Parish History

Formerly known as Kilnoe and Tomgraney. Bodyke parish is formed from medieval Kilnoe (minus Kilgorey townland) and about half medieval Tuamgraney. In 1704 Fr. Edmond Grady shared responsibility for Tuamgraney parish with Iniscaltra and Clonrush as well as Moynoe, while Fr. Daniel McNamara was parish priest of Kilnoe and Ogonnelloe. In 1731, the Church of Ireland incumbent Rev. Lloyd, reported that there were seven mass houses in the general vicinity of the parish, and a total of five priests ministering to the Catholic population.

In the late 1830s the Ordnance Survey team recorded a tradition that the chapel then in use at Bodyke had been built as a mass house between 1740 and 1760 at a cost of £90. Yet it was substantial enough to have at least some seating, as we know from an 1828 report that the pew of a local landowner/middleman, George Sampson of St. Catherine’s, was removed from the chapel and burned in reprisal for his having voted for Vesey Fitzgerald in the recent Emancipation bye-election. In 1845 the chapel was replaced by a new church for the Kilnoe part of the parish, on another site, the first stone having been laid the previous August by Sampson’s young heir. According to tradition, stone was quarried at Coolready, the walls costing £28 to build, and the workmen being paid six pence a day. Much of the construction costs appear to have been borne by Sampson. In 1989 the church was renovated at a cost of £120,000 contributed entirely by the parishioners. In addition to improvements to the heating and lighting, the building was re-plastered internally and externally,the sanctuary was rearranged and new windows and a front gallery installed. The grounds were landscaped.

With minor exceptions the records relating to the history of Irish parishes prior to 1800 are extremely sparse. What exists in tradition and in brief written references is very incomplete and some-times contradictory. The present parish of Bodyke is an amalgamation of the medieval parish of Kilnoe and the southern section of the medieval parish of Tuamgraney, Much uncertainty surrounds the date and circumstances of the amalgamation. Contemporary scholarly evaluation puts it at the early 18th century but the prevailing evidence is not thoroughly conclusive . There is a strong local tradition that Kilgory was sectioned off from Kilnoe and given to O’Callaghan’s Mills parish during the episcopate of Bishop O Shaughnessy (1807- 1829), a man much given to a policy of parish boundary realignment! There is a suggestion that the Bishop and Parish Priest, Fr.Dan O’Brien were in dispute over matters political ,especially in relation to the respective merits of the Act of Union!  However, no further evidence can be offered on that  matter except to add that the Act was very much a contentious issue among many clergy at the time. No early record of the village of Bodyke exists and even the original Irish form of the name appears to be lost. Westropp suggests that the name was Both-Teig (Teig’s Hut). The suggestion is that the contemporary Irish form, Luban Dige has really no authority behind it, and is merely a fairly modern translation of the English form of the name. In the 16th and 17th centuries prominent Gaelic families in the area in and around Bodyke were Macnamara, Mollooney (Moloney), Clancy and O Halloran, For example in 1641, a Daniel Macnamara owned 1853 acres there. Most of these families lost their lands in the Cromwellian Plantation of the 1650′s and were replaced by new owners ie. O Callaghan, O Byren (OBrien?), Bourk (Bourke) .  However dispossession did not necessarily mean displacement and it is clearly evident that the descendants of the earlier occupiers managed to survive in the area during the ensuing centuries.

(The information in this section is extracted from “The Diocese of Killaloe An Illustrated History” by Ciaran O Murchadha and from”Bodyke in History” by John S.Kelly  from a parish booklet published in 1989)


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