CARRICKMACROSS, a parish and market-town and post-town, in the barony of FARNEY, county of MONAGHAN, and province of ULSTER, 20 miles (S. E. by S.) from Monaghan, and 40 (N. W. by N.) from Dublin; containing 12,610 inhabitants, of which number, 2970 are in the town. This place derives its name from its situation on a rock and from one of its early proprietors, and is the only town in the barony. The barony was granted by Queen Elizabeth to the Earl of Essex, who resided in the castle here, part of the walls of which are still standing in the garden of W. Daniel, Esq. It was leased by the earl to Mr. Barton, whose wife and children were burnt, with the castle, by the insurgents of 1641, while he was attending his parliamentary duties in Dublin, as representative of the county of Monaghan. The town is situated on the mail coach road from Dublin to Londonderry, and consists of one principal street, with some smaller streets or lanes branching from it; and contains about 560 houses, many of which are of respectable appearance. A considerable retail trade is carried on with the surrounding country 5 and soap, candles, brogues, and coarse hats, are manufactured in the town, in which there are also a tanyard, a brewery (employing 100 men), and a distillery. Distillation was carried on here to a considerable extent before the Union, for 20 years, after which it very much declined; but, in 1823, a large distillery was erected, which makes 200,000 gallons of spirits annually, consuming in the manufacture about 25,000 barrels of grain, including malt, which is made in the town. The general market is held on Thursday, and one for corn on Wednesday and Saturday: the number of pigs exposed for sale at the market, during the season, is very great; they are principally purchased by dealers from Dundalk, Newry, and Belfast, for exportation. Fairs are held on May 27th, July 10th, Sept. 27th, Nov. 9th, and Dec. 10th; those in May and December, the latter of which is for fat cattle, are the largest. The markethouse stands in the centre of the main street, and was built out of the ruins of the castle. Petty sessions are held every alternate week; and here are a constabulary police station and a county bridewell on a small scale, but containing the necessary accommodation for the separation of prisoners.
The parish, which is also called Magheross, contains, according to the Ordnance survey, 16,702¼ statute acres, including 299 of water; 15,068 acres are applotted under the tithe act, and there is a great quantity of bog. In the vicinity of the town are several limekilns, and the land has been greatly improved by the extensive use of lime as a manure. Mr. Shirley supplies his tenants at about half the usual price from his kilns, in which about 8000 barrels were burnt in 1835. • The principal lakes are Loch Mac-na-ree, Lisdronturk, Corvalley, and Chantinee Loch, only part of which is in this parish; Coal exists, but is not worked at present; but good limestone and freestone are quarried for building. Lisinisk, the seat of Adam Gibson, Esq., is in this parish, which also includes part of the demesne of Loch Fea Castle, the seat of E.J.Shirley, Esq., although the castle is in Magheracloony, The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Clogher, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory is impropriate in Col. Willcox: the tithes amount to £969. 4. 7½., of which £323. 1. 6½.
is payable to the impropriator, and £646. 3. 1. to the vicar. The church is a neat stone edifice with a tower and spire, having a good clock with four dials. Theremains of the old church are still standing: it was built in 1682, to replace the one that was destroyed by fire in 1641. There is a glebe-house, with a glebe of 112 acres. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and is the benefice of the Bishop of Clogher, who resides in the town: there are three chapels, situated at Corduff mountain, Corcreagh, and Carrickmacross, the last of which is a handsome building, erected in 1783. There is also a Presbyterian meeting- house. A free grammar school was founded here by Lord Weymouth in 1711, and endowed with £70 per annum: it has been disused for some years, but the school-house is being rebuilt by the Marquess of Bath, a descendant of the founder. There are two national schools at Carrickmacross; six schools, situated at Mullaghcrogery, Cornasassinagh, Carrickmaclim, Corraghery, Corduffkelly, and Cargamore, aided by annual donations from E. J. Shirley, Esq.; a school supported by subscriptions, and two other schools, in which the pupils are taught gratuitously. About 780 boys and 670 girls are taught in these schools, and about 470 boys and 230 girls in 13 private and hedge schools; there are also three Sunday schools. A dispensary was established in 1823; here is also a mendicity society; and a savings' bank was instituted in 1831 by the Marquess of Bath and Mr. Shirley: the amount of deposits, in November, 1835, was £1503. 14. 3., belonging to 81 depositors, the number of whom is rapidly increasing.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.