KINNITTY, a post-town and parish, in the barony of BALLYBRIT, KING'S county, and province of LEINSTER, 14 miles (W.) from Tullamore, and 64 (S. W.) from Dublin, on the road to Parsonstown; containing 2567 inhabitants, of which number, 455 are in the town. This place was the site of a monastery founded in 557 by St. Finian, who became its first abbot, and which continued to flourish till 839, when it was destroyed by the Danes. It appears to have been soon restored, for the annals of Mac Geoghegan notice the abbot Colga Mc Conaghan as dying here in 871; he was considered the most elegant poet and learned historian of that period.
The town contains 83 houses neatly built, and has fairs on Feb. 9th, Ascension-day, June 23rd, Aug. 15th, and Oct. 2nd. A constabulary police force is stationed here, and petty sessions are held on alternate Tuesdays. The parish contains some good land, which is principally under tillage, and there is an extensive tract of bog; the surrounding district is noted for corn, and there are quarries of fine grit-stone. Castle Bernard, the seat of T. Bernard, Esq., is a handsome mansion, situated in a picturesque demesne bordering on the Slieve Bloom mountains, and commanding some fine views. The other seats in the parish are Letty Brook, that of J. A. Drought, Esq.; Glenview, of Capt. Cox; and Cadamstown House, of D. Manifold, Esq. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Killaloe; of the rectory, one moiety is impropriate in the representatives of Henry Jackson, Esq., and the other, with the vicarage, was united by act of council in 1796 to the rectory and vicarage of Litterluna, and the vicarage of Ruscomroe, and is in the patronage of the Bishop. The tithes amount to£170.15.4½., of which£50.15.4½.is payable to the impropriators, and the remainder to the vicar; the tithes of the entire benefice amount to £230. 15.4½.
The glebe-house was erected by aid of a gift of £100 and a loan of £600 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1810; the glebe comprises 41a. lr. l1p. The church was rebuilt on an enlarged scale, in 1813, by a loan of £500 from the same Board, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £176 for its repair. In. the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parishes of Litterluna and Roscomroe; there is a chapel in each. About 150 children are taught in two public schools, of which one is supported under the patronage of Col, Bernard, and an infants' and sewing school by Lady Catherine Bernard; there is also a Sunday school, to which is attached a clothing fund, supported by the rector and Lady Bernard, and in the town is a dispensary. The O'Carrolls had a castle here previously to the forfeitures in the war of 1641, when it passed to the Winter family. Near Castle Bernard is a Danish fort, from which some curious stone figures have been taken.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.