Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary, Co. Westmeath

Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary comprises of several cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland. Here are From-Ireland.net’s records for Co. Westmeath.

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    KILLUCAN, a post-town and parish, in the barony of FARBILL, county of WESTMEATH, and province of LEINSTER, 3.50 miles (E.) from Mullingar, and 33 miles (W by N) from Dublin, on the road to Sligo and Galway;. containing 5989 inhabitants, of which number, 206: are in the town.

    This place, which is also called Killuquin, appears to have derived its name from an abbey founded here by St. Lucian, which subsequently became the parish church. A castle called Rathwire was a so erected by Hugh de Lacy, of which only the foundations and some of the outworks are at present discernible. The town consists of 59 houses, and is a consta bulary police station. Fairs are held on March 27th May 25th, Sept. 20th, and Nov. 25th, and petty sessions every Saturday. The parish, which, with the district parish of Kinnegad, is co-extensive with the barony, comprises. 26,043 statute acres ; the surface is greatly diversified, but the land is in general fertile and principally under tillage ; there are some large dairy farms ; the system of agriculture is improvd, and there are some extensive tracts of bog.

    A railroad has been recently laid down at Griffinstown, by Mr. Fetherston-Haugh, for draining the bog on that estate. There are some very fine quarries of black flagstone, from which were taken materials for the custom-house docks of Dublin ; and on Sion Hill is a quarry having the appearance of slate, but it has not been yet worked.

    The principal seats are Lotown the residence of William Dopping, Esq., situated in a richly wooded demesne; Griffinstown House, of J. Fetherston-Haugh, Esq.; Hyde Park, of J. D'Arcy, Esq.; Wardinstown, of T. M. Webb, Esq.; Curristown of G. Purdon, Esq.; Lisnabin, of E. Purdon, Esq., a handsome castellated mansion recently erected Huntingdon R. Purdon, Esq.; Joristown, of P. Purdon, Esq.. Grangemore, of E. Briscoe, Esq., a handsome house in a well-planted demesne; Riverdale, of W. T. Briscoe, Esq.; Craddenstown, of L. Ramage, Esq.. Corbetstown, of J D'Arcy, Esq.; and Derrymoe, the property of T. J. Fetherston-Haugh, Esq., of Bracklyn Castle. On the demesne of Joristown is the hill of Knock-shiban, a conspicuous landmark, commanding a very extensive prospect over a richly diversified tract of country.

    The Royal Canal passes through the parish here are several very small lakes, and to the west are some dry limestone tracts, curiously interspersed with patches of bog. At Thomastown, a small hamlet on the canal, a market is held on Tuesday, where large quantities of corn are purchased and shipped.

    The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Meath, an in the patronage of the Bishop : the tithes amount to £1072. 8s. The church, for the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits gave £100 and granted a can of £1200, in 1816, is a handsome edifice, with a well-proportioned spire, and contains the sepulchral vault of the Pakenham family. The glebe-house is a neat residence and the glebe comprises 30 acres.

    The Roman Catholic parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, there are two chapels, situated respectively at Rathwire and Rathfarne.

    About 220 children are taught in four public schools, of which one is supported by the Trustees of Erasmus Smith's fund who allow the master £30 per annum, with a house and garden rent-free; and two by Lord and Lady Longford. There are also three private schools, in which are about 120 children.

    A flax society for spinning and weaving linen has been established, which affords employment to about 100 poor women ; and there is also a dispensary.

    In the old parish church were several chapels or chantries, of which the largest was dedicated to St. Mary ; and at Clonfad, on the southern confines of the parish was a very ancient religious establishment, of which St. Etchen who died in 577, was bishop : there are still some remains of the church. Numerous raths exist in the parish. and on a hill near Lisnabin are the remains of some works called Packenham's Fort, commanding an extensive prospect.

    A Rateen. are the remains of a castle, in which the lord-lieutenant, who in 1450 had been made prisoner was confined for some time. Many silver coins of the reign of Elizabeth, Jas. I., Chas. I., and the protectorate were found in two tin vessels in ploughing near Griffinstown.