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: