Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary, Co. Cork

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.

  • Place
    Passage West
  • County
  • Parish
  • Content
    PASSAGE (WEST), a sea-port and post-town, partly in the parish of MONKSTOWN, and partly in that of MARMULLANE, barony of KERRYCURRIHY, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 5.50 miles (E. S. E.) from Cork city and 131.50 (S. W. by S.) from Dublin city, on the western shore of the estuary of the river Lee; containing 2131 inhabitants.

    The period of the extension and improvement of Passage, which is not even mentioned in Smith's 'History of Cork,' is uncertain; the cause, however, is sufficiently objvious in its excellent and sheltered situation, just at the termination of the deep harbour; in its great salubrity; and in its being the only direct communication between Cork city and Cove (Cobh), to each of which places it has a sub-post-office. It owes much of its importance to W. Parker, Esq.; but this spirited gentleman having engaged in foreign speculations, and for a time removed to the Cape of Good Hope, the improvements remained stationary, until a few years since, when further improvements were effected under the active exertions of Thos. Parsons Boland, Esq., proprietor of the western portion of the town, and Messrs. Brown and Co.; so that the fostering care of these gentlemen, from an inconsiderable village, Passage has become a considerable mercantile town, much frequented during the summer for the fine air and sea-bathing.

    The town comprises one principal street, nearly a mile long, extending along the shore, and intersected by several smaller streets and lanes, which are mostly in a very dirty state. It contains 311 houses, of which 165 are in the parish of Monkstown, and the remainder in that of Marmullane; the parish church of Marmullane, a Wesleyan Methodist meeting house, and a Roman Catholic chapel: erected in 1832, a commodious and handsome building; two schools, and a dispensary. Petty sessions are held every Friday, and it is a constabulary police station. Its salubrity is attested by the longevity of the inhabitants: it is said to be no uncommon circumstance that people of 80 years of age are in rude health and earning their livelihood by labour; few have suffered during the visitation of contagious diseases; and, out of a large population, during the prevalence of cholera, in 1832, only 60, and those very aged and infirm, were afflicted. A large dry dock has just been constructed by Mr. Brown, by which it is expected that the trade, which principally consists in ship building, will increase considerably; much employment is afforded to the labouring classes by the discharging of the cargoes of all large vessels bound for Cork, the river up to Cork not being navigable for those above 400 of 500 tons burden.

    The ferry to Great Island and Cove is at the eastern extremity of the town, and the thoroughfare during the summer months is very great; the want of a steam boat to transport passengers and carriages having been much felt, the St. George's Steam Packet Company have lately built a very elegant pier, under the direction of G. R. Pain, Esq., of Cork, where their own packets can be alongside in all weathers and discharge their passengers or cargoes at all times, even during the lowerst ebb tide; and, at the quays adjoining the dry dock, the largest ships can lie or anchor in the channel in 20 fathoms of water. Connected with this dock is a ship-building establishment where two or three vessels are always on the stocks, furnishing employment to a great number of men. Near the Ferry point is a rope walk, with suitable buildings and machinery. Since the establishment of this dock and ship yard, several spirited merchants of Cork have become shipowners, and now carry on an extensive trade in their own vessels, whic, before, was principally done by strange ships. Spring tides rise 16 feet at the quay. The intercourse between this place and Cove is kept up by the ferry; on the other side is an excellent level road all the way to Cove, a distance of two miles.A new and excellent line of road has been lately completed around the precipitous shores of the bay leading to Monkstown. Many boats were formerly employed here in fishing, which has nearly ceased, being engrossed by the men of Cove, whence the inhabitants of Passage obtain their principal supply. Upwards of 100 covered cars, called jingles, are engaged almost daily in the communication between Passage and Cork; they carry four inside, and the charge is only 2s 6d for the entire vehicle, or in proportion for single passengers. Steam boats sail and return several times daily and several small boats constantly pass and repass. A fund has been established here for the support, or assistance, of poor room keepers, whose rent is paid, and who receive coal, potatoes, &c.; during the winter it is liberally supported by voluntary subscriptions among the resident gentry.