The records of the parish go back to the eighteen thirties.The first baptism in our books is that of Michael Bunnion, son of John Bunnion and Mary Leen, of Ahamore, who was baptised on 2nd. November, 1835. The marriage register begins with the marriage of William Davis and Margaret McGillicuddy, on January 24th,1837.
Before the reformation the parish was in the care of the Cistercians of Kyrie Eleison Abbey. After the suppression of the monasteries and the disbanding of so many religious communities during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries , the parish of O'Dorney came under the administration of secular or diocesan clergy.
The list of priests who served here is complete as far back as 1820, but beyond that we have just a few names and dates and no further information. For instance, Maurice Prendiville was parish priest here about the year 1815, and Denis Keane in 1806. Beyond that we know no more about either man
The first parish priest of O'Dorney of whom we have definate fact is Owen McCarthy.
Fr. McCarthy was a native of Kenmare and seems to have done quite a lot of travelling throughout the diocese. He first appeared on the list of priests as administrator of Ballybunion in 1818. From that position he was transferred to be parish priest of Bonane or Glengariffe, at the other extreme end of the diocese. He spent but a short time in Glengariffe as we find him up north again as parish priest of Abbeydorney in 1820.
Fr McCarthy built the old church in Abbeydorney which was demolished in 1966 to make way for the present new church.
In 1822 Fr McCarthy was transferred again,this time to Causeway. In those days Ballyheigue and Causeway made up the one parish. For thirty-five years he ministered as parish priest of that vast stretch of country. In October 1857 he died and it was then that the area was divided and the two modern parishes of Ballyheigue and Causeway were set up.
After Fr. McCarthy's transfer to Causeway, Fr Patrick Roche was appointed parish priest of Abbeydorney. Fr Roche was a native of Castletownroche, Co.Cork, and before coming here he was parish priest of Caherdaniel. In 1822 he was transferred from there to Abbeydorney. Fr Roche died in 1833 and is buried in Kyrie Eleison cemetery. Next came Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald who was born in Firies parish. Fr. Fitzgerald was ordained in 1823 and served as curate in Killorglin for some time in the late twenties and soon afterwards, on Fr. Roche's death, was promoted to be parish priest here. He died in 1851. Fr. James O'Sullivan was our next parish priest. He was a native of Bonane and before coming to Abbeydorney in 1851 he had previously been parish priest of Annascaul and of Moyvane. He ministered here for but one year as he was in very poor health. In 1852 he retired and went to Australia where he died.
Fr. Martin McMahon succeeded him. He was a native of Ballyconry and from being curate in Lisselton he was appointed parish priest of Abbeydorney in 1853. For seventeen years he was our parish priest. He died in 1870 and is buried in Abbeydorney. At Fr. McMahon's death the curate of the parish, Fr. Thomas Brosnan, was promoted to the vacant parish. Fr. Brosnan was a native of Dromulton in the parish of Killeentierna. From 1870 until his death in 1894 he was parish priest of Abbeydorney. He is buried in Killeentierna. Fr. Francis Crimmins, the next parish priest, was a native of Lisselton. He was ordained in 1868 and was first appointed to the parish of Milltown. In 1894 he came to Abbeydorney. After a term of nearly eighteen years he died in April 1912 and is buried in Kyrie Eleison. There was a tablet to his memory on the wall of the old church. Next came Fr. Michael Horgan, a native of the parish of Listowel. He was formerly parish priest of Sneem and succeeded to Abbeydorney on Fr. Crimmins' death in 1912. Fr. Horgan died in 1918 and is buried in Kyrie Eleison.
Fr. James J O'Sullivan, who was a native of Tuosist, came after Fr. Horgan. He was previously administrator of Fossa, near Killarney. He came to Abbeydorney in 1918. In February 1926 he was transferred to Rathmore where he died in 1944. Fr. James McDonnell, who was from the parish of Ballyferriter, came next. His first parish was that of Sneem. He was appointed to Abbeydorney on the transfer of Fr. O'Sullivan in 1926. He ministered here for 10 years and died in 1936. He is buried in the church grounds in Abbeydorney. Succeeding Fr. McDonnell was Fr. William Walsh, who
was from Listowel. He was ordained in the cathedral Killarney in 1895. Previously he was parish priest of Kilcummin and was transferred to Abbeydorney in 1936. He died in 1943 and is buried in Galey cemetery. Fr. Denis Linehan was our next parish priest. He was from Cullen, Millstreet. For some years he was parish priest of Milltown before coming here in 1943. He died in 1954 and is buried in Kyrie Eleison. Fr. Timothy Hurley came next. He was a native of Portmagee, Ballinskelligs parish. His first parish was
Tuosist and he came to Abbeydorney on the death of Fr. Linehan in 1954. Fr. Hurley died unexpectedly in England in November 1956. His remains were brought to Abbeydorney and buried in Kyrie Eleison.
Next came Fr. Denis McCarthy. Like his predecessor, Fr. Owen McCarthy (1820-1822) he too was a native of Kenmare. From 1936 to 1946 he was administrator and parish priest in Bere Island and of Kilcummin for the next ten years before being transferred to Abbeydorney in 1956. Again like Fr. Owen, Fr. McCarthy built the present church in Abbeydorney. Work on the church began in 1966 and it was completed and the church solemnly blessed by Dr. Moynihan, Bisop of Kerry, in June 1968. Fr McCarthy died on 22 September 1987 and is buried in the Church grounds. Fr. Dan Hickey was our next parish priest. he was a native of Tralee and for some years he was parish priest of Brosna before coming to Abbeydorney in 1975. He died on the 6th February 1989 and is buried in the church grounds.