CHAPEL-RUSSELL, a parish, in the barony of KENRY, county of LIMERICK, and province of MUNSTER; containing, with the post-town of Pallas-Kenry, 1204 inhabitants. It was formerly called Kilelura or Cillenalotar, and was created a parish, under its present name, by the late Dr. Elrington, while Bishop of Limerick.
It is situated on the road from Limerick to the quay of Ringmoileau, and within a mile of the river Shannon; and contains 587 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, of which nearly the whole is arable. Prior to 1785, the whole was an open field, on which a great number of cattle depastured, but it has been enclosed.
The land is tolerably fertile, and the soil is everywhere based on limestone, which in some places rises above the surface. Near the town of Pallas-Kenry are two small lakes, which appear to have been formed by cutting turf. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Limerick, and in the patronage of the Bishop; it was formerly part of the bishop's mensal, but on its being erected into a rectory by Dr. Elrington, he endowed it with all the tithes, which amount to £55.7. 8½.
The parish appears formerly to have been part of the parish of Ardcanny, or to have been held by the same incumbent; and the church of that parish being in a ruinous state, and situated at the southern extremity of the parish, it is the intention of the bishop to unite the two parishes, when the church of Chapel-Russell, which is a large and handsome edifice, will become the church of the union. It was built in 1822, by aid of a gift of £900 from the late Board of First Fruits, and £100 from the Incorporated Society, for the erection of a gallery for the children of the Shannon Grove charter school; but as this school was suppressed soon afterwards, the gallery is now open to the parishioners.
The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted £116 for repairing the church. There is neither glebehouse nor glebe. In the R. C. divisions this parish forms part of the union or district of Kildimo: the chapel, which is a neat building, is at White Forge. There is also a chapel for Wesleyan Methodists. The parochial schools, in which are about 100 children, are aided by subscriptions from Lord Charleville and the rector: about the same number also receive instruction in two private schools. There were formerly two charter schools, one of which long since fell into decay, but the other existed till within the last few years, under the patronage of the Charleville family. The school, which cost £5000, is large and well built, and is now occupied in separate tenements; and the land is held by a fanner. A loan fund has been established. Within the parish are the ruins of the castle of Pallas-Kenry, originally built by the O'Donovans, but subsequently occupied by the Fitzgeralds, Knights of the Valley, who greatly enlarged and strengthened it at various periods: a great part of the walls fell down in the winter of 1834, but it is still a picturesque and beautiful ruin. Not far distant from it is the curious little church of Killenalotar, only twelve feet long and eight broad; the walls, the west door, and the east window are quite perfect. See PALLASKENRY.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.