KILFYAN, a parish, in the barony of TYRAWLEY, county of MAYO, and province of CONNAUGHT, 6¼ miles (W.) from Killala, on the road from Crossmolina to Ballycastle; containing 5656 inhabitants. This parish, which takes its name from an abbey founded here by St. Finan, and, according to Colyan, existed but for a short time, comprises, according to the county books, 3060 plantation acres, chiefly under tillage. The system of agriculture is improving; there is no waste land, but in several parts are tracts of bog, which are being rapidly reclaimed and brought into cultivation. Limestone is quarried for agricultural uses and for building, and there are several quarries of slate. Iron ore has been found in the picturesque glen of Cleedagh, which is watered by a small river and commands some fine views of the sea. The principal seats are Greenwood Park, the residence of Capt. J. Knox; Woodville, in the same demesne; Rappa Castle, of Annesley Gore Knox, Esq.; Fahy, of E. A. Knox, Esq.; Farmhill, of Major Gardiner; Mount Glynne, of J. Fausset, Esq.; Killina, of Duke Ormsby, Esq.; Ballintubber, of S. Handy, Esq.; and Smithstown, of A. Pugh, Esq. Rappa Castle is a place of very great antiquity; the grounds are profusely embellished with fine old timber, and the land is of the first quality. At Brideswell is a large fair for horses on Feb. 1st; fairs are held at Tonrahowen on St. Stephen's, St. Patrick's, and Corpus Christi days; and at Fortfield, a small village, which has obtained the grant of a market not yet opened, on Jan.
1st, June 15th, Aug. 16th, Sept. 8th, Oct. 29th, and Dec. 1st. A constabulary police force is stationed here.
The parish is in the diocese of Killala; the rectory is partly appropriate to the vicars choral of the cathedral of Christchurch, Dublin, and partly to the precentorship of the cathedral of St. Patrick, Killala; and the vicarage forms part of the union of Crossmolina. The tithes amount to £280, of which £28 is payable to the vicars choral of Christchurch, £112 to the precentor of Killala, and £140 to the vicar. In the R. C. divisions it is partly in the union or district of Ardagh, and partly the head of a union, comprising also the parish of Rathrea; the chapel is a small thatched building. About 120 children are taught in a public school, and there is a private school of about 35 children. In Ballynglen, about two miles from the sea, are the remains of a castle of that name; in this glen are found various incrustations of marl. There are also the ruins of a castle at Rathroe; and in various parts of the parish are raths, in some of which are several apartments. There are remains of cromlechs and numerous cairns, in some of which are wells of water, and several human skeletons of extraordinary size have been discovered. Silver coins of the reign of Anne, and others of which the dates could not be ascertained, have also been found.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.