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Puckane (Cloghprior and Monsea)

Parish Office
Co. Tipperary
T: +353 67 24105
E: williemccormack516@yahoo.ie
Puckane (Cloghprior and Monsea)

The parish of Puckane & Carrig lies just north of the town of Nenagh and hugs the eastern shore of Lough Derg. It consists of a total of 71 townlands and is 18,310 statute acres or approximately 28.6 square miles in extent. The parish has a rich archaeological heritage, including a number of sites which have Early Christian religious associations. Folklore also recalls four places in the parish where Mass was secretly celebrated during the Penal Days.

The parish was traditionally known as ‘Monsea’, ‘Monsea & Kilodiernan’ or ‘Monsea & Cloughprior’. These names reflect its origins because the present parish is an amalgamation of five medieval parishes, Cloughprior, Dromineer, Kilodiernan, Knigh and Monsea. The ruined churches at Dromineer and Kilodiernan both date to the twelfth century and were built in the Romanesque style, while those at Cloughprior, Knigh and Monsea were built in the Gothic style of the fifteenth century. The graveyards surrounding those churches are still used for burials and Mass is celebrated in each annually.

There are two Catholic churches in the parish, one at Carrig and the other at Puckane. Carrig was built in the year 1833 and is typical of the barn style churches erected before the Famine. John Hanley of Nenagh built it when Fr. Joseph Downes was Parish Priest. Both are commemorated on a stone plaque over the main doorway. The church at Carrig replaced a smaller thatched penal chapel a short distance away.

The church at Puckane was erected in 1859 when Fr. Eugene Malone was Parish Priest. James Darcy of Killaloe built it and the stone used in its construction came from the local quarry at Loughourna. There is a tradition that the old thatched chapel on the site was left standing and that the new church was built around it. This is said to account for the high pitch of the roof of the newer building. The beautiful stained glass window of the crucifixion from the Harry Clarke Studio and the fine marble altar were both installed in the church in 1934.

The most prominent feature in the village of Puckane is the impressive Grotto of Our Lady erected during the 1950’s – a period when Marian devotion was at its height in Ireland. The grotto took some seven months to build and it is estimated to contain 1,500 tons of stone. The whole endeavour was a triumph of local community co-operation as the site and most of the building material were donated free of charge and a local committee raised all the necessary finance. The grotto was officially blessed and opened on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11 February 1957. It was said that the grotto at Puckane was the first erected in Ireland to commemorate the centenary of the apparition at Lourdes.

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