MILLSTREET CHURCH AND CLERGY
Items of Parish Interest
T he first known Catholic church is in the old Drishane Graveyard, probably turned into a Protestant Church when the Wallis family took over and used as such until the present Protestant Church (demolished except for the steeple in 1959) was built in 1798.
A small thatched chapel on the site of the present gate-bay entrance to the Presbytery grounds survived until replaced by Fr. Fitzpatrick in 1838. (It was) reconstructed in 1932.
Fr. Fitzpatrick was appointed Parish Priest of the parish in 1820. He replaced Rev. James Mullowney who retired because of ill-health but lived on until 1856. He was paid a pension of £25 a year by Fr. Fitzpatrick. He is buried somewhere outside the Sacristy window but the exact place is not known. Father Fitzpatrick, Parish Priest 1820-1865, was born in Dromahoe, Droumtariffe in 1787. He was educated in Killarney, Douai and Maynooth and was ordained in Killarney in 1810 by Bishop Sugrue. He served as curate for short periods in Rathmore, Lixnaw, Firies and Dingle before being promoted PP. VF Kenmare in 1819. He baptised Dr. Moriarty when curate in Lixnaw and after his death, Dr. Moriarty erected the Fr. Fitzpatrick monument in the Church at his own expense. When he arrived in Millstreet in 1820 there was no Presbytery, no school and only the small thatched chapel in the McCarthy O'Leary property already mentioned. He arrived in Millstreet on horseback with only his breviary: the parishioners brought his belongings a few days later.1
He first lived in a portion of the Protestant minister's house at the Glebe, Drishane. No trace of this house remains but trees still mark its surrounds. It is still known as the Glebe Field and the height on the Blackwater Bank is called "the minister's cliff". He lived next (1821) at Drishanebeg - now Thorntons - near the Archway; then at the Priest's Cross.2 The ruins of the house he occupied in front of the
1 ln 1770 the Cathedraticum from Millstreet parish was £ 1 - 2 - 9 which probably would be equivalent to £17 today. In 1851 Fr. John Buckley C.C. Milltown left a legacy for Masses to the most needy curacies in Kerry diocese. The Bishop decided that these were Tuosist, Castletown, Kenmare, Dromod, Cahirciveen, Milltown, Rathmore, Millstreet and Dingle. These two interesting items were supplied by Fr. Hanley and his source of information is authentic.
2 It is very likely that his sojourn there gave the Cross its name and there is no evidence that there was ever a church at this spot. (Kevin O'Byrne, Church Cross, Skibbereen, has sent me a detailed article about Fr. Patrick Fitzpatrick and his achievements in Millstreet - a copy of an article by Padraig O Maidin in the Cork Holly Bough 1971, pp. 22, 27. O'Maidin got the information from Kathleen Lenihan, a grand-aunt of Maurice Lenihan. Maurice Lenihan told me that Canon Costello also got his information from her. O'Maidin mentions notes by Fr, Fitzpatrick that Kathleen Lenihan had. Maurice Lenihan told me that he had seen these notes and they were about parish administration. I asked him whether any of them contained Baptismal records because the parish doesn't have any records for the years 1820 to 1850. He said that they didn't contain any records. Kathleen Lenihan's father was a nephew of Fr. Fitzpatrick.)