Parish History

Mungret parish contains a striking contrast between the urban Raheen section and rural Crecora. Its location on the outskirts of Limerick City means that this parish is growing rapidly, as the city expands. The current population of the parish is estimated at more than 10,000. 

In the Catholic Directory of 1837, Mungret parish is referred to as Loghmore. In the same year the parish name was changed to Mungret. According to Lewis, the civil parish of Loghmore comprised of Crecora, Mungret, Knocknagall and part of Kilpeacon, with chapels in Crecora and Mungret.

The name Mungret is supposedly derived from the Irish Muine Gairid, meaning 'the Short Hill', or 'the Short Thicket or Grove', although according to 'Limerick, the Rich Land', this definition was a guess by John O'Donovan in 1840. Other Irish forms of the name are Imungram and Moungairid.

Crecora is derived from the Irish Craobh Comhartha, which means 'the sweet scented branch' or 'the tree of the sign'. According to local tradition, a whitethorn bush was growing 300 yards north east of the old church. Pilgrims used to hang signs or tokens from the branches. The old church took its name from this bush.

A diocesan college was opened in Mungret in 1878, and was later taken over by the Jesuits.
Extensive ruins of an early Christian monastery exist in Mungret graveyard. Mungret College overlooks these ruins. The monastery is said to have been founded by St Nessan, who was abbot of Mungret in the 6th century

The bell of Mungret was dug up at Loghmore near the abbey. 

 Photo by Christopher Hill

There are presently three churches in use in the parish, located in Raheen, Mungret and Crecora.

St Nessan Raheen

The church in Raheen was built in 1845, and is dedicated to St Nessan. It was built by Fr Jeremiah Halpin, and completed by Fr Michael Casey, who was also responsible for building Crecora's church in 1864. Raheen church was extended and restored in 1992.




     Photo by Gerry O'Dwyer




A stone over the church door is inscribed with the following:
"Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam Et in Honorem Sancti Nessan 1845-1945"

A plaque on the wall of the left extension to the church reads:
"St Nessan's church Restored and Extended 1992 Most Rev. J. Newman Bishop V. Rev. Joseph Dempsey PP"
There is a statue to the Sacred Heart located to the left of the altar, inside the church. A statue to the Immaculate Conception is situated on the right hand side of the church. The Stations of the Cross were donated by parishioners.

There are three plaques at the back of the church. The plaque nearest to the main door is dedicated to Fr Patrick D'Arcy, the first president of St Michael's Temperence Society. Fr D'Arcy was a former Parish Priest of Loughmore, and he died on April 27th, 1850.

The centre plaque is dedicated to Jeremiah Halpin, Parish Priest, who died on October 3rd, 1845. During Fr Halpin's time as Parish Priest, the church was re-roofed, although the completion of this was interrupted by the Famine. Fr M. Casey, Parish Priest erected the plaque, in November 1856. The roofing of the church was completed under Fr Casey's direction.

The third plaque is in memory of Archdeacon Browne, Parish Priest, Mungret/Crecora, who died January 30th, 1900, aged 75.

Buried in the grounds of the church are -

Rev. David O'Carroll, PP                          Rev. David Canon MacNamee
4 years PP Mungret                                  Ordained in 1953
4 years PP Banogue                                 Died 19th. February, 2013, aged 83 years.
Died 29th April 1932                                  Former PP at Rathkeale.
Age 67                                                       Former Curate and PE in Raheen.

St Oliver Plunkett Mungret

Mungret church is dedicated to St Oliver Plunkett, and was built in 1981. Bishop Newman and Fr Eamon Dillane, PP opened it on September 20th 1981. A stained glass window on the right hand side of the church depicts Oliver Plunkett. At the top of the church there is a statue of the Sacred Heart, and a stained glass window of the Holy Spirit. There is a stained glass window over the altar of the Lamb of God.



  Photos by Gerry O'Dwyer

At the top left of the church there is a statue of Mary, and a stained glass window of the Bread and Wine. To the left there is an altar to the Immaculate Conception.


SS Peter and Paul Crecora.

Crecora church was built in 1864, and is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. There is a stained glass window of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the left of the altar, which is to the memory of J. Tierney, C.C. To the right of the altar, there is a stained glass window of the Assumption of the Blessed Lady, which was a gift from the Parishioners to Dean Punch, P.P. 1936 - 1970.

There is a statue of Mary to the left of the altar, and a statue of St Joseph to the right of the altar. A statue of St Theresa is at the back of the church.
There is a beautiful holy water font of two angels in the sacristy.

Buried in the grounds of the church is:

Dean Edward Punch
PP 1936-1970
Died 1984

Directly across the road from the present day church and graveyard in Crecora is the ruin of the previous Crecora church. The church dates from approximately 1847. Several hundred metres further on, there is another church ruin, situated in Crecora old graveyard. Westropp refers to Knocknagall church in Lemonfield.

According to him, this church was dedicated to St Brigid in 1410. The church was in repair in 1657, and in Westropp's time about ten feet of the south wall and 30 feet of the north wall remained. Lemonfield graveyard was very overgrown. However, we came across a wall, which we believe may have been part of Knocknagall church. This wall was approximately 6ft high, and 15ft in length. There was a railing at one end of the wall.

Westropp also mentions a church in Derryknockane, which was a parish in 1633. He states that this parish included Knocknagall in 1657, and adjoined Crewmally, and so may be an alias for either parish. No church site is known.

Westropp also mentions church sites called Killonaghan (near the dry well of St Senan) and Killeenoghty, of which no trace remains. There are three ruined churches located in Mungret graveyard.

St Nessan founded the monastery in Mungret. According to 'Limerick, the Rich Land', the monastery had six churches and 1500 monks. The abbey was founded in the 6th century. The monastery was plundered on several occasions throughout its existence, three times in the ninth century by the Vikings and once by a local chief Murtagh O'Brien in 1107. In 1179, the King of Munster, Donal Mór O'Brien, granted the monastery and its lands to the Bishop of Limerick, Brictius. The monks of Mungret Abbey were the Canons Regular of the Order of Augustine in the 12th century onward.

According to the Psalter of Cashel, this monastery had six churches within its walls. The Psalter of Cashel disappeared from Cashel after Murrough O'Brien attacked Cashel in 1647.


 Photo by Gerry O'Dwyer

Extensive ruins remain today, although nothing remains of the original 6th century monastery. These include a small 12th century church, and a ruin known as 'the Abbey', which consists of the nave and chancel of the church. Burial grounds surround all of the ruins.

The oldest church ruin is located in the smallest section of the graveyard, across the road from the main graveyard. This church is believed to have originated between 800-1100.
St Nessan's church is believed to have been built before 1100. It is located on the left of the road from Limerick. This ruin is covered by ivy. The oldest of the three abbey building is by the roadside. The window on the east side is from the 12th century but the church dates from the 10th century.
The largest of the ruins is that of the Abbey. It was built between 1251 and 1272. The ruin is divided into three parts, the chancel to the east, which dates from the 13th century, the nave in the centre, the date of which is unknown, and the western portion of the ruin, which dates from the fifteenth century. There is a tower on the northern side of what was once the priests' residence.
The Abbey was used as a Protestant church until 1822. The Board of Works carried out repair work on the ruins in 1932. The surrounding graveyard is still in use and has been extended in the past 25-30 years.
Mainchín Seoighe relates an interesting story about the Wise Women of Mungret. Mungret was renowned as a monastic school and seat of learning. A contest had been arranged between Mungret and another famous monastic school, to decide which monastery had the more learned scholars. The visiting monks were from Lismore in Co. Waterford.

The monks of Mungret, not wishing to be defeated in the contest, devised a plan to intimidate the opposition. A number of them dressed up as women on the day of the contest, and began washing clothes near a ford that the other monks would have to cross. One of the monks asked a washerwoman for directions to the monastery in Irish. The 'washerwoman' replied in flawless Latin. A second 'washerwoman' gave more information in flawless Greek. The monks decided that if the washerwomen were fluent in Greek and Latin, then the learned scholars of the monastery would surely defeat them in the contest. They returned home, leaving Mungret monastery unchallenged.

Mungret graveyard is overlooked by Mungret College. The graveyard is in four sections. The present day section is to the left of the church ruin, and is enclosed by a wall.

Across the road from the ruin is another smaller section. What appears to be the ruin of a small chapel is situated in the centre of this section. The oldest headstone that we came across here was in memory of David Fitzgerald, PP for twenty years, who died on July 4th 1832, aged 45. The third section is that of the Jesuits. There are a number of plain crosses in this section, but the names of those Jesuits buried here do not appear on most of the crosses.

The main section of the Mungret graveyard surrounds extensive ruins. An information board within the graveyard states that the ruins include a pre-Norman church, which dates from around 1100.

There are a number of tombs in the graveyard. In the older section we found tombs to John Wilson Vokes and family, the Shute family, and the Masseys. We also found a tomb to Beauchamp.

There are a number of plaques in the ruin, which are in memory of Michael McNamara, who died April 1892, Denis McCarthy, 1792, and John Hevnes, 1756. A headstone of interest in this graveyard is that of Seamus Ó Dálaigh, a Gaelic poet who died in 1810.

The oldest headstone that we found in this section was to John Garvy who died December 30th 1773, aged 29.

Crecora graveyard is located beside the present day church. This graveyard is 25-30 years old. The old graveyard in Crecora is located on the hill across from the present day church. This graveyard surrounds an old church ruin.

Both Catholics and Protestants are buried here. There are a number of tombs in the graveyard. Stone markers can be found throughout the graveyard. Many of the headstones have fallen, and of those that are still standing, the inscriptions are quite worn. The graveyard itself is slightly overgrown. The oldest headstone that we found was to John Eustace, who died on January 20th 1770, aged 60.  The following update has been volunteered by Joe Moloney in November, 2013 – The old Crecora graveyard and ruins of medieval Church are situated in the townland of Glebe on the Patrickswell road out of the village. The Church and graveyard are listed as Recorded Monuments and are under the authority of Limerick County Council.  The Church is mentioned in the Black Book of Limerick – John deCogan granted it to St. Mary’s Parish in 1282.  Symon deWalter was Rector in 1278.  It was dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul in 1410.  It was also mentioned in the Down Survey of 1655 and still had its roof in 1657.  In 2011, a small group of interested local people completed a clean up of the graveyard.  In March, 2011, a survey of all headstones, marking stones and monuments was carried out under the auspices of Ballyhoura Development Ltd. and archaeologist Colum Hardy.  All 1,006 grave markers were catalogued and photographed and can now be accessed worldwide on  It was found that a very detailed crucifixion scene carved in relief on one of the early Crecora headstones was the best of its type found so far in the Limerick survey.  This is a very important resource for those wishing to trace their family history.  A special thanks to all involved in the cleanup, the survey and the recording.

There is also a graveyard in the townland of Lemonfield, which is known locally as Lemonfield graveyard. However, Westropp refers to the church ruin situated in this graveyard as Knocknagall. The oldest headstone that we came across here was in memory of Mary Anne Watson, who died on the 5th of April 1835, aged 9. This graveyard is quite overgrown, so many of the headstones were impossible to access.  Discussion has commenced on the possibility that this graveyard may be cleaned up and surveyed as happened in Crecora old graveyard

We did not come across any Holy Wells during our visit to Mungret/Raheen/Crecora parish. However, Danaher mentions a well in the parish of Mungret, in the townland of Skehacreggaun, called Toberpatrick. The well was about eight feet square and seven feet deep, with a flight of steps leading down to water level. According to legend the well lost its virtues when a woman lost clothes in it. Devotions are no longer held here and the location of the well is no longer known. There was a Holy Well near the abbey but according to tradition, it moved when someone tried to wash their feet in it. The location is now unknown.

St Nessan

St Nessan is reputed to have founded the monastery in Mungret. St Nessan was also known as St Nessan the Leper, and he was a disciple of St Patrick according to local folklore. However, St Nessan died in 551 or 561 and so this makes it extremely unlikely that he could ever have been a disciple of Patrick. Nessan may have been a disciple of St Ailbe from Emly. In his book 'Portrait of Limerick', Mainchín Seoighe relates a tale of how St Nessan met St Patrick, and went on to become the founder of Mungret monastery.

The hill of Knockea was where Lómán, the King of Uí Fidhgeinte met St Patrick. Lómán ordered a feast to be prepared for Patrick and Mantán, a deacon in Patrick's group assisted in preparing the feast. A company of jugglers arrived and asked Patrick for food. Patrick sent them to ask Lómán or Mantán for food but both men refused the jugglers. Just then a youth named Neassán appeared carrying a cooked ram on his back for the feast. His mother accompanied him.

Patrick asked Neassán for the ram and Neassán gave it to Patrick against his mother's wishes. Patrick then gave the ram to the jugglers and instantly the ground opened and swallowed them. Patrick cursed Lómán and Mantán and baptised Neassán, making him a deacon and founded a church for him in Mungret.

English Name

Irish Name



Eanach an Róistigh

The marsh of An Róisteach

Ballinroche North

Baile an Róistigh

The town of An Róistigh

Ballinroche East

as above



Baile an Bhialaigh

The town of An Bialach


Baile Mhílis

The town of Mílis


Baile na Cloiche

The town of the stone structure


Baile Chiomín

The town of Coimín


Baile Uí Dhubháin

The town of Ó Dubháin


Béal an Chaoith

The mouth of the swamp


Baile Uí Mhaolchaisil

The town of Ó Maolchaisil


Baile Uí Mhurchú

The town of Ó Murchú


Baile Sheáin

The town of Seán


An Baile Nua

The new town


An Bhearna Choill

The gap of hazel


Bán an Chócaigh

The lea-ground of An Cócach


Bun Leice

Low ground of the flagstone


Cathair an Fhardorais

The stone fort of the outer doorway


Cathair an Bhachlaigh

The stone fort of the shepherd



Small winding feature


Caisleán Mhungairt

Meaning uncertain


Cloch an Chéitinnigh

The stone structure of An Céitinneach


Cloch an Chócaigh

The stone structure of An Cócach


An Coinicéar

The rabbit warren


An Corrbhaile

The noticeable town


Craobh Chomhartha

Tree of the sign


An Dúinín

The small fort

Dooneen Upper

as above



Doire an Chnocáin

The oakwood of the hillock


Doire Beag

Small thicket


Tuar an Daill

The animal enclosure of the blind person


An Drom Dearg

The red ridge


An Ghléib



Gabhal an Dá Bhóthar

The fork of the two roads


Cnoc na Buaile Glaise

The hill of the green booley


An Ghráig

The hamlet


Oiléan Uí Dhubháin

The island of Ó Dubháin


Leaca an Mheantáin

The hillside of the titmouse


Léim an Fhia

The leap of the deer


Lios an Fháltaigh



Log a’Mhuinséir

The hollow of the manger


An Lochán Liath

The grey small lake


An Loch Mór

The big lake


An Lorga

The shin


Glaise an Mharla

Meaning uncertain



Small bogland





An Ráth Maol

Derelict rath


Tigh Richmond




Red bog


An tSeanchloch

The old stone structure


Sceach an Chreagáin

The hawthorn of the rocky place


An Slogaire

The swallow hole


An Tóin Bhán

The white bottomland

The list of Priests from 1704 to 1836 is compiled from information gained in Begley's History of the Diocese of Limerick Vol. III page 598. The remaining years are compiled from the Catholic Directories. Information contained in a directory of any given year refers to what happened the previous year. For example if a priest is recorded in the 1954 directory as being in a particular parish, this would mean that he was actually there in 1953.

Year Parish Priest Curate(s)
1704 William Ryan  
? - 1764 John Hynes  
1764 - 1777 Edward O’Brien  
1779 - 1791 Michael MacNamara  
1791 - 1822 Michael MacNamara  
1822 - 1824 Patrick MacNamara  
1824 - 1840 James Moore  
1840 – 1841 Fr. O’Rourke  
1841 – 1842 James Moore  
1840 James Moore Patrick Ryan
1841 James Moore Patrick Ryan
1842 James Moore Patrick Ryan
1843 James Moore Patrick Ryan
1844 James Moore Patrick Ryan
1845 James Moore  
1846 Patrick D’Arcy  
1847 Patrick D’Arcy  
1848 Patrick D’Arcy  
1849 Patrick D’Arcy Thomas McIniry
1850 Patrick D’Arcy Thomas McIniry
1851 Michael Casey Thomas McIniry
1852 Michael Casey Thomas McIniry
1853 Michael Casey Thomas McIniry
1854 Michael Casey Thomas McIniry
1855 Michael Casey Thomas McIniry
1856 Michael Casey Thomas McIniry
1857 Michael Casey Robert Somers
1858 Michael Casey Robert Somers
1859 Michael Casey Robert Somers
1860 Michael Casey Robert Somers
1861 Michael Casey D. Carroll
1862 Michael Casey Robert Somers
1863 Michael Casey Timothy Halpin
1864 Michael Casey Timothy Halpin
1865 Michael Casey Timothy Halpin
1866 Michael Casey Timothy Halpin
1867 Michael Casey Timothy Halpin
1868 Michael Casey Timothy Halpin
1869 Michael Casey Timothy Halpin
1870 Michael Casey Timothy Halpin
1871 Michael Casey Timothy Halpin
1872 Thomas Browne Timothy Halpin
1873 Thomas Browne Timothy Halpin
1874 Thomas Browne Martin Slattery
1875 Thomas Browne Martin Slattery
1876 Thomas Browne Martin Slattery
1877 Thomas Browne Edmond Clifford
1878 Thomas Browne Edmond Clifford
1879 Thomas Browne Edmond Clifford
1880 Thomas Browne Daniel Ryan
1881 Thomas Browne Daniel Ryan
1882 Thomas Browne James Glesson
1883 Thomas Browne John O’Donnell
1884 Thomas Browne R. O’Kennedy
1885 Thomas Browne R. O’Kennedy
1886 Thomas Browne William Mulcahy
1887 Thomas Browne William Mulcahy
1888 Thomas Browne Maurice Leahy
1889 Thomas Browne M. McCoy
1890 Thomas Browne M. McCoy
1891 Thomas Browne D. O’Driscoll
1892 Thomas Browne D. O’Driscoll
1893 Thomas Browne Timothy Riedy (Reidy)
1894 Thomas Browne Timothy Riedy
1895 Thomas Browne Timothy Riedy
1896 Thomas Browne Timothy Riedy
1897 Thomas Browne Timothy Riedy
1898 Thomas Browne Timothy Riedy
1899 Thomas Browne Timothy Riedy
1900 Archdeacon Thomas Browne Timothy Riedy
1901 William Fitzgerald Timothy Riedy
1902 William Fitzgerald Timothy Riedy
1903 William Fitzgerald Timothy Riedy
1904 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1905 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1906 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1907 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1908 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1909 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1910 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1911 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1912 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1913 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1914 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1915 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1916 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1917 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1918 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1919 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1920 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1921 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1922 William Fitzgerald John Tierney
1923 Arthur O’Leary John Tierney
1924 Arthur O’Leary John Tierney
1925 Arthur O’Leary John Tierney
1926 Arthur O’Leary John Tierney
1927 David O’Connell John Tierney
1928 David O’Connell John Tierney
1929 David O’Connell John Tierney
1930 David O’Connell John Tierney
1931 David O’Connell John Tierney
1932 David O’Connell John Tierney
1933 Patrick Thornhill John Tierney
1934 Patrick Thornhill John Tierney
1935 Patrick Thornhill Philip Enright
1936 Patrick Thornhill Philip Enright
1937 Edmund Punch Philip Enright
1938 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1939 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1940 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1941 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1942 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1943 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1944 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1945 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1946 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1947 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1948 Edmund Punch Michael Connolly
1949 Edmund Punch Michael Kennedy
1950 Edmund Punch Michael Kennedy
1951 Canon Edmund Punch Michael Kennedy
1952 Canon Edmund Punch Michael Kennedy
1953 Canon Edmund Punch Michael Kennedy
1954 Canon Edmund Punch Michael Kennedy
1955 Canon Edmund Punch Michael Kennedy
1956 Canon Edmund Punch Michael Purtill
    David McNamee
1957 Canon Edmund Punch Michael Purtill
    David McNamee
1958 Canon Edmund Punch David McNamee
    Patrick Houlihan
1959 Canon Edmund Punch David McNamee
    Patrick Houlihan
1960 Canon Edmund Punch David McNamee
    Patrick Houlihan
1961 Canon Edmund Punch David McNamee
    Patrick Houlihan
1962 Canon Edmund Punch David McNamee
    Patrick Houlihan
1963 Canon Edmund Punch David McNamee
    Charles O’Neill
1964 Canon Edmund Punch Charles O’Neill
    David McNamee
1965 Canon Edmund Punch Charles O’Neill
    David McNamee
1966 Dean Edmund Punch Charles O’Neill
    David McNamee
1967 Dean Edmund Punch Charles O’Neill
    David McNamee
1968 Dean Edmund Punch David McNamee
    James B. Connellan
1969 Dean Edmund Punch David McNamee
    James B. Connellan
1970 Dean Edmund Punch James B. Connellan
    John Leonard
1971 James Culhane James B. Connellan
    John Leonard
1972 Daniel Gallagher James B. Connellan
1973 Daniel Gallagher James B. Connellan
1974 Daniel Gallagher James B. Connellan
1975 Daniel Gallagher James B. Connellan
1976 Joseph Shinnors James B. Connellan
1977 Joseph Shinnors James B. Connellan
1978 Joseph Shinnors James B. Connellan
1979 Joseph Shinnors Liam Enright
1980 Joseph Shinnors Liam Enright
    Desmond McAuliffe
1981 Eamonn Dillane Liam Enright
    Desmond McAuliffe
1982 Eamonn Dillane Liam Enright
    Desmond McAuliffe
1983 Eamonn Dillane Liam Enright
    Desmond McAuliffe
1984 Eamonn Dillane Liam Enright
    Desmond McAuliffe
1985 Eamonn Dillane Liam Enright
    Desmond McAuliffe
1986 Eamonn Dillane Liam Enright
    Desmond McAuliffe
1987 Eamonn Dillane Liam Enright
    Thomas Mangan
1988 Eamonn Dillane Liam Enright
    Thomas Mangan
1989 Eamonn Dillane Liam Enright
    Thomas Mangan
1990 Joseph Dempsey Liam Enright
    Thomas Mangan
1991 Joseph Dempsey Liam Enright
    Thomas Mangan
1992 Joseph Dempsey Liam Enright
    Thomas Mangan
1993 Joseph Dempsey Liam Enright
    Thomas Mangan
1994 Joseph Dempsey Liam Enright
    Frederick Walters
1995 Joseph Dempsey Liam Enright
    Frederick Walters
1996 Joseph Dempsey Liam Enright
    Frederick Walters
1997 Joseph Dempsey Liam Enright
    Frederick Walters
    Derek Leonard D.D.
1998 Joseph Dempsey Patrick Costello
    Terence Bermingham
    Derek Leonard D.D.
1999 Michael Noonan Patrick Costello
    Derek Leonard D.D.
    David Canon MacNamee
2000 Michael Noonan David Canon MacNamee
    Jeremiah Brouder
    Derek Leonard
2001 Michael Noonan David Canon MacNamee
    Jeremiah Brouder
    Derek Leonard
2002 Michael Noonan David Canon MacNamee
    Jeremiah Brouder
    Derek Leonard
2003 Michael Noonan David Canon MacNamee
    Jeremiah Brouder
    Derek Leonard
2004 Michael Noonan David Canon MacNamee
    Jeremiah Brouder
    Derek Leonard
2005 Michael Noonan David Canon MacNamee
    Jeremiah Brouder
    Eamonn Fitzgibbon (W/E Asst.)
2006 Michael Noonan Jeremiah Brouder
    Eamonn Fitzgibbon (W/E Asst.)
2007 Michael Noonan Jeremiah Brouder
    Eamonn Fitzgibbon (W/E Asst.)
2013 Michael Noonan Richie Davern