St. Brigid's Church, Clonakenny
St. Patrick's Church, Couraguneen
In 1704 the registered priest for Bournea, Corbally, Roscrea and Rehill was a Fr. Laughlin Cunane. During 1782 and for some time afterwards, during a period when there was a great shortage of priests in Killaloe diocese, two Franciscans named Hogan, discharged parish duty of Bournea, although it is uncertain whether either of them was parish priest. No other example of a Franciscan parish priest is known from Killaloe in the post-Reformation period. For a short time during the 1860s the future bishop of Killaloe, Dr. Thomas McRedmond, served as curate in Bournea. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Clonakenny village was the location for the parish church, at first a typical Mass house, which was later replaced by a thatched chapel and later again by another larger building. Construction dates for these successive buildings are uncertain and of the last of the three, which was dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady, all we know is that by early 1890s its roof was in a dangerous condition. Alarmed by the state of what he called a “wretched barn called a church,” the parish priest, Fr. Michael Curry, embarked or the construction of a new building on the same site.
Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Couragneen side of the parish has been the location for the second church in Bournea. In 1812 a church at Shanballynahagh, which for that time was unusual in being architect-designed, by a local man named Bergin who was probably the builder also. Bergin's name appears along with that of parish priest Fr. Joseph Downes, in an inscription over the front entrance. The facade design is exceptional according to Maurice Ciaig, in being based on the twelfth Century St. Cronan’s ruined church at Roscrea, a few miles away. A cruciform barn-shaped building typical of the period it stood until recently beside the modern church. In1999 it was discovered to be in such a dangerous structural condition it had demolished, although, commendably, the facade noted by Craig has been preserved.
Work began on the new building in 1982 on a site donated by the Buckley family, and to the design of Ennis architects, Merry and Company. Construction work was done entirely by the voluntary labour of the parishioners in their spare time. The altar and reredos from the older building, by Earley and Powell of Dublin, were re-erected in the new church and a marble lectern in an appropriate style placed in front of the altar. Completed in 1983, the church was dedicated by Bishop Michael Harty as St. Patrick's Church.