Information Page

Index
1. General Information
2. Churches
3. Schools
4. Shops
5. Pubs
6. Parish Hall
7. Other Amenities
8. Map of Mooncoin

(Click on your choice from the above index)
Click to enlarge all pictures


General Information

Mooncoin parish is situated in the south of County Kilkenny, which is in the south-east of Ireland. It is 8 miles from Waterford city and 30 miles from Kilkenny City. The main road from Waterford to Limerick passes through Mooncoin village (N24). Also, the river Suir flows to the south of the parish and acts as natural border with County Waterford on the opposite side. The population of Mooncoin parish (Carrigeen, Mooncoin, Kilnaspic) is 2800 people(approx) and is made up of cir 15,000 arces.

Mooncoin got its name from the Irish 'Móin Choinn', which means 'Coynes Bog' ('Moin' presently means turf/peat in the Irish language). The land was said to be owned by a Coyne Walsh who lived there after the Norman invasion in the 1200s in Grange castle, and because of the marshy quality of the land, this is how it is told 'Mooncoin' got its name (it was said that the land was so marshy there was even a lake on it in wet weather where Mr Coyne could row his boat - as an estimate, this would be currently either side of where the New Road is now).

Coins Bog - View of mooncoin from behind graveyard, comerfords.
View from behind Comerfords and old graveyard. Around this area (triangle) is where the original Coins Walshs Bog would have been (how Mooncoin got its name). A water spring is still there. The land in this area is mostly drained now.

Mooncoin Catholic parish is split up into three sub-parishes.
These are:

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Churches

At present, there are three Roman Catholic churches in use in Mooncoin. These are Mooncoin, Kilnaspic (Killinaspic) and Carrigeen. Mooncoin church is situated on the main street in Mooncoin village and is known as the church of the Assumption. Kilnaspic church located on the Walsh hills, 5 miles from Mooncoin village and is dedicated to St. Killogue. Carrigeen church is situated in Carrigeen village, 3 miles from Mooncoin village and is dedicated to St. Kevin. Like most of Ireland, religion played a massive role in the lives of the people of the parish through the years, and Mooncoin parish has actually given more people to the religious life (priests, nuns etc) than any other parish in the diocese of Ossary. For many years Mooncoin always had three priests. One for each church. This ended in 1997 and from 2006 there has just been one priest in the parish.

Carrigeen Church
Kilnaspic Church
Mooncoin Church
Carrigeen Church
Kilnaspic Church
Mooncoin Church

History of Churchs:
Mooncoin (Church of the Assumption):
Mooncoin Church is the parish church, built in the Gothic style and is the biggest of the three in the parish (and also one of the biggest churches in County Kilkenny). It replaced the parish church that was in existence on Chapel Street where the 'old graveyard' is presently (built in 1802 - hence this is where Chapel street got its name). The current parish church was started in the summer of 1867 on a 'green field site' bought by the local parish priest (Fr Ned Walsh) from J McEnery. There was 5 houses, a forge and mass bush located where the present front entrance is. These were leveled and cleared, and the families were rehoused by the priest. All the digging and laying of foundations were carried out by volunteers from the parish, with each team given a 6x6x6 area to work on. When dug, the foundations were 'still on clay'. It was decided to let the foundations dry out for 3 months and then slate and mortor the bottom. This was a costly mistake as the walls bulked under the pressure less than 20 years later (top of the walls were 10 inches out of plumb) and had to be resupported at great cost. The limestone for the church came from Ballykillaboy and a softer limestone for the interior came from Aglish. The stone in the front piers is of Carlow granite. The roof had red slate originally but was reslated in 1900. A line of the old red slate can still be seen. The convent was started at the same and proceeded as one with the church, replacing the old convent on main street Mooncoin.

Mooncoin church was opened officially on the feast of the Assumption 15th August 1870 with mass celebrated by the Bishop of Ossary (the bishop, Edward Walsh, was born in Luffany in Mooncoin parish and his nephew was the priest, Ned Walsh who built the church). The total cost of the church including furniture was £3,405 and the convent and school (opened in 1871) cost £1,252. However on opening day in 1870, 500 pounds was reported in the newspapers to have been collected which was a massive sum of money at the time. The parish priest Ned Walsh was subsequently buried underneath the Blessed Virgin alter in the church he helped to build in 1881. The church is still one of the biggest in county Kilkenny.

In appearance, the church itself had the same layout as is there today. However it would have looked a little more frugal as originally all the windows were clear glass, and the alter, pulpit etc were made of wood. The most original part of the furniture are the paintings of the stations of the cross which are still hanging to this day. These were individually hand made by French artist S. Bonyngs and were commissioned and presented by the Bishop of Ossary Dr. Edward Walsh (mentioned above). They are very similar to the station paintings by the same artist which hang currently in St Marys Cathedral in Kilkenny City.

Bishop Walsh of Ossary, originally from Luffany, final resting place in the crypt of St Marys Cathedral Kilkenny.
Final resting place of Dr Edward Walsh, Bishop of Ossary, in the crypt of St Marys Cathedral, Kilkenny City (d1872). He was originally from Luffany and provided financial support for the building of Mooncoin church, to his nephew Fr Ned Walsh, parish priest of Mooncoin. The stations of the cross pictures in Mooncoin that still hang there today were donated by him.

The most impressive part of Mooncoin Church is the three stained glass windows over the alter. These were made and designed in Germany and presented in 1893 by the Bishop of Toronto, Dr John Walsh. Bishop Walsh was born in Middlequarter and taught by Watt Murphy in Chapel Street. He held many ministry's throughout the Americas, subsequently becoming bishop of Toronto.
Many people in Mooncoin are so used to seeing these windows, they actually don't know who they depict. The central window is straight forward as its of the Sacred Heart, the one to the right is of St James and the lady on the left is St Ellen (Helen). These two saints seem to be unusual choices but the reason for this is that Dr Walshs parents from Middlequarter were James Walsh and Ellen McDonald. Another reason these windows are so exceptional is that they, along with other works from the same company, won first prize (Fine Arts section) in the great Chicago fair of 1892 (held in the Field Museum, Chicago Ilinois). This was a massive world wide event held to celebrate 400 years since America was discovered.

Also, the original Parish Priests house on the main street was rebuilt in 1909 (demolished cir 2005 and now part of the GAA grounds). Electricity was added to the church by diesel generator in 1912. The Choir gallery stained glass windows were installed in 1914 donated by Dr Walter McDonald, Maynooth (born in Nicholastown). It depicts the fifteen mysteries of the rosary; Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious. In 1916 and 1917 the alter rails and current alter were installed made from the finest Carrara marble (Italy). The alter is a copy of the alter in Maynooth training college.The two statues on the side alters were installed in 1925 as well as the current organ which cost £1000 (so the organ cost a third of the price of the original church!). The exceptionally crafted pulpit, again in Carrara marble, depicts scences from the life of Jesus and was constructed at a cost of £1000 in 1930.

The below picture is of Mooncoin Church in Aug 1928 (click to enlarge). Notice on the left, the marble pulpit was not yet installed and a wooden one was still in its place. Also, the alter is pushed back onto the end wall, as before Vatican II the priest would say the mass with his back to the people (looking up towards the window/tabernacle). The alter was moved out from the wall so the priest could face people after Vatican II (the mass was also switched to english from latin at the time). The alter rails just in front of the alter were removed at this time. Some of the marble left over from this were used to make alter chairs which are currently used today. Also, the water font outside at the front door of the church was actually originally from the old church on Chapel street and would have been moved to the current church when it opened. It dates from around 1855 and is inscribed in rememberance of the parish priest of the time, Fr Walsh.

Mooncoin Church cir 1925
Mooncoin Church Aug 1928

Kilnaspic (St Killogues):
Kilnaspic predates Mooncoin by 4 years making it the oldest of the current churchs. It was built by the same Fr Ned Walsh who built Mooncoin, and was used as a test and template for the bigger church. Kilnaspic is basically a smaller version of Mooncoin church (excluding the two transepts). Like Mooncoin afterwards, it was built in the Gothic architectural style. This can be seen with all the 'pointed' arches over the windows and doors. Also, the main arch over the alter is pointed. The church was opened in 1866 and built by the Falconer brothers of Carrick on Suir. It replaced a church that was located just down the hill which was open in 1800, the remnants of which can still be seen towards the end of the present graveyard. The reason this older church only lasted 60 years was it was said to be damp and wet inside because of its location. This church was then predated before 1800 by another church on the same site (with a thatch roof). So there would have been three different churches around the current site. Therefore the graveyard was also in use before the current church was built. The church in Tubrid was a Church of Ireland chapel.

There was a school located to the right of the present church (roughly where there is a ramp today) which closed cir 1870. The stations of the cross in Kilnaspic date from 1924 and were received from Rev T Corcoran born in Cloneen (still hung today and can be seen in the pictures below). In 1928 the current alter was installed with a donation from Peter Dunphy native of Tubrid, late of Australia. It was originally more impressive than it is today with marble decoration on the back wall and the alter pushed back onto the end wall. This was removed with the changes in Vatican II in the 1960s and never reinstalled. The alter, in white marble, is engraved with a replica of the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci.

The most impressive piece of art in the church is the statue high behind the alter which was installed some years after the church was built (probably in the early 1900s, and an extension was built on to the church to house it). It is a likeness of Michelangelo's Pieta (with the addition of a cross and the fact that Mary is holding Jesus's hand), created with Carrara marble. It was made in Pietrasanta, Tuscany, Italy by a famous sculptor studio called Ferdinando Palla whos name is inscribed on the piece of art, as shown in the below photo. A picture of the sculptor at work in Italy is shown below also. Some of his work is on display in St Peters in Rome.

Ruins of old Kilnaspic Church entrance gate of older kilnaspic church
Kilnaspic interior
Kilnaspic Interior Fernado Palla Sculptures signature Fernado Palla at work Pietrasanta Italy.
Ruins of old Kilnaspic Church and old entrance gateway.
Kilnaspic Church interior 2013
Kilnaspic alter statue made by Italian sculptor company Ferdinando Palla.A picture above shows the Ferdinando Palla at work in his studio cir 1920.

Carrigeen (St Kevins):
Carrigeen church was rebuilt from foundation up on the site of a previous church in 1893 by parish priest Patrick Phlean. The current church is the third church to be built on the site. There are memorials inside the church today on the walls which were saved from the previous church and reinstated. There is an impressive bell located on the road side of the church which was installed in 1932 in memory of the Euscaristic Congress which took place in Dublin in that year (that Congress celebrated the 1500th anniversary of St Patrick coming to Ireland).The Grotto in Carrigeen was built in 1929.

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Schools

There are three primary schools and one post primary school in the parish of Mooncoin. The Presentation Girls School is in the village along with Scoil Muire Lourdes boys school which is also in the village. In Carrigeen village there is the mixed, St. Declans School national school.

Coláiste Cois Súire (secondary school) serves the post-primary education needs of the area. It is also situated in village of Mooncoin.

Girls school mooncoin Girls school, mooncoin
Carrigeen primary schoolCarrigeen primary school
Presentation Girls school, Mooncoin
St. Declans primary School, Carrigeen
Boys school, Main st. Mooncoin
Colaiste Cóis Súire Colaiste Cóis Súire Colaiste Cóis Súire
Scoil Muire Boys school, Mooncoin
Còlàiste Cois Sùire, Mooncoin

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Shops

There are, at present, 3 general grocer shops/supermarkets in the parish of Mooncoin.
These are:

Shop
Location
Blachfields Centra supermarket Main st, Mooncoin
Crokes Chapel St., Mooncoin
Mooncoin Stores and Pertrol Station Main st, Mooncoin
Ryans supermarket (Closed) Carrigeen village

Likewise there is a fast food takeaway (Graces) and a chinese takeaway located in the village.

  Crokes
Centra
Mulcahys
 
Crokes
Centra
Mooncoin Stores

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Pubs

Currently there are 4 Pubs in Mooncoin parish.

Pub
Location
Comerfords Main st., Mooncoin
The Royal Oak Rathkieran, Carrigeen
The Rose of Mooncoin  Main st., Mooncoin
Doyles Carrigeen

Comerfords
Howleys
Comerfords pub , Mooncoin
Howleys pub, Mooncoin(now closed)
Ryans pub The Royal oak
Doyles, Carrigeen
Royal Oak, Rathkieran

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Parish Hall

Mooncoin parish hall is located on the main street right in the heart of Mooncoin. It has been newly renovated after a fire which gutted most of the building some years ago. It is a great asset to the community with many gatherings, bingo and stage productions taking place there. It was first open in 1950 at a cost of £14,000.

Parish Hall, Main street
Parish Hall

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Other Amenities

Mooncoin has a range of other amenities including

Mooncoin Gaa pitch
Credit union
GAA Field and Sports Complex & Gym, Mooncoin
Credit Union

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Map of Mooncoin

Click on the map below to see an enlarged detailed map of Mooncoin parish.(It may take sometime to load)

Map of Mooncoin
Map of Mooncoin

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