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Goleen Parish History

Goleen Parish, Co. Cork, Ireland

(This parish has also been known as West Schull and as Kilmoe.)

It includes the ancient parish of Kilmoe and part of the ancient parish of Schull. Carn Ui Neid in this parish was given as the western boundary of the Diocese of Cork at the Synod of Rahbreasail in 1111. The five parishes of Durrus, Schull, Caheragh, Bantry and Kilmoe were known from very early times as Fonn Iartharach, the Western Land and it formed a separate deanery in the Middle Ages. Kilmoe goes back in history to the year 1199, as do Kilangel and Crookhaven which has important connections with Ciaran Cleire whose mother's name is believed to be included in Killeana, Cill Liadh ine.

Ancient Sites:

There are numerous cill-sites and burial grounds in this parish with names like Cloghanakilleen (Cloch n a' chill?n), Kilcommane, Kilbary or Bairre's Church, Kilpatrick and Kilbrown. Also Holy Wells with names like Tobarnaneeve (Tobar na Naomh) Tobereenbrown and Tobareenvohir - this one is cut in solid rock; and, finally Tobernulla (Tobar an Ola).

Penal Times

Like all Catholic parishes, Goleen suffered its own share under the penal laws and therefore it is not surprising to find many penal sites around here. Speaking generally, we have Cloghanakilleen where there are three distinct places in the townland where Mass was celebrated; Tobareenvohir is near the penal site in Callaros Oughter where there was also a road known as Seana-Seipeal Road. Cuas na Naomh overlooking the sea at Dunlough was another penal altar; there was a Massrock at Lowertown near the borders of Dreenane and another at Gubbeen which can be seen from the new road into Glaum from Schull.


1. Ballysallagh (Baile Salach). Here a rubble wall, now part of a fence a short distance to the north of the priest's house is pointed out as the site of the parish church in the 18th century; that is after 1731.

2. A thatched church at Goleen which lasted from 1806 to 1854.

3. The present Church was built by Father John Foley, PP (1848-1855) and was blessed and dedicated by Bishop William Delaney on 11 October 1854. Its titular is Our Lady Star of the Sea and St. Patrick.

4. A second church at Lowertown - the Church of the Seven Sacraments - was opened in 1967.

The parish is presently administered in union with Schull parish again.