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Parish Office
Co. Tipperary
T: +353 67 25864

The parish of Silvermines, as we know it today, consists of four former parishes. They were Ballinaclough, Dolla, Downamona and Kilmore. Over a period of time these parishes were joined or amalgamated and formed the parish of Kilmore. In time the names of this and many other parishes were changed by common usage especially at the beginning of the eighteenth century and particularly where there was a shift in the centre of population. And so gradually Kilmore parish became known as the parish of Silvermines because the most populous area of the parish was the village of Silvermines. 
The name Kilmore comes from the Irish words Cill Mhór which means the big Church and this is a reference to the church founded by St. Odran [Ódhrán] around the year 520 A.D. which was a wooden building. This wooden structure was replaced by one of stone around the year 1,000 A.D. and the ruins of this later structure remain in excellent condition to the present day. The area surrounding this structure contains the largest of the three parish burial grounds, the other two being in Ballinaclough and Dolla.
The now extinct parish of Downamona extended from Tullaheady to Bawn. It remained in existence until the time of the Reformation when it became part of Kilmore parish and never resurrected. The former parish of Ballinaclough consisted of the eastern section of the Silvermines parish today. It stretched from Pollanorman in the west to Ballyvandron in the east and from Ballygraigue in the north to the Silvermines-Toomevara road in the south. In no place did it border the parish of Kilmore, the parish of Dolla separating both parishes. Dolla parish was about ten miles long and only one and a half miles wide, stretching from an area south of Bolingbrook to Ballygraigue. Though not a very big parish it had two churches, one in Bolingbrook and of course the one in Kilboy built during the twelfth century. During the 18th century various adjustments were made and Dolla ceased to exist as a diocesan parish and was divided up between the parishes of Silvermines and Templederry. The civil parish of Dolla came to an end in 1898.

St. Odran (Irish = Naomh Ódhrán), is the patron saint of the parish and the founder of Kilmore Church. A native of the midlands he remained in this area of North Tipperary for over forty years. In 563 he was one of twelve who accompanied St Colmcille to the lonely uninhabited island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland. He was the oldest of St. Colmcille’s twelve companions and was the first of them to die in Iona where he is buried. St. Odhrán’s feast day is on the 27th of October.

As both the Irish and English versions of the name suggest, Silvermines has a very strong mining tradition. The word Silvermines not only informs you that this was a mining area but also gives an insight into what type of mining was carried on. One cannot say with certainty when Silvermines became a mining area. It is likely that people came to this area as far back as the Bronze Age in search of minerals, nearly 4,000 years ago. It is also likely that the silver used in the making of the Ardagh and the Derrynaflan chalices more than a thousand years ago was mined in Silvermines, this being the nearest and purest source of silver to both places. What is certain however is that mining was flourishing here in Silvermines more that 700 years ago and there is well documented evidence dating back to the year 1289 A.D..

The Church of Silvermines, Our Lady of Lourdes, was formally opened on the 8th of December 1961 by Bishop Joseph Rodgers. It was built on the site of the old Church of Ireland parish church and was the first new church in Ireland to have the high altar placed in such a way that Mass may be offered by the priest facing the people. This was in accordance with the wishes of the Second Vatican Council of 1961.Prior to 1961, the Catholic parish church stood directly behind the present Our Lady of Lourdes Church, in the grounds which are now known as Cuan Mhuire. The old parish church was built around the year 1802 and was demolished in late 1960’s.
The second church in the parish is the Church of Our Lady of the Wayside in Ballinaclough. Built in 1830, it was remodelled extensively in 1985 when a new roof was added.

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