The word "Donoughmore" comes from the Irish words "Domhnach Mor" meaning "Great Church". Usually only churches established by St. Patrick were styled "Domhnach". Donoughmore Church is an eleventh or twelfth century building, consisting of a nave and chancel with an overcroft and Irish Romanesque chancel arch and doorway of great beauty. Because of its importance, it is now preserved as a National Monument in the charge of the Board of Works. The church stands on an elevated ridge and Fr. Power who wrote "Place Names of the Decies" said it could be seen with the naked eye from the northern slopes of the Comeragh Mountains in Co. Waterford as well as from the highlands of Ossory. The church is well built and is on the site of an early Christian period monastery associated with St. Farrannan.
To the east of the church, extensive earth works - best seen from the air - suggest the position of this early monastery. It is reported that a small church to the south east of the present one was destroyed in the early 19th century. Donoughmore was the principal church in the locality for centuries. Donoughmore Church has been in ruins since the Reformation, if not before.
The church is our link back to St. Patrick and to the coming of the Faith to our locality. Donoughmore reminds us of our roots of the faith in the area and how the people have kept that faith through all the upheavals and difficulties of the centuries. Hopefully, we can draw from their courage to continue to pass on the faith to the next generation.
St Farannan was Bishop of Donoughmore for some years. He probably had a monastery of monks in Donoughmore under him. He left his native land in obedience to a dream and this led him to the abbey of Walsort near Meuse . He was elected superior of the abbey the year of his arrival. Otto 1 of Germany had chartered Waulsort Irish property, over which the Irish monk was to rule in perpetuity as long as one remained in the community. It flourished and increased under Farannan with such an influx of postulants that he negotiated the annexation of the neighbouring abbey of Hastiers. For his church he obtained from the Christian princes the `Truce of God`, sanctuary and immunity from law to all bona fide pilgrims to Waulsort on the festival and during the octave. On the 30th April 982 he died, his relics are still venerated and his name held in benediction.
We can be proud to have had such an illustrious person associated with Donoughmore.
Donoughmore Mass by John Joe Keane, Lisronagh
As we are present on this spot,
A relic of the distant past,
In remembrance of the faith,
Goodness, history, at any rate.
The sacrifices of long ago,
That, humbled, helped to grow,
Do spring to the present and the changes,
A basic message resides, rearranges.
Through the journey of the ages,
In wars, peacetime, all weathers rages,
Faith was nurtured, handed down,
In penal days, at mass rocks, from God's crown.