This parish is situated on the southern coast, at the entrance to Cork harbour, by which it is bounded on the west. In 1690. the fortress, erected in 1596, to protect the entrance to the harbour, was garrisoned for Jas. II., but his troops were driven out by the Earl of Marlborough, on the 21st of September, and this was the first strong hold he took in Ireland. After this it was suffered to fall into decay, the platform or gun batteries being all that now remains. The parish contains 3319 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and 100 acres within the walls of Carlisle fort, which are uncultivated and nominally tithe-free. About three-fourths of the land are under tillage, and clover and green crops are grown in small quantities. The principal seats are Rochemount, the residence of J. W. Roche, Esq.; Trabolgan, of E. Roche, Esq., surrounded by a finely varied and well-planted demesne of 400 acres: the mansion has an extensive front facing the sea, and includes two conservatories containing a fine collection of exotics. On the north-west side of the parish, projecting into the harbour, is Corkbeg House, the elegant residence of R. U. Penrose Fitzgerald, Esq.; the lawn and shrubbery are connected by a narrow slip with the main land, where the remainder of the demesne, comprising 350 acres of some of the best cultivated land in the barony is situated. Carlisle fort and Roche's tower lighthouse are within the limits of the parish: the former, which is situated near the mouth of Cork harbour, is a large fortress, erected at a great expense soon after the entrance of the French fleet into Bantry bay, and was garrisoned till 1828; the barrack will accommodate 7 officers and 155 artillery men, but is at present occupied only by a master-gunner and six men.
Roche's tower lighthouse, which was rebuilt in 1835, is on the eastern side of the entrance to the harbour, and occupies the site of an old castle, called Roche's tower: the lantern is elevated 139 feet above high water mark, and consists of 10 lamps giving a steady fixed light, which may be seen 14 nautical miles in clear weather. As seen from the harbour and from Cove, the light is bright, and from the sea it is a deep red. Large vessels entering the harbour at nearly low water should be careful to avoid the rocks called the Stags, which are on the east side of the entrance, and the harbour rock, which is within them, and bears N. N. W. ¾ W. from Roche's tower nearly half a mile, and has 15 feet of water at low spring tides.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Cloyne, and was formerly part of the union of Ahada, but, on the death of Dr. Brinkley, in 1835, who held it as Bishop of Cloyne, the union was dissolved, and it now forms a separate living, in the gift of the Crown. The tithes amount to £517. 12. 3. The glebe comprises 22 acres, and it is intended to erect a glebehouse.
The old church of this parish being in ruins, a new one will be built at the same time partly by private subscriptions, and partly by an expected grant from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In the R. C. divisions this parish is part of the district of Ahada. The parochial school for boys is in the tillage of Whitegate: it was built and endowed in 1831, by Col. Fitzgerald.
The female and infants' schools are altogether supported by Mrs. Blakeney Fitzgerald. A free school was founded in 1818 by the late John Roche, Esq., who endowed it with £10 per annum: it is now under the National Board. There are also two private schools.
The number of children receiving education in 1835, was 179. The ruins of the old church, which is supposed to have been built in 1587, are in the midst of a large wood. On the north side of them is a mausoleum belonging to the family of Roche, of Trabolgan; and on the south-west side is a large enclosed space belonging to the ancient family of Fitzgerald. Between the lighthouse and Carlisle fort are the remains of Prince Rupert's tower; and near Corkbeg House are the ruins of the old castle, built by the Condons in 1369, and for a long period the residence of that family. In the middle of a large field at Finnure are extensive ruins, supposed to have belonged to a religious establishment.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.
The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.
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