COLLON, a post-town and parish, partly in the barony of LOWER-SLANE, county of MEATH, but chiefly in that of FERRARD, county of LOUTH, and province of LEINSTER, 6 miles (W. N. W.) from Drogheda, on the road to Ardee, and 28 (N. by W.) from Dublin;containing 3217 inhabitants, of which number,1153are in the town. This place, formerly belonged to the celebrated abbey of Mellifont, and was confirmed to the abbot by Hen. II., at the close of the 12th century.
The town has a remarkably neat appearance, and consists of two streets intersecting near the church, and contains 215 houses, of which the greater number are slated. It owes its present prosperity to its proprietors, the Fosters, who established a cotton-manufactory here, which for some time employed more than 600 looms.
Linen was previously made here, and its manufacture has been resumed, but the cotton manufacture has entirely ceased. There is a bleach-green, employing more than 50 persons, with a steam-engine of 10-horse power; also a flax-mill, and in the town and its vicinity are three cornmills, worked by steam and water power. It is a chief constabulary police station. On the 20th of Sept., 1229, Hen. II. granted to the abbot and convent of Mellifont a market on Tuesday in their town of Collon: there is a market-house and an open area at the north end of the town for holding a market, but, except for butchers' meat, none has been held lately. Fairs are held, on May 10th, June 29th, Oct. 20th, and Nov. 24th. Petty sessions are held every alternate Thursday.
The parish contains about 8600 statute acres, which are mostly under tillage; there is no waste or bog, but 513 acres of woodland. Here is Oriel Temple, the seat of Viscount Ferrard, whose predecessor was the Rt. Hon. John Foster, the last speaker of the Irish House of Commons, who. in 1821, was created Lord Oriel: it is distinguished by the beauty of its surrounding grounds, and the richness of its extensive plantations.
The demesne contains about 1000 acres: in it is a grotto, of which the interior is lined with shells, stained glass, coloured stones, &c., said to be the work of Lady Ferrard; there is also a beautiful rustic cottage.
The house contains some good pictures, among which is a full-length portrait of the first Lord Oriel, by Sir Thos. Lawrence. In the vicinity of the town is a nursery of forest trees, consisting of seven acres, which is the property of Lord Ferrard. About a mile from it is Mount Oriel, from which there is an extensive and magnificent view, including the Bay of Carlingford and the grand chain of the Mourne mountains. Belpatrick mountain, which, according to the Ordnance survey, rises 789 feet above the level of the sea, is also within the parish.
The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Armagh, united by act of council, in 1769, to the rectory and vicarage of Mosstown, and in 1782 the rectory of Dromin was added to the union, which is in the patronage of the Lord-Primate and Viscount Ferrard, in the latter of whom the rectory is impropriate, and by whom the land is let tithe-free. About 1769, the late Chief Baron Foster gave a glebe of ten acres, and built the glebe-house, on condition that an augmentation of £50 should be granted from Primate Boulter's fund, and that he should have the patronage of the endowed vicarage two turns out of three. The living was subsequently augmented by the impropriate tithes of Mosstown, which were purchased for the purpose by the Trustees of Primate Boulter's fund, and now produce £248.14.11. Besides the glebe at Collon, there is one of three acres at Mosstown, and another at Dromin of nearly 10 acres; and the gross tithes of the benefice amount to £453. 4. 6. The church, an elegant structure of hewn limestone, in the ancient style of English architecture, was built in 1813, during the. incumbency of Dr. Beaufort, author of the "Ecclesiastical Map and Memoir of Ireland:" the cost was about £8000, of which £3800 was a gift and £700 a loan from the late Board of First Fruits; the members of the Foster family contributed bountifully towards its erection; the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted £368. 6. 9.
for its repair. The interior is 90 feet by 40, the ceiling beautifully groined, and it has five windows on the south side, besides a large east window over the altar. All the side windows are of stained glass, the gift of the present Baron Foster; the east window is in course of preparation, being the gift of the impropriator. Under the church is the burial-place of that family, and in it is a marble monument to the memory of Catherine Letitia Foster, widow of William, Lord Bishop of Clogher, which was erected by her daughter, the Countess de Salis.
The ecclesiastical duties of Collon were formerly performed by a monk from Mellifont abbey. The R. C. parish is co extensive with that of the Established Church; the chapel is a neat structure. There is also a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. A male and female school, under the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity, is aided by a donation from Lord Ferrard; and there are two others aided by the vicar. Besides these, there are an infants' school, supported by Mrs. Green, and two private schools. At Belpatrick is a school principally supported by Edward and James Singleton, Esqrs. There is also a dispensary in the town.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.