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. Kerry.
ContentKILCROHANE, or MUNTEBARRA, a parish, in the West Division of the barony of WEST CARBERY, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 14 miles (S. W.) from Bantry, on the southern coast; containing 4317 inhabitants.
This parish, which is situated between the bays of Dunmanus and Bantry, forms a peninsula terminating in Sheep's Head, and comprises 13,230 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £2247 per annum. Of these, 9168 acres are mountain, 1667 coarse pasturage, 2125 arable, 260 good pasture land, and about 10 acres bog. The soil is generally rocky and unproductive, and much of the land is uncultivated; its exposed situation between the bays lays it open to the full force of the westerly and north-westerly winds, and is very unfavourable to agricultural improvement.
A ridge of mountains of clay-slate intersects the parish from east to west, and on the highest point is a signal tower, communicating with those of Bere island and Three-Castle Head. There are several small lakes; manganese is found in different places, and there are indications of copper ore, and abundance of slate of good quality, but no attempt has yet been made to work any of these minerals.
Sheep's Head is situated in 51° 32' (N. Lat.) and 9° 39' (W. Lon.), and is 4 miles (N. N. E.) from Three-Castle Head; between them is the entrance to Dunmanus bay.
The only seat is O'Donovan's Cove, the residence of T. O'Donovan, Esq.
The parish is in the diocese of Cork; the rectory is impropriate in Lord Riversdale, and the vicarage forms part of the union of Durrus. The tithes amount to £370, of which £135 is payable to the impropriator and the remainder to the vicar; the glebe comprises 5.50 acres.
The Roman Catholic parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; the chapel is a small plain edifice.
On the shore of Dunmanus bay are the ruins of the old parish church, and near it are the remains of the ancient castle of the O'Donovans, built in the 16th century.
ContentKILCROHANE, a parish, in the barony of DUNKERRON, county of KERRY, and province of MUNSTER, 14 miles (S. W.) from Kenmare ; containing 9468 inhabitants.
This parish is situated on the northern shore of the great river or bay of Kenmare, along which it extends nearly 14 miles. It is bounded on the east by the river Blackwater, on the west by the bay of Ballinaskelligs, and on the north by a range of lofty mountains which separates it from the barony of Iveragh ; and is computed to contain nearly 90,000 statute acres, the greater part of which consists of rocky mountain pasture, waste, and bog, there being but a very small portion in tillage, and that chiefly for potatoes, for which sea manure is used. The land is usually computed by gneeves, of which the parish contains 768, estimated at the annual value of £6720. Nearly in the centre of the parish an inlet of the bay of Kenmare receives the river Sneem, and forms the harbour of that name, where vessels of considerable size may lie securely when not exposed to the south-western gales. The western extremity of the parish terminates in the peninsula called Hog Head, which forms the southern side of the bay of Ballinaskelllgs. Along the shore in Kenmare bay are several islands, the principal of which is Rossmore ; and about a league off the western shore are those of Scariff and Dinish, called the Hog Islands.
There is at present but one main line of road through the parish ; but a new line is about to be constructed from Sneem to the pass of Cameduff, where it will meet the new road between Killarney and Kenmare about midway. Several of the inhabitants, including some of the small farmers, are occasionally employed in the fishery in the bay, on which they partly depend for their support ; but it is expected that the new road from Sneem will tend materially to develop the agricultural resources of this wild and mountainous district. The bogs, which are deep and extensive, were surveyed about 30 years since, by the late Mr. Nimmo, who reported to the Government that the greater part of them were capable of being drained and brought into cultivation at a moderate expense. On. the summit of the mountain called Finabagough, 1200 feet above the level of the sea, is an extensive tract of common, where cattle are grazed during the summer months.
The seats are Derrynane, the residence of Daniel O'Connell, Esq., M.P. ; Derriquin, of F. C. Bland, Esq. ; Hollywood, of ??? Hyde, Esq. ; Aska, of Dr. Browne. ; Castle Cove, of Mr; O'Sullivan; and the glebe-house, of the Rev. S. Mathews. Derrynane, sometimes called Derrynane or Darrynane Abbey, from its proximity to the ruins of the ancient monastery of that name, is situated near the shore of the Atlantic, at the western extremity of the parish : it is an extensive but irregular pile of building, partly in the castellated style, and has been much enlarged by the proprietor, who has also greatly improved the approaches, and extended the shrubberies and plantations as far as the situation, so much exposed to the western gales, will allow. The surrounding scenery, which is of the most wild and romantic description, is terminated on the north by a range of rugged and lofty mountains, from the summit of which an extensive view of the western coast is obtained, embracing the entrances to the bays of Bantry and Kenmare, the bay of Ballinaskelligs, Dursey Island, and the Skellig Isles. Derriquin, also partly castellated, is situated in a finely wooded demesne on the bay of Kenmare, which is here studded with several small islands. The prostrate juniper is found on the shore at this place. A penny post to Cahirciveen has been lately established at Ballybrack.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe, united prior to any existing record to the rectory and vicarage of Templenoe, and in the patronage of the Crown : the tithes amount to £258. 9s. 2.75d., and those of the union to £350. 15s. 4.50d. The church at Sneem is a plain structure, erected about 1790, for which purpose: £390 was granted by the late Board of First Fruits, and £100 was granted at the same period towards the erection of the glebe-house. The glebe comprises 23 acres, subject to a rent of £30.
In the Roman Catholic divisions this parish forms two separate districts ; the eastern, called Ballybog, contains the chapels of Sneem and Thahilla ; and the western, called Derrynane, those of Derrynane and Lohurt. The chapel at Sneem is a large plain building, and that at Derrynane is a neat modern edifice, erected at the joint expense of the late General Daniel Count O'Connell, Mr. O'Connell, and Mr. Hartop.
The parochial school at Sneem is supported by Mr. Bland, of Derriquin, and the incumbent ; a school held in Sneem chapel is chiefly supported by the priest, and a free school at Derrynane by a bequest of £10 per annum from the late General Daniel Count O'Connell (at whose expense the school-house, a neat building, was erected) and by annual donations from Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Hartop; about 250 children are educated in these schools.
The ruins of Aghamore or Derrynane Abbey, founded in the seventh century by the monks of St. Finbarr, at Cork, for canons regular of the order of St. Augustine, stand on a peninsula which becomes insulated at spring tides, and has therefore acquired the name of "Abbey Island." A portion of the walls has been washed away by the violence of the waves, but the remains are still considerabe, and the eastern window nearly entire. Here is the family vault of the O'Connells. At Cooke are the ruins of the old church, and on a hill about a mile from it is a curious hermitage, hewn out of the solid rock, said to have belonged to St. Crohane, the patron saint of the parish. At Cahirdaniel are the remains of a large fortification, consisting of a rampart seven feet high, constructed of large stones, and attributed to the Danes ; and at Money Fluch are those of a similar one. But one of the most remarkable ancient structures in Ireland is Staigue Fort, which is generally considered to be unique. It stands on a low hill nearly in the centre of an amphitheatre of barren mountains, open from the south to the bay of Kenmare, from which it is about a mile and a half distant. The building, which is nearly of a circular form, is constructed of the ordinary stone of the country, but bears no mark whatever of a tool, having been evidently erected before masonry became a regular art. The only entrance is by adoorway barely five feet high, through a wall upwards of 13 feet thick, which opens into an area of about 90 feet in diameter. The circumference is divided into a series of compartments of steps or seats, ascending to the top of the surrounding wall, in the form of the letter X, and in two of these compartments are entrances to cells constructed in the centre of the wall. The average height of the wall on the out side is 13 feet, battering as it rises by a curve, which produces a very singular effect : the wall also batters on the inside, so as to be reduced from about 13 feet at the bottom to 7 at the top. On the outside the stones are small, and the joints are so filled with splinters of stone as not to be removed without violence. The fort is surrounded by a broad fosse. Various conjectures have been formed as to its origin and use, the most probable of which appears to be that it was erected as a place of refuge for the inhabitants and their cattle from the sudden inroads of the pirates of former times.