Clare County Library
Clare History
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | Search this Website | Copyright Notice

Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Rath (a)

                                                                                                                 Milltown Malbay,
                                                                                                                           25th October 1839.

The Parish of Rath in the Barony of Inchiquin and Co. of Clare is bounded on the north by the Parish of Kilnaboy in the same Barony; on the east and south by the Parish of Disert in the same Barony; on the west by the Parish of Clooney in the Barony of Corcamroe. See Down Survey Map.

The name of this Parish is not of ecclesiastical origin, though the origin of the Parish Church is closely connected with it, as may be learned from the Irish Calendar, when it is mentioned as follows:-

Onchú Mac Blaithmheic in Dal gCais, i.e., ó Raith Blaithmac, 9th July. or Onchu, the son of Blathmac in Dalcas, i.e., from Rath Blathmac, 9th July,

and from the same authority we have Blathmac himself venerated on the 24th July, but where is not mentioned. It may be, however, presumed, that he was the Blathmac from whom this Church and Rath have derived their names, as the Patron Day of the Parish was kept on the 24th of July and was called, as is remembered still, Lana-Blathmhac, or Blathmac’s Day. Thus we find the father and son ranked among the old Irish Saints; the former only is remembered here.

Of the Church of Rath (Blaithmaic) the sides and middle or choir gable only remain. It is rather a modern building, the nave measuring forty four feet in length and twenty four feet five inches in breadth, the choir eighteen feet six inches in length and twenty feet in breadth. The choir arch is ten feet two inches wide and about fifteen feet high, in the pointed style. There is a large burying ground attached to the Church.

The Rath or Fort of Blathmac is an earthen one, lying about a furlong northeast of the Church, measuring twenty eight yards in diameter, the inner mound from four to seven feet in height, and encircled by an outer mound at the distance of about nine feet. It has nothing at all remarkable about it but the remembrance of its builder or owner’s name.

The hill called Scúmhal-na-Ratha mentioned in the account of the Battle of Disert, is situated immediately to the south of the old Church of Rath. There is another hill a little to the northwest of the Church in the Townland of Carnan, called Knock a Charnain, on the top of which is a small carn on which is erected a Trig. Station.