Some Parish History

Rev. Matthew Kelsh

Fr. Kelsh was the great builder of churches and schools in the parish.

Fr. Matthew Kelsh was born in Slane, studied in Maynooth and was ordained in June 1805. After a time as curate in Ardbraccan and elsewhere, he was appointed parish priest of Kilbeg in 1810, where he completed two chapels, which had been commenced by his predecessor.

In 1813, Dr. Plunkett, bishop of Meath, appointed him pastor of Kilberry. He died 23 February 1867 and is buried in the churchyard in Kilberry. The inscription on his headstone reads

This tribute of respect and affection
Is erected by a grateful and attached flock
To their late lamented and venerated pastor
The Rev. Matthew Kelsh
Who having lived and laboured amongst them
In the united parishes of
Kilbarry and Oristown for fifty four years
Departed this life on the feast of St. Mathias 1867
Aged 84 years
The most enduring record of his merits and of his virtues
Is read in the many monuments to religion
Raised around which bear his name
Our duty is to pray fervently
That he may receive the Reward of his good works
In eternal rest with God. Amen.


He built two churches, Kilberry in 1839 and Oristown in 1841 dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria – a beautiful maiden of noble birth.
He also built three schools in the parish, Oristown in 1841 in the church grounds, Kilberry in 1856 and Wilkinstown a year later in 1857.

Kilberry  School 1856

According to Griffith’s Valuation 1854, a Rev. Matthew Kelch occupied house, offices and land in Randlestown. The total acreage was thirty-four acres three roods and thirteen perches. The annual rateable valuation of the land was £35 and the buildings £9.The immediate lessor was Matthias Everard.



Rev. Ulick Fursey Kyne

Rev. Ulick Fursey Kyne succeeded Fr. Ryan as Parish Priest of Oristown-Kilberry on 4 May 1966. A native of Longwood, he was educated at St. Finian’s and the Irish College in Rome where he was ordained in 1936.
He served as C.C. in Kilbeggan (1937-38), Moynalty (1938-42), Dunshaughlin
(1947-57), Duleek (1957-62) and Beauparc (1962-66).
He died suddenly whilst on a visit to FR. Kilmartin in Ballynacargy parish on 8 May 1968 and is buried in Kilberry church grounds.
He was aged 54 years.

Chaplain to the Forces

Fr Ulick Fursey was a British Army chaplain during the war and landed with his men on the Normandy beaches. Supplement to the London Gazette, 24 March, 1942 carried the below announcement:-
‘The Rev Ulick Fursey Kyne, B. Ph., B.D. (223409), (R.C.) 24 February 1942.’
His brother, Most Rev. Dr. John Kyne was Bishop of Meath, 1947-66. He died while Fr Ulick Fursey Kyne was serving in Oristown parish.

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