Kilmovee (Irish: Cill Mobhí, meaning "Church of Mobhí") is a village and civil parish in County Mayo, Ireland. It is a mainly rural parish on the R325 road, midway between Kilkelly and Ballaghaderreen.


Cill Mobhí
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°53′13″N 8°41′16″W
CountyCounty Mayo
56 m (184 ft)
 Urlaur: 523
Kilkelly: 839
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
  Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceM545936

In 1975, Kilmovee teacher Seosamh Mac Gabhann set up a Senior Céilí Band in Kilmovee, named Ceoltóirí Mobhí. The band gained recognition with two of their jigs, known as "The Kilmovee Jigs".[1] In 1977 one of the first rural swimming pools in Ireland was opened in Kilmovee.[2]

In March 2004, the Cois Tine Heritage Centre was opened and since then it has become a cultural centre for the people of the area.[3][4]

In 2011, the Annual Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School was established in Kilmovee to honour the Irish language playwright and music teacher Seosamh Mac Gabhann, who lived and worked in Kilmovee for much of his life.[5][6]


An annual charity running event, the Kilmovee 10K began in April 2010. It has been called "the flattest 10k in Ireland" and has attracted runners from all over the country.[7][8]

Kilmovee Shamrocks is the local GAA club. The Shamrocks have competed in county and regional competitions, with the ladies' team being particularly successful. Some of these ladies have won All-Ireland titles with the Mayo senior and minor teams and at other levels. Kilmovee GAA won the under-21 Mayo final in September 2007 for the first time. The Shamrocks also won the Under 18 title for the third time in a row in October 2007.

Townlands of Kilmovee

A townland is a small geographical unit of land used in Ireland and Scotland.

Name in English Name in Irish Translation
Aughadeffin Achadh Doiffin Divin's field
Ballinrumpa Baile an Rumpa town of the rupture or rump
Ballyglass Baile Glas green village
Barcul Barr Cuill top of the hazel
Carrowbeg Ceathrú Bheag the little quarter
Carrownalacka Ceathrú an Leaca quarter of the hillside
Cashellahenny Caiseal Laithinne Lahinny's stone fort
Clooncara Cluain Cártha lawn or meadow of the rock
Cloonfaulis Cluain Falas bright meadow
Cloonfeaghra Cluain Fiachra Fiachra's lawn or meadow
Clooniron Cluain Iarrainn meadow of the iron
Cloonnamna Cluain na Mná the woman's lawn or meadow
Culgarriff Cor Garbh coarse round hill (Cor also denotes a pit)
Culcastle Coill an Chaisil wood of the fort
Culclare Coill a' Chláir wood of the plain
Culiagh Coilleadh woodland
Derragh Doire Each the oakwood of the horses
Derrynaleck Doire na Leice oakwood of the flat stone
Glantavraun Gleann Tabhráin Tavran's Glen
Gowlaun Gabhlán a small fork
Kilkelly Cill Cheallaigh Ceallach's church
Kilmore Coill Mhór great wood
Kilmovee Cill Mobhi St Mobhi's church
Knockbrack Cnoc Breac speckled hill
Leveelick Leath-Mhíliuc the marshy half
Magheraboy Machaire Buí yellow plain
Raherolish Rath ar Eolais Eolus' Fort
Rathnagussaun Rath na nGiosán fort of the pikes
Rusheens East Ruisíní small point of land, or small woods
Rusheens West Ruisíní small point of land, or small woods
Shammerbawn Seamair Bán white sorrel, or shamrock
Shammerdoo Seamair Dubh black sorrel, or shamrock
Skeheen Sceithín a small bush or lone thorn
Sinolane Sonnach-mhulláin mound or rampart of the hill
Sraheens Sraithíní small holms
Tavrane Teamhrán a little hill commanding fine prospect
Tullyganny Tulach Gainimh hill of the sand
Egool Accomhal Old Irish, meaning a junction or connecting piece of Land
Urlaur Urlár a floor


In pre-Norman Ireland, the lands of Kilmovee formed part of the Kingdom of Sliabh Lugha, a territory ruled by the O'Gadhra Dynasty. Sliabh Lugha was a subdivision of the larger Gailenga kingdom, from which derives the modern name Gallen.

After the Norman Invasion, the parish of Kilmovee became part of the Barony of Costello. The Nangle or de Angelo invaders came southwest from the De Lacy territory in Carrick-on-Shannon and forced the O'Gadhras from their stronghold in Airtech Mór, building their own castle there in 1225. It became known as Castlemore and the region was sometimes called Castlemore-MacCostello.

Coolavin - The sept of O'Gara were given as Lord of Cuil Obh-Finn (Prince of Coolavin) and of Sliabh Lugha which was part of the Barony of Costello in Co. Mayo, where they had spread in the 13th century. O'Gara was seated at Moygara castle. By the 13th century the MacDermots became lords of Coolavin.

Source: Ireland's History in Maps

The Annals of Connacht mention a skirmish which took place in Clooncara, Kilmovee in 1464:

An attack was made by Muirgius son of Cormac Mac Diarmata Gall, at Cluain Carthaig in Sliab Luga, on Edmund of the Plain Mac Goisdelb, wherein Tomaltach Oc O Gadra was killed with one cast of a javelin.

Source: Annals of Connacht The Miscellany of the Irish Archaeological Society. Vol. 1

Ogham stone

An ogham stone found in a wall in Kilmovee is now mounted beside "The Three Wells." "The Three Wells" are reputed to have sprung up when St. Mobhi struck the ground with his staff when he had no water to baptise the local people.

According to the Celtic Inscribed Stones Project the inscription is somewhat damaged but the legible part reads: ALATTOS MAQI BR[--

Historical features

Brooklawn House

The first residence of the Bishop of Achonry in the Ballaghaderreen area.

The Glebe

The residence of the Protestant Rector for Ballaghaderreen. When the French army was marching east from Killala to Longford, the battalion came through Kilmovee to cross the River Lung. Local farmers joined the battalion to fight off the enemy. When the battalion was defeated, the local farmers’ lands were confiscated and given to the Protestant Church.

Church of Mobhí

Kilmovee is known in Irish as Cill Mobhí (Church of Mobhí). Mobhí (Irish pronunciation: [məˈvʲiː]) was known as "Mobhí the Teacher" and is believed to have died in 545 AD. The name Mobhí is a pet form of the name Berchán.[9]

St. Mobhi's monastery at Glasnevin was frequented by such famous men as St. Canice, St. Comgall, and St. Ciaran. A pestilence which devastated Ireland in 544 caused the dispersion of Mobhi's disciples, and Columba returned to Ulster, the land of his kindred.[10]

Old RIC Barrack

According to the 1901 census there were three RIC Barracks in the parish of Kilmovee; one in Kilkelly, one at Rathnagussaun and one at Sraheens. The Barracks at Sraheens is still standing though now derelict. During the War of Independence, in June 1921, the RIC barracks at Sraheens was subjected to sniper fire from the Kilkelly Company of the East Mayo IRA under the command of Mick Moffett. One Black and Tan soldier was wounded during the operation and as a result the barracks was abandoned, thus ending colonial rule in this small corner of Connaught.[11][12]

Stone Forts

The parish of Kilmovee has numerous Iron Age stone forts in various states of preservation the finest preserved examples can be seen in Culcastle [13] and Shammerdoo.

Most common surnames in Kilmovee in 1856-7

Surname No of Households
Duffy 99
Horan 29
Frain 28
Higgins 26
O'Grady 21
Cafferky 18
Moran 18
Dillon 15
Grennan 15
Kelly 14

Source: Irish Times Ancestry Research

References to Kilmovee

While quarrying in the Kilmovee, Co Mayo, district a man named Callaghan hit upon a piece of ore one and a half pounds' weight which is believed to be gold. This is the second "find" of a similar nature in this quarry within the past few years - The Tuam Herald, Saturday, April 3, 1909 Tuam, Co Galway.

Source:Ireland Old News

Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland published in 1837 gives the following account of Kilmovee:

KILMOVEE, a parish, in the Barony of Costello, County Mayo, and province of Connacht, 5 miles (W. by N.) from Ballaghadereen, on the road to Castlebar; containing 4240 inhabitants. It comprises 19,668 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, including 8500 acres of bog, and the remainder is very barren and mountainous.
It is a vicarage, in the diocese of Achonry, forming part of the union of Castlemore; the rectory is impropriate in Viscount Dillon. The tithes amount to £200. 8. 10., which is equally divided between the impropriator and the vicar. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and has chapels at Kilmovee and Glen. About 330 children are educated in four private schools. There are some remains of the old church in a burial-ground.

Source: Library Ireland


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