200 Years of Change

Bi-Centenary of St. Brendan’s Church of Ireland, Kilnaughtin, Tarbert MKA Blog Kilnaughtin Bi Cent Book CoverA wonderful record of longevity was celebrated in Tarbert on Sunday last, when the congregation and a large gathering commemorated the bi-centenary of Kilnaughtin 1814-2014.   To mark this event, the Tarbert Historical and Heritage Society launched an impressive book ‘200 Years of Change’.    For anyone interested in the history/genealogy of the North Kerry area, the book is a must. The contributors to the book were able to draw from the Vestry Minutes Book 1778 – 1834, valuable primary sources.  There are 254 pages of local history, including stories of bygone farming practices, and excerpts from the 1938 Schools Folklore Essays, submitted at that time by pupils of Kilnaughtin National School. For myself, the fascination of reading the entire Register of Baptisms 1793-1914, clearly printed,  no scowling through  a magnifying glass trying to decipher long faded entries, was a revelation.  The lists include the date of Baptism, Christian Names, Parents Names and Place of Abode.  MKA Blog Kilnaughtin Register of Baptisms Dr. Declan Downey’s Editorial Note concerning the Baptismal Register reminds us that:   ‘Between 1560 and 1869, the Church of Ireland was the official state church ‘as by law established’.  Therefore all who wished to have their births, marriages and deaths legally registered, especially with a long term view to inheritance rights, and regardless of their religious persuasion, were obliged to avail of the relevant ministrations of the local Church of Ireland clergyman until the passage of the Non-Conformist Relief Act (1779) and the Catholic Relief Acts (1781-1793).  Since Baptism was (and is) mutually recognised among Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christians provided that the Trinitarian Formula is used, the administration of the sacrament in the official state church did not give rise to much contention. During the 18th century, many clergy of the state church were content just to receive baptismal, marriage, and funeral fees from Roman Catholics and Non Conformist Protestants (Dissenters) and record the respective rites of passage in the official registers.  The turned a ‘blind-eye’ to the clandestine administration of these rites by the respective clergy of Catholics and Dissenters alike.

St. Brendan’s Church of Ireland, Tarbert 1814-2014, 200 Years of Change

Available  €20 from The Bridewell, Tarbert, Co. Kerry, or  Pat Lynch, Chairman Tarbert Historical & Heritage Society. email:  joanpatricklynch@eircom.net


  1. Mike Houlihan Mike Houlihan
    August 20, 2014    

    Thanks for the review Kay.
    We are delighted with the way the day turned out and the reception to the book.

    • kaymoloney kaymoloney
      August 21, 2014    

      Mike, it was a very enjoyable day. I thought that Declan was brilliant. He added such gravitas to the occasion. Other bloggers (in Dublin & New York) picked up my blog and publicised it also.

  2. Julie Rizzello Julie Rizzello
    September 10, 2016    

    My Great grandfather, James McAvoy (McEvoy) was born in Tarbert in 1841, His father and grand father were also I believe. Timothy McAvoy 1816-1876 and James McAvoy. James (1841) settled in Milford, Massachusetts where he married Ann Cunningham in 1874.

    In the States we spell McAvoy with an “A” not an “E”. Don’t know why.
    I would be very interested in learning if “200 years of Change” would give me any information/insight into their lives.

    I have been to Tarbert in 2014 and visited many of the churches but didn’t find any grave sites that I could connect my relations to.

    I am excited to join your blog. I know I will get back to Ireland again.

    • Kay Caball Kay Caball
      September 26, 2016    

      Julie, yes I can see the record of your Great Grandfather’s baptism – on 1st Feb 1841. His parents Timothy McEvoy and Catherine Walsh with Sponsors Henry Walsh and Margaret McEvoy. I would heartily recommend the book St Brendan’s Church of Ireland, Tarbert 1814-2014, 200 Years of Change. As the name suggests it is a general history of Tarbert with based around those attending the Established Church of St Brendans but I found it fascinating for local history and to understand how people live at that time. I haven’t had time to check and see if there was any reference in to the McEvoys. If you are interested in getting a copy, you should email Pat Lynch at joanpatricklynch@eircom.net.

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