by R. Shanahan
The village of Hollyford is located on all road maps half way between Tipperary town and Nenagh, Road Number R 497. It is beautifully situated in the Slieve Pheilim hills and attracts the attention of many Tourists during the summer months. Indeed Oliver Goldsmith when he wrote the lines about that mythical village Sweet Auburn ,( “The never failing Brook, the busy Mill, The decent Church that topped the Neighbouring Hill”) could well have been describing Hollyford.
However the original village or settlement was not located where it is to-day. It was centered around the old Penal Church which was at the end of the narrow lane leading on to the Lossett road which is commonly known as the New Road. It was called the new road in more recent times because it was only in the nineteen twenties it was built. The Penal Chapel, as it was called, was described as a barn-like structure with a thatched roof, clay floors and white-washed walls. People stood or brought a sugan chair to sit on during Mass. This Church, which was built by Fr Michael Hickey around 1750, was abandoned in 1822 after a new Church was built by Fr Walsh at a cost of £680.00 on the same site as the present Church. In 1968 under the guidance of Fr Fitzgerald, after 146 years, that Church was demolished and in 1969 the Church that stands there to-day was opened at a cost of £24,000.