Parish Priests of Doon since 1619

 

Fr. James Ryan 1619.

Fr. Ryan is thought to have been PP of Doon before 1619. There is no definite record of this. Records show that there was a headstone in the old graveyard which seemed to date 1619.

 

Fr. John OLahi

[OLahey] PP Castletown [Doon] 1652.

Joannes O Lahi, parish of Castletown was one of the signatories in a Roman scribal copy of a postulation for Fr. Fabian Ryan, OP, STM, as bishop of Emly, dated 23/04/1652.

 

Fr. Thady O Quirke

Prebendary of Doon in 1652

Thaddeus O Quirke Prebend, Canon de Dowen, signed the postulation for Fr.Fabian Ryan OP, as bishop of Emly, 23/04/1652.

 

Fr. Connor O'Coffey

PP Doon 1681

A warrant for his arrest issued 04/01/1681. He was not there in 1704, when Fr. Gelasius Heffernan was pastor.

 

Fr. Gelasius Heffernan

PP Doon, Castletown, Toem 1704

He registered in Limerick, 11/07/1704, as PP of the above parishes [modern Doon and Cappawhite]. He resided at Kilmoylan near Doon village. He was ordained in 1686 at the age of 26 at Garryricken near Callan by Dr James Phelan, Bishop of Ossary.

 

Fr. Michael Hickey

PP Toem in 1732 Ob.c.1763

The Protestant Report, 1731, for the union of Castletown and Toem, stated that there were 3 Popish priests in the Union, two old Mass houses and one new, and 7 Popish schools. The rector Rev. Newport White, in the report dated 09/12/1731, continued: In the Parish of Castletown -1 old Mass House, 3 Popish schoolmasters, 1 Priest, who likewise officiates in the parish of Toem. In the Parish of Donohill 1 old Mass House, 2 Popish schoolmasters, 1 Priest, who likewise officiates in the Parish of Aghacroo and one of Fr. Hickey's parishes. This statement is vague and confused, but we learn that in 1734 Fr- Hickey's parish was called Carnahala [i.e. roughly modern Cappawhite and Hollyford] PP Toem in 1752 and 1754, he was dead before 1766. His tombstone in Toem graveyard, scarcely decipherable, states that he died April, 176-, His chapels were, probably those of the Fox-cover in Knockanavar, where it bounds Shanacloon, and Losset in Hollyford.

 

Fr. Nicholas Hayes

[also O'Hea] PP Doon 1752-1756 He was appointed PP Doon in 1752, and there until 1755. At the year 1756 Fr. Mannin PP Killenaule, noted that he had celebrated 2 Masses Pro dfto.Rdo. Nicholas Hayes, so that it may be presumed that Fr. Hayes died about this year.

 

Fr. John Hayes

PP Doon c 1756 to c 1764.

Probably the John Hayes who was ordained for Emly diocese by Archbishop Christopher Butler in Thurles Chapel on 17th of September 1742. He probably became PP Doon on the death of Fr. Nicholas Hayes, c 1756. He was buried in the old graveyard of Doon; his tombstone, a horizontal slab, is so badly weathered that it is almost impossible to read the inscription; a tentative reading is: here lyeth the body of the Revd. John Hayes, PP Doon, who departed this life, March 25th 1764, aged 47. He was a curate in Emly diocese in 1752, He was quite distinct from Rev John O'Hea who was also a curate in Emly diocese.

 

Fr. Patrick Treacy

PP Doon in 1766.

The Protestant Return for the Union of Toem, furnished by Rev Plunkett Preston of Ayle, 24/04/1766, states that Patrick Treacy was Parish Priest resident of Doon. At that time there were 27 Protestants and 333 Catholic householders in Doon Parish.

 

Fr. Denis Kennedy

Fr. Denis Kennedy was a native of Garravane Rearcross. He was educated in Bordeaux and ordained there on 5th of June 1773, by Msgr. De Lussan Archbishop of Bordeaux. He is found as PP of Doon and Castletown in 1792, translated to parish of Kilteely and Herbertstown towards the end of 1793 or early in 1794. He built the church in Kilteely [later a parish hall] in 1803. He died in Herbertstown in 1812. Two of his brothers were hanged for implication in the rebellion of 1798.

Patrick Kennedy was tried by court martial on 4th of June 1798, brought to Doon and hanged, Thomas Kennedy was court-martialled and found guilty of taking arms on 27th of June 1798, brought to Doon and hanged. It is said that the PP himself was flogged, a not unlikely happening in those times.

 

Fr. John O'Brien

Fr. John O'Brien was believed to be a native of Kilcommon. He is found as CC of Herbertstown in 1792-93, he became PP of Doon towards the end of 1793 or early 1794. For his connection with the United Irishmen and the Rebellion of 1798, he was arrested and sentenced to transportation, concerning this Dr R.D. Hayes writes on 13th of June 1798 he [Rev. Fr. John O'Brien] was tried at Tipperary on charges of sedition and sentenced to transportation. On the following day he was sent to the fort of Duncannon and put on board the tender, where he remained for six weeks. He was then released, but in March 1799, he was again arrested and confined for five weeks in a Guard House, from which he was liberated in April. There is a petition from him in the state papers Office, His name is not found in the clergy lists of 1798-99, but he reappears in 1800 as PP of Caherconlish. He died about 1819.

 

Fr. Laurence McGrath

Fr. Laurence McGrath probably a native of Cappamore parish, he had a rather strange career. He had charge of four districts, Cahirelly, Inch St. Lawrence, Carrigparson, and Ludden, as an Administrator, not as an inducted PP. As the chapel of Ludden was old and tottering, and abandoned by the parishioners, it was suppressed by the Archbishop, the people resorting to the other three churches. As Fr. McGrath refused to take a curate, one of his chapels in rotation was without Sunday Mass. The parishioners complained of this to the Archbishop, so he gave 50 cabins belonging to Caherconlish to Boher [Murroe] as the occupants usually attended Boher Chapel; he then gave Inch St Lawrence to Caherconlish in recompense. This apparently happened in the early 1780ís. Fr. McGrath, claiming to be PP, would not agree to the loss of part of his parish and resigned, a friar was put in charge. At the intercession of some of the parishioners, Archbishop Butler reinstated Fr. McGrath, this being a time when the White boys were making great trouble for the church. He still continued to assert that he was PP and to claim the territory lost, and when he did not get his way he again resigned. Archbishop Butler declared him rebellious and refused him any other further work in the diocese. When Archbishop Bray took over in 1792, he apparently allowed Fr. McGrath to act as curate in Ballybricken parish. About 1800, at Archbishop Bray's request, Fr. Marnane PP, VG, Tipperary furnished the Archbishop with a full account of the circumstances of

Fr. McGrath's case. Dr. Bray then appointed him PP of the vacant parish of Doon, although portion of Doon had been given to the newly formed parish of Kilcommon, this time he made no protest. He died in 1813 and was buried

in Tower Hill Cappamore, where a horizontal stone marks his grave; the date of his death has not been cut on the stone.

 

Fr. John Ryan

A Fr. John Ryan was appointed PP of Doon towards the end of 1813, or early 1814. Diocesan historians have taken for granted that this priest was Fr. John Ryan, later Bishop of Limerick, but this is not correct, as he did not become PP of Doon until about 1819 [if then]. No clergy lists survive for Emly diocese between 1814 and 1824, and as no other information is available, it is not possible to decide when the above Fr. John Ryan disappears from Doon, and the future Bishop of Limerick became PP there.

Fr. John Ryan was born in the village of Twomileborris in November 1784. Son of John Ryan and Nancy Hickey of Longford Pass, Gortnahoe, and he was a cousin of Fr. Pat Hickey later PP of Doon. He entered Maynooth on l0th of September 1807 and was ordained there on 16th of June 1810. He seems to have been CC of Bansha for some time after his ordination. He was then sent to the continent as travelling tutor to a young Mr Roche of Limerick or more likely a Mr. Meagher of Kilmoyler, Bansha. It has been accepted that he is the John Ryan who was appointed PP of Doon at the end of 1813 or early 1814, but a letter of his has come to light which disproves this [letter was in possession of Dr Russell Bishop of Waterford, in 1966] The letter was from Fr. Ryan to his cousin Fr. Pat Hickey the CC Tipperary Town and was dated at Auch [west of Toulouse] 5th of December 1817. The contents suggest that Fr. Ryan had then been in France for a considerable time and had acted as cure in some places there. He mentions that he would be home by next Michaelmas, that he is sorry to hear that Dr Bray was fast declining and hoped to catch him alive, as he most solemnly pledged his word to give me a parish on my return. There is a persistent tradition that he was PP Doon, but certainly not before 1818. If he is the John Ryan PP Doon in 1819, he was severely rebuked by Dr Everard at the Visitation for the bad condition of his church, and his parishioners were reprimanded for faction fighting, drunkenness and immoral conduct. Fr. Ryan was inducted as PP of Mullinahone and Drangan on 29th of March 1824. Provision as coadjutor Bishop of Limerick soth of September 1825, he was consecrated Bishop of Limerick in St John's Chapel, Limerick by Archbishop Laffan of Cashel on nth of December 1825 and was succeeded to the see on the death of Dr Tuohy, 17th of March 1828. It is alleged that he held the parish of Mullinahone until 1828 but this is not so. Drangan was detached from the parish, then vacant, on 3rd of July 1826, and on the following day another Fr. John Ryan, CC Ballingarry, took possession of the dismembered parish of Mullinahone. After a long and energetic life as Bishop, Dr Ryan died on Monday 6th of June 1864, and was interred before the High Altar of St John's Cathedral, Limerick, which noble edifice he had erected.

 

Fr. Pat Hickey

Fr. Pat Hickey became PP of Doon and Castletown on the eigth of March 1824 at the age of 36 years and lasted there until his death on 25th of July 1864. He was born in Cassestown, Thurles in October 1788. He entered Maynooth on the 28th of August 1808 was ordained in 1814. Fr. Pat served as curate in three parishes, Clonoulty 1815, Tipperary 1816 and Templemore 1818-1824. He was in Doon during the cholera epidemic of 1832 and the famine 1846-1848 and the virulent proselytising campaign which came in its wake. In 1847 he leased land from Lord Stanley on which he built a church at a cost of 2400 pounds. He also built National schools for boys and girls in 1843/44. Besides these two schools there were five hedge schools. Fr. Hickey died of stomach disease at the age of 76 and in the 50th year of his ministry and his fortieth as PP of Doon. He was buried in the church which he built. In his will he left his farm and money for the founding of the Christian Brothers and the Convent of Mercy in Doon. In 1865 the Sisters came to Doon and in 1874 the Christian Brothers came. For many of his years ministering in Doon Fr. Hickey had no Curate.

The PP lived during stormy times, during the Tithe War, his cow was seized by Mr Lysaght the Doon Tithe Agent acting for the rector Rev Coote, on the 7th of April 1832 and put up for cant at Bilboa, over 6,000 people came to Bilboa Tithe Sale five days later, and a further 10,000 people could be seen among the surrounding hills. The priest's brother made a straw bid of twelve pounds for the cow, which was far in excess of its value. However the bid was accepted and the tithe paid, a large force of military and police were present, and in a collision with the populace there were casualties on both sides. The Soupers and the proselytisers, led by Parson Atkinson and his assistant, Rev Edw Ellis, descended on the parish during the famine and seduced some of the starving people, chiefly tenants on lands of the board of Erasmus Smith School, who were faced with eviction or perversion, numbers died rather than accept the soup. He also played a part, aided by Daniel O'Connell and other clergy in ending the long running faction fighting between the Reaskawallas in Doon and the Coffey's of Newport.

 

Fr. William Wall

Fr. William Wall a native of Ballynattin Clerihan Clonmel, succeeded Fr. Hickey in October 1864, but at his own request he was transferred to Clonoulty in February 1865 .He entered Maynooth on the 25th of August 1851 and was ordained in 1855. He was CC in Thurles 1856-1857, Administrator there 1857-1864; he was appointed Canon in 1861.

When he moved to Clonoulty he lived in Ballymore House, he completed the building of the present church. Fr. Wall was transferred as PP to Murroe in June 1879 and was formally inducted by Archbishop Croke on the 9th of November 1879. He died in Murroe in February 1890 and was interred in the old church, when the new church was built in 1905 his remains were re-interred in the grounds.

 

Fr. John O'Dwyer

Fr. John O'Dwyer was born in Ballintaggart Ballingarry; he entered Thurles College on 2nd of January 1838 and went to Maynooth on 28th of August 1838, ordained in Maynooth on the loth of June 1843. He was a curate in Doon from 1843-62 where he fought the proselytisers of Parson Atkinson on the spot and in the press during the Famine, ably assisted by Mr Monsell of Tervoe and Maurice Lenihan of the Limerick Reporter, he was the central figure in a long investigation into police conduct during the turmoil, in 1850 four policemen were reduced and removed. With Dean Quirke and Canon Cahill, he was one of the foremost figures in the national struggle and Tenant Rights, which he supported on many platforms. He was CC in Cashel from 1862 to 1865. He became PP of Doon in 1865 until his death in 1872 and is buried in the church. He built the parochial house in Doon at a cost of 850 pounds.

 

Canon Thomas O'Donnell

Canon Thomas O'Donnell was a native of Ballingarry; he got his early classical education in Fethard and later in Templemore. He entered Thurles College in 1838 and in 1841 entered Maynooth where he was ordained on 2nd of June 1849. During this time he spent three years in the Dunboyne Establishment. He was then appointed CC in New Inn until 1855, and then on to Boherlahan [1855-1857]. He then retired ill and for two years was supported by the Sick Clergy Fund. He took up chaplaincy to a family in England and returned to Ireland in 1861 but was unable to take up active work until November 1862. On recall [1862] he was appointed to Emly, then he became PP of Doon on the 5th of June 1872. In 1877 he became a Canon. Canon O'Donnell died on the i8th July 1892 and is buried in Doon Chapel. A man of gentlemanly bearing and manners, scholarly but never had good health.

 

Fr. Pat O'Donnell

Fr. Pat O'Donnell was appointed PP of Doon in 1892 after serving as curate under Canon Thomas O'Donnell since 1874. He was a nephew of his predecessor. Fr. Pat entered Maynooth on gth of September 1862 and was ordained in Maynooth on the 14th of May 1869. He served in Kilcommon as CC from 1869-1873, before coming to Doon. In 1869 there was no visitation in Doon and Cappamore because of a dangerous epidemic. He was CC in Doon from 1873-1892. He succeeded his uncle as PP in August i8g2.A staunch friend and good patriot, Fr. O'Donnell died of a mental impairment called aphasia on 1st of March 1908.

 

Canon John Kelly

Canon John Kelly was born in Kylenahone Killenaule in 1846, he entered Thurles College in September 1863, and then went to Maynooth on the 26th of August 1868, and was ordained in Carlow Cathedral by Dr Walsh on 25th of May 1872. His first appointment was as CC to Ballybricken 1877-1883; he was CC to Bansha 1883- 1892, and CC to Templemore 1892-1896, CC to Tipperary Town 1896-1899. He was appointed PP to Kilbehenny in June 1899, where he renovated the parochial house there, he was then transferred as PP to Boherlahan in June 1901, and then to Doon as PP on 15th of March 1908. He was made Canon on 1st of May 1913. He was appointed PP to Lattin in September 1921. While there he spent a considerable sum on decoration of the church and putting in more seating. His health began to fail in 1923 and he was given a second curate, he resigned disabled in September 1924. He went to reside with his people in Kylenahone, where he died on 17th of April 1929, aged 83 years and he was interred in the family grave in Killenaule church grounds.

 

Canon James Horan

Canon James Horan was a native of Torah Rossmore, uncle of Canon Patrick Horan. He studied for the priesthood in Thurles College 1875-1883, and was ordained in Thurles on the igth of May 1883. He was first sent on mission to England and when recalled became CC in Newport. His next appointment was as CC to Murroe from 1896 to 1909 where he did much work in connection with the building of the church. He became administrator in Holycross on 8th of November 1909 and became PP there in February 1910. While there he carried out major renovations to Ballycahill Church. He was appointed PP to Doon in November 1921 and was made a Canon in 1922. Canon Horan died on the 5th of September 1929 and is buried in front of the Church where a Calvary marks his grave.

 

Rev Michael O'Connor

Rev Michael O'Connor succeeded Canon Horan as PP in September 1929. He was a native of Cappanuke Murroe and was born in 1868. He was educated in Thurles College 1887-1895, and was ordained in the College Chapel by Archbishop Croke on 13th of June 1895. After being ordained he went to Liverpool until 1906, and then served as CC in Kilbehenny 1906-1908. Fr. O'Connor then spent from 23rd of August 1908-1918 in Inch. He was transferred to Doon as CC in 1918 and was made PP there in September 1929. He had been an invalid for many years before his death. Much of his work fell to his CC Fr. Pat Lee. He died on 9th of March 1947, and is buried in the church grounds. Due to the extra workload on the CC a chaplain was brought in to the Convent to say Mass for the Nuns and the Brothers.

 

Rev Fr. Thomas J O'Connor

Rev Fr. Thomas J O'Connor was born on the 22nd January 1886 and reared in Murroe. He was educated in Thurles College 1903-1906, and entered Maynooth on nth of September 1906. He was ordained in Maynooth on 2ist of June 1914 by Dr Harty of Cashel and Emly. After being ordained he spent from igth of December 1914 to December 23rd in Glasgow. He was then called home to serve as diocesan inspector in January 1924. On the soth of August 1930 he was appointed CC in Thurles and also Secretary to Dr. Harty. In 1942 he was appointed administrator of Thurles. He held this post until 1947 when he was made PP of Doon. In addition to his strenuous pastoral activities in Thurles, he devoted his energies to social and other activities in the town and was an officer in several clubs and organisations [Bridge, Golf, Tennis, Co. Committee of the Red Cross, County Library]. He was also a member of several national bodies, such as the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, a National Chaplain to the Knights of St Columbanus. His link with the Catholic Truth Society [of which Dr Harty was President] brought him in touch with the travel agency operated by the Society, and consequently with pilgrimages [Lourdes, Rome, Holy Land,] so that he was once described as THE CURATE OF TOURS. He did the pilgrimage to Lough Derg each year for many years. The strenuous life told on his iron constitution, however, he had scarcely settled in Doon after his appointment as PP in April 1947, when he became a total invalid with heart trouble. He seldom moved out thereafter but feeling well one day he visited his friends, the Kelly's of Ballinahinch, and after a meal he died suddenly on the 18th of June 1952. He is interred under the statue of Christ the King in the grounds of Doon Church. A kindly, sociable, hospitable and most obliging priest.

 

Canon Patrick Horan

Canon Patrick Horan was a native of Torah Rossmore and a nephew of Canon James Horan. He was born on 20th of April 1892. He was educated in Thurles College from 1909 to 1910 and then went to Maynooth until 1917. He was ordained in Maynooth by Dr Morrisroe of Achonry on the 17th of June 1917. After being ordained he took a degree in S.T.L in Dunboyne. From 1920-23 he was Diocesans Inspector and then appointed Professor at St Patrick's College, Thurles in 1923. In 1941 he was made Vice-President of the college and he remained in this position until he became PP of Ballina in June 1947. On the 14th of July 1952 he was transferred to Doon as PP. He became a Canon in July 1975. He carried out an extensive and tasteful renovation to the parish church in 1973. He retired in July 1975 and lived for some time in the parochial house, he then went to Shronell Nursing home and, following a hip operation to Carrigoran. There he was more contented than previously and retained his enjoyment of being well informed and of interrogating all and sundry in his roguish way. Canon Horan died on the 28th of November 1985 in the 65th year of his priesthood and is buried in the church grounds. A man of keen mind and a very successful teacher, those who learned Greek from him respected his capacity; class began in September with the alphabet and led to Matriculation in June.

 

Fr. John McGrath

Fr. John McGrath was born in Tipperary Town on December 22nd 1916 and reared in Turraheen Rossmore. His father was a small dairy farmer and he spent many hours as a young lad milking cows and helping on the farm, he was the eldest of five children. He received his early education in Rossmore National School, and then went to live with an aunt in Annacarty where he travelled to Doon CBS on a bicycle for five years to get his secondary education, where he did his Leaving certificate in June 1934. In 1935 he entered St Patrick's College Thurles where he spent one year and then to Maynooth where he completed the remaining seven years of his training, and was ordained there on 2ist of June of 1942. Fr. John was then sent on mission to Glastonbury Somerset in England. On recall he was appointed curate in Ballinahinch / Killoscully [1946-48] He then served in Ballingarry from 1948 to 1965, it was here that he met and befriended the sacristan John Coady who introduced him to classical music, art and painting. He was CC in Gortnahoe 1965-1975, before becoming a parish priest in Doon in 1975. During his first few years in Doon he lived in the curate's house in Liscaugh, but moved into the Parochial house after Canon Horan's retirement and filled it with his formidable collection of paintings and artwork. He was also a lover of classical music and had a huge collection to prove it, and also a large collection of paintings which he donated to the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery which is the property of City of Cork Vocational Education Committee. He donated a total of 44 paintings and 4 prints which he had collected during his lifetime, included were works by Robert Ballagh, Louis Le Brocquy, Sean Keating and Maurice MacGonigal. He took a great interest in the community centre and part of it is now known as the Fr. McGrath Hall. He was above all a gentle human being, a man of prayer who did his holy hour every day after Mass, serving God and His people in his quiet humble way. Fr. McGrath retired as PP in 1992 and became Associate Pastor and died on 14th of March 1997. He is buried in the Church grounds.

 

Fr. Tom Ryan

Fr. Tom Ryan was a native of Shanaclune Cappamore and was born on the loth of January 1933. He was the eldest of nine children born to John and Bridget Ryan [nee Doherty] and was only fourteen when his mother died in 1947. He began his education at Bilboa National School and continued at the CBS Primary and Secondary Schools in Doon. On completing his Leaving Certificate he went to St Patrick's seminary in Thurles to study for the priesthood and after one year went to Maynooth in September 1952 to

continue his studies where he was conferred with a BA Degree in Latin, Irish and Philosophy in 1955. He was ordained on 2ist of June 1959 and two days later said his first Mass in Cappamore. Since his ordination he served on temporary mission in Glasnevin [Dublin] 1959-1962, as chaplain to the Mercy Convent Doon from 1962 to 1966, CC in Killoscully 1966, the last curate to serve there, and within a year transferred to Ballina from 1966-1970, CC Knocklong 1970-1982, CC Ballingarry 1982 to 1987, and was appointed PP to Holycross in 1987 before becoming PP in Doon in September 1992. His 44 years as a priest were ones of loyal and dedicated service. Fr. Tom was a quiet prayerful man whose wisdom and discretion were greatly valued by his large circle of friends. He had a keen interest in horses and rode in many gymkhanas in his younger days and was also involved in the hunt and had a way with horses. He was never happier than when out on his native Slieve Feilim hills with a dog and gun or sitting by the fire in Shanacloon talking about times past and tracing ancestral relatives, including one John Ryan [Luke] popularly known as Shawn Lucash, a powerful man who was leader of the Reaskawalles in the faction -fights of the 1820ís and 1830ís. In Doon he was involved with many organisations, including the local FAS Scheme, Community Council, Festival Committee, Community Alert, and Schools Board of Management. In 1999 Fr. Tom and his classmates from Maynooth who included the retired Archbishop of Tuam Joseph Cassidy and the current Bishop of Killaloe Willie Walsh celebrated their 4Oth Anniversary by going to Rome where they had an audience with Pope John Paul II. Fr. Tom died suddenly while saying his prayers with his Breviary in his hands on the 23rd of December 2003 and was buried in the church grounds on Saturday 27th of December 2003.

 

Fr. Tony Ryan

Fr. Tony Ryan a native of Birdhill Newport Co Tipperary arrived in Doon on 3ist of July 2004 returning from Belize where he spent a total of eight years 1992-1997 and 2001 to 2004 on mission. Belize is a Central American country tucked in between Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea and was previously known as British Honduras until it gained its independence in 1981.

 

 

Sources:

Dun Bleisce - A History Edited by Geraldine Carew and published by Cumann Forbatha Dun Bleisce 1990.

Cashel and Emly Heritage Edited by Rev Fr. Walter G Skehan PP Loughmore and published by Cashel and Emly Dioscesan Trust 1993

A Profile of Fr. John McGrath by Fr. Gerard Moloney, Bleisce 1992.

Profile of Fr. McGrath by Fr. Tom Ryan PP, Bleisce 1997.

Tithe troubles in the 1830ís by Noreen Higgins, Bleisce 2001.

The Very Reverend Fr. Tom Ryan PP - an appreciation Bleisce 2004.

Fr. Tom Ryan [1933-2003] by Fr. Liam Ryan Ceapach Mor 2004.

 

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