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(By Declan Quaile)

(First published in our Review 2001 journal)


The 1704 Registration Act precluded any parish priest from having a curate or assistant in the parish with him, though this regulation was ignored or broken whenever the political climate allowed. But curates did not become active parochially until towards the end of the eighteenth century. 
Archbishop Richard O’Reilly initiated parochial change in Armagh diocese in July 1802 with the separation of Termonfeckin from the parishes of Drumshallon, Monasterboice and Mullary, although Ballymakenny remained linked to Termonfeckin until the early 1820s. With the Archbishops of Armagh residing at Drogheda throughout much of the eighteenth century (up to 1835), being a mensal parish of the diocese proved a financial burden on the Administrators of Termonfeckin. In 1829 the half-year payment was £15.11.0 and the Administrator at the time (Fr. Mulholland) was pleading poverty to his Archbishop in also having to make payments for a new curate. In 1835 the then Archbishop, William Crolly, sought leave from Pope Gregory XVI, to give up the mensal parishes of Termonfeckin and Ballymakenny and return Armagh and Drogheda as the mensal parishes of the diocese. Pope Gregory only allowed Ballymakenny to be given up, as the controversy surrounding Fr. Mulholland in Termonfeckin was still ongoing (see below). Only later (in 1859) did the parish finally lose its mensal status and with the Archbishop's Administrator now a Parish Priest, Termonfeckin finally became an ordinary parish in the diocese of Armagh.







The post of 'Decanatus Ecclesiae' of Termonfeckin was conferred on a Bartholomew St. Lawrence (or Howth) on 4th December 1645. The name 'Houth' is mentioned in the conferral notice which may link this man to one of the influential St. Lawrence family from the Howth area of north Co. Dublin. There was also a St. Lawrence family with links to Drogheda (with a Charles St. Lawrence buried in the Chord cemetery) and Cruisetown in Togher parish. Bartholomew St. Lawrence had previously been director of St. Mary of the Snows orphanage in Salamanca in Spain.


PATRICK PLUNKETT (c.1668?-1679)

Born in Termonfeckin parish, Patrick Plunkett is noted as matriculating from Louvain College in France on the 29th January 1658.  Correspondence from a government informant in c.1665 appears to show that he was one of four priests (including Edward Drumgoole from Killartry, Clogherhead), appointed by Archbishop Edmund O'Reilly, to travel throughout Leinster exhorting the clergy and gentry to conspire against the anti-Catholic government of the day!   

There is also evidence to suggest that in June or July 1668 he was one of nine parish priests of Co. Louth threatened with suspension for paying only a portion of a contribution covering the expenses of the visiting Vicar Apostolic, a Fr. James Taaffe. 

It is not known when he was appointed parish priest of Termonfeckin but by 1671 he had been appointed as one of the Vicar Generals of the diocese and still held that title when, with Archbishop Oliver Plunkett, he attended the  Synod of Ardpatrick outside Louth village in August 1678. He died the following year, on 29th September 1679, and requested to be buried in the church grounds of Termonfeckin. His will (dated 10th September 1679)  bequeathed to his brother Thomas and to his nephews Laurence Plunkett of Blackhall and Simon Plunkett of Priorstown. ‘Three pounds & my best watch to Mr. Oliver Plunkett' and books, chalices and vestments went to the above mentioned Fr. Edward Drumgoole, who was also one of the executors.


WALTER DOWDALL (1683-c.1710)

Born in the parish of Termonfeckin c.1658, Walter Dowdall probably attended Oliver Plunkett's school in Drogheda in the early 1670s.  A Walter Dowdall is recorded as having attended the Irish College in Lisbon ‘before 1681’ but he was later ordained in Dublin by Patrick Plunkett, Bishop of Meath, in 1680. Because of the diocesan hiatus following Oliver Plunkett's trial and execution it was some four years after Patrick Plunkett's death before Walter Dowdall was installed at Termonfeckin. Boyle's Visitation of 1690 states: ‘Walter Dowdall, R.C. Parish Priest here above seven years.’

He lived and ministered from a priest’s house in Milltown and when 'An Act for Registering Popish Clergy' was introduced in 1704, he was registered (in Ardee, on the 11th July, 1704) as parish priest for Ballymakenny, Drumshallon, Monasterboice, Mullary, Beaulieu and Termonfeckin. His guarantors, at £50 each, were a Robert Bellew of Walshestown and Simon Plunkett from Priorstown.

His date of death is unknown but his name was recorded on a Dowdall headstone in Termonfeckin cemetery together with other family members, including his brother Ulick. This headstone was subsequently lost in a wall collapse.


(1731) Parish priest unknown although the 1731 ‘Report on the State of Popery’ reported: ‘Termonfeckin: 1 mass house. 1 officiating priest. No school.  Beaulieu: 1 Priest who officiates at Termonfeckin.’


(c.1750) Parish priest unknown, but when Michael O'Reilly became Archbishop of Armagh in 1749, he resided at Milltown and during his tenure the P.P. of the parish also lived in Milltown, across the street from him.


JOHN WALL (c.1759-1772)

Fr. John Wall is first noted as parish priest in Termonfeckin in 1759 and was known to have lived in Ballymakenny between 1766-1768, then part of the united parishes of Termonfeckin, Ballymakenny, Monasterboice, Drumshallon, Mullary and Beaulieu. In a parliamentary return taken in 1765-66, two 'popish priests' are mentioned at Termonfeckin, these probably been Fr. Wall and his curate. He was appointed P.P. for Dunleer in 1772 and served there until his death on 1st April 1797. He is buried in Dromin cemetery.


THOMAS CLINTON (1772-1785)

Thomas Clinton was born in Stabannon area in 1741. He succeeded Fr. Wall in 1772 and was a witness to the will of his uncle, the Rev. Patrick Clinton of Barmeath in 1773 who was buried in Stabannon. Thomas was also presented himself at a diocesan meeting in Drogheda on 29th July 1777 as ‘Deservitor of Termonfeckin’ along with his curate Dudley Devlin. He died on 12th May 1785 and was buried in Stabannon cemetery. His will left bequests to his brother Richard and sisters Ann and Mary and that "mail (meal) shall be made of my oats and given amongst the poor of the parishes I served."


JAMES CORRIGAN (1785-1795)

Born locally in c.1746, records indicate a James Corigan at Salamanca in July 1776 and matriculating from the Irish College there on 11th January 1777. He returned to Ireland on 2nd July that year. A ‘Jas Corrigan’ acted as witness to a wedding ceremony in Dunleer in 1779. Fr. Corrigan subsequently became parish priest of Clogherhead from c.1780-1785, prior to being appointed to Termonfeckin. In September 1790, during his ministry in the parish, he had two chalices either made or presented to him for use in the old chapels at Thunder Hill and Sandpit.1  ‘Faulkner’s Dublin Journal’ reported in March 1793 that a Fr. Corrigan had weapons hidden in his haggard in Tinure, which he and his curate Fr. Counsel allegedly distributed to men in the area! This may have been part of Defender activities occurring in Co. Louth at that time. The outcome of this incident is not recorded. Fr. Corrigan died on 23rd November 1795 and was buried in Mayne cemetery, Clogherhead.



Son of Thadeus Counsel and Brigid McCabe, Bartholomew Counsel was born c.1750 at Churchtown in Tallanstown parish. He was ordained to the priesthood in Ireland and in 1775 he travelled to Spain to attend an Irish college outside Madrid called Alcala de Henares. He studied there for almost six years before returning to Ireland on 19th February 1781. He acted as witness to a marriage in Dunleer in 1785 but is first noted in the united parishes of Termonfeckin & Monasterboice (as 'Revd. Mr. Councel‘) in 1789 as a curate in the parish.2  His name appears in print in March 1793 together with his parish priest Fr. James Corrigan regarding the distribution of arms during Defender activities in Co. Louth. During a trial held in Drogheda in April 1794 he was a defence witness for two Drogheda merchants, a Mr. Bird and a Mr. Hamill, who were being tried for sedition and rebellion following subversive activities in south Louth. His name is also noted in a subscription to a bible published in 1794.

Fr. Gogarty’s notes indicate a likelihood that he was appointed administrator of Termonfeckin in late 1795 or early 1796 after the death of Fr. James Corrigan, as he includes Fr. Counsel between Fathers Corrigan and McGuire on his list. Fr. Gogarty was also told that Fr. Counsel was in the parish when Lord Cornwallis came to Ireland in 1798. He was translated to Tallanstown in 1799 and died there three years later. Interred at Clonkeen church, his tombstone records: 
‘This stone was erected by his relatives to the memory of the late Revd. Bartholomew Counsel P.P., Tallanstown, who died in the year of the Lord 1802. He was a learned Priest, a pious and zealous Pastor, an earnest and diligent labourer in the Vineyard of his Divine Master.’


PETER MCGUIRE (1799-1810)

Born at Sheetland in Termonfeckin Peter McGuire probably trained to be a priest in Spain. By the 1790s he was senior curate or administrator in Drogheda. On October 13th 1796 the baptismal register in Drogheda records: “hujus libri curam habere coeperunt Feb 15 die 1795”. He also appears as a witness at a marriage ceremony in Dunleer in 1796. 

On coming to the parish in 1799 Fr. McGuire resided at Newhouse. It is also noted that he taught the children of the parish the catechism in Irish. He was also the first clergyman serving in Termonfeckin to keep a written record of marriages and deaths, which he commenced in July 1799. On 6th July 1801 he records the death of his brother James in Drogheda. He took the register with him when he was transferred to Ardee in June 1810 and from where he served as parish priest for eleven years. He is noted as serving on the committee of Ardee dispensary from May 1813 to June 1817 when he resigned and was replaced by Fr. Loughran, perhaps because of ill-health.

Fr. MacIomhair’s suggestion in his 1965 CLAJ article on the ‘Folklore of Termonfeckin’ that Fr. McGuire died in Faughart parish and is buried in Kilcurry church is incorrect. The Fr. Maguire noted in Kilcurry on a stained glass window is a W. Maguire, this being William Maguire, who was listed as a curate in Creggan in the 1836 Catholic Registry. Neither is there any mention of Peter McGuire serving as a parish priest in the diocese in the intervening years from 1821 to 1838. Therefore Fr. Gogarty’s statement that Fr. McGuire died in 1821 while parish priest of Ardee would appear to be accurate.3  His place of interment is unknown, though it is likely he was buried in Ballapousta cemetery.


JAMES READ (1810-1815)

Born in Ballymakenny in c.1763, Fr. James Read is noted as being curate in Ardee from 1791 to 1810, before being transferred to Termonfeckin as Administrator. Fr. Read was probably the first of the parish priests of Termonfeckin to reside at the Triple House, the previous incumbents generally residing at Milltown or Newhouse. He served the parish for five years until his death on 2nd June 1815, aged 52. He was buried in Ballymakenny cemetery, in a grave which also contains Fr. Richard Treanor of Dysart and Fr. Patrick Murphy of Haggardstown. His will left bequests to his brother Matthew Read.


JAMES DOWDALL (1815-1823)

Born in 1787 at Killally in Togher parish, he entered Maynooth on 14th October 1804 to study for the priesthood. He was appointed Administrator to the parish in November 1815 and ministered in Termonfeckin for over seven years. His brother was chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk in England. He died on 20th February 1823 and was buried in Clonmore cemetery in Togher. It was after his death that the united parishes of Termonfeckin and Ballymakenny were divided. The parishioners of Termonfeckin erected a monument (its present whereabouts are unknown) to him in the church at Thunder Hill, which read:

"This monument is erected to the memory of the Rev. James Dowdall by the inhabitants of Termonfeckin and its vicinity, in testimony of their gratitude for the piety, zeal and ability which he displayed in the discharge of his sacred duties, and the tender solicitude which he evinced for their welfare on every occasion during the period of seven years and four months that he was their Parish Priest. On the 20th of February 1823 he resigned his soul into the hands of his merciful Redeemer at the early age of 36 years, leaving his afflicted flock to bewail the loss of their dearly beloved Pastor, and the widows and orphans their benefactor and friend. Requiescat in pace.”



Born at Whitemills, Faughart, outside Dundalk in c.1787, he served as P.P. in Dundalk from 1815 to 1823 prior to being appointed Administrator in Termonfeckin (Fr. Gogarty noted that he was transferred from Tallanstown). On 8th October 1824 Archbishop Curtis wrote to him and neighbouring clergy regarding masses for the deceased Pope, Pius VII. Headstone details in the family plot at Castletown graveyard, declare his date of death as 16th December 1826 though the Drogheda Journal states that he died on 12th December 1826  ‘...in the 38th year of his age of a malignant fever.’ He was buried in Castletown graveyard, Dundalk.



Born at Carrickbroad on the Armagh Louth border c.1790, Eugene Mulholland gained a Doctorate in Theology in Rome in 1815. He served as curate in Ardee from c.1817-c.1821 (where his name and signature appear on the parish register there) though a Fr. Bernard Loughran was curate there from 1813 to 1821. On 10th June 1826 he was installed briefly as curate in Dunleer, and is mentioned in parochial records in July and November of that year, but a Fr. Markey was subsequently placed as curate in that parish. Fr. Mulholland was appointed Administrator in Termonfeckin and noted his transfer in the register there on 1st January 1827. He lived in a house at Duff's Farm, which had been built by a local-born priest Fr. Edward Kane.

He was involved in a minor parochial dispute on 26th March 1828 when both he and Fr. Markey were summoned to Dr. Curtis over a case involving the 'oats collection' in Dunleer, while on 8th June 1830 he advised Primate Curtis that he was unable to pay an assistant to help with parish duties!

Fr. Mulholland is mentioned, along with Archbishop Thomas Kelly, in August 1833 as an applicant to the National Board of Education to join the national school in Termonfeckin to the Board.

However the most serious controversy of his tenure in the parish took place the same year when he instigated legal proceedings against a neighbouring parish priest, concerning a defamation of character! Unprecedented in the Catholic Church it caused serious controversy in the diocese and led to his dismissal from the parish in November 1833. He appealed to Rome and subsequently to the English parliament in London for redress but despite enlisting the patronage of several high-ranking names, no compensation was forthcoming, other than a nominal pension from Rome. The last of his unsuccessful petitions to parliament was presented on 13th February 1837 and from thereon he was an outcast in the Catholic Church, where he was welcomed by few though he ministered periodically in such diverse places as Cork, Birmingham and Gibraltar, before returning to Dublin. He supposedly died at Howth, Co. Dublin, in the mid 1860s, though other sources note that he may have died in a monastery in Spain around the same period.


THOMAS CALLAN (1833-1846)

Born at Ballymakenny in 1798, he was ordained at Maynooth in 1826 and served as curate in Louth and Tallanstown before becoming Administrator of Termonfeckin parish on Sunday 17th November 1833, following Fr. Mulholland's suspension. He is listed in Valuation Notes (from May 1839) has having a 'house, offices and yard'  with a value of £4:14:0. This may well be at the Bridge House by the Ballywater river, where he and his successor had their parochial house. He ministered in Termonfeckin for over twelve years before being appointed P.P. of Dromiskin in March 1846. He served there for some twenty-four years before his death on 24th April 1871 after a short illness. He is buried in the church grounds at Dromiskin.


BERNARD MCKEON (1846-1879)

Born in Dundalk c.1804 to Arthur and Margaret McKeon, his father had some involvement in the 1798 Rebellion in the Dundalk area. After Bernard McKeon’s ordination he served for a time in Paris as a guardian of the shrine of St. Genevieve before returning as curate/assistant in Dundalk from 1830 until 1846. In 1846 he was appointed as Administrator to Termonfeckin, only becoming a P.P. some thirteen years later in 1859, when Termonfeckin lost its mensal status. He would have been involved in the planning and eventual completion of Sandpit church c.1850.  Fr. McKeon probably used the Bridge House and the Triple House as his parochial residence. It was also during Fr. McKeon's tenure that English was introduced as the language of public prayer in the parish. However alternative arrangements were made for those less fluent. His name appeared on a list of signatories that organised a public meeting in Dundalk on 29th November 1869 to discuss the Tenants rights situation in the county.

As early as 1862 he was formulating plans for the building of a new church in Termonfeckin to replace the old chapel at Thunder Hill, which had become quite dilapidated. In the following years a committee was formed to oversee the new development. By 1878 £1,200 had been collected for the building fund and fifty tons of building stone had been placed on the hill site given by Mooneys the local blacksmiths, but sadly Fr. McKeon died on Monday the 27th January, 1879, before the project became a reality. The requiem mass, on the 29th January, was attended by Archbishop McGettigan, and after a procession of people carried the coffin around the village he was laid to rest under the high altar of the old church.  His remains were later re-interred in the new church following its completion in 1883. Nicholas Halligan of Banktown was executor of his will. An executors sale in Termonfeckin on 18th February 1879 had some of his possessions on display, including “… a collection of ecclesiastical and historical books, a small quantity of old port, 30 years in bottle, a capital pony, car, harness, etc.”


JOHN SEGRAVE (1879-1910)

Born in Dunany, Togher in 1839, he attended the Irish College in Rome but was forced to return home through ill health and was ordained in 1861 by Dr. Dixon, in St. Peter’s in Drogheda. Appointed as curate to Clogherhead between 1863-1864, he then moved to Ardee between 1864-1873 and Dundalk 1873-1879. His last two years in Dundalk were as Administrator.  He was appointed P.P. in Termonfeckin in March 1879 and immediately reinstated the planning of the new Catholic Church for the parish. This was finally completed in 1883 at a cost of some £5000, and was consecrated by Archbishop Daniel McGettigan in August of that year. The parochial house was added by 1898 and featured two entrances to facilitate both the P.P. and curate who also lived there. Fr. Segrave suffered a stroke on 14th April 1910 and died on 1st May 1910. He was buried in the church grounds.


THOMAS MCCULLA (1910-1946)

Born in Bawntaaffe, Monasterboice, c.1868 he first served as curate in Darver from 1893-1895, then Dunleer from 1896-1897 and was in Ardee from 1898-1910 before being appointed P. P. to Termonfeckin on 26th May 1910 and saying his first mass on Wednesday 8th June 1910. He was the longest serving P.P. in the parish at over 36 years and having 11 curates serve under him illustrates the longevity of his tenure! He was one of the first parishioners to have a car in the parish. The Irish Motor Directory of 1915/16 shows he had a vehicle with registration number IY 329. He grew frail with age in his later years and two curates were appointed from 1943 on to assist with pastoral duties. He died on 2nd November1946 and was buried in Termonfeckin church grounds.


PETER ROGERS (1946-1953)

Born into a business family in Dundalk, he was ordained in Rome in 1917. He served as curate in Forkhill 1917-1919, Dunleer 1919-1925 and Ardee 1925-1946 before being appointed P.P. to Termonfeckin in December 1946. His brother was also a priest and served as P.P. in Dunleer until his death in 1951. Fr. Rogers was a close friend of Peter McKevitt, who had been visiting him, when he took ill and died suddenly on 10th January 1953. He had made it known that he wished to be buried in Sandpit church grounds and is so far the only priest that served the parish to be buried there.


PETER MCKEVITT (1953-1976)

Born in Carlingford on 30th November 1900, Peter McKevitt was ordained on 21st June 1925 and served subsequently as curate in Mell, Ardee and Dundalk before being appointed to Maynooth as Professor of Catholic Sociology and Catholic Action in October 1937. From the late 1940s to the early 1950s he was editor of the journal Christus Rex , an Irish quarterly journal concerned with sociology. He lectured in Maynooth for 16 years before succeeding his friend Fr. Rogers as P.P. of the parish in 1953. He went on to be appointed as Canon and eventually became a Monsignor in September 1967. He was the first president of Termonfeckin Credit Union in 1963 and served on various Credit Union committees for many years. Retiring as P.P. on 27th August 1976 he died only two months later on 3rd Nov. 1976. His requiem mass on 5th November was attended by Cardinal Conway and he was buried in the church grounds.


JAMES LENNON (1976-1977)

Born in Armagh on 23rd September 1923, youngest of a family of twelve, he was ordained in Maynooth in June 1948, served briefly in Collon, then went on to serve in the Diocese of Down & Connor at Saul until 1950. He then served as curate in Mell 1950-1951, Drogheda 1951-1965 and Cookstown 1965-1970 before becoming Director of Research and Development at the Catholic Communications Institute in Dublin. He served there for six years before being appointed P.P. of Termonfeckin on 25th September 1976. He served for only seven months in the parish before being appointed P.P. and Vicar General of St. Peters in Drogheda on 14th April 1977. He became a Monsignor in May 1978 and was subsequently ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh on 27th July 1980. He died suddenly on 17th October 1989 and was buried in St. Peters cemetery, Drogheda.


AUSTIN EUSTACE (1977-1980)

Born in Drogheda in 1919, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1944. In the early 1940s he also played football with St. Fechins when his family would stay in the area on holidays.  He initially served as an organist in Dungannon from 1944-1950, subsequently becoming curate there from 1950-1977. He was the main driving force in the  setting up the Tyrone Crystal plant in Dungannon in the early seventies and was also responsible for the founding of the Dungannon & District Farmer's Co-op and the Dungannon Housing Association.  He was moved to Termonfeckin as P.P. in 1977 after the transfer of James Lennon and served in the parish for three years. He initiated a series of renovation projects on both churches during 1977 and 1978 before being moved to Donaghmore in May 1980. He attended the blessing of the new National School in Termonfeckin in October 1981. Suffering from ill health for some time he nonetheless died suddenly on Sunday 6th December 1981 whilst saying mass in Donaghmore. He was buried in that parish cemetery after requiem mass on 9th December 1981.



Born in Dundalk, James Byrne was ordained in 1949. He served as curate in Lordship from 1949-1950; was chaplain to St. Louis (Convent), Dundalk 1950-1952; was curate in Newtownhamilton 1952-1965 and Meigh 1965-1980 before being appointed P.P. to Termonfeckin on 10th May 1980. Having said only a few masses in the parish he was involved in a traffic accident in Armagh on 15th May 1980 and died as a result of his injuries on the 9th June 1980.


PATRICK MORGAN (1980-1986)

Patrick Morgan was born in Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh, on 1st January 1922, the second eldest of 11 children. His father James was a blacksmith in the village while his mother Mary ran a small eating house. He went to Maynooth and was ordained there on 19th June 1949. He was posted to London and served as curate in Upton Park from 1950-1951. He then returned to the diocese and served as curate in Togher 1951-1955, Tallanstown 1955-1965, Carlingford 1965-1966, Faughart 1967-1968, Kilkerley 1968-1969 and Darver 1969-1980, before being appointed to Termonfeckin in July 1980. He served the parish well in his tenure here before dying on 2nd  June 1986. He was buried in the church grounds in Termonfeckin.


SEAN QUINN (1986-2007)

Born in Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone on 14th February 1932, he was ordained on 23rd June 1957. He served as curate in Kilsaran 1957-1958 and Collon in 1958 for eight months only. He was sent to Drogheda as Chaplain to the Lourdes 1958-1962, Mellifont 1962-1965, Poyntzpass 1965-1971 and Blackrock from 1971-1985. He was appointed P.P. of Faughart 1985 before being appointed to Termonfeckin on 5th September 1986 following the death of Fr. Morgan. He served for almost twenty-one years in the parish, finally retiring in May 2007. He transferred to Togher where he is Pastor Emeritus to the PP there.


AIDAN MURPHY  (2007-2017)

Born in 1963 and a native of Grangebellew. He was curate in Cloghogue parish before being appointed P.P. to Termonfeckin on 29th May 2007. Following a sabbatical to the USA in 2017 Fr Murphy was appointed PP to Coalisland, Co Tyrone in 2018.

PAUL BYRNE (2018 - 
Transferred as PP of Coalisland to Termonfeckin in 2018 in Sept 2018.



DUDLEY DEVLIN  (1777? - 1779?)

He attended a meeting in Drogheda on 29th July 1777 as vicar of Termonfeckin with Fr. Thomas Clinton. He is also noted as being in Termonfeckin in 1779. Dudley Devlin appears to have transferred to the Diocese of Kilmore in Co Cavan around c1780 when he became parish priest there (per www.parishofkilmore.com).  



(See his biography as administrator.)


PATRICK CORRIGAN (1796?-1801?)

A ‘Rev. Mr. Corigan’ is listed alongside the parish priest ‘Rev. Mr. Maguire’ in May 1801 when a charity group was set up by land-holders of Termonfeckin to help alleviate hunger in the parish.

On 12th November 1786 a 'Revd. Patrick Corrigan' is recorded as receiving a loan of £5:13: 9 from Richard & Patrick Flanagan of Tobertoby, Termonfeckin. The records also note further payments, in August 1786 and January 1787, the three totalling nearly £20. Two Corrigan priests (James and Patrick) gave rise to the tradition of Corrigans ‘Big’ and ‘Little’ in the parish. In Fr. Gogarty’s notes he actually details the names as ‘First Big, 2nd Little’. Whether this referred to their stature remains unclear. A Rev. Patrick Corrigan was P.P. in the parish of Cullyhanna (Lower Creggan) from 1801-1803.



Some local evidence suggests that a Fr. Edward Kain (or Kane) may have served in the parish sometime during the early 1800s, although local sources think it unlikely. In the early 1900s Fr. Gogarty was told by locals that: 'The house where Reilly lives now opposite Micky Moore's (presently Purcell's house at Duff's Farm) was built by Fr. Kane and Dr. Mulholland (Rev. Eugene Mulholland 1827-1833) lived in it.' Also, a headstone in Termonfeckin cemetery reads: 'Erected by the Revd. Edward Kain in memory of his father Valentine Kain who departed this life the 17th May 1807 aged 86. Also his mother Mary Hoey who departed this life the 21st November 1804 aged 65...'


JAMES TORIS (1816-1822)

James Toris was born in Lawlesstown, Dunleer c.1789. He erected a headstone in Mullary cemetery in memory of his father, Patrick Toris, who died on 2nd July 1804, aged 64 years. He was educated into the priesthood at Carlow College for two years and possibly abroad for the remainder of his studies. His obituary states that he was a curate for six years and a parish priest for the remaining thirty-four years of his ministry; his six years of curacy at Termonfeckin being between 1816-1822. As curate he said that the parish extended..… ‘o Cathair Lios Ban go bhfuil na farraige’, meaning from Corlisbane in the west of Monasterboice to the sea (at Termonfeckin). He became parish priest of Monasterboice in 1823, although he continued to live in the Termonfeckin townland of Tullyard. He ministered until his death on 9th May 1853, after which his remains were interred in front of the high altar in Tinure church.


PATRICK BANNON (1822-1823)

Ordained in Maynooth in 1812 he was appointed curate in Termonfeckin for a brief period before transferring to Dunleer, his name being noted in the Termonfeckin marriage register. He went on to serve as parish priest in Dunleer from July 1823 to December 1831 and was then transferred to the parish of Louth where he served as P.P. until his death in 1858.



Born c1800 in Termonfeckin parish Thomas Corrigan entered Maynooth on the 26th August 1819. It appears that he wasn’t ordained there but travelled to Europe and eventually returned from Paris, ordained, on 2nd August 1830. His appointment to Termonfeckin as assistant was at first refused by Rev. Mulholland on 25th October 1830 who pleaded poverty but he was finally given the curacy and to be paid when Rev Mulholland could afford to pay him! He is listed as curate in the parish in the 1836 Catholic Registry. Also in 1836, during the legal controversy surrounding Fr. Mulholland, Fr. Corrigan, along with five parishioners, advised Rome that Fr. Mulholland had neglected to attend some parishioners who had subsequently died without the sacraments, nor had he done anything to stop the outrages which had damaged religion in Termonfeckin at the time!

In 1842 he was appointed curate to Dunleer and served there for eleven years, before moving to Kilsaran as parish priest in 1853. He died there on 27th March 1881, after failing health for the previous number of years. 



First son of Patrick Flanagan and Judith Kirwan (Ballinreask) Richard was born in Tobertoby, Termonfeckin in 1802. He entered Maynooth seminary in August 1824 and was ordained on the 5th June 1830. Fr. Gogarty’s notes suggest he was made a chaplain to the Chesters of Cartown in 1830 before being appointed as curate to Dunleer on 31st December 1831. In Dunleer he was interested in the local placenames of that parish and he occasionally attended social events in Barmeath Castle, home of the Bellews. He served in Dunleer for twelve years before being sent to Termonfeckin in 1843 in a parochial exchange with Fr. Thomas Corrigan. He was to serve for nearly thirty years in Termonfeckin mainly under Rev. Bernard McKeown. He eventually retired through ill health in early 1872, after which he returned to live in Tobertoby. He died on 11th May 1880 and after High Mass his coffin was carried along Big Street ‘as far as the petty sessions court’, before returning for burial in the old church at Thunder Hill. His body was later re-interred underneath the altar rails of the new church in 1883.


DENNIS BRENNAN (1872-1897)

Born c.1845 in Knockbridge parish Fr. Brennan entered Maynooth Seminary in August 1865 and was ordained on 30th May 1871. Serving briefly in Aghaloo, he became curate in the parish in 1872 and served for twenty-four years. He was transferred to Cooley as curate in 1897 and ministered there until his death, after a short illness, on 14th January 1904 (DD says Saturday 16th January). He was buried in the family plot at Knockbridge after requiem mass in Grange chapel, Cooley.


JAMES DUFFY (1898-1902)

James Duffy served in various parishes in the diocese as curate; Drumglass 1894-1895, Tynan 1895-1898, Termonfeckin 1898-1903, Kilkerley 1903-1908, Cooley 1909-1923, before becoming P.P. in Ballymacnab in 1923. He died there on 18th September 1936.



Born in Dundalk, where he attended the local Christian Bros. School, he later attended Maynooth seminary and was ordained there on 23rd June 1901. He went on to serve in Dunboyne House for a year before being appointed to Termonfeckin as curate in 1902. He was transferred a year later to Dunleer and was curate there from 1904-1914 before dying on 12th June 1914. His remains were taken by train from Dunleer to Dundalk, where, after a service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, he was buried in Dowdallshill.


THOMAS GOGARTY (1904-1910)

Born in Trinity St., Drogheda on 2nd June 1877, the eldest of twelve children, he attended Maynooth seminary and was ordained there on 21st June 1903. His first curacy was to Mellifont from 1903-1904 before spending six years as curate in Termonfeckin. He left Termonfeckin on 8th June 1910 and ministered as curate in Ardee for five years and then served in Louth parish from 1915-19. He had a tremendous interest in the folklore and history of all the parishes he served in and spent long hours poring over various parish records, compiling lists of priests, townland names and folklore from the localities. He was also keen in promoting Gaelic League meetings in the area and even sang at several events. From 1905 through to 1918 he contributed many articles to various historical publications, including the Co. Louth Archaeological Journal, The Irish Theological Quarterly and The Irish Ecclesiastical Record.


JAMES LENNON (1910-1913)

Born c.1876. Ordained in Maynooth on 23rd June 1901, he served as curate in Kilmore 1901-1902, Togher 1902-1910, and Termonfeckin from June 1910 until 1913. His final parish was Ballymore from 1915-1920, where he died on 16th May 1920.


FRANCIS O'NEILL (1913-1914)

Born in Ballinderry, Co. Derry 1879, he was ordained on 19th June 1904. He was curate in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone 1904-1913 and taught there in St. Patricks Academy before spending a year in Termonfeckin as curate. He then spent three years as curate in Ardee before being appointed to Kilkerley from 1917-1934. He returned to Ardee as P.P., but only for one year as he retired in 1935. He died on 23rd January 1938 in Cumberland in the U.K.


PETER MATTHEWS (1914-1919)

Born at Newtowndarver on 23rd October 18644, he attended Maynooth seminary where he was ordained on 25th June 1893. His first curacy was in Dunleer parish from 1895-1899, followed by Ardee 1900-1905 and Tallanstown 1907-1911. He came to Termonfeckin in 1914 and was curate in the parish for five years. However his health began to fail him and he was forced to retire from his ministry, eventually dying in a Dublin hospital on 7th October 1923. After requiem mass in Dunleer he was buried in the nearby Mosstown cemetery.


THOMAS GOGARTY (1920-1921)

His second term as curate in the parish lasted less than a year. He was curate up until 1921 when he retired from the priesthood due to health problems. He moved to Dublin where he died on 21st May 1949. He was buried in St. Peter's Cemetery, Drogheda.


JAMES DOLAN (1921-1924)

From the parish of Ardee, he was born on 14th December 1886 and attended seminaries in Armagh, Salamanca and Maynooth before being ordained on 21st June 1914. His first curacy was in Collon from 1914-1920, where at the height of the War of Independence and visiting his native Ardee he found himself giving the last rites to Sean O’Carroll and Patrick Tierney who were shot in November 1920 by the Black & Tans. Previous to this incident he had his motorbike confiscated by them while in Collon. He was then transferred to Termonfeckin and was in the parish from 1921-1924. He was very much involved with the Gaelic League in the parish and had a good grasp of the Irish language. After declining health he died on 24th June 1924, aged 37, and was buried in Ballapousta, Ardee.


ALEX CONNOLLY (1924-1934)

Born in Dundalk c.1898, he trained for the priesthood at Armagh and Maynooth, being finally ordained on 17th June 1923. His first appointment was to Termonfeckin as curate in 1924. He served here for over ten years and during that time submitted several historical essays on Termonfeckin to the Drogheda Independent. Was instrumental in promoting sports days at Sheepeston on the Strand road in 1928 and ‘29 with Mrs. Lentaigne providing the field. Also with Mrs. Lentaigne’s assistance he helped establish the manufacture of footballs in the early 1930s. He became curate in Kilkerley in 1934 before being appointed to Eglish as P.P. in 1938 where he died on 28th February 1946.


JAMES DORIS (1934-1937)

Born in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, in 1903, he was ordained at Maynooth on 17th June 1928 and took up his first curacy at Drumglass in 1928. He served in Mellifont from 1930-1934, then served as curate in Termonfeckin parish for three years before moving to Ardee in 1937. He died in the Mater Private Nursing Home, Dublin only three years later on 11th April 1940, aged 36, and was buried in Ballapousta, Ardee.


PETER TRACEY (1937-1939)

From Kildress, Co.Tyrone, he attended Armagh and Maynooth colleges and was ordained on 17th June 1934. He served in several parishes, including Southwark from 1934-1937, Termonfeckin 1937-1939, Loughgall 1939-1940 and Stewartstown 1941-1968. He was finally made P.P. on his transfer to Errigal in 1968 and was there until 1975, before moving to Carrickmore as P.P. where he died on 23rd February 1984.


SHANE CULLEN (1939-1946)

Born in Carlingford, where both of his parents were schoolteachers, he was an excellent footballer in his youth. He attended Armagh and Maynooth seminaries and was ordained on 21st June 1936. His first appointment was to Glasgow from 1936-1938, then Loughgall 1938-1939, before spending seven years in Termonfeckin. Fr. Cullen was instrumental in founding St. Fechin's G.F.C. in 1941. As Fr. McCulla was old and infirm at this stage, Fr. Cullen would have carried out many of the parish duties. In 1946 he was sent to Ardee and remained there until 1969 when he was appointed to Kilkerley as P.P. His final parish was Tallanstown were he was P.P. from 1977-1987. He died soon after retirement on 29th October 1987 and was buried in Reaghstown. 



Born in Donaghmore parish on 30th April 1918, he was ordained on 12th April 1941 at the Irish College in Rome and was sent to Termonfeckin as a ‘reader’ from the 1st January 1942 to 31st August 1945, before being transferred to St. Patrick's, Dundalk as a curate on 1st September 1945. He became Administrator there in 1958 and was then appointed P.P. to Haggardstown in 1975. His 60th anniversary as a priest was celebrated in Haggardstown parish in 2001. He died in 2003.


MICHAEL WARD (1943-1945)

Born in Carrickmore on 17th January 1917 he attended Maynooth seminary and the Irish College in Rome and was ordained on 12th April 1941. His first appointment was to Termonfeckin as a 'reader' from 1943-1945 before being appointed to Daisy Hill hospital in Newry as chaplain from 1945-1946. Further appointments as curate were to Magherafelt 1946-1951, Cooley 1951-1962 and Derrynoose 1962-1973. He was appointed P.P. of Aghaloo in 1973 and was there until 1982. His last parish was Donaghmore where he became a Canon on 9th February 1982. He retired on 23rd September 1995.


LEO DUMIGAN (1945-1955)

Born in Derrynoose, Co. Armagh, he was the only son of a publican. He qualified through college as a chemist but decided to enter the priesthood while working in Belfast. He entered Armagh and Maynooth seminaries and was ordained on 23rd June 1929. He was placed in Tallanstown as curate from 1930-1939, then served in Dunleer from 1940-1945 before being appointed to Termonfeckin in 1945. An excellent preacher, he served as curate until 1955 before being appointed as P.P. to Mellifont where, after twenty years in the parish, he died on 8th April 1975. He is buried in Tullyallen graveyard.


JAMES CROWLEY (1955-1965)

Born in 1929 in Glasgow, he was ordained in Maynooth in 1953 and served as curate in England from 1953-1955, Termonfeckin 1955-1965, St. Peter's, Drogheda 1965-1975 and Carrickmore 1975-1983, before being appointed to Killeeshil as P.P. in 1983. He retired in 2005 and acted as Pastor Emeritus there until his death on 20th Nov. 2017.


SEAMUS MCMANUS (1965-1976)

Born in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, he was ordained in Rome on 22nd March 1958 and served as curate in Maghery 1958-1960, Stonebridge 1960-1965, Termonfeckin 1965-1976, Tallanstown 1976-1981 and Loughmacrory (Carrickmore) 1981-1987 before being appointed P.P. to Aughnacloy in 1987. He died on 18th September 1994.


MARTIN MCVEIGH (1976-1981)

Born in Killyman, Dungannon, he was ordained in 1976. He served as curate in the parish from 25th September 1976 to 1981. He was then moved to Drogheda in January 1981, serving there until 1986, before being transferred to Westminster in the U.K. in 1986. He was later transferred to Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone, as P.P. where he ministered until 2013 when he was transferred to Clogherhead parish. 


SEAN QUINN (1981-1986)

Ordained in Brisbane, Australia in 1960, he served in Aughnacloy before being appointed to Termonfeckin in 1981. In September 1986 he was transferred to Cooly as curate. He later became P.P. of Louth parish where he currently ministers.



Born in Carrickmacross in 1959, his family moved to Armagh two years later. He was ordained in 1986 and after serving briefly in Ardee, he was appointed as curate to Termonfeckin. After six years in the parish he was transferred to Armagh to work as the Cardinal's assistant and was there until 2000 when he was transferred to Dundalk, to the Redeemer Parish there. He is currently P.P. of Loughgall in Co. Armagh.


PETER DONNELLY (1992-1999)

Born in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, he worked in Belfast before going on for holy orders in his thirties. He was ordained in Rome and was appointed to Termonfeckin in 1992. In September 1999 he was transferred to All Hollows College in Dublin as a lecturer.


JOHN HANRATTY (1999-2005)

Born in 1925 in Dundalk to Patrick and Jane Hanratty who had a grocery and pub in Clanbrassil St, he was ordained in 1952 with his first ministry being to Haggardstown parish. He was then appointed to Ballymacnab in Armagh and then to St. Peter’s in Drogheda. He was appointed P.P. of Monasterboice in 1981 and held that position until 1999 when he retired and was placed in Termonfeckin as Pastor Emeritus or assistant to Fr. Sean Quinn. Fr. Hanratty finally retired from his parochial duties in September 2005. He died in Blackrock nursing home on 25th October 2007.

Brother Dermot McDermott's Armagh clergy notes (copy kindly given by Philip King, Monasterboice)
Fr Thomas Gogarty's Termonfeckin parish notebook (courtesy of Noel Ross) 
Journals of the Co Louth Archaeological & Historical Society
Ardee parochial records
Archdiocese of Armagh Directories
J.B. Leslie, History of Kilsaran
J.B. Leslie, Armagh Clergy and Parishes 
1971 Seanchas Ardmhaca 
Drogheda and Dundalk newspaper obituaries
Anecdotes and memories from the late Nana Connor, Sandpit


1.      Parish of Termonfechin-A Faith Celebration, 1990, p2.

2.      His name is noted in the Flanagans of Tobertoby account books in 1789.

3.      New Ardee parochial registers begin in March 1821.

4.   Details of date and place of birth from grand-nephew Gabriel Mathews.

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