St. Patricks Church was to replace the mud and wattle Mass House which had been erected near Biddyford in 1758.
According to Lewis (1837) the church in Killeenagarriff (Ahane) had in attendance about seven hundred. It was commenced by Fr. Crotty PP in 1838, on a site donated by Richard Bourke. As with St. Josephs Church Castleconnell, there was much local involvement in the building of the church. A builder named Coughlan from the Mardyke in Limerick erected the church. The beading which surrounds the Church door came from the thirteenth century Franciscan Abbey in Quin, Co. Clare. Three men went with horses and carts, stayed overnight and returned the next day with the makings of the arch which remains a prominent feature to this day.
Francis Speight, (a local politician) donated the timber and supplied the slates. There was a slight interruption to the building process when “The Big Wind” did some damage in 1839, literally blowing down half the roof. However, undaunted, work continued apace. The stones for the church came from the local limestone quarry at Ballyvarra, which was owned by Paddy Maher. The Howley family of Rich-hill donated the bell, which came from India. Inside the church, the Nevin family of Mountshannon donated the Stations of the Cross which are located on either side of the walls. These stations, carved from wood, were originally intended for a church in Germany. Nevin purchased them in New York in 1906 and donated them to the church in Ahane in remembrance of his daughter. The first child to be christened in St. Patricks Church was Tom Moynihan of Biddyford.
The Church at that time was much different to the church we have today. The altar was a wooden structure. Surrounding the altar was a timber altar rail. Inside the railings were two seats, one on either side of the altar. One seat was for the Howley family and the other was for the Graham family. There were two doors on either side of the altar. Over each of these respective doors was what was described as a “wooden baton gothic recess” One recess contained a statue of Our Lady with the baby Jesus, or St. Teresa, memories on this vary. The other contained a statue of the Sacred Heart.
Unlike todays style, the Church in Ahane had three rows of pews; two side rows of small seats and a row of large seating in the middle. The pews were owned by various members of the community. This was seen by many, as a way for the Church to raise some badly needed cash at the time. The church was unable to meet the cost themselves, and asked the people to subscribe for a seat. The peoples names were written on the seats, and they sat in their seats for the duration of their worship. The same principle applied in St. Josephs Church Castleconnell.
Three major renovations took place to date in the history of St. Patricks Church. One was under the auspices of Canon Devaney in 1940. There is a plaque erected to his memory on the wall, close by the altar in the Church. The other in the late 60’s and the final renovation to date took place in 1977 under the auspices of Fr. Cooney.
When the Church was being renovated in 1940, (the first since the Church was built) Mass was offered in the old school house in Ahane. With Pope John XXIII came Vatican Two. As was the policy of the time, the statues were removed from the Church. The Mass was no longer said in Latin, but in the vernacular i.e. the language of the people.
Once again, in 1977 reconstruction took place in St. Patricks Church Ahane. This time it was under the auspices of Very Rev. John Cooney P.P. The cost of this renovation was £45,000. The chief contractor was Michael Cusack. Local architect P.J. Leyden laid out the plans and specifications for the renovations. The Limerick Leader stated that subcontracting was undertaken by local men.
A new sacristy was erected at this time too, while a considerable donation, was given towards the cost of the organ. A new altar was erected to facilitate the changes enacted, by Vatican Two. Bishop Michael Harty re-dedicated the Church. During the concelebrated Mass, Dr. Harty referred to the island parish of Ahane (Castleconnell), being as it is, the only parish in Co. Limerick to be a member of the Diocese of Killaloe. On that day too the bishop paid special tribute to the choir, saying they were the most beautiful in any rural parish in the diocese of Killaloe.
As was the case in the 1940’s, while renovations were being undertaken, Mass was celebrated in the national school in Ahane at the Cross of Laught.
As with the building of the Church in 1838, 140 years later, the people of the parish, did much voluntary work, to complete the church. That way costs were kept to a minimum.
The storm of Christmas Eve 1997 blew the Cross-to the ground. Once again local people rallied around to help in various ways to ensure that Mass was celebrated on that Holy Night. A Cross purchased from Co. Roscommon replaced the one which was blown down on Christmas Eve.
On December 15th 1998 Dan Richardson passed away and bequeathed bells to the Church. Now the Angelus bell rings out twice a day as does the quarter bell to call people to Mass each Sunday and holy day.
A History and Topography of Limerick City and County, in A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, (1837) Mercier Press
THE CASTLECONNELL JOHN ENRIGHT FESTIVAL
As part of the Gathering Ireland 2013 project, the Castleconnell John Enright Festival provided an exciting programme of events based in the scenic village of Castleconnell, and on the Shannon River in October. The festival is back in 2015 and will include fly-fishing instruction for all the family, an exhibition of fly-casting world record holder John Enright memorabilia, historical riverboat trips, guided walks, street-based and evening entertainment and a display of fly-fishing and casting by amateur and professional fishermen.
The festival will culminate in the finals of the Spey O Mega International Casting Championship and the International Enright Cup for overhead casting both of which events will attract expert competitors from around the world.
For more information on the event log onto their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Johnenrightfestival
AHANE SCOUT GROUP
The 45th Limerick Ahane Scout Group is one of the 22 Scout Groups in Limerick Scout County and one of the 300 Scout Groups in Scouting Ireland. They are governed by the Rules and Constitution of Scouting Ireland. Phone: 086 816 4577
AHANE GAA CLUB
Ahane GAA is a Gaelic Athletic Association club located in the Ahane, Castleconnell and Montpelier areas of east County Limerick. The club fields teams in both hurling and football and historically is regarded as one of the great clubs of Limerick.
Ahane GAA Club, Newgarden, Lisnagry, Co. Limerick.
Castleconnell is a scenic village on the banks of the River Shannon, some 11 km from Limerick city and within a few minutes walk of the boundaries with counties Clare and Tipperary.
Many fine nineteenth-century buildings overlook the Shannon in Castleconnell. One of these, the former schoolhouse, is now home to the Irish Harp Centre, run by noted harpist Janet Harbison and her husband. Another, the former convent, is now the Castleoaks House Hotel, which is a popular venue for wedding receptions. A little south of the village lies the ruins of the once-grand Mountshannon house, a Palladian mansion gutted by fire early in the 20th century.
The village centre has recently seen development activity including the building of new shop and business premises. There has also been much high density housing development in the area in recent times, due to its close proximity to Limerick city. These developments have come under some criticism from locals who claim that they are not in keeping with the character or development plans of the village.
In Killeenagariffe are the ruins of a church in which Mass was said for the last time in 1648. From 1648 until 1758 Mass was said on the mass rock which today can be found at the Richardson farm at Ardvarna. A mass house was then built inside the ditch in the town land of Ahane.
Two fields make up the town land of Ahane and they are known as glebe land.The mass house was a mud and wattle structure with a thatched roof and the priest had often to appeal to the faithful to bring scallops to repair the roof. It served the faithful until a new church was built nearby at Biddyford.
New Genealogical Free Websites.
- The Tithe Applotment Books 1823-1837.
- Griffiths land Valuation 1847 â€“ 1864.
- Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1858-1920.
- ROUND ABOUT THE COUNTY OF LIMERICK:BYREV. JAMES DOWD, A.B.,AUTHOR OFâ€LIMERICK AXD ITS SIEGES.â€ 1896
- Ireland Census 1901 and 1911 .
- Witness Statements taken from the Bureau of Military History (1913-21) Tipperary and Limerick Statements ONLY.
- Irish Army Census Collection 1922.
- Historic grave: http://historicgraves.com/graveyard/annagh/li-anna
- One of the best resources available free online is The Family search.org website.