Dr. Comberford as Archbishop of Cashel, about 1690. Fr. Ferris would have said Mass in the ruined Penal church in Ballydaly Upper, located about 250 metres south of Croohig's cross. We come across him again in information supplied to the Sheriff in June 1714 and an order of capias (let him be arrested) was issued against him on July 17th 1714. Details of the pursuit of this warrant are not forthcoming but in 1715 he had succeeded Anaes Lyne, deceased, in the parish of Kilcolman. In this instance Ballydaly is called the Parish of West Fractions. The above details are accumulated from State papers at the time and extracts from these can be found in "Irish Priests in Penal Times" by W Burke (1969 p.l49f).
There was no bishop in Kerry during Penal Times (1656- 1720) but jurisdiction was exercised by a series of Vicars Apostolic viz. John Hurley and Cornelius Daly. The latter was appointed in 1678, on the recommendation of Dr. Oliver Plunkett, and continued until his arrest and death in Cork gaol in 1699. Donagh McCarthy, PP Tralee, then exercised jurisdiction until the appointment of Denis Moriarty to the See of Ardfert in 1720.
The famous Irishman, Edmund Burke, MP for Bristol, in 1780 supported repeal of this anti-Catholic legislation which, in his eyes, had the effect of making Irish Catholics foreigners in their own land.
In a letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe the Penal Code was described by him as: "...a machine as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people and a debasement in them of human nature itself as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man" (W K Sullivan: Two Centuries of Irish History. London 1907 p.389).
Millstreet Parish in the 19th Century.
The first Catholic church in the town was situated, where formerly the priests garages were, to the left of the entrance to the presbytery. It is now an entrance to the new convent. It was a thatched building which survived until 1834. It was fortunate that, when the roof fell in, a new church on the present site was nearing completion. The new church was built in the Classical style and had transept galleries as well as an organ gallery. There is not unanimous agreement regarding the architect. Architectural historian Maurice Craig and Professor Stephen Curl attribute it to G R Pain of the Pain brothers who came to this country from Isleworth, in Essex. "They designed small, mainly Classical churches (Catholic) in County Cork during the same period, for example, Kinsale, Dunmanway, Bantry, Millstreet, Ovens and the Ursuline Convent at Blackrock" (M. Craig p.262). The period referred to was around the time they designed Cork Courthouse, 1835.
A major refurbishment of the building took place in 1931-2 when the galleries were removed and the side walls moved out to provide increased space. The wall behind the altar was maintained and the old facade, removed and supplemented with new brighter stone, was moved closer to the entrance gate and Fr. Griffin's grave was transferred to the right of the path. Previously it was in the front of the entrance door, as evidenced in the pre 1930's picture of the church (Picture Millstreet).
Although the church had moved to the West End of the town from the beginning of the 19th Century, the parish continued to be known as Drishane until the first quarter of the 20th Century. The commemorative window to Canon Horgan, behind the High Altar, refers to him as Parish Priest of Drishane and a window in Killarney Cathedral donated by Canon Casey in 1911 refers to him as Parish Priest of Drishane (orate pro feleci statu Adm Rev James Casey Par de Drishane Can V.F). The window is a representation of St. Patrick being sent by Pope Celestine to Ireland.
Lists of Clergy who served in Millstreet Parish since Penal times.
From various sources (e.g. Padraig de Brun: Lists of Kerry Priests KJAH Vol. 18; Irish Catholic Directory from 1835 onwards, dedicatory inscriptions etc.) one is able to compile a comprehensive list of the parish priests and curates who served in the parish up till 1900, the terminal date of this study.