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. Galway.
ContentMOYRUS, a parish, in the barony of BALLINAHINCH, county of GALWAY, and province of CONNAUGHT, approaching the town of Clifden in its north-western part ; containing 9792 inhabitants.
A monastery for Carmelite or White friars was founded at Ballinahinch in 1356 ; and another at Tombeola, for Dominican friars, about the year 1427, by the O'Flahertys, dynasts of Iar Connaught : in the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, the latter building was wholly demolished for the materials, which were used in the erection of the castle in the lake of Ballinahinch. In 1831, a famine raged in this district, in consequence of the failure of the potato crop, by reason of which 1200 families were reduced to the most appalling state of destitution, until assistance in money and food from the London Relief Committee was afforded, which rescued thousands from death.
The parish is situated upon the western coast; it extends from the Killery harbours, on the north, to the bays of Roundstone and Birterbuy, on the south, across a wild and mountainous district, and comprises within its limits the inhabited islands of Masa, Innislackan, and Innistravan, and the uninhabited isles of Mynish, Innisnee, Finish, Croaghnid, Macdara, Freight, Spit, Birr, Cruanakilly (occupied as a deer-park by T. B. Martin, Esq.), Cruanacarra, Innisdaury, and Innismooskerry ; also the bays of Roundstone, Birterbuy, and Ardwest.
The village of Roundstone, on the bay of that name, is situated in lat. 53o 93' 30"(N.), and in lon. 9o 51' 30" (W.) The bay is capable of sheltering the largest ships, the best anchorage being in four or five fathoms of water, on the Innisnee shore, a little above the point of that island : vessels of considerable burden may go up to the pier, which is dry at low water along the quay wall, or lie safe off the village. The pier and quay of Roundstone were built by Government; they are frequented by about 30 sailing-boats, averaging 10 tons, and 40 rowing-boats, of 4 tons each, the former being also occasionally engaged in bringing corn, kelp (seaweed), and turf to Galway : about 550 persons are thus employed in trading and fishing.
The entrance to Birterbuy bay is an opening to the eastward of Innislackan, about three cables length wide : it is a safe and commodious harbour, capable of accommodating the largest ships, being about four miles in length, and one in breadth, besides its inlets ; it has upwards of six fathoms of watery. over a surface of about 1200 acres. Between Mynish island and the mainland is the bay of Ardwest, which is only frequented by fishing-boats.
The little Killery or Salbroke harbour, in the parish of Ballynakill is sheltered, the ground good, and it has depth of water or vessels of any size, but, being narrow vessels must have a leading wind out and in, as they cannot ride with above half a cable : the rocks at the entrance are never quite covered, but the water is deep on each side of them ; the best anchorage is near the head of the bay.
The great, or larger, Killery harbour is commodious and fit for the largest ships, having good anchorage in all parts. though liable to sudden squalls from the mountains.
The river of Ballinahinch has a large salmon-fishery, and the bay of Ardwest is noted for its fine herrings.
The females are mostly engaged in spinning yarn and knitting stockings. In this parish are situated the quarries of green marble, which belong T. B. Martin, Esq. ; the principal is in the mountain Barrnonarane (one of the Twelve Pins), where to the extent of three miles, the surface appears to be entirely composed of this marble ; another quarry has been opens at Lessoughter, and at each of these quarries blocks of 15, 18 and 20 tons' weight are raised. A little to the south of the green marble is a large tract of white marble, lately discovered, of which hitherto a few blocks only have been raised, but these are extremely large, and sufficiently white for general purposes : a mass of 22 feet in length and proportionally broad has been recently excavated. The distance is only five miles from Barrnonarane quarry to the shipping pier in Roundstone bay, and an excellent road has been made for its conveyance. A new line of road formed by Government, as a continuation of the Oughterard road to Clifden, has been lately opened, the expense of which has a already been repaid by the increased duties of exciseable commodities consumed in the district. The river of Ballinahinch, which runs from the lake of the same name into Roundstone bay, could be made navigable at a moderate expense, and thus open a communication of more than six miles of still water, as several other lakes require only a very narrow cut to unite them.
Situated amidst bold and picturesque mountains, among which the Twelve Pins rise majestically from the borders of the lake of Ballinahinch, is the seat of T. B. Martin, Esq., M.P. ; Gorman is the residence of the Very Rev. Dean Mahon.
The parish is in the diocese of Tuam. it is a rectory, forming part of the union of Ballynakill ; the tithes are £50. 15s. 4.50d. Divine service is celebrated twice every Sunday and once on festivals in a private house in the southern part of the parish.
The Roman Catholic parish is co-extensive with that of the Established church, there are two chapels, besides which, divine service is performed in a private house at Roundstone.
There are schools under the National Board at Ballinafad, Roundstone, and Moyrus, in which about 200 boys and 70 girls are taught : there is also a private school at Timbole bridge, in which are about 15 children.
In Ard bay are the ruins of Ard castle; on a small island in the centre of the lake of Ballinahinch are the ruins of the castle before mentioned; and at Tombeola at the head of Roundstone bay, are the ruins of a small chapel.