Holy Cross Church 150

Holy Cross Church Kenmare 150
(1864 – 2014)
~ A Social & Local History ~

Holy Cross Church, Kenmare, celebrated its 150th Anniversary
on the 14th September 2014.

To mark the 150th Anniversary  this magnificent book was published and should be purchased by all households in the area and beyond.

On sale at…    

Kenmare Bookshop, Shelbourne Street, Kenmare.
Contact:   Caitríona O’Neill  …   Mobile No:  087 2747202

Drawing from a wealth of primary sources, this 431 page, hardback book documents Kenmare’s experience of the repressive Penal Laws and the Great Irish Famine, from the misery of which the beautiful edifice of the town’s Holy Cross Church emerged, as a beacon of faith and a gesture towards a brighter future for its people.

Divided into several sections it provides a detailed account of the development of Christianity in the area over 1600 years.   It threads together the sacred places of our ancestors;  holy wells, cilliní, penal mass sites, and ruined churches.

It documents the personal experiences of the Parish Priest, Fr. John O’Sullivan, during the Great Irish Famine.   It recounts his faithful service to his flock, his crusade at the highest levels of power to alleviate the tremendous suffering of the people.   Sourced from his personal writings, his testimony at the House of Commons Select Committee on Poor Law in Ireland, a body which investigated the woefully inadequate British Government response to the ravages of the Irish Famine, and his presentation to the Devon Commission which considered the unjust position of Irish peasants at the hands of landlords.

The book outlines the construction of the town’s Holy Cross Church.   It documents its architectural design, construction, and beautiful ornamentation which earned it renown as the loveliest ornament of the Diocese.

The book serves as a repository of parish records detailing town-lands, station areas, and ecclesiastical events over the past 150 years.   It fully lists and celebrates the vital role of the priests who have served the parish since 1800.   It also celebrates the religious orders who have worked in the parish since the late 1850’s including the Poor Clare Order and Presentation Order who served as educators and the Mercy Order who served the poor and the sick.

It comprehensively catalogues the names of locals who served as religious and priests both in Ireland and as Heralds of the Faith abroad on the Missions.

For those interested in tracing their roots, the Pigot, Slater, Guy, and Kelly directories of tradespeople and professionals in the town over the period 1824 to 1905 are reproduced with over 1,000 names recorded.

Contemporary life is chronicled with photos of parish life in practice.

This comprehensive social history is of immense interest to anyone with Kenmare roots who wishes to treasure the heritage of their ancestors.

This unique publication chronicles a town’s experience during the Great Irish Famine and is highly recommended for those interested in Famine history.

This is surely a treasure for the Kenmare diaspora, the Kerry diaspora, and the Irish diaspora in general.

This book is on sale for €35 at the following locations:

  • Kenmare Bookshop, Shelbourne St. Kenmare, Co. Kerry.


If you wish to have the book delivered, please email [email protected] with the following details:

• Name
• Quantity
• Delivery Address

For deliveries in Ireland, the book retails at €50 including postage and packaging.

For deliveries to the UK, the book retails at €55 including postage and packaging.

For deliveries to the U.S.A. the book retails at $75 including postage and packaging.

For other deliveries, please email [email protected] for details.

Payments are securely processed using Paypal and all major credit and debit cards are accepted.