Kilbarrack owes its name to St Berach, also spelled “Bearach”. The monk who later became a Saint, established a church on the site of what is now the Kilbarrack Graveyard at Dublin Road, Sutton.
St Berach spent some time there in his early days, and is said to have performed many miracles.
Berach was a native of Termonbarry in Roscommon. He was a disciple of St Kevin, and he died in 595 AD.
He was of the tribe of Cinel Dobtha, or O’Hanley of Doohey Hanley, to which also belong the MacCoilidh family
Most of his long life was spent in the Diocese of Elphin, and he built his church at Cluain Coirpthe since known as Termonbarry or Kilbarry.
His sister, St Midabaria, was abbess of a nunnery at Bumlin (Strokestown), of which she is venerated as patroness on 22 February.
Under the title of “Berach of Cluain Coirpthe” St Berach is honored in several martyrologies, and his holy life attracted pilgrims to Kilbarry from all parts of Ireland.
The MacCoilidh family, whose name was anglicized to Cox in the early years of the seventeenth century, were hereditary custodians of St Berach’s crosier, and were coarbs, or lay abbots of Kilbarry.
The crosier is now in the Dublin Museum. In 1890, Dr MF Cox, of Dublin, the lineal representative of the MacCoilidhs, unearthed St Berach’s boat, and had it placed beside the present Catholic church of Whitehall, near Kilbarry.
Some authorities give his feast day as 11th February, but most martyrologists assign him 15th February.