|Sunday 9th August 2020|| 9.00 a.m. (extra Mass) |
|Friday 7th August 2020||7:30pm|
Public Mass Commencing 15th July 2020
Present Capacity limited to 150 people
Modern Kilkee was formed in 1854 when the large parish of Kilferagh and Killard was divided approximately into its medieval components, Killard becoming modern Doonbeg. Before this the parishes had been united since at least the late seventeenth century. In 1704 the registered priest was a Fr. Daniel Gorman, ordained at Bordeaux in 1688. In 1731 the Report on the State of Propery identified separate parish priests for Kilferagh (Martin Sexton) and Killarfamined (Paul McNamara); probably one was in reality curate to the other for the larger parish, which had two mass houses, ‘ordinary cabins and not lasting’, according to the general description. There were also several unattached or ‘strolling’ priests present in the parish. Tradition places the Kilfearagh mass house at Corbally Cross, and Kilkee itself did not have a place of worship until 1831 when the parish priest, Fr. Michael Comyn, completed a new parish church in the resort, partly to accommodate the rising number of summer visitors.
Fr. Comyn, a native of Corbally, was known for his learning and hospitality and in a pastorate that lasted from 1827 until his death in 1854, he championed the cause of the poor, especially during the Great Famine. In Lever’s best-selling novel, Jack hinton (1843), he features the ebullient Fr. Tom Loftus, and the Irish-language tradition of Kilkee remembers him with great affection also. Fr. Comyn’s Kilkee church resembled a typical cruciform barn church, in all but one respect, that the entrance was sandwiched between tow octagonal castellated towers. The decoration of the interior took decades to accomplish In 1851-1852 two side altars were added and a few years later a baptismal font ans a bell were installed. Only in 1885 was seating provided in the main aisle. By that time it had been decided to build a new church for the parish, and although plans were shelved repeatedly over subsequent years, a £1,000 legacy left by Fr. Michael Quinlivan, P.P., provided the nucleus of a building fund which would be used when the time eventually arrived in 1961. shortly after the completion of the new church in 1963, the bodies of the seven priests buried within the walls of the old were removed and reburied nearby, and Comyn’s church demolished.
The new church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and St. Senan was officially opened on Sunday 21st July 1963 by Bishop Joseph Rodgers. It was built by contractor, Thomas Hayes of Killaloe, to a design by John Thompson of Limerick, well-known for his other churches in Killaloe, including Cross, Knockerra and Silvermines. Inspired by the Catholic cathedral of Coventry, England, the new church is of clean, modern design, and it seats 1,100 persons comfortably, ensuring a full view of the sanctuary area by all worshippers. Built of reconstituted stone, in which it might be considered an early essay, a central feature is the ‘baffle’ design, which means that the windows are hidden when looking towards the altar, which is afforded a maximum level of glare-free natural light. another important innovation was the Schulmerich Carillon, which reproduced electronically the effect of a carillon of five bells. The Chruch was dedicated The outside of the church was renovated again during the summer of 2007 when improvements were made to the grounds and the reconstituted stone fabric protected. The sanctuary area of the Church was renovated in 2010 with the installation of a new background lighting system and screens to enhance the ambiance of the church.
To mark the 50th Anniversary of the construction and dedication of the two parish Chruches at Lisdeen and Kilkee a Reembrance Prayer Room was desigend and opened in the former Mortuary Chapel area of Kilkee Church on Easter Sunday, 31st March 2013.