History of the Catholic Church in Kilkee.
Kilkee began as a town in the early 1800s when it had two houses , Kilkee house to the west and Atlantic house to the east. The Studderts lived in Atlantic house and they began to develop what is now Kilkee. It rapidly grew into a resort and became very popular. Kilferagh was the name of the parish in which Kilkee was situated. Before Kilkee became a small town the main centres of population were Kilferagh to the west ( where Kilferagh Graveyard is today ) and Lisdeen to the east. Every Sunday Protestants went west to Kilferagh Church while Catholics went east to Lisdeen Church from the new resort town. This continued until the building of the Catholic Saint Senan’s church in 1831 and the Protestant Saint James’s Church in 1841.
Father Michael Comyn.
New Catholic Church.
Finally work began on the new church in the 1950s with the help of a Building Fund which raised money by Whist , 45 drives and general fundraising. The new church dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and Saint Senan was officially opened on Sunday 21st July 1963 by Bishop Joseph Rogers and it was not without its detractors who saw no need for such a new church and were sorry to see the beautiful old structure been destroyed. It was built by a contractor from Killaloe called Thomas Hayes. It was designed by John Thompson of Limerick and was inspired by the Catholic Cathedral at Coventry. It seats 1,100 people comfortably with a full view of the altar.
On the same day a new Catholic Church in Lisdeen dedicated to Saint Flannan was also officially opened by Bishop Joseph Rogers in the same parish of Kilferagh. Two new Catholic churches officially opened in same parish on same day must make it some type of record.
Shortly after the completion of the new church in 1963 the bodies of the seven priests including Father Comyn buried within the walls were removed and reburied nearby in a small graveyard. The graveyard was opposite the new church and beside where the old church stood. The old Comyn’s Church was then demolished.