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County Clare: A History and Topography 1837 by Samuel Lewis


A parish, in the barony of Inchiquin, county of Clare, province of Munster ; containing, with the post-town of Curofin (which is separately described), 3678 inhabitants. It is situated on the road from Ennis to Kilfenora, and comprises an extensive tract, of which about 6800 statute acres are assessed to the county rate ; a very large portion of the land is rocky pasture, a small proportion only being under tillage ; the soil varies from the poorest to the richest quality, resting on a substratum of limestone. There are some very extensive tracts of bog in the eastern portion of the parish ; coal has been discovered on the mountains of Clifden, lead ore at Glanquin, and a rich silver mine lately in Tullacommon, but none have been worked. The surface is boldly diversified and embellished with the picturesque lakes of Inchiquin and Tadune, the latter of which is but partly in the parish. The lake of Inchiquin is about 21/2 miles in circumference, and is situated at the base of a richly wooded range of hills, forming a fine contrast to the bare limestone rocks in the vicinity. On its northern side are the interesting ruins of Inchiquin castle, from time immemorial the property and long the residence of the O’Brien family, whose descendant, the Marquess of Thomond, derives his title of Earl of Inchiquin from this estate ; they consist of a very ancient castle in a greatly dilapidated condition, and a mansion attached to it, and contribute much to the beautiful scenery of the lake. On the opposite shore is the mansion of the Burton family, the residence of E. W. Burton, Esq. ; and in the immediate vicinity of the lake are several seats, of which that called Adelphi is the elegant cottage residence of W. and F. Fitzgerald, Esqrs., adjoining which are the picturesque ruins of an old tower. An excellent road has been formed over the hill of Inchiquin from Adelphi to Crossard. The lake is well stored with brown and white trout ; and a regatta, recently held, is likely to become an annual amusement. The other seats are Elmvale, that of J. O’Brien, Esq. ; Poplar, of P. Powell, Esq. ; Inchiquin Cottage, of M. Blood, Esq., M. D. ; and Richmond, of the Rev. S. Walsh, P. P. A manorial court is occasionally held at Curofin, and petty sessions are held every alternate Wednesday. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Killaloe, episcopally united in 1801 to the rectory and vicarage of Kilkeedy and the vicarages of Dysert, Rath, and Inchicronane, together forming the union of Kilneboy, in the patronage of the Bishop. The tithes amount to 104. 13. ; those of the entire benefice to 469. 4. 51/4. The glebe-house is in Kilkeedy ; the glebes comprise 283/8 acres. The church, situated at Curofin, is a neat edifice, erected by aid of a loan of 369 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1829 ; there is also a church in the parish of Kilkeedy. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Curofin, comprising also the parish of Rath ; there are three chapels, situated respectively at Kilneboy ; Curofin, and Rath. At Richmond is a large school under the superintendence of the R. C. clergyman, and another school is held in the chapel at Kilneboy ; in these, in the parochial school at Curofin, and in a private school, about 290 children are educated.

There are some ruins of the ancient church of Kilneboy, which appears to have been built long before the Reformation ; and near them is the base of an ancient round tower, now reduced to a height of only 12 feet, and without any aperture either for door or window. At a short distance to the north-west, and at the boundary of the lands formerly attached to the church, is a remarkable stone cross, fixed in a rock, and consisting of a shaft with two arms curving upwards ; on each of which, near the top, is a head carved in relief, and in the centre two hands clasped ; it is said to have been erected in memory of the reconciliation of two persons who had been long at violent enmity. The small village of Kilneboy is stated traditionally to have been formerly a large town, of much earlier origin than Curofin. Within a short distance from it are the ruins of a square fortress, with the remains of two angular towers, in which cannon was formerly mounted ; it is supposed to have been erected about the time of Elizabeth, is situated in low ground by the side of the river, is of difficult access, and is said to have been at one time the residence of the Deans of Kilfenora. About half a mile from the ruins of Kilneboy church are those of the church of Cood, apparently a great antiquity. Near this spot, and within the old race-course of Cood, part of the army of Jas. II. encamped in 1689. To the east of Curofin is the cemetery of the ancient church of Kilvedane, of which, though existing within the memory of many persons living, no vestige can now be traced. In this cemetery was interred Hugh Mac Curtin, a celebrated Irish antiquary, scholar, and poet ; he was author of the antiquities of Ireland, an Irish grammar, and Dictionary, and other works. At Glanquin was anciently a church, said to have been founded by St. Patrick, of which there is now no vestige, except the cemetery, which is still used ; and a Moravian church was built at Crossard, in 1793, but the society was soon dissolved and the building fell into dilapidation ; it was afterwards used as a R. C. chapel, and is now unoccupied. About two miles to the north of Kilneboy, are the remains of the ancient castle of Lemenagh, formerly the residence of the O’Brien family. On the road side, about a mile eastward from Curofin, are the beautiful and very perfect remains of the castle of Ballyportree. On the common of this parish is a very large cromlech, and there are two holy wells ; one, situated near the R. C. chapel, is surrounded with large trees, and near it are the remains of an ancient stone cross. Near Crossard is an extensive natural cavern ; and at Thaiscogh, on a rocky eminence, is a remarkable spot where seven springs have their source, and unite into one stream, which takes a subterraneous course for nearly a mile, and again emerges. Dr. Charles Lucas, a distinguished political writer on Irish affairs, is said to have been a native of this parish.

County Clare A History and Topography by Samuel Lewis
Courtesy of Clare Local Studies Project

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