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.
ContentThe Episcopal See of KILFENORA is of very uncertain origin, neither is it precisely known who was the first bishop ; though many are of opinion that St. Fachnan, to whom the cathedral is dedicated, must have been the founder. Of his successors, who were called bishops of Corcomroe, there are but very imperfect accounts, and of the history of the see very little is preserved. In the ancient distribution of the bishopricks, made by Cardinal Paparo in 1152, this see was made suffragan to the Archbishop of Cashel. It remained a separate diocese till after the Restoration, when it was annexed to the archbishoprick of Tuam, and continued for 81 years to be held with that diocese, till, on the annexation of Ardagh to Tuam, it was separated from it and given in commendam to the bishoprick of Clonfert, with which it was held till 1752, when it was united to the see of Killaloe, with which it still remains.
It is one of the twelve dioceses which constitute the archiepiscopal province of Cashel, and is the smallest in Ireland ; it lies wholly within the county of Clare, and comprehends only the baronies of Burrin and Corcomroe, which formed part of the ancient territory of Thomond. It extends 23 miles in length and 11 in breath, comprising an estimated superficies of 37,000 acres.
The lands belonging to the see comprise 9237 acres, of which 2350 are profitable land ; the gross annual revenue of the bishoprick is returned with that of Killaloe.
The chapter consists of a dean, presenter, treasurer, and archdeacon ; there are neither minor canons, prebendaries, nor vicars choral : a consistorial court is held occasionally by the vicar-general. It comprises 19 parishes, which are included in six unions ; there are three parish churches, and one other place in which divine service is performed, and three glebe-houses. The cathedral church, dedicated to St. Fachnan, and which is also used as the parish church, is a very ancient and venerable structure with a massive square tower, commanding a very extensive and interesting view ; the aisle is at present undergoing repair, and is being fitted up as the parish church, for which purpose the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have granted £421.
In the Roman Catholic divisions this diocese is united to that of Kilmacduagh, and comprises eight unions, in which are 15 chapels, served by eight parish priests and two coadjutors.