by John Duffy
When St Patrick came to Ireland in the year 432 he set about converting the natives to Christianity. On his travels around Ireland he visited Killeen Cormac which was a Druidic settlement at the time. The chief family was called Dutaig, the English translation of which means Duffy.
St Patrick also visited Glassealy and Mullaghmast where he blessed wells. Chapels were built in USK, Kyle, Moyleabbey, Davidstown, Glassealy and Narraghmore. Traces of these have survived.
Davidstown has the finest ruin; it is believed that the chapel here was used until the Reformation, after which the roof fell in through neglect. In 1649 Cromwell’s army leveled the chapel at Narraghmore with a cannon.
There is a mass rock on the hill of Crookstown where mass was offered during Penal times. The hill is still known as Crookanavin, the Hill of the Mass.
Around the year 1720 a plot of ground was procured at Crookstown and the chapel was built. The building was first roofed with thatch and sometime later was re-roofed and slated. The first chapel at Crookstown was a Cruciform shape and served the parish for up to 40 years.
During the rebellion of 1798 a battle was fought at Pike Bridge near Narraghmore. Malachy Delaney, a native of Calverstown led the insurgents. He was escaped to America. Twenty years later as he was on his way back to Kildare, he was involved in an accident. As he was dying he made a will and gave his money to the priests of Crookstown to have seats made for the chapel.
Cardinal Cullen administered Confirmation to 197 Children on August 7 1854. This old chapel was later turned into a boys’ and girls’ school. All that now remains of it is the Little Theatre.
Building work on the present parish chapel, which is situated across the road, started on May 3 1860 and was completed until 1867. Although the building was not completed until May 3, 1867, the first mass was offered in it on 1864. The bell in the tower was hung on Hallows Eve in 1867. The builders took the precaution of putting a piece of leather on the striker in case the vibrations of the bell would damage the tower. The cost of the building was £1500.