St Kevin’s Church Kilnamanagh Celebrates 40th Anniversary

By Pat Curran

KILNAMANAGH Housing Estate started in 1973 with 1,500 houses, making it the largest private housing Estate in Europe at that time.

Birchview Close was the first inhabited section with the rest of Birchview following; then Elmcastle, Tamarisk, Redwood, Parkhill and Treepark growing over the years.

Fr Michael 01

At the beginning there were no facilities on the Estate. The bus service was poor and the only shop handy was a small shop beside the Cuckoo’s Nest pub on the Greenhills Road.

As houses were built further away from the Cuckoo’s Nest it became necessary for people to make other arrangements. Some householders set up little shops in their halls and sitting rooms. These only carried basic items but were a welcome addition to the surrounding area. In November 1977 Dunnes Stores opened.

This not only brought much needed shopping and other facilities but it provided employment for the local people. The community started to be self-sufficient.

Schools were built in 1975. These catered for 30 children, both boys and girls: in 1976 a separate school for boys was built. The first Principal of the girls’ school was Treasa Bennett and Liam McMathuna of the boys’ school.

Numbers increased over the years and in 1983 eight new rooms were added to each school. The schools played a large part in the community.

The school hall also acted as the Church with mass being held there until the Church itself was built in 1978.

Father Domhnall O’Scanaill was the first priest appointed to the parish. He organised the financing for the Church by issuing an invitation to everyone in the area to ‘Buy a Brick’.

All the monies collected went to the Church fund, in April 1978 the foundation stone was laid and on the 17th September 1978 the Church was opened by Most Reverend Dermot Ryan and was dedicated to St. Kevin who had many connections with Kilnamanagh.

The first person baptised in the new church by Domhnall O'Scanaill was Damian Paul Byrne on 24/9/1978 the son of Declan and Pauline Byrne, 1223 Kilnamanagh.           

Fr O’Scanaill initiated a novel fundraising event in 1979; he decided to link the area of Kilnamanagh with Glendalough making it both a spiritual event and fun day, thus started the Kilnamanagh Cycle Rally.

People from the parish got sponsorship for cycling from Kilnamanagh to Glendalough and home again following, as far as possible, the old pilgrimage route while other family members and parishioners followed on in either cars or organised buses.

Picnics, walks and games took place and proceedings were brought to a close with Benediction at the lakeside in Glendalough with the participation of priests from both parishes.

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of St Kevin's Church, Kilnamanagh, being blessed and opened. The weekend of 1st to 4th June, including the Feast Day of St Kevin, sees the celebrations to mark this milestone in the history of Kilnamanagh.

A variety of events are planned over the weekend to include all the family and to take a walk down memory lane. Share the event with all you think might like to attend! See the parish website at

Friday, June 1: The Encounter - 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm: An evening of prayer, reflection and music. Guest speaker Aisling McKee will share on her faith. (Sacrament of Reconciliation available)

Saturday, June 2: Festival of the Parish Family - 12 noon to 4 pm: A walk down memory lane through the history of the Parish with displays of memorabilia from parishioners. Avail of the opportunity to see current ministries and to get involved in building the parish of the future. Priests who served in the Parish are invited to the final hour which will be a prayerful tour of the church.

Sunday, June 3: Mass of Thanksgiving 11 am: Mass of Thanksgiving followed by refreshments for all and entertainment for children, including games and face painting. Be there to get a slice of the 40th Birthday cake!

Monday, June 4: Glendalough A trip to Glendalough by bus. Departing St. Kevins’ 9am. The bus for this trip is fully booked out.

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