"Kilree", or Kilrea, a parish, in the barony of Kells, county of Kilkenny, and province of Leinster, 3 miles (N. W.) from Knocktopher, on the road from Kilkenny to Waterford; containing 611 inhabitants. It comprises 1895 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act. Kilree is the residence of T. Shaw, Esq., and Chapel Izod, of W. Izod, Esq. It is a rectory, in the diocese of Ossory, forming part of the union of Kells. In the R. C. divisions it forms part of the union or district of Donemagan. Among the ruins of the church is a very handsome and perfect cross, formed of a single block of freestone, about eight feet high, ornamented with interlaced rings. Tradition states it to have been erected to commemorate the death of Neill Callan, King of Ireland, who it is stated was drowned while endeavoring to save a nobleman who had fallen into a river. About 10 feet from the north-western angle of the church, is an ancient round tower, which at four feet above the ground is 50 1/2 feet in circumference: it is about 93 feet high, and the door is five feet from the ground.
[From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)]