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KNOCKCARRON “Between Three Parishes”

Knockcarron “The Hill of the Cairn”

Knockcarron, between three parishes in two counties, is a small rural community that has strived to foster its unique identity and special heritage. In recent years, Knockcarron Community Centre has become the focal point for meetings, social events and activities in the locality.

The centre was a National School, built in 1873, and in 1976, because of falling numbers, the school was closed and the remaining pupils were transferred to Kilross National School. The old school fell into disrepair but, in 1985, local people formed a committee to take over the building and redevelop it as a community centre. Several fundraising events were held; the roof was restored and new windows fitted. A kitchen and toilet facilities were added and the building was given a major facelift.

Knockcarron has yet to be surveyed on Historicgraves.com

In 2004, Knockcarron was the first winner of Limericks Golden Mile Competition. The Knockcarron Golden Mile, situated on the hill of Knockcarron, straddles the Limerick-Tipperary county border. The northern end, in the parish of Galbally, from which residents access the road, is in Tipperary. The southern end exits in Emly parish, beside the community centre.

Knockcarron Golden Mile is noted for its uniqueness, flora and fauna, and its safety for walkers. Some of the road surface was formed from natural limestone, which is geologically similar to the stone of the Burren in County Clare. Other special features of the Golden Mile include hedgerows, the preservation of old residences and its panoramic views over the surrounding countryside.


The Ryans of Scarteen own the Scarteen Hounds the oldest privately owned pack in Ireland. The pack was founded in 1624. Daniel OConnell (1775-1847) was related to the Ryans, and after he became actively engaged in politics he gave his hounds to Scarteen. Since then, the Ryans have retained a special relationship with their Kerry beagles, which are noted for their independence, scenting ability, voice and unusual black-and-tan colours.

The hunting season is from November to February. Scarteen Hunt meets each Tuesday and Saturday at different venues all over East Limerick and West Tipperary, with over 50 riders taking part. The biggest annual meeting, with hundreds of participating riders, is held at Knockcarron on Saint Stephens Day (26th December).


The Ryves family were Cromwellian Planters who came to Ballysciddane in 1657, and built Ryvescastle. Between 1717 and 1719, Robert Ryves drained the 160 hectare Emly Lake. In 1851, at the end of the Great Famine, the Ryves estate went bankrupt because their starving tenants had been unable to pay their rents. The estate was bought by the Franks family, who left it in 1938, when the 1,293 hectare estate was acquired by the Land Commission and divided among local farmers. The castle was demolished, but its three entrance gate lodges have survived.


This neatly-kept burial ground has an interesting collection of 18th and 19th century headstones, over which towers the tall Ryves Obelisk, which marks the burial vault of that family. Four finely carved headstones, with raised lettering, date from the late 18th century. Six headstones depict carvings of Christs Passion.


Lackelly (Leac Ailbe) means “The Rock of Ailbe“. It is the only part of Emly parish in County Limerick. The rock outcrop, from which the name derives, forms a low cliff in the centre of the townland. Saint Ailbe was the son of Olnais and his wife Sanclit, who were members of the household of Cronan, the local chieftain. When Sanclit gave birth to Ailbe, Cronan was so displeased that he ordered the child to be killed. Consequently, Ailbe was left under the Rock to die but he was suckled by a she-wolf until he was found by Lochan MacLugir, who gave him to British slaves, who raised him.

Until the 20th century, people visited Ailbes Rock to recite prayers on 12 September Ailbes feast day. Water retained in its cavities was believed to have power to cure ailments. Saint Ailbe, whose date of death is recorded as either AD 526, 531 or 541, is the patron saint of the Diocese of Emly. Although modern commentators admit that his life is a confusion of vague legends, he retains his place in the calendar of saints.


Dan and Mai Moloneys house at Lackelly was the venue for a significant meeting between IRA leaders, during the War of Independence, on 13 May 1919. At the meeting, Sean Treacy, Dan Breen, Seamus Robinson and Galbally Volunteers Ned and John Joe O’Brien, Ned Foley, Sean Lynch and Jim Scanlon, planned the successful and daring rescue of Sean Hogan from a train at Knocklong railway station.


Before noon on 2 May 1921, twelve members of the East and Mid-Limerick Flying Columns, who had stayed overnight in four houses at Knockcarron, assembled on the road between Fitzpatricks house and O’Callaghans. They were surprised by 17 soldier-cyclists from the Green Howard Regiment of the British Army. A long battle ensued. Tom Howard (Glenbrohane), Willie Riordan (Cullane, Ballylanders) John Frahill and Patrick Ryan Waller (Murroe) were killed. There were no casualties on the British side. The bodies of the IRA Volunteers were buried two days later in canvass bags at Quinns farm in Lough Gur. Some days, they were exhumed and reburied in coffins in a disused graveyard at Rathjordan, Herbertstown. During the Truce, in July 1921, their remains were buried in graveyards at Ballylanders and Murroe. There are a number of panels in Knockcarron to mark the sheer amount of incidents that occurred in this location during the war of independence providing more detail on the events that occurred in the build up to the lackelly ambush