The name Templekelly derives from the Irish language and means the Church of the callow (marsh), suggesting that this was once marshy land, by the banks of the river Shannon. An early name for this ancient and important site, which is well documented for almost a thousand years was Callathamery (1291). The site appears in documents from ancient times (i.e. 1437, 1607, 1704, etc.) and appears to have been a functioning church until around 1700 A.D., when tradition holds that the thatched roof was blown off.
Templekelly Church has many of the hallmarks of an ancient church site with possible evidence of a circular enclosure in the surrounding landscape. Its elevated position and east-west aligned simple stone structures are typical features of early church sites. An old tradition, which exists to the present day, is that, once a funeral party enters the graveyard walls, the coffin is rested on the ground for a few moments to throw the wolves off the scent of the corpse.
Interestingly, Templekelly contains both Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland burials. While many of the old gravestones are difficult to decipher, some have unusual decorative features such as the rooster crowing, the sun, the moon, skull and cross-bones and angels trumpeting. Templekelly Graveyard has a long and rich history with the earliest surviving gravestone dating back to the early 17th century. An interesting grave is that of Fr. P. McKeogh (died 1760 A.D.), which is said to have been used to hide Fenian pikes during the Rebellion of 1798. Also an interesting family buried here were the O’Hickeys who were Physicians to the family of Brian Boru, High King of Munster, and were also Brain Surgeons and ancient books on medicine, which they wrote, are held in the British Library.
From these historic burials until the present time Templekelly graveyard has served as the final resting place for the residents of the parish of Ballina and Boher and its surrounding areas.
Templekelly, with its prominent location in Ballina village, is a key historical structure within the local community and for the parish diaspora.
Templeachally Civil Parish
County Tipperary, North Riding
BaronyOwney & Arra Poor Law Union Nenagh Catholic DioceseCashel & EmlyCatholic ParishBallina