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Chapels and Coose and Clare

The arrival of Dr. Arthur Magennis in the parish corresponded with the easing of the Penal Laws and the passing of the first of the Relief Acts. Sometime before 1781, Laurencetown Chapel had been in existence in Coose. In a survey done in that year by Henry McClatchy, a chapel, a chapel yard and a paddock are shown. That the site chosen for the first post-Reformation church should have been in Coose is by accident rather than by design.

 The townland of Coose belonged to the Lawrence family and being a member of an enlightened family, untainted by the religious bigotry of the period, Henry Lawrence was persuaded by his daughter to grant the use of a flailing or threshing house to those people who were seen to worship in the open, in all weather conditions. The request was duly granted and so the Catholics of the parish found themselves in possession of a building in which Mass could be celebrated. Precise dating of the granting of the use of these premises is impossible to establish. No documentary evidence exists, and indeed it is quite possible that it was before 1781 that the church came into use. Fr. Hugh O' Kelly succeeded Dr. Arthur Magennis as Parish Priest of the Union of Tullylish, Donacloney, Seapatrick and Magherally. At the age of 34, Fr. O' Kelly arrived in Tullylish to continue the work of his predecessor. He was fortunate to befriend the landlords of the area and this enabled him, when the political climate was ripe, to negotiate a lease of the chapel and ground in the townland of Coose.

Laurencetown Chapel was not the only edifice used by the parishioners. Although no lease survives, records show that a Mass House existed in Clare from the second half of the eighteenth century. Perhaps it was part of the original land of the Magennis Clan who had a strong fortification in the townland, and it is reasonable to assume that sacred worship would continue in an established `house'. However, this was not to survive the ravages of the next wave of sectarian violence.




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