Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary comprises of several counties, cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland. Here are From-Ireland.net’s records for Co. Clare.
ContentDYSERT, or DYSART, a parish, in the barony of INCHIQUIN, county of CLARE, and province of MUNSTER, 4.50 miles (N. w.) from Ennis, on the road to Corofin ; containing 7279 inhabitants.
This parish was formerly called Dysert O'Dea, from its having been the territory of the sept of that name. It comprehends the subdivisions of Inagh and Ruan, and contains 23,417 statute acres, as rated for the county cess, of which a large portion consists of coarse mountain pasture. There are about 300 plantation acres of common, 100 acres of wood, and 100 acres of bog. The waste land consists chiefly of crag and underwood, and several hundred acres are covered with water, there being a number of lakes that in winter overflow the adjoining land to a considerable extent. Limestone abounds, and is burnt for manure; and the state of agriculture is gradually improving. The river Fergus runs through the greater part of the parish, through Tedane and other lakes, to Clare town. Fairs are held at Ruan on June 17th and Sept. 26th , the latter being one of the principal sheep fairs in the county. At Dysert and Ruan are stations of the constabulary police. A court for the manor of Inchiquin is occasionally held by the seneschal, for the recovery of small debts.
The gentlemen's seats are Toonagh, the residence of C. O'Brien, Esq. ; Tierna, of Hewitt Bridgeman, Esq. ; Port, of H. O'Loghlen, Esq., Carhue, of E. Synge, Esq. ; Fountain, of E. Powell, Esq. ; Rockview, of R. O'Loghlen, Esq. ; Cogia, of T. Lingard, Esq. ; and Drumore, the property of R. Crowe, Esq.
The parish is in the diocese of Killaloe : the rectory forms part of the union and corps of the prebend of Rath, and the vicarage, part of the union of Kilneboy. The tithes amount to £250. 13s. 9d., of which £165. 1s. 2.75d., is payable to the rector, £83. 17s. 11d., to the vicar, and £1. 14s. 7.25d., to the prebendary of Tomgraney. There is a glebe of one plantation acre.
In the Roman Catholic divisions its northern and middle portions form the union or district of Dysert ; and the south-western portion (Inagh) gives name to a district, which also includes the parish of Kilnemona. In the former district are the chapels of Dysert and Ruan, and in the latter, those of Inch and Kilnemona. The chapel at Ruan was rebuilt by subscription in 1834.
About 660 children are educated in two public schools at Dysert and Ruan, and about 70 in a private school ; to that at Dysert, E. Synge, Esq., contributes £24 per annum.
Of the ruins of the churches of Dysert, Ruan, and Kiltala, the first is distinguished by its antiquity, and by the richly sculptured Saxon arch forming the doorway. Near these ruins are the remains of an ancient round tower, of which 30 feet are still standing ; about 20 feet from the ground is a doorway, and 10 feet higher are the remains of another ; at each stage the dimensions of the tower diminish, and outside the second story is a projecting belting-course. An ancient cross lies on the ground, bearing the effigy of a bishop, supposed to represent St. Monalagh, and other figures. A short distance from the ruins of Dysert church are those of the castle of that name, formerly the residence of the O'Deas ; and at Mahre, Ballygriffy, and Port, are the ruins of similar castles : those of Port, standing on the verge of a lake, have a picturesque appearance. In a house in this parish, the ruins of which can scarcely be traced, the old song to the air of "Carolan's receipt for drinking whiskey" is said to have been composed by three poets, of whom a ridiculous story is related concerning the manner of writing it. For an account of the ancient sepulchral monument on Mount Callan, which extends into this parish see Kilfarboy.