The name Ardpatrick is derived from the Irish 'Ard Phádraig' meaning Height of Patrick. According to local tradition St. Patrick established a monastery here in the 5th century. As you may expect from the name the views from here are really stunning. There is evidence that the site was in use long before Patrick arrived. On the north side of the hill there are extensive earthworks. The church ruins are very basic, only the north and south walls survive. There is a stump of a round tower on outside the north wall of the graveyard. Ardpatrick was at its peak during the 11th/12th century. The church and tower may date to this period. A superb historical site, strongly recommended.
The name Ardpatrick is from the Irish 'Ard Phádraig' meaning the Height or Hill of Patrick, or the High Place of Pádraig. The ancient name of the hill was 'Tulach na Feinne' which means the hill of the Fianna. According to local tradition, the ruins on top of the hill of Ardpatrick are those of a monastery founded by St Patrick himself. The monastery of Ardpatrick was ruled by abbots drawn from the Déisí, the ruling Sept of An Déis Bheag, the territory in which the monastery was situated.
The parish of Ardpatrick was previously called Ballingaddy. Only recently did the parish revert to the name of Ardpatrick. The name Ballingaddy comes from Baile an Gadaihe, the 'Town of the Thief'. The thief was an Gadaihe Dubh Ua Dubháin, the 'Black Thief of O Duane'.
Ardpatrick was once part of the ancient parish of Ardpatrick was once part of the ancient parish of Kilquane, but has been a parish in its own right since ancient times, although it was joined with Kilfinane during penal times. In 1704 John Rahilly was registered as parish priest of Kilfinane and Ardpatrick. In 1861 Ardpatrick was separated from Kilfinane, and was formed as a separate parish. Rev. Thomas McIneiry CC, Newcastle, was its first parish priest.
The Church was opened in 1835. It is a beautiful Church and is a credit to the village.
The Church is connected to the Community Hall. The Church grounds are well cared for. It is in the centre of the village and is a nice sight to behold. The graveyard is across the road from the Church and situated upon the hill. The graveyard was once a monastery and there you can find the remains of a round tower and church.
The grotto was opened in the 12th August 1989. It is well kept and looks very nice. It is planted with scrubs and small trees and a bench to sit down and have a bite to eat. There is a pond beside the statue of Mary and there are goldfish in the pond. There are two castles in the village. There is Castle H which in the shape of the letter H. There is also Castle Oliver which is the nicest building in Ardpatrick. Many people have lived there over the years. Now people are trying to fix it up again. These are just some of the fine buildings in the area. Finally the Old Creamery which was knocked down has been developed into a park.
In 1845 the sisters combined their resources to build the New Castle Oliver, up the hill from where their grandfather’s house, Clonodfoy, had stood. Mary and Elisabeth chose the style of Scottish Baronial, a style popularised by Prince Albert, husband to Queen Victoria. The plans were only a few inches in size, and giving the uses of most of the rooms, are signed by the architect and dated 24th June 1845. They are in the Manuscript room of the national library in Dublin. Elisabeth, and very likely Mary, moved into Castle Oliver in 1848 and busied themselves with adorning the interiors, probably dividing their time between their new home and their other estate in England, until the following year when Mary married. A few years later Elisabeth also married to the uncle of her sister’s husband. So both sisters became Trench –Oliver wives. Elisabeth’s husband later became Lord Ashtown.
Both sisters were highly artistic. They made stained glass, painted panels on doors designed stencils and wallcoverings, and probably fabrics as well. Some of their work still survives at Castle Oliver. Lady Elisabeth Ashtown, as she was known, died on the 23rd February 1893, at the age of 81, having survived her husband by thirteen years. Having had no children together, Elisabeth left Castle Oliver to her husband’s grandson from his first marriage, the hon. William Cosby Trench. Mrs. White of Glenosheen, now in her 80s whose father worked at Castle Oliver, recalls her father mimicking his employer’s haughty manner: ‘ very Honorable he thought himself’ Mrs. White remembers him waving rather like the Queen as he passed by in his carriage, and says he used to send them delicious apples from the wall garden.
In about 1975 the last descendent of the Trench family left Castle Oliver, and it fell into a sad state. The estate had been reduced from 7,142 acres to just 15 acres. Even the entrance lodges were sold off. It is lucky that the castle survived at all, since many such building were burnt down or blown up in the troubles of the 1920s. Hopefully Castle Oliver is safe now, and will stand for hundreds of years.
In Kilfinane there is a stone monument containing a carved head. It was put there in 1998 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the beheading of Patrick Staker Wallis. He was executed by the local landlord, ‘Silver Oliver’ because he was stirring up trouble on the estate. You might say he was a Revolutionary; This was not an especially unusual thing to happen in those days, but understandably it made Silver Oliver very unpopular. In 1799 Silver Oliver died, leaving his eldest son Richard Oliver a wealthy man. Richard left Ireland and spent the rest of his life in England, neglecting his Irish inheritance. It was during these early years of the 19th century that Clonodfoy House fell into the careless hands of the steward Galloway, whose ghost is said to still haunt the defense. Richard Oliver was born on the site of what is now Castle Oliver farm. In 1806 he married an English girl, and through her, eventually inherited estates and coal mines in Yorkshire, (On one condition he changed his name to Oliver Gascoigne) They had four children, but two died, leaving Mary Elisabeth to inherit the Anglo-Irish Estates.