HOSPITAL, a town and parish, in the barony of SMALL-COUNTY, county of LIMERICK, and province of MUNSTER, 4 miles (E.) from Bruff, on the road to Tipperary; containing 3061 inhabitants, of which number, 1121 are in the town. It anciently formed part of the parish of Aney, and derived its name from an hospital for Knights Templars, founded in 1226 by Geoffry de Marisco, then Lord-Justice of Ireland; the site of which, with its possessions, was granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Valentine Browne, who erected a castle near it, which was subsequently called Kenmare Castle, his descendants having been created Earls of Kenmare.
The town is about half a mile long, and contained, in 1831, 179 houses, of which many have since been taken down, and the site is now a cultivated field. It is a constabulary police station, and has cattle fairs on May 10th, July 9th, Sept. 8th, and Oct. 30th. The parish comprises 1896 statute acres applotted under the tithe act, besides about 300 that are tithe-free: the land is generally very good and chiefly under tillage. On the site of Kenmare castle a very pretty cottage has been erected by J. Gubbins., Esq., and near it is Castle Farm, the residence of Standish of O'Grady, Esq. It is a vicarage, in the diocese of Emly, forming part of the union of Aney; the rectory is impropriate in the Earl of Kenmare, who claims the whole of the tithes, amounting to £335, and pays the vicar an annual stipend. In the R. C. divisions it is the head of the union or district of Hospital and Herbertstown, comprising this parish and those of Ballynard and Ballynamona, and containing two chapels, situated at Hospital and Herbertstown; the former, which is about to be rebuilt, is a large plain structure near the site of the old hospital. About 70 children are educated in a private school. Part of the ancient church remains, and there is a rude figure of a knight in a niche of the chancel.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.