Church of St Peter & Paul Knocknacran Magheracloone A81 HX68
The church of Saints Peter and Paul (generally called “St. Peter’s” or Lower Magheracloone) was built in 1825 when Father Daniel Boylan was Parish Priest. It replaced an old thatched chapel in Drumgossatt which later served as a school. This chapel stood a few hundred yards behind the present church.
The local landlord Shirley granted the site for the church and graveyard, donated twenty-five pounds towards the cost of the building but prohibited a church bell. When St. Peter’s was first built the floor was made of clay. It had no seats and no gallery, although an armchair was provided in the sanctuary for William Kelly of Drummond. The men’s gallery was added in 1843 and the women’s a year later.
The church was renovated with a new floor and seating in the eighteen sixties. The statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph were sculpted in the eighteen seventies from blocks of gypsum raised in Knocknacran. A marble high altar was erected and a new ceiling installed in 1910 during the tenure of Canon Laurence Keenan as Parish Priest.
St. Peter’s found itself at the centre of the agrarian troubles of the nineteenth century. The tenants on the Shirley Estate, of which Magheracloone was a part, refused to pay their rent until their grievances were addressed by the landlord.
On June 5th 1843, a bailiff from the Shirley Estate, along with a company of troops, marched towards St. Peter’s to post notices of eviction on the door of the church. They were met by a large crowd who blocked their path. Several of the troops were hit with stones and at the same instant the entire company discharged one round each into the crowd. The crowd backed off. The Company Commander, fearful of a greater slaughter, called off his troops.
However, back on the road in front of the church a young servant boy lay dead. Peter Agnew from Lisnaguiveragh, Carrickmacross was at service with Owen Smith of Corrybracken.
This incident became known as the Battle of Magheracloone.
St Patricks Church, Rockchapel Magheracloone A81 KD72
St Patrick’s Church (The Rockchapel) was built in the years following the terrible Famine of the eighteen forties. Father Patrick Carolan was Parish Priest of Magheracloone at the time. He was a native of Carrickmacross and had been educated at the Irish College in Salamanca in Spain. He was appointed Parish Priest of Magheracloone in 1852. The old church which served the Rockchapel area at the time was a thatched chapel in Mokeeran which had been used since the early eighteen hundreds. When the idea of building a new church was proposed, the then MP for Monaghan, George Foster of Coolderry, offered one hundred pounds towards the cost on condition that it would be built beside what is now known as the ‘Priest’s Cross’. It was left to a vote of the people who decided that the new church should be built on a bare rock at Carrickasedge where it stands today. Down through the years many a gravedigger rued that decision as some graves had to be hewn out of the rock with picks, crowbars and sometimes gelignite. An appeal for funds was launched, a difficult task at any time but particularly after the ravages of the famine. Those who could afford it gave generously but it must be assumed that the bulk of the funds was raised from Magheracloone emigrants in Britain and America. The church was built by Michael Duffy, a native of Carrickmacross, with the help of the numerous stone masons from the area who were employed in its construction. Michael Duffy died at the early age of fifty-two and is buried in St Patrick’s cemetery. His grave is marked by a fine headstone erected by the people of the parish in his memory. Father Carolan remained in Magheracloone until 1866, when he was appointed Parish Priest of Clogher, County Tyrone. When news of his impending transfer reached the ears of the people of Magheracloone, they sent an impassioned petition to the Bishop urging him to reconsider. The petition was rejected. Father Carolan lost his life in a drowning tragedy while bathing in Bundoran on July 8th, 1869. Canon Laurence Keenan ceiled the church during his tenure as Parish Priest, receiving a donation of three hundred pounds from the local landlord General Brownlow. He also had heating installed. During the ministry of Canon Andrew Maguire, a new sanctuary was made and marble altars erected. Galleries were installed and the Stations of the Cross placed on the front of them.