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County Clare: A History and Topography 1837 by Samuel Lewis


A parish, in the barony of Bunratty, county of Clare, and province of Munster, 51/2 miles (S. E.) from Ennis, on the old road to Limerick; containing 2918 inhabitants, of which number 173 are in the village. It was anciently called Quint or Quinchy, where, about 1250, an abbey was founded, which was consumed by fire in 1278. About the commencement of the 15th century, according to the Annals of the Four Masters, a monastery for Franciscan friars of the Strict Observance was founded here by Sioda Cam Macnamara, which is said to have been the first house of the Franciscan order in Ireland that admitted this reformation. The buildings, of which the remains still exist, were erected chiefly of a kind of black marble by Macon Dall Macnamara, Lord of Glancoilean, whose tomb still remains. The monastery with all its possessions was granted, in 1583, to Sir Turlogh O’Brien, of Ennistymon, and in 1604 the buildings were repaired. In the vicinity, Teigue O’Brien, son of Sir Turlogh, who had revolted from the English government, was defeated in 1601 by Capt. Flower and mortally wounded. The village, which in 1831 contained 34 houses, is a station of the constabulary police and has a penny post to Newmarket-on-Fergus. Fairs are held on July 7th, and Nov. 1st, and petty sessions on alternate Wednesdays. The parish comprises 7290 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, of which 5190 only are rated for the county cess ; the land is chiefly in tillage, but there is a considerable portion of rocky land, affording a scanty though rich pasturage, and about 320 acres of bog : although there is an abundance of limestone adapted both for building and agricultural purposes, and a good supply of sea manure brought up the river Fergus, the state of agriculture is rather backward. The Quin river, which flows into the Fergus, abounds with fine eels. At Ballyhickey is a productive lead mine, the property of Hugh Singleton, Esq., worked by a mining company ; the ore, which is of superior quality, is conveyed to Clare, where it is shipped for Wales. The seats are Moriesk, the finely wooded demesne of Lord Fitzgerald and Vesci ; Well Park, of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Mac Mahon, R. C. bishop of Killaloe ; Quinville Abbey, the handsome mansion of John Singleton, Esq., recently rebuilt in the Elizabethan style ; Knopouge Castle, the residence of Wm. Scott, Esq., which formerly belonged to the Macnamaras of Moriesk, and is one of the few ancient castles still inhabited ; Castle Fergus, the modern residence of Wm. Smith, Esq., adjoining which are the remains of the ancient edifice ; Ballykilty, the residence of John Blood Esq.; Dangan, the property of Rich. Creagh, Esq.; and Lough O’Connell, of Thos. Steele, Esq. From a turret on the summit of Mount Cullane, in Mr. Steele’s demesne, is obtained an extensive and interesting view of the surrounding country, embracing a number of lakes, of which that called "Lough O’Connell" lies immediately at its base.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Killaloe ; the rectory is united to those of Cloney, Dowry, Kilraghtis, Templemaly, Kilmurrynegaul, and the half-rectory of Tullagh, together constituting the union of Ogashin, in the patronage of the Earl of Egremont ; the vicarage is episcopally united to those of Cloney and Dowry, together forming the union of Quin, in the gift of the Bishop. The tithes amount to 175. 7. 81/2., of which 71. 1. 61/2. is payable to the rector, 81. 4. 71/2. to the vicar, and the remaining 23. 1. 61/2. to the prebendary of Tullagh : the gross tithes of the rectorial union amount to 495. 13. 101/4, and of the vicarial union to 279. 13. 101/4. The glebe-house, towards the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits, in 1822, granted 450 as a gift and 200 as a loan, is a commodious residence; the glebe of union comprises 15 acres. The church is a small plain building with a low tower, erected in 1797, by aid of a gift of 500 from the late Board ; and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted 100 for its repair. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parish of Cloney, each containing a chapel. A new chapel is now in course of erection at Quin; it is a handsome and spacious cruciform structure, in the Gothic style, with a portico of hewn stone; the estimated expense, 2000, is being defrayed by subscription. About 130 children are educated in two private schools. At the village is a dispensary. Quin abbey is considered to be one of the finest and most complete remains of monastic antiquity in Ireland: it is situated on a gentle slope near a small stream, having an ascent of several steps to the church, which consists of a nave and chancel, with a tower in the centre, and a chapel on the south side of the altar. In the chapel is a rudely sculptured figure in relief of some saint, and in the chancel is the monument of the founder’s family. The cloisters are adorned with coupled pillars and ornamental buttresses, and on three sides of them extend respectively the refectory, dormitory, and a grand room to the north of the chancel, under all of which are vaulted rooms. To the north of the large room is a private way to a strong tower, the walls of which are nearly ten feet thick ; and adjoining the abbey are the remains of a building supposed to have been appropriated to the accommodation of strangers. The south end of the abbey is of much superior workmanship to the adjoining parts, but the whole is much disfigured by the custom of burying within the walls. Besides the castles of Knopouge and Fergus before mentioned, there are the remains of the castles of Ballymarkahan, Dangan, and Danganbrack. Dangan castle is said to be one of the oldest in Munster, having been built by Philip de Clare, from whom the county of Thomond has since been called Clare. It was with other possessions granted by Chas. II. to Pierse Creagh for his services against Cromwell, and still remains in the possession of the descendants of the original grantee. It was formerly a place of some strength, and was of a quadrangular form, flanked at each angle by a small round tower : from the centre rose the donjon or keep. The ruins form a picturesque object in the well-planted demesne of Dangan. The castle of Danganbrack is now in the Scott family, having, with Knopouge, been purchased from the Macnamaras, as Moriesk has more recently been by the father of Lord Fitzgerald and Vesci.

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

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