The parish of Kenmare was combined with neighbouring parishes at an early period in both the established Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic church.
In the Roman Catholic Church by 1819 the parish of Templenoe, Kenmare and Douros had been established. The parish appears to have been renamed Kenmare and Templenoe by 1839. In 1876 the parish was slightly enlarged. There were two churches in the parish in 1846 and 1863. The present church at Kenmare is Holy Cross church, consecrated in 1864. There is also a church at Templenoe.
Roman Catholic parish registers for both baptisms and marriages begin on 1st January 1819. There are gaps in the registers, however: births from March 1824 to January 1826 and marriages from July 1838 to January 1839 are missing.
The registers remain in the custody of the parish priest, although microfilm copies are at the National Archives of Ireland. Written permission from the Bishop of Kerry is required to view these records.
Sisters of St. Clare
The Founding Community of the Sisters of St. Clare arrived in Kenmare in October 1861. In the 150 years since then to 2011 the Sisters have served the parish community faithfully.
An article on the Sisters` presence in Kenmare can be read here:
This photo shows members of the Community working out designs for Kenmare needlepoint lace in the year 1889. Left to Right: Sisters Gertrude and Teresa Courtenay (Kenmare), Angela Trappes (Manchester), Clare Giusanni (Cork), Joseph McCarthy (Kenmare) and Bonaventure Smith (Lancashire). Sisters Gertrude and Joseph had entered the Convent only a few days after the first nuns arrived from Newry.
On 22nd October 2011 a series of events were held to mark the Sisters` presence in the town.
Sister Anne Kelly, the Abbess General, travelled from Dublin with other Sisters to join Sr. Assumpta Hegarty, Sr. Concepta Looney and Sr. Catherine Brosnan for the celebrations.
A tree was planted in the town park and a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the occasion.
Bishop Bill Murphy con-celebrated Mass with Archdeacon Thomas Crean, Parish Priest, Fr. Liam Lovell C.C., local clergy and former priests of Kenmare.
This was followed by an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia, in Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine, from the convent and St. Clare`s School. There was also an exhibition of lace and a demonstration of lace-making by the pupils of St. Clares’ who are working on a commemorative piece which will eventually be on permanent display.
This photo shows the Sisters after the Celebration Mass.
Left side (standing): Sr. Catherine Brosnan, Sr. Assumpta Hegarty, Sr. Carmela Farrelly, Sr. Anne Kelly (Abbess General), Sr. Concepta Looney (kneeling).
Right side (standing): Sr. Rosaleen McCabe, Sr. Anne Ryan, Sr. Consilio Lane, Sr Julie McGoldrick, Sr. Maureen O`Dea (kneeling),