The below is a guest post from Irish family historian Gerry Kennedy, who lives in Crusheen, Ireland. This post gives some further context and background history on the parish of Crusheen, which may be particularly helpful for those searching the Crusheen Parish Registers 1860 – 2014 on Ancestry.
Origins of the name
The name ‘Inchicronan’ is from the Gaelic ‘Inis Cronain’, meaning the Island of Cronan, a name for the original site of a 7th century monastic establishment founded by Saint Cronan, the patron saint of the parish.
The present day parish is known as Crusheen – a name which came into existence in the 18th century and is a direct translation from the Gaelic ‘Croisin’, meaning a little cross roads, where the roads from Galway, Limerick, Ennis and Lisdoonvarna converged. There was an inn at the cross and travellers would arrange to meet at the little croisin – hence the name.
Origins and history of the parish, abbey and church
- The Parish of Inchicronan (Crusheen) was originally established around 1300 A.D. by the Augustinians.
- The Augustinians founded a monastery at the ancient ecclesiastical site at Inchicronan in 1189 having been granted possession by Domhnall Mor O’Brien, Earl of Thomond.
- In about 1422 the adjoining small parish of Kiltoola was amalgamated with Inchicronan and has been part of Inchicronan parish ever since
- Inchicronan Abbey served as the parish church until 1543, when it was suppressed by Henry VIII who then granted possession to the O’Briens, Earls of Thomond, descendants of the original patron.
- The abbey was repaired for service as a protestant parish church in 1615. There is no record of any services having been held there. Since the late 1600s it has been used as a burial ground.
- The current Catholic Church was built in 1836/37. However, the parish baptismal records only exist from 1860.
The northern boundary of the parish coincides with the Clare-Galway border and the parish of Shanaglish. To the north-west is the parish of Kilkeedy (Tubber), to the west, Ruan, and Dysert; Kilraghtis (Barefield) lies to the south, and Clooney to the south-east. Killanena (Caher Feakle) is to the North East while Tulla lies on the eastern border.
The village and parish can be accessed at J15 on the M18.
The population of the parish reached its peak in 1845 /46 when it was approximately 5500.
The pre famine census of 1841 recorded the population at 5,118 while ten years later in the 1851 census the population was 3,164. The parish population declined steadily over the next 150 years due to emigration and in the census of 1996 reached its lowest point at 717.
The start of the 21st century brought an influx of new houses in the village of Crusheen and by 2011 the population had grown to about 1,200, a level last reached in the mid-1940s. The current population is about 1,250.
There were three primary schools in the parish, all of which operated from the 1840s. These were situated at Crusheen, Ballinruan and Drumbaniff and replaced pay or hedge schools which had existed prior to 1840.
School records for all three schools exist, the earliest from 1862. Drumbaniff and Ballinruan schools have closed and have amalgamated with Crusheen since the 1970s.