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KILLALOE

In 1868, the parish of Killaloe contained the following places:

"KILLALOE, a parish and post town and the seat of a diocese, chiefly in the barony of Tulla, County Clare, but partly in the north riding of county Tipperary, province of Munster, Ireland, 22 miles E. of Ennis, and 12 N.E. of Limerick. The Midland Great Western railway has a station for Killaloe via the Shannon. It is also a principal station of the Inland Steam Navigation Company. This place was anciently called Laonia, and its present name is supposed to be a contraction of Kill-da-Lua, or "Church of St. Lua," from the foundation of an abbey in the 6th century by a saint of that name. As commanding an important pass it was anciently of consequence in a military point of view, and was the capital of the O'Briens of Thomond, one of whom, in 1054, erected here a wooden bridge over the Shannon, which was burnt seven years afterwards by the O'Connors. In 1080 the town was burnt down by the people of Commacne, and in 1177 fealty was sworn by the native chiefs to the king of England. In 1367, at the recall of the Duke of Clarence, it was destroyed by Murroh-na-Ranagh. In 1691 Sarsfield intercepted the artillery of William III. on its way to the siege of Limerick.

This town, once a market town, is situated on the western bank of the Shannon, near the falls of Killaloe, and at the bottom of Lough Derg, under Slieve Bernagh and the Arra mountains. It is connected with Ballina on the Tipperary side by an ancient bridge of nineteen arches. It offers little that is attractive, consisting of one square and several small streets, with a population in 1861 of 1,672. The houses are in general of mean appearance, scattered along the slopes of the hills and towards the new pier. It is, however, by no means deficient in prosperity. A good trade is carried on by packet and passenger boats with Limerick, and many of the inhabitants are engaged in the salmon, trout, and other fisheries. Agricultural produce of all kinds, slates from Lough Derg, and marble are largely exported. The marble mills, slate yard, and Limerick packet station and docks are below the bridge, the steamboat pier and docks about half a mile above it. Formerly the natural navigation of the Shannon was interrupted at Killaloe by ledges of rocks, or rapids, which are 21 feet in a mile here. This has been remedied by the Board of Inland Navigation constructing a canal avoiding the rocks, and uniting with the river beyond the falls. The town contains infantry barracks, a chief police station, four Roman Catholic chapels, a place of worship for Presbyterians, and a Wesleyan meetinghouse. The population consists of 1,478 Roman Catholics, 184 Established Church, 2 Presbyterians, and 8 Methodists. The chief building is the venerable cathedral, an ancient cruciform structure with a square central tower, said to have been rebuilt in 1160 by Donald O'Brien. It is 200 feet long, with a fine E. window, and many Norman traces. The see of Killaloe was founded by Pope John IV. in 639, and its first bishop was St. Lua. The church became a great resort for pilgrims, and here Connor O'Brien, king of Thomond, died whilst on his pilgrimage. The cathedral was built by the king of Limerick in 1160. At the end of the 12th century the ancient bishopric of Roscrea was permanently joined to this see, and in 1752 the see of Kilfenora was added. Under the Church Temporalities Act the united sees of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh have also been annexed to Killaloe. This is one, of the twelve dioceses constituting the ecclesiastical province of Cashel, and includes parts of Queen's County, Limerick, Galway, and King's County, with a large portion of Tipperary, and the greater part of Clare. The lands belonging to the see comprise 7,528 statute acres, and the revenue was £4,041. The chapter consists of a dean, precentor, chancellor, treasurer, archdeacon, and 6 prebendaries. The total number of parishes in the diocese is 108; but the number of benefices 68, of which 29 are unions. The living is a perpetual curacy, value £90, in the patronage of the dean and chapter. The cathedral serves as the parish church. Near it is the oratory of St. Molua, one of the oldest ecclesiastical edifices in Ireland, but now in ruins. In the Roman Catholic arrangement the diocese of Killaloe is in the province of Cashel, and contains 53 parishes. Near the town is Clarrisford House, the episcopal palace, and at Sixmilebridge is Deer Park, the seat of the Roman Catholic bishop. In the vicinity are several gentlemen's seats, commanding views of the lake of Lough Derg, and a rath, said to have formerly been the castle of Brian Boroihme, monarch of all Ireland. Fairs are held on 5th April, 24th May, 3rd September, and 20th October."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2018