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Parnell Indemnity Fund 1889. Subscribers, Durrus, Kilcrohane, West Cork.

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Two figures who were very prominent in local affairs and politics are Father Kearney and his Curate, later Parish Priest Father Timothy O’Leary, both Durrus.

Rev Michael Kearney P.P. 1835-1897, attended Diocesan College Cork and Maynooth from a substantial farming family in Manch, Dunmanway, Durrus 9 Feb.1886-1897 built a new church Kilcrohane 1895. The Skibbereen Eagle reported in September 1865 on his move as a curate from Kilcrohane to Inchigeela that his move was universally regretted by all denominations. He preached in Irish. He bought or rented Durrus Court from Lord Bandon. He featured in some of the Ballydehob Presentments for road building at Rossmore with Thomas Shannon in May 1896 and appeared before the Bantry Poor Law Guardians appealing for relief for a blind evicted tenant in Kilcrohane. He is reputed to have been a major purchaser of land on his own account and there are a number of properties in Rossmore and Brahalish listed in the 1901 Census as being owned by William Kearney, Manch, his brother.   One of these are lands (25 acres held yearly from the Bandon Estate) at Rossmore which he acquired by mortgage from Mary Evans of £88 5s in 1887.  She acquired the interest from her late husband William and paid off another mortgage in favour of George Rawlings, shopkeeper, Bantry and it is possible that Fr. Kearney advanced the money for this.  Attending funeral, Bantry Jane Dillon nee Roycroft (1843-1892)

His land expertise was called upon by the Dukelow family in Brahalish to divide a farm between two brothers to ensure both had water and access did not interfere with the others This he did to both their satisfaction this is the holding of the late Richie Dukelow and Pat McCarthy.

He was lampooned by a local poet, part of the words referred to his brother who married a Protestant (one of Luther’s breed) perhaps reflecting the then thinking.

In 1885 he was a nominator with Father T. O’Leary, C.C. to James Gilhooley, Bantry who was elected.  Gilhooly was returned unopposed as an MP for West Cork and Father Kearney was his assentor.  

William Kearney also owned Cummer farm which was put up for auction in 1898 and consisted of 250 acres with 80 good acres yielding 31/2 tons of hay to the acre.  He acquired Durrus Court and various lands from the Earl of Bandon in 1894 by way of lease for 99 years from 29th Sept 1894 at a rent of £25 he died on the 2nd July 1897 and let his interest to his successor Parish Priest of Durrus Daniel Foley he in turn assigned his interest to his successor Timothy O’Leary.  On his death the Bantry Poor Law Guardians adjourned for a week.