The Story of Cooliney Graveyard, Co. Cork

Headstone inside ruined church, Cooliney graveyard, Co. Cork

This church ruin and graveyard are in the townland of Cooliney, in the civil parish of Charleville and in the barony of Orrery and Kilmore.
They are located west of Ballhea junction on the L1322, southwest of Charleville town.
The rectangular ruin of the church is located southeast of the centre of the graveyard. The north and south walls are best preserved. The remains of the doorway are west of the centre of the east wall. The site of this church is listed in the Papal taxation of 1291.
The graveyard is approached by a short avenue from the road and is enclosed by a stone wall to the east. There are many 18th and 19th century headstones, the main concentration of them being to the north of the church. There are approximately ten memorials in the interior of the church, and few to the south. Many low uninscribed gravemarkers are identified. 
A total of 94 memorials were recorded.
Surnames recorded include Caughlan, Barrett, Hooper, O'Doherty, Nolan, O’Sullivan, Corkery and O’Riordan.
Interesting Facts
In the interior of the church is a cross-inscribed recumbent slab to Thomas Dore, dated to 5th January 1633, with both Latin and English inscriptions. His parents William and Sarah Dore erected the memorial.
There is an 18th century 2-storey country house with outbuildings located immediately south west of the graveyard.
Michael Cormican, the folklore collector, has recorded the story of Patrick Sarsfield passing through this area on his way to Limerick from the battle of Aughrim. He got his horses’ shoes changed backwards in Cooliney so that the English soldiers would think that he was gone the opposite direction!
This post was researched and written as part of a grassroots heritage tourism project ( The stories were initially gathered during community survey of the graveyard. They form part of the Historic Graves Project Destination for Ballyhoura (