The Kilmore Carols

Kilmore is a village in south county Wexford, situated approximately 10 miles from Wexford town. Kilmore has so many claims to distinction that it would be difficult to attempt to rate one above another, for the people of the locality are equally proud of them all. They have good justification for being so too, because these things have brought considerable fame to the area. One of the most widely known traditions to bring fame to the parish of Kilmore is the custom of carol singing in the village church at Christmas time, which has been taking place for over 200 years. Here we will trace the history of the famous Kilmore carols from the mid 18th century to the present day.

Kilmore's unique Christmas carols have been sung without a break since they were introduced to the Parish by Very Rev. Peter Devereux, who was Parish Priest about 1751. Some of them were written by Very Rev. Wm. Devereux, P.P., Piercestown, a native of Tacumshane, where he is buried. The remainder were written by Bishop Luke Waddinge of Ferns. In all there are thirteen carols and eightof them are usually sung during the Christmas period, the firstat first Mass on Christmas Day and the last one on Sunday nearest Twelfth Day. The singers consist of six local men and have always included a member of the Devereux family, a tradition that is being continued to the present day. The singers divide into two groups of three and each group sings alternate stanzas. The beautiful carols are handwritten in a leather-bound book- the work of Mr. RichardO'Neill, a famous old schoolmaster.


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