The windows are varied in their style and elevation: the east window is composed of three lofty lights, divided by stone mullions; the south window of the transept is also of three lancet-shaped lights, and the great west window of two. On the east side of the south transept is an oratory, with light and elegant windows, and those of the nave are pointed, square-headed, obtuse, and ogee. The division or screen between the nave and choir is by a lofty arch, on which rests a small light square tower, 68 feet high, and beneath this tower is a narrow and curious passage similar to those leading to the rood-loft in the English cathedrals. The dormitories, refectory, and other domestic edifices are remaining.
During the reign of Mary, the monks retook possession of this abbey; and in 1603, the Catholics again took possession, and completely repaired it in every part. In 1518, Edmund Courcy, Bishop of Ross, was buried here; he built the square tower, now so conspicuous an ornament, and also the dormitory and library. It was for several centuries the burialplace of the powerful families of Mac Carty Reagh, de Courcy, O'Cullan, O'Hea, and others. The castle belonging to Sir Roger Shaughnessy was besieged and burned in 1642, by Lord Forbes, who then set sail for the Shannon. It was also again taken from the Irish, in 1643, by Col. Myn.
The parish comprises 2739 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £2014 per ann.: the land, though in general good, is in some places light and stony; it is chiefly under tillage, and produces abundant crops of wheat, oats, and potatoes. Agriculture was till very lately carried on under the old system, though it is improving rapidly through the spirited exertions and example of Col. Travers, the proprietor: green crops have been of late advantageously introduced, and several of the farmers have adopted the use of the Scotch plough and other improved agricultural implements.
The town consists principally of one long irregular street, with another diverging from it parallel with the old abbey which was built by Col. Travers, and contains many comfortable slated cottages, principally inhabited by weavers; it comprises 120 houses, of which the greater part are modern and well built, and has a neat court-house, where petty sessions for the district are held every Monday, and an occasional manor court belonging to Lord Carbery. This is a constabulary police station. A market for pigs is held every Thursday; and fairs for cattle on March 28th, July 5th, Aug. 21st, and Dec. 7th. Although the chief occupation of the inhabitants is in agricultural pursuits, many are yet engaged in weaving coarse sheeting, and about 50 looms are employed in the town in weaving cotton cords.
At Spital-Hill is a flour-mill, belonging to Messrs.
Swete and Co., where 6000 barrels of wheat are annually ground, principally for supplying the neighbouring towns. The surrounding country would be remarkably beautiful, but for the want of plantations, which defect, it is hoped, will in a few years be effectually remedied through the exertions of Col. Travers, of Timnoleague House, who has already planted 50 acres of land on his demesne, close to the town. Barry's Hall, the residence of J. Lucas, Esq., is a large mansion, erected by one of the Barry family about a century since, and surrounded by a considerable plantation; Umera, a beautiful house on the banks of the river, of the Rev. B.
Swete; Timoleague Villa, of J. Crofts, Esq.; and the glebe-house, of the Rev. C. L. Coghlan, D. D., the learned author of a "Scriptural Commentary on the Book of Genesis and St. Matthew's Gospel." The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Ross, forming the cprps of the prebend of Ross in the cathedral 4 L of St. Faugh an, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the tithes amount to £413. 8. 8½. The glebe-house, a neat villa residence, was erected by aid of a gift of £100 and a loan of £900, in 1816, from the late Board of First Fruits; the glebe comprises five acres. The church is a small neat structure, built in 1810 by aid of a loan of £500 from the same Board. In the R. C.
divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parish of Kilmaloda; the chapel of Timoleague is a plain building. The parochial schools are principally supported by the rector, and a school is supported by Col. Travers; there are also two schools aided by subscriptions, two private schools, and a Sunday school. Here is a dispensary; and an Indigent Housekeepers' Society has been recently established, and is supported by voluntary contributions.
In the town is also a parochial library, the books of which were given by James Duncan, Esq., of London.
In a field not far from the Spital Mills are the ruins of the hospital for Lepers, founded by the first McCarty: on the banks of the river stand the ruins of the ancient castle built by the Morils in 1206.
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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