Effin Parish has two Churches still in use today, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Effin, and St Patricks in Garrienderk, but one time it had up 3 or 4 churches and a couple of graveyards.
According to Lewis in 1937, when Effin was united with the parish of Kilquane and Kilbreedy Minor, there were two small chapels in the parish; one at Effin, the other at Kilbreedy. Prior to that Effin had a church in Kilbreedy-Minor, a church in Ballymacshaneboy (This was a wooden church and can be seen on the 1846 Maps) and a church in Effin.
A new church was built in Effin 1835-6 and the church in Ballymacshaneboy closed. the Church in Effin was modernised in the late 1960s and rededicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace. Garrienderk Church was built in the 19th Century and called St Patricks Church.
Photos 1: Our Lady Queen of Peace, Effin Photo 2: St Patricks Church, Garrienderk
KILBREEDY-MINOR, a parish, in the barony of COSHMA, county of LIMERICK, and province of MUNSTER, 2 miles (N. W. by N.) from Kilmallock, and on the road from that place to Charleville; containing 600 inhabitants. It comprises 2087 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: the soil is very good, but only about one-fifth of it is under tillage, the remainder being meadow or pasture land. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Limerick, and in the gift of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £130. In the R. C. divisions, the parish forms part of the union or district of Effin. Near the south bank of the structure are the ruins of the old church. Kilbreedy Minor church was badly ruined by the late 1830s. Only the middle and side walls of the choir remained. The last known burial was in this graveyard in the 1950s.
Kilquane church was a brown sandstone church erected at the foot of Cahir Hill. By 1840, little remained of this ancient structure. Another church, Kilbigly church, had disappeared by 1840. The parish of Kilquane had its own chapel up to the 1830s when a new chapel was erected in Effin. A few years before its closure, up to 600 people were attending mass there every Sunday. It was a thatched chapel located in Ballymacshaneboy, Sadly it no longer remains the site of it can be seen in the 1846 Ordnance Survey maps. The last part of it standing was the sacristy and this remained up to and around 1910 when it was occupied by the local shoemaker, a man by the name of Casey. The boundary wall still remains and the entrance can be seen it is on the right-hand side before you come to the Harp Bar.
There are three Graveyards in the parish, Effin and Kilquane still in use but Kilbreedy Minor (Thomastown) is hard to access as it is through a couple of fields is no longer in use. The site of Kilbreedy graveyard is located near the north-west corner of a large pasture field about one mile west of the main Cork-Limerick road, and 2 ½ miles west of Bruree. The field, locally known as ‘Church Field’, is in the townland of Kilbreedy. It is probable that there was once a church dedicated to St Brigid in this townland. The site was later used as a Children’s graveyard. This site is shown as a circle of dots in the 1840 edition of the Ordnance Survey Map. All that remains now is a mound 2 feet high and measuring approximately 36 feet north-south and 18 feet east-west. There is a slight depression on the outside all around
Both Effin and Kilquane graveyards are now digitally mapped and can be found on the Historic Graves website.
The following article was written in the 1840s from the O’Donovans survey of Limerick. describes the old ruined church which can be still seen in the old Graveyard in Effin, and describes some of the holy wells in the area which I’ve talked about in another post.
FROM 0’DONOVAN’S SURVEY LETTERS OF LIMERICK 1840.
The ruins of an old church are situated in Effin Townland. It consisted of two apartments (nave and choir); the east and west gables, the north wall of the nave and twenty two feet in length of the south wall of it at the west end are razed all to the foundation. About fifeen feet in height of the middle gable yet remains. The choir was thirty feet and twenty two feet eight inches. The nave measured fifty three feet and was equal with the choir in breadth. At the distance of three feet ten inches from the east gable, there is placed on the south wall a quadrangular window which measures three and a half feet by two and a half feet on the inside. It measures on the outside two feet five and a. half inches in height and seven inches at the top and eight inches it the bottom in breadth. The quadrangular is its form on both sides, lamely inside and outside. It is built with chiselled brown stones.
There is a door placed on the middle gable, which is pointed and built with chiselled brown stones, measuring six and a half feet in height and four feet three inches in breadth on the choir side, the height being five feet nine inches and breadth three and a half feet on the nave side. The choir seems to have been in use at a later period than the nave.
Distant six feet ten inches from this gable there is, on the remaining part of the south side wall belonging to the nave, a quadrangular window which measures three and a half feet by two feet one inch inside and two feet four inches by seven inches on the outside. It is built with chiselled brownstones. The side walls are about ten feet high and three feet thick. The materials of the building are fieldstones (not lime ones) mostly of round form, and cement of gravelly sand and lime mortar. There is here a large graveyard much in use. The locality is level ground. About half a furlong to the northwest of this place is Our Lady’s Well, at which stations were formerly performed. Another Holy Well called Tober a Cran is situated west of Gortacrank Townland.