Photo credit 1899-1949 (A) Kilfinane Photographs
Kilfinnane or Kilfinane is a small market town in County Limerick, Ireland. In the barony of Coshlea it is the highest town in Co Limerick and is surrounded on three sides by the Ballyhoura Mountains. On the remaining side is the Golden Vale.[i] The townland for Kilfinane is Moorestown and the barony is Coshlea.
The photo above represents the town name in both English and Celtic or Gaelic. The translation from the Celtic is Church of St Finnian. St Finnian lived a monastic life along the river Lubagh at the time of St Patrick, about the 7th century. The local citizens observed his meditations and prayers. Eventually they became converts. When St Finnian left the area to continue his conversions, the local people built a church in his name. After a while the area became known as Cill Fionain.
The parish was originally formed by the union of Ardpatrick, Particles, and Kilfinane. The modern parish was formed when Ardpatrick became a separate parish. Kilmallock and Ballingaddy are also associated with Kilfinane.[ii] A small group of Palatines came to the area about the 1760s and they helped the locals defeat an attack from the defenders in 1793.
The Kilfinane Moat was one of the seating places of the Kings of Cashel. It may also have been used as a place of ceremonial. It is called a moat but in appearance I would call it a mound since it is 34 feet high and 54 feet in diameter. [iv]
Since my grandfather was from Kilfinane, I understand more about the area. He was born about the time the parishes changed which will make finding his records more difficult, but as I become more familiar with parishes, baronys, townlands, and villages I am sure I will find something. Judging by the list of parish priests listed on the Diocese of Limerick website my grandfather was mostlikely baptized by Richard B O’Brien, DD or John Halpin, depending on when he was actually born.
The current church was dedicated to St Andrew and built under the direction of Fr Patrick Lee, parish priest from 1877 until his death in 1892.