original barracks in Kilmore became a private dwelling place and was demolished in the 1960s. The Kyleglass Barracks was attacked and burned down sometime between 1920-1922, only some ruins remain.



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