The SEE of KILLALOE was originally founded about 639, by Pope John IV., who consecrated St. Flannan, successor to St. Lua or Molua. first bishop. Theodorick, King of Munster and father of St. Flannan, endowed the see with many estates, and was interred in the abbey. Moriertach, King of Ireland, and Donald O'Brien, King of Limerick, were also great benefactors; and the former was interred here with great pomp in 1120. The church early became a favourite place of resort for pilgrims, and among numerous others was Connor Mac Dermod O'Brien, King of Thomond and Desmond, who died here on a pilgrimage in 1142.

The cathedral was erected by Donald, King of Limerick, in 1160. About the close of this century the ancient bishoprick of Roscrea was permanently united to this see, together with a portion of that of Iniscathay; and in 1752 the see of Kilfenora, which had been founded by St. Fachnan, was also united to it; and the two dioceses have, since that period, been always held together. It is one of the twelve dioceses that constitute the ecclesiastical province of Cashel, and comprehends parts of the Queen's county, Limerick, Galway, and King's county, with a large portion of the county of Tipperary, and the greater part of Clare; it extends about 100 miles in length, varying from 9 to 32 in breadth, and comprises an estimated superfices of 628,500 acres, of which 3200 are in Queen's county, 5300 in Limerick, 8800 in Galway, 50,000 in King's county, 134,500 in Tipperary, and 426,700 in Clare. The lands belonging to the see comprise 7528 statute acres, of which 6795 are profitable land; and the gross revenue, on an average of three years ending Dec. 31st, 1831, amounted to £4532. 9. 1. Since that time the dioceses of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh, having become vacant, have been, under the Church Temporalities' Act of the 3d of Will. IV., united to the see of Killaloe, and the temporalities vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The chapter consists of a dean, precentor, chancellor, treasurer, and archdeacon; there are also seven prebendaries, who have no voice in the chapter, viz., those of Tomgranna, Lackeen, Clondegad, Dysert, Tulla, Inniscattery, and Rath. The consistorial court consists of a vicar-general, registrar, and proctor; the registrar is keeper of the records, of which the earliest are of the date 1668, the old registry having been burnt during the parliamentary war. The total number of parishes in the diocese is 108, of which 89 are comprised in 41 unions, and 19 are single benefices, of which one is in the patronage of the crown, 11 in lay patronage, and 38 in that of the bishop. The number of churches is 56, and there are five other places in which divine service is performed; and of glebe-houses, 39.

The cathedral, which also serves for the parish church, is an ancient cruciform structure, with a square central tower; it is about 200 feet in length, with a fine east window, and the west front has an imposing appearance; the prevailing character is that of the Norman style. Near it is a building called the Oratory of St. Molua, one of the most ancient ecclesiastical edifices in the country, being apparently of the 7th century; it was roofed with stone, but is now in ruins. The economy fund of the cathedral amounts to £602. 10. 5. per annum. In the R. C. divisions the diocese of Kilfenora is held with Kilmacduagh; the diocese of Killaloe is coextensive with that of the Established Church, and is an independent bishoprick. The number of benefices, or unions, is 49, and of chapels 111, which are served by 123 clergymen, of whom 49 are parish priests, and 79 are coadjutors or curates.

The parish comprises 13,045 statute acres, and is generally under profitable cultivation. The surrounding scenery is beautifully diversified, and in many parts truly picturesque. Near the town, on the west bank of the Shannon, is Clarrisford House, the episcopal palace, finely situated in a highly improved demesne, near the only ford across the river into this county from that of Tipperary; the mansion is handsome and of modern appearance, and, though small, forms a pleasant residence. There are several gentlemen's seats, most of which command fine views of the lake and the beautiful scenery along its shores: of these, the principal are Ballyvalley, the residence of W. Parker, Esq., from which is a fine view of the town and bridge, with the falls on the river: Tinerana, of S. G. Purdon, Esq., Ryhinch, of Jeremiah O'Brien, Esq.; Derry Castle, of Capt. Head; Castle Lough, of Anthony Parker, Esq.; Youghall, of William Smithwick, Esq., and Ogonilloe, of the Rev. R. W. Nisbett.

The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter; the rectory is appropriate to the economy fund of the cathedral: the tithes amount to £369. 4. 7 ½., of which £295. 7. 85. is payable to the economy fund, and £73. 15. 11. to the bishop, as mensal tithes; the stipend of the curate is £60 per annum, paid out of the economy fund. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; there are four chapels, also a place of worship for Presbyterians. About 110 children are taught in a public school, and there are seven private schools, in which are about 400 children. Near the town is a rath, where was formerly the castle or palace of Brien Boroihme, monarch of all Ireland: this fort, called Ceanchora or Kinkora, was destroyed by Domohall Mac Adgail, Prince of Tyrconnell, during the absence of Murtogh, grandson of Brien; the site has been levelled and planted, and few vestiges of the original building can be traced.

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