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May, 2020

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Thank you for visiting us. We look forward to seeing you in either St. Michael's or St. Patrick's to celebrate Mass.

On July 27th 1865, the then Bishop of Kerry, David Moriarty performed the opening ceremony of the present church and confirmed 271 children on the same day. Some 50 or 60 years earlier a very small church, with only a mud floor and no pews had been built on the present site. It was totally inadequate to cater for the congregation of that time. Money was extremely hard to raise in Sneem in those days. By a stroke of good fortune, however, the 3rd Earl of Dunraven, who had converted to Catholicism and had a holiday home in nearby Garnish Island, felt that Sneem should have a “fitting place for divine worship” and duly provided the funding. He employed a leading London architect, Philip Charles Hardwick whose works included The Bank of England, Adare Manor and St. John’s Cathedral in Limerick. The estimated cost of the project was £3,000 but it eventually cost almost £4,000. The contractor for the church was Denis William Murphy from Bantry. Before the foundation stone was laid , he died suddenly but his son, William Martin, aged a mere 19 years took over the business and completed the building. He was later to become famous or infamous, depending on one’s perspective, for building railways and tram-tracks in England, Scotland and Argentina. He established the Irish Independent, was manager of the Dublin Tram Company and was deeply involved in the workers' strike and lock-out of 1913 in Dublin. The parish priest of Sneem when the present church was opened was Fr. Michael Walsh, about whom Arthur Percival Graves wrote the celebrated ballad, “Fr. O’Flynn.” He was a colourful character whose memory still lives on in Sneem. Arthur was the son of Bishop Graves who used to holiday in the “Bishop’s House” at Parknasilla.

For more information on Father Walsh, click here to read a piece kindly made available by Bob Frewen of Dublin and Clashnacree.



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St. Michael's Church

Church Street,
Sneem, County Kerry, Ireland.


St. Patrick's Church

St. Patrick's Church

County Kerry, Ireland.