AGHADOE, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

AGHADOE, a parish, in the barony of MAGONIHY, county of KERRY, and province of MUNSTER; containing, with part of the town of Killarney, 4796 inhabitants. This place was formerly the head of a bishop's see, merged from time immemorial into that of Ardfert, which, with Limerick, forms the bishoprick of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe. The annals of Innisfallen state that a son of O'Donoghue was buried in an abbey founded here by him, which was standing in 1231. The only traces of its ancient dignity are the ruins of its cathedral, and the archdeaconry of Aghadoe, of which it still forms the corps. The parish is situated chiefly on the road from Killarney to Milltown and Tralee, and partly on that from Killarney to Cork: it comprehends within its limits the Island of Innisfallen, and part of the lakes of Killarney, and comprises 17,720 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act. The lands consist of a ridge of shaly rock hounding and overlooking the lake; and of a flat spreading towards the north into a wide expanse of wet bog, with shoals of gravel.

On the expiration of the lease of this manor, held under its proprietor, Lord Headley, in 1826, his lordship took the estate under his own management; the farms, previously consisting of small portions of land held under middlemen by cottier tenants, were surveyed and improved upon an arrangement adapted to the mutual benefit of landlord and tenant, and let on leases of 21 years in portions varying from 100 to 200 acres, with stipulated allowances for building comfortable farm-houses, making fences and drains, and drawing the requisite quantities of lime for the improvement of the soil. Several miles of new road have been constructed, and extensive plantations made solely at his lordship's expense. The hovels formerly occupied by the cottier tenants have been superseded by good farm-houses built of stone and roofed with slate; attached to each are orchards and gardens, and the whole face of the district presents an appearance of improvement. Lord Headley has a pattern farm of considerable extent adjoining his demesne, and has erected a splendid villa in the Italian style of architecture, commanding an interesting and extensive view over the great Lower Lake of Killarney; the approach is by a small but elegant bridge across a ravine, leading from the entrance gate and lodge, which are both in a corresponding style of architecture.

The plantations of Aghadoe House comprise about 100 acres, extending along the hill overlooking the lake. [For Lord Headley's other improvements see the articles on Castleisland and Glanbegh.] Grena, the seat of John O'Connell, Esq., is pleasantly situated on the river Laune, near its outlet from the lake: this river is considered capable of being made navigable from Castle-maine bay to the lake. The other seats are Lakeville, the residence of James O'Connell, Esq., so called from its proximity to the Lower Lake; Fossa Cottage, of W. B. Harding, Lord Headley's agent; Lakelands, at present unoccupied; Gurtroe, of S. Riordan, Esq.; Prospect Hall, of the Hon. T. Browne, brother of the Earl of Kenmare, commanding a fine view of the lake and its numerous islands; and, on the opposite side of the lake, Tomies, the seat of D. J. O'Sullivan, Esq. Near the town of Killarney, but within the limits of this parish, are the extensive flour-mills of Messrs. Galway and Leahy, worked by the small river Dinagh.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe, forming the corps of the archdeaconry of Aghadoe, in the patronage of the Bishop, and partly impropriate in the Earl of Donoughmore and H. Herbert, Esq., of Muckross. The tithes, including those of "the five plough-lands of Killarney," amount to £552. 4. 7 ½., of which £447. 4. 7 ½. is payable to the archdeacon, and of the remainder, £55 is payable to the lessee of Lord Donoughmore, and £50 to H. Herbert, Esq., as abbot of Innisfallen. A glebe of 10 ¾ acres, and one-third of the tithes of the "Church Quarter" in the parish of Kilgarvan, with tithes in Tuosist amounting to £15. 6. 11 ½. late currency, belong also to the archdeacon. There is at present neither church nor glebe-house: the ancient and much used burial-ground adjoining the ruins of the cathedral of Aghadoe has been enlarged by the addition of a slip of ground given by Lord Headley. It is in contemplation to erect a church on a site to the west of the ancient cathedral, presented by Lord Headley, who has also contributed £100 towards a subscription now in progress for this purpose, and at present amounting to about £700, to which the archdeacon, who has appointed a curate, subscribed £100, and the Countess of Rosse, £50.

In the R. C. divisions this parish forms part of the unions or districts of Killarney, Killorglin, and Glenflesk; the chapel for the portion of the parish in the district of Killarney is at Fossa, to the north of the lake, adjoining the plantations of Lord Headley; and at Barraduff is also a chapel for that part of the parish which is in the district of Glenflesk. In that part of the town of Killarney which is within this parish is a convent for nuns of the order of the Presentation, in which is a school of nearly 400 girls, who are gratuitously instructed by the ladies of the convent, and to the support of which the Earl of Kenmare contributes £100 per annum. There is also a school supported partly by an annual donation of £5 from his lordship, and by subscription. The venerable remains of the ancient cathedral are situated on the summit of a range of low hills, sloping gradually towards the northern shore of the great Lower Lake. Near them are the ruins of an ancient round tower, of which about 20 feet are yet standing; and at a short distance are those of an ancient castle, usually called "the Pulpit."

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