Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Killala Castle

The episcopal see of Killala appears to have been founded between the years 434 and 441 by St Patrick, who, during that period, was propagating the faith of Christianity in the province of Connaught.

Patrick built a church at this place, called Kill-Aladh, over which he placed one of his disciples, St Muredach, as bishop.

In 1255, a bishop of Killala, whose name is not given, accompanied the Archbishop of Tuam into England to petition the King for the redress of certain grievances to which the clergy were then exposed.

Robert of Waterford, who succeeded in 1350, was fined 100 marks for neglecting to attend a parliament assembled at Castledermot, in 1377, to which he had been summoned.

Owen O'Connor, Dean of Achonry, was advanced to the See by ELIZABETH I in 1591, and was allowed to hold his deanery with the bishopric; and his successor, Miler Magrath, was permitted to hold also the See of Achonry in commendam.

Bishop Hamilton, who succeeded in 1623, obtained from JAMES I a commendatory grant, of the See of Achonry.

Bishop Otway, who succeeded to the united sees in 1671, rebuilt the cathedral from the foundation.

The Sees of Achonry and Killala continued to be held together until the death of the last bishop, Dr James Verschoyle, in 1833, when they became annexed to the archiepiscopal province of Tuam, and the temporalities were vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

They both extend into the counties of Mayo and Sligo.

The River Moy and the Ox Mountains form the boundary between them.

The greatest length of Killala is from east to west 57 miles, by a breadth of 27.

Achonry stretches from north-east to south-west 35 miles, and is 27 broad.


KILLALA CASTLE, Killala, County Mayo, was the seat of the Lord Bishops of Killala and Achonry.

It was a tall, plain, three-storey, L-shaped building with a gable-ended tower-like block at the end of one of its arms.

The Castle was said to be ruinous by 1787, though some repairs were undertaken in 1796.

Around this time the Right Rev Joseph Stock, Lord Bishop of Killala and Achonry, 1798-1810, took up residence.

The Castle was occupied by French troops for a period.

The Right Rev James Verschoyle succeeded Bishop Stock in 1810; and when he died in 1834, the see of Killala was amalgamated with that of Tuam.

Thereafter Killala Castle ceased to the the episcopal seat.

For a period it was the residence of Walter James Bourke and family; then a warehouse; before being swept away in the 1950s for a housing estate.

First published in October, 2015.

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