History of Kilvine Parish

Tradition says that Kilvine derives its name from Cill Mhedheain, the church of Mine, who established the original 5th century church. She was said to be a ‘sister’ or follower of St. Patrick.

Our Christian journey can be compared to a stream, sometimes surfacing and flowing freely, at other times going quietly underground, but always nourishing the roots of faith. Reminders of an era when faith flourished openly are the ruins of three ancient churches at Kilcurnan, Cloonmore, and Kilvine. In the middle-ages these early churches were in the ancient diocese of Mayo.

Darker days came with the penal laws. Externally our churches fell into ruin and for a time were not replaced. Internally, however, deep in the hearts of our people, the spiritual journey continued in their resilience and faith. A Mass-bell, now in Irishtown NS museum, was once rung outside humble Mass-houses or at Mass-rocks, calling people to gatherings which sustained their spiritual needs. The Mass houses at Ballindine, Lisduff and Rockfort have now disappeared, but the Mass-rock at Lisduff still remains.

Kilvine parish was enlarged c.1750-1800 by the addition of twenty-nine townlands from Crossboyne. Between 1839 and 1844, two new churches were built, one in Ballindine and one in Irishtown. Of these, St Joseph’s Church, Ballindine (renovated in 1994 and retaining many of its old features) still remains. The church at Irishtown was replaced in 1975 by the new Church of The Holy Family and St Oliver.

Noted as being the ‘Cradle of the Land League’, the parish played its part in the Land Struggle of the late 19th century.

The spiritual tapestry continues to be woven. The year 2002 saw the parish losing one of its two priests, yet recent years have also seen the revival of older traditions: Corpus Christi processions, pilgrimages to the older Christian sites, Marian Grottoes etc. Past generations found a faith that sustained them through good times and bad.

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