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. Cork.
ContentBALLYVOURNEY, a parish, in the barony of WEST MUSKERRY, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 8 miles (w. by N.) from Macroom; containing 3681 inhabitants.
St. Abban, who lived to a very advanced age and died in 650, founded a nunnery at this place, which he gave to St. Gobnata, who was descended from O'Connor the Great, Monarch of Ireland. Smith, in his history of Cork, notices the church of this establishment, but it has since fallen into decay. The parish, of which the name signifies "the Town of the Beloved," is chiefly the property of Sir Nicholas C. Colthurst, Bart. ; it is situated on the river Sullane, and on the road from Cork to Killarney, and comprises 26,525 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £6073. 15s., per annum. The surface is very uneven, in some parts rising into mountains of considerable elevation, the highest of which is Mullaghanish : about one-half is arable and pasture land, with 70 acres of woodland. Much of the land has been brought into a state of cultivation by means of a new line of road from Macroom, which passes through the vale of the Sullane, and is now a considerable thoroughfare; and great facilities of improvement have been afforded by other new lines of road which have been made through the parish; but there are still about 16,000 acres of rough pasture and moorland, which might be drained and brought into a state of profitable cultivation. The river Sullane has its source in the parish, in the mountains bordering on the county of Kerry, and after intersecting it longitudinally pursues an eastern course through the parish of Clondrohid to the town of Macroom, to the east of which, at the distance of a mile, it discharges itself into the river Lee; there is also a lake called Lough Ivoig. Fairs are held on the l0th of May, July, Sept., and Nov. ; and there is a constabulary police station.
The living is a rectory and a vicarage, in the diocese of Cloyne ; part of the rectory is comprehended in the union of Clenore and corps of the chancellorship of the cathedral of St. Colman, Cloyne, and part is united to the vicarage, forming the benefice of Ballyvourney, in the patronage of the Bishop. The tithes amount to £731. 14s. 7d., of which :£231. 14s. 7d., is payable to the chancellor of Cloyne, and £500 to the incumbent. The church is a very neat edifice, in the early English style, erected in 1824 by aid of a gift of £600 from the late Board of First Fruits. The glebe-house was built at the same time, partly by gift and partly by a loan from the same Board.
In the R. C. divisions the parish is one of the three that constitute the union or district of Kilnemartry; the chapel, a plain and spacious edifice, was built in 1830. There are three daily pay schools, in which are about 70 boys and 20 girls.
The ruins of the conventual church are very extensive and interesting ; in one of the walls is a head carved in stone, which is regarded with much veneration. Near these ruins is a holy well, much resorted to on the 11th of February, the festival of St. Gobnata, the patroness, and also on Whit Monday; and near the well is a large stone with a circular basin or font rudely excavated, the water from which is held sacred.