Clonkeen Church, Limerick, Ireland

Clonkeen Church is attractive ruin situated near the town of Annacotty in County Limerick. The history of this site dates back to the 6th/7th century when a monastery was founded here by St. Mo-Diomeg, no trace of this monastery remains. The earliest part of the structure at Clonkeen dates from the around the 12th century, this is evidenced by the beautiful Romanesque doorway that is very similar to the one at Aghadoe in County Kerry which is dated to 1158. The doorway consists of three orders, with beautiful chevron and octagonal carvings. The south and east walls consist of two Gothic windows that would indicate they were restructured in the 15th or 16th century. The church is listed as being in ruins by 1657.

A unusual ‘ghost’ story is repeated several times in the Dúchas Schools Collection and I have decided to include one of these here, as stated before this is just a humorous tale and I feel the importance of these are always related to the fact that it was told so many times in the local area rather than any historical truth, it moreso keeps a tale alive that was told for generations,
“Long ago there live in Colemanstown, a gentleman who was very fond of nuts. There was also a tailor who was fond of nuts. When the gentleman died, he ordered that they should make a big coffin and fill half of it with nuts. They did what he told them and they buried him in the graveyard around the monastery in Clonkeen. When the tailor heard this, he went one night and dug up the coffin and sat down on it, eating the nuts. One of the monks came out of the monastery and saw him. The monk ran in and told the other monks that there was a ghost sitting on a coffin eating nuts. When the tailor was coming to the graveyard, he met a man with a sheet. the man said he was going looking for a sheep and he was going to put the sheep in the sheet and carry it home. When the monk told he had seen a ghost, there was an old servant woman in the monastery who had not walked for two year. She asked the monk if he had said anything to the ghost. He said he had not. The old woman said that if she was able to walk she would talk to the ghost. A young servant man said he would carry her out. He got a sheet and put the woman into it and went out to the ghost. When the man that was eating the nuts saw him coming, he thought it was the man with the sheep. “Did you get her?“ said the tailor. “I did” said the servant. He threw down the old woman and ran off. The woman was so frightened that she ran as fast as she could.”
Above story collected from Ned Connaughton, 83 yrs, Tample, Gurteen, Woodlawn. He heard the story from Nicholas Finn, 40 years ago. Nicholas Finn was 45 years at that time (collected in 1937).

GPS: 52.6439, -8.45967

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