Mason's Parochial Survey, 1814-19

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Union of Kilmanaheen, Kilasbuglenane, Kilmacreehy, Kileilagh and Kilmoon

I. The Name of the Parish, Situation, Extent, &c.

Name of the Parish
This union consists of the parishes of Kilmanaheen, Kilasbuglenane, Kilmacreehy, Kileilagh and Kilmoon; four of them are situated in the barony of Corcomroe, county of Clare, and diocese of Kilfenora. The fifth, (Kilmoon) is in the barony of Burren, and in the said county and diocese. These two baronies of Burren and Corcomroe were formerly known by the names of East and West Corcomroe; afterwards by the present names of Burren and Corcomroe, which they still retain.

Kilasbuglenane is derived from the Irish words ‘keil,’ church, ‘asbog,’ Bishop, and ‘Lenane’ the Bishop’s name. Kilmoon is also derived from ‘keil,’ and ‘Moon’ the founder. The parish of Kilmacreehy is also known by the name of Quoranna; ‘quoe’ in Irish signifies distinct, and ‘ranna,’ or ‘rena’ a projection into the sea called a cape. Kilasbuglenane was anciently called east Kilmacreehy. The parish of Kileilagh (so called from ‘keil’ a church, and ‘Eilagh’ the founder), is likewise called by another name, viz. Quoclea, from ‘quoe’ distinct, and ‘clea’ the contraction of ‘gleagh’, which signifies calling or making signals on different occasions, particularly when they apprehend danger from an enemy.

The union is situated due-west of Ireland, and bounded on that point by the part of the Atlantic Ocean called Malbay. Kilasbuglenane lies to the north of Kilmanaheen; Kilmacreehy to the west of Kilasbuglenane, and is bounded by the sea to the south-west and north-west. Kileilagh lies to the south of Kilmacreehy, and is bounded on the north by the bay of Galway; and Kilmoon lies to the south-east of Kileilagh.

The distance between the extreme ends of the union coast-ways is nearly 15 miles; in a right line, not half that distance; the breadth at all points is narrow; in some parts about one mile, and in a few more than three. The distance of Kilmanaheen in computed miles, from north-east to south-east is about 4 miles, and in breadth about from 2 to 2½ miles. That of Kilmacreehy and Kilasbuglenane from east to west about 5, and from north to south 2 miles; that of Kilmoon from east to west about 3 miles, and from north to south about 2; and that of Kileilagh from east to west 4, and from north to south 2.

The three parishes of Kilmanaheen, Kilasbuglenane, and Kilmacreehy, are all what we call cold stone or grit-ground, and have scarce any rocky ground in them. The other two are mostly limestone ground, and abound with rocks.

The greater part of the union is pasture land; the one-fifth of it at least is heathy mountain. This mountain ground, from the population of the country, is every day reclaiming and becoming arable. In some parts where they manure and lay it down properly, it answers for meadow. The proportion of meadow, natural and made in the union, is, to the rest of the land as one to twenty, or thereabouts.

The river of Ennistymon has its source on the mountains, south-east of the village of the same name, and runs through it; it has a large cascade in the town, which in the time of flood forms a most sublime and beautiful picturesque, and in view of the mansion-house. Another of inferior note, the river of Ballingaddy to the north of Ennistymon, has its source near Kilfenora, which is about four miles to the east of a bridge that is made over this river, and about eight miles from the sea.
These two rivers unite near the sea; there is no other river worth noticing, nor loughs worth mentioning. There is no place that can be called a harbour; there are many creeks, and the highest clifts in Ireland, as is supposed, near the signal tower, and at either side of it.

These creeks are remarkable for being safe receptacles for seals. The noise from these creeks, and the agitation of the sea in the time of a storm from the west, being the usual direction of storms in this country, is awful in the extreme; and the entire shore dangerous for vessels to come near, and on that account called Malbay.

Mountains and Hills
We have many mountains and hills in the union, the entire of which is nearly pasturable, some heathy, and a few of them barren. The largest and highest of those mountains in the parish of Kilmoon, is very heathy, and is the only one that continues to have grouse on it; the rest are not deserving notice.

Bogs, Moors, Woods, &c.
There are bogs interspersed, which are fully sufficient for the inhabitants for many generations to come; but none of them of sufficient extent, to attract public notice for reclaiming. The principal moors lie between the parish of Kilmoon and the signal tower mentioned in sect. IV. and even those are reclaiming every day. No woods or thickets of any note exist in the union. An old man of the name of Michael Daly, who died about twenty years ago, and who was then more than 100 years old, asserted, that almost the entire country about Ennistymon, was, within his recollection, covered with woods mostly oak and ash full grown, and that he frequently shot wild pheasants in those woods. He was a huntsman to the late Mr. O’Brien, who bore testimony to his veracity. In most of the bogs, and even near the sea are found large trees, 12 or 16 feet under the surface, particularly from 30 to 50 feet long, and some from two to four feet in diameter, sound and good timber.

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