It forms a peninsula on the southern coast, bounded by Dunmanus bay and Crookhaven; and comprises 10,738 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act. About one-third of the land is under tillage, chiefly by spadehusbandry, and the remainder is bog and mountain land, but the base of the mountains affords good pasturage; the highest mountain is Cahir, near Mizen Head.
The scenery is very bold and interesting: the mountains are of schistose formation, based on argillaceous grit, with veins of quartz intermingled; deposits of copper are found in various places and masses of it are found in the mountain streams, but no mines have been opened: there are several small lakes. On its western and southern boundaries are three remarkable headlands, namely, Three Castle Head, Mizen Head, called by Ptolemy Notium, or the South Promontory, it being the most south-western land in Ireland, in lat. 51° 26' 16", and lon. 9° 50'; and Brow Head, also said to be the Notium of Ptolemy. Dunmanus bay, which bounds the parish on the north-west, has deep water and good anchorage almost as far up as Mannin island, but is greatly exposed to westerly winds, and is little frequented except by small vessels, which can ride in Dunmanus creek or above Mannin island. Besides this island there are in the bay Owen, Horse, Colt, Lamb, Bird, Furze, and Carbery islands, of which only the last is inhabited. Within the limits of the parish are numerous bays and creeks, the principal of which are Ballydevlin bay, Crookhaven, and Barley cove, in each of which there is good anchorage. Petty sessions are held at Tourmore on alternate Wednesdays, and there is a constabulary police station at Goleen. The principal seats are Rockview, the residence of Florence McCarty, Esq.; Seaview, of D. Coghlan, Esq.; Rock Island House, of J. Notter, Esq.; Ballydevlin, of L. J.
Fleming, Esq.; Crookhaven House, of R. Doe, Esq.; Ballynaule, of J. Baker, Esq.; Goleen House, of J.
McCarthy, Esq.; and Tourmore, of R. Bailie, Esq.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Cork, and in the alternate patronage of the Crown and the Bishop: the tithes amount to £500. There is no glebe-house; the glebe comprises 7a. Or. 4p. Here are some extensive tracts of mountain land belonging to the see of Cork, but now in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The church is at Crookhaven. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of West Skull, and has a chapel at Goleen, which was built in 1806. There are five public schools, in which about 400 children are educated, and about 200 are taught in five private schools; there are also three Sunday schools, but most of them are closed during the winter. The three castles which give name to a lofty promontory are detached buildings, within a gun-shot of each other: they are on the cliff and near a spacious and very clear lake, and are stated to have been built by the Mahonys in the 15th century.
At Ballydevlin is a castle, called Desmond castle, which was built in 1495 by the Mahonys. Some remains of ancient castles also exist at Lisgriffin and on the shore of the lake of Dunkelly; and near the head of Barley cove are the rains of the old parochial church.
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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