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During the 19th and 20th centuries the parish priest was a dominant personality and the enforcer of morality in the parishes, villages and towns of Ireland. The list below gives the names of all those who have served as the priest in the parish of Paulstown. The parish of Paulstown and Goresbridge was created circa 1822 with an entry in the Graiguenamanagh parish registers stating that “1822 – About this time Goresbridge was taken from this parish and with Paulstown, made a separate parish.[1] Today, according to the website of the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, the parish is called Paulstown.[2]

The list of priests from Michael Brennan (1833-1851) to the current priest, Fr. Laurence Malone, is to be found in chapter fourteen of Paulstown Schools Past and Present.[3] To supplement this list, I have added examples from other sources where their names were also found. I have also found some examples of priests who served in Paulstown from before the time of Michael Brennan.

1618                        Sir Edmund Seix, listed as someone who says mass and sometime stays with Sir Richard Butler of Pawlestown[4]

1704                       Anthony Forstall, listed as PP of Graiguenamanagh and Paulstown[5]

1704                       William Walsh[6]

1731                       William Walshe,listed as PP of St. Kill and Kilmacahill[7]

1733                       William Walshe[8]

1741                       Dr. Walter Jacob[9]

1766-1783           Paul Cullen, listed as PP of Leighlin, Wells, Shankill and Kilmacahill.[10] He could have served as priest before 1766 as this year is the first time he is mentioned in documents as the priest of this area

1796                       William Cullen[11]

1824-1829            Daniel Nolan[12]

1830-1833            James Maher[13]

1833-1851            Michael Brennan[14]

1851-1870            Bernard Kinsella[15]

1870-1901            Patrick Joseph Mulhall[16][17][18]

1901-1934            Richard O’Brien[19] (See footnote)

1934-1948            Mark Walshe

1948-1950            James Breen

1950-1962            Cornelius Brennan

1962-1977            James Kavanagh[20]

1977-1978            Pierce Kavanagh

1978-1996            Sean O’Laoghaire

1996-2000            James O’Connell

2000-2004            Tom McDonnell

2004-2011            Laurence Malone

2011-Current        John McEvoy


[1] Comerford, Michael. 1886. Collections Relating to the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin Vol 3. Dublin:J Duffy and Sons. p.336.

[2] Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. 2011. Parishes. Available at: http://www.kandle.ie/parishes/paulstown/ : accessed 28 February 2011.

[3] Paulstown History and Education Society. 2007. Paulstown Schools Past and Present. Kilkenny: Grange Silvia Publications. p.101

[4] Comerford, Michael. 1886. p.335.

[5] Carraigan, Canon William . 1905. History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory Vol 3. Dublin: Sealey, Bryers and Walker p.412

[6] Ibid. p.281. Walsh could have taken over from Forstall in this year or it could be a mistake on the part of Carrigan to list two different priests in the same year.

[7] Comerford, Michael. 1886. p.335

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid. p.336

[11] His name is on a tablet in the current Roman Catholic Church as the serving priest when the church was built in 1796.

[12] Catholic Record Society of Ireland. 1984. Archivium Hibernicum. Unknown vol but between 39-44

[13] Boase, Fredrick. 1897. Modern English Biography. Truro: Netherton and Worth. p.1622.

[14] House of Commons. 1836. House of Commons Papers: Report from Commissioners, Poor Law Ireland Col XXXI.  p.72

[15] Kavanagh, James. 1865. Catholic Directory, Almanac and Registry for Ireland, England and Scotland. Dublin: John Mullany. p.189

[16] Keogh, Canon. 1872. The Irish Catholic Directory, Almanac and Registry. Dublin: John Mullany.

[17] Bassett, George Henry. 1884. Kilkenny City and County Guide and Directory. Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker. p.318

[18] The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, County Kilkenny, DED Paulstown, Townland/Street Kellymount, Form A, Number on Form B 1 (stamped), house 1, Patrick Mulhall; digitial image, The National Archives http://census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Kilkenny/Shankill/Kellymount/1449156/ : accessed 21 February 2011: original manuscript not cited.

[19] In the 1911 Census of Ireland Richard O’Brien is listed as a curate and living in Goresbridge. Peter Kavanagh is listed as a priest and living in Paulstown.

The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, County Kilkenny, DED Paulstown, Townland/Street Paulstown, Form A, Number on Form B 1 (stamped), house 12, Peter Kavanagh; digitial image, The National Archives  http://census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Kilkenny/Paulstown/Paulstown_Town__part_of_/567547/ : accessed 21 February 2011: original manuscript not cited.

[20] Duffy, J. 1968. The Irish Catholic Directory. p.164

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If you are planning on taking a trip to the Paulstown area to see where you ancestors came from then I hope this listing of graveyards and churches will be of help to you. It consists of the local Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches, current and disused graveyards and where an ancient Church once stood.

1)      Church of the Assumption, Paulstown (Roman Catholic)

This is the local Catholic church for the area. It is the oldest church in the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. The church grounds also contain a graveyard. As far as I know burials are no longer carried out here.

2)      The New Cemetery

This is the current Catholic cemetery for the Paulstown area.  A partial listing of burials from the internment.net website can be found here.

3)      St. John’s Church (Church of Ireland)

This is the local Church of Ireland/Protestant church for the area. This church also has a graveyard on its lands.

4)      Disused Cemetery

This cemetery is no longer used and is located in the townland of Kilmacahill, on what is known as Church Road. Dunleavey outlines that there was once an old church here, which was replaced by a Protestant church, but neither remain.[1]

5)      Disused Church and Cemetery

This church and cemetery are located in the grounds of Shankill Castle. All that is left of this church is ruins. Members of different families who have owned Shankill Castle over the centuries are buried here.

6)      This is believed to be where the ancient Kilmocahill monastery is located. Today this site is actually in the townland of Kellymount. All that remains are the traces of the church and graveyard and rubble. St. Finbarr of Cork is believed to have studied here. I hope to have a blog entry about the association between St. Finbarr and Paulstown at a later date.

You can click on the image for a larger view.



[1] Dunleavy, John J. A Short History of Paulstown. John J. Dunleavy, 2007. Print. p.3.

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