Kilcredaun Head has two churches and one Holy Well. The first church is Kilcredaun Church and lies low down by the sea shore close to the Irish College. The second church Templenard is located on a high elevation overlooking the sea. Kilcreadaun Church is also known under two other names, Teampall Shearlais and Kilcharitain Church.
Kilcreadaun church is an early Christian Church consisting of a single cell (6.8m x 4.7 m).The walls are .7m thick. It is constructed of flagstone and shale and is now completely overgrown in ivy. There is a large broken slab on floor of church which may have been the alter stone. The west wall contains the door and the east wall has a single square headed window. The east window is semicircular and built of cut brown gritstone , the arch formed out of one stone. The west wall has a quadrangular window. The walls are 12 feet high and 2.5 feet thick. The graveyard alongside is believed to be very old and is almost completely inaccessible with blackthorn and brambles in abundance.
One headstone and a raised vault is all that can be seen in the graveyard and both have inscriptions. The headstone is is on its side and the inscription is :
” Erected by Mrs Terrett and a Few Friends in memory of her husbd To Terrett and Daughter Anne who died April 23rd 1819 aged 36 years. “
The vault has the following inscription but no date could be seen:
” Sacred to the memory of the under mentioned men who died of cholera. Corporal T Ryan, W Wilson, Gunners Williams and ?, John ?. Erected by the officers , non commissioned soldiers and gunners of Company 9 Battalion Royal Artillery “.
No record of any Terrett could be found in the area. The soldiers came from the Kilcredaun Napoleonic Tower and Battery a short walk away and there was an outbreak of cholera in the area in 1830.
One of its other names Teampall Shearlais is so called as Charles McDonnell is reputed to be buried here. In the small overgrown graveyard beside the church there is no vault or headstone however he may have been buried inside the church walls.The McDonnell family settled in Kilkee after obtaining leases of several lands from his kinsman Lord Clare and built Kilkee House near the ruins of Kilkee Castle. Charles died in Kilkee in 1743 and his son Charles MP for County Clare died in 1773.
Added By Charles McDonnell:Thanks for this information on west Clare history. The MacDonnell family records do state that three generation of the family, James d.1714, Charles James d. 1740 and Charles d.1768 were all buried in the family vault at Kilcredane near Carrigaholt.
It is also known as Kilcharitain Church by some and the story goes it was founded by Saint Caritan ,a friend of Saint Senan and the Holy Well is also known as Saint Caritan’s well. This name is now never used by the local people.
There is a Mausoleum to William Conyngham Vandeleur Burton 1849-1919 to the east of the church. Francis Burton was a member of a partnership along with Nicholas Westby and James McDonnell that purchased the forfeited estates of Viscount Clare from the Earl of Albemarle in 1698. The Burton estate in the parishes of Kilmacduane, Moyarta and Kilrush consisted of 14 townlands of 9,669 acres. William was an officer in the 68th Durham Light Infantry and held office of high sheriff of County Clare in 1868 alongside been Justice of the Peace for County Clare. He married Lilias Green in 1866 and died on 5/02/1919 aged 72 without issue. He lived in the nearby Carrigaholt Castle from which he moved to Carrigaholt Cottage in late 1800s.
Templenaard ( Teampall-an-Aird) is a mediaeval coarsely built Oratory. It is a single cell church and as the name suggests is situated in an elevated position overlooking the sea. Largely ruined with the east gable wall completely missing as well as portions of the south and north wall. No burial ground exists.
Saint Credaun’s Well ( Tobar -Credaun). Called after Saint Cretan, a disciple of Saint Senan was one of the most famous of the holy wells of Clare in the 19th century. Famous for its cures of sore eyes, bad bones and deformities. The well is situated on a cliff and is tidal and as the tide goes out fresh water begins to flow. it has a cave in the cliff wall and it was here that pilgrims stayed overnight to get the cure.