Parish Of Birth
Clonakilty / Darrara
Irish College, Paris France
St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth Co Kildare, Ireland
Details Of Ordination
Rath and the Islands PP : 03/1878 – 13/10/1892
Castlehaven Adm : 1876 – 03/1878
Skibbereen Adm : 08/1861 – 1876
Aughadown CC : 09/1860 – 08/1861
Kilmacabea CC : 1858 – 09/1860
Cape Clear/Sherkin Island C.C. : 1854 – 1858
The Parish of Rath and the Islands (Baltimore and the islands of Sherkin & Cape Clear as well as many others of lesser note) to which Fr. Davis was appointed to in 1879 was exceptionally poor, and the island born population being all but destitute. To improve the conditions of the people he set about securing facilities for the fishing industry as then existed in the area. At this time, the Manx fleet and other vessels from England and Scotland – and sometimes from France, occasionally in the neighbourhood of Baltimore. He realised that if the facilities could be provided for the native population they could undertake the fishing industry as successfully as the strangers. He appealed to the charity of Baroness Burdett-Coutts , who some years previously had contributed to the relief of the then starving islanders of Cape Clear. The appeal was successful. Several thousands of pounds were committed to Fr. Davis, to be used at his discretion. This money he so utilised that the fishermen of the parish gradually became owners of boats equal to those of the Manx fleet. As a result Baltimore became the head-quarters of mackerel fishing on the coast. However, Baltimore harbour laboured under many drawbacks. All these drawbacks were remedied. Fr. Davis succeeded in obtaining a grant for the construction of a pier, and for the placing of buoys upon rocks at the entrance of the harbour. Later he was successful in the erection of a lighthouse. When the harbour was provided with appliances for safety and convenience, it was deemed necessary to form a Harbour Board. Fr. Davis was unanimously elected chairman.
Fr. Davis then adopted the previously conceived project of establishing a fishing school in Baltimore. The school project involved the expenditure of a large amount of money. Fr. Davis pleaded its cause before the Grand Jury of County Cork, and a grant of £1,000 was made to him. When the work of building the school was in progress, the Treasury, at the instance of Mr Balfour, granted £5,500 towards the completion and fitting-up of the school. On completion, the fishing school was formally opened by Baroness BurdettCoutts.
Fr. Davis was not yet at the end of his labours in connection with the fishing in Baltimore. He was aware that one of the great disadvantages under which the fishermen of the region laboured was the difficulty of transporting the fish to the English markets. This was ordinarily accomplished by steamers from Baltimore to Milford (Wales). However, there were times when these steamers were not available, and it was necessary to send the fish via Dublin and Holyhead. In these cases the fish had to be carted from Baltimore to Skibbereen, with the result that the fish greatly deteriorated in transit. To remedy this problem, Fr. Davis set about getting a railway link between Skibbereen and Baltimore. This project, when first started, seemed to have little promise of success, but Fr. Davis was not discouraged. He enlisted on his side the sympathies of a great number of Nationalist members of Parliament and of many who were not of Nationalist politics. He also enlisted the powerful aid of Baroness BurdettCoutts. In the end his efforts were crowned with success when a bill for the Baltimore railway was passed by Parliament.
However, he never lived to see the railway line open on the 2nd May 1893.
In 1874 he published posthumously the sermons, lectures, etc. of Very Rev. Michael B. Buckley, his friend and contempory – Sermons, Lectures, etc. etc. of The Rev. Michael B. Buckley McGlashan & Gill, Dublin.
Date Of Death
Place Of Death
Parochial House, Rath, Co.Cork
Place Of Burial
Sacred Heart Church, Rath, Co. Cork
His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Fitzgerald, Bishop of Ross, presided at the Solemn Requiem Mass. The celebrant of the Mass was, Fr. James O’Sullivan, P.P., Aughadown; deacon was, Fr. John Fehily, C.C., Skibbereen; sub-deacon was, Fr. Patrick Hennessy, C.C., Aughadown, and the master of ceremonies was, Fr. Daniel O’Brien, Adm. Skibbereen.