Brosna, County Kerry

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Brosna is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°19′N 9°12′W / 52.31°N 9.2°W / 52.31; -9.2Coordinates: 52°19′N 9°12′W / 52.31°N 9.2°W / 52.31; -9.2
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Kerry
 • Town 72 km2 (28 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Urban 1,200
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference R746888

Brosna (Irish: Brosnach) is a parish situated in the Sliabh Luachra area of County Kerry, Ireland. It lies 16 km (9.9 mi) from the town of Castleisland. Its electoral area incorporates 2356.502 ha (5,823 acres 2 roods and 6 perches). The present population is 1,200. It consists of Brosna town and 34 townlands. It is a mainly agricultural rural parish, supporting two churches, two schools, a post office, and five public houses.


Brosna is a village in north east County Kerry. Some famous Munster rivers have their sources in the parish – the Clydagh, the Braonach, and the Munster Blackwater. The highest point is Mount Eagle. It is in the barony of Trughanacmy.

Crochaun Mountain is 1,400 feet (430 m) above sea level, with its wonderful view. Brosna lies on the Cork/Kerry and Kerry/Limerick borders. The nearest neighbours are Castleisland and Knocknagoshel in Kerry, Abbeyfeale and Mountcollins in Limerick, and Ballydesmond and Rockchapel in Cork.


In 1837 Darren Horan founded Brosna and it contained 12,168 inhabitants in 18,013 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at 2180 pound per annum. A large portion of the land consisted of coarse mountain pasture and bog, the greater part of which might be reclaimed. A new line of road, about 8 miles (13 km) in length, was in progress, at the expense of Col. Drummond and C.Fairfield, Esq., extending from the bridge over the Clydagh (an arch of 60 feet (18 m) span), on the new road from Listowel to Newmarket, and passing through this and the adjoining parish of Ballincuslane to the village of Ardnagrath, on the old mountain road from Castleisland to Millstreet. It was in contemplation to extend this road to Scartaglin, to form a junction with the new Government road from Castleisland to King William's town, by which the surrounding country would have been greatly improved. There were 2 private schools, in which about 120 children were educated.

The name Brosna[edit]

The people and places in this vicinity tend to get nicknames which stick with them over the years. No less Brosna or Brosnach which translates to firewood. This has no bearing on the old name Cathair Bessleen in the calendar of entries in the papal register.

The church[edit]

An old thatched church was built about 1800 when Fr Nicholas Moore was parish priest, in the grounds of the graveyard near the present Church. (he died in 1803) The present Church "St Moling & St Carthage" was built in 1868 when Fr Patrick Moriarty was parish priest, was designed by architect George Ashlin. This Church is in gothic form and was built from dressed stones quarried from the lands of Pat O'Callaghan in Knopoge.

The local farmers drew them to the site with horses and carts. The roof beams were made of pitch pine and the seating is also pine. Many of the stained glass windows were donated by parishioners. The altar is marble designed by Pugin and unequalled worldwide. On arrival in Brosna it was transported by 11 horses. A fitting adornment to the beautiful church and stained glass windows behind the altar. The marble altar rails are much younger and were donated by Denis Guiney in 1946, in memory of his parents Cornelius and Julia Guiney (this is the Denis Guiney who began Clerys store in Dublin).

The Presbytery was built when the Church was, in 1868, a great stone building. This has been home to parish priests and Catholic curates who have served the parish. It was restored by Revd. Tadhg O'Doherty in 1998. The Church's restoration was completed in 2010. The original stone faced interior with a slightly modern twist augments the gothic atmosphere. The church has been the centre of much interest since its completion.

St Moling's Holy Well[edit]

In 614 AD it was in the foothills of Sliabh Luachra that Saint Moling's mother who was a native of these parts, gave birth to her baby while marooned in a fall of snow as she returned to her parents home from Carlow in Leinster. A service of angels descended to the spot where the baby lay. The snow melted for 30 feet (9.1 m) around him and a spring well marked the spot.

St Moling performed many miracles. He was Archbishop of Ferns. He returned to Carlow to his father's royal homestead where he built a monastery. It was here he died and was buried in Tigh Moling in 646 AD. This well has been a place of pilgrimage over the years. People have paid visits to the well every Saturday in May. A decade of Rosary is said at each of the five kneelers around the well, going three times around the kneelers. Then taking sips of water from the well in their cupped hands, and many cures have been attributed.