AGHERN, or AHERN, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

AGHERN, or AHERN, a parish, in the barony of KINNATALOON, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 5 miles (E.) from Rathcormac; containing 1367 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the river Bride, over which is a bridge of three arches of stone, and on the mail car road from Rathcormac to Castle Martyr, and the direct road from Cork to Tullow. A castle was erected here, in 1389, by one of the Fitzgeralds, to command the pass of the river, on which was an ancient ford at that time of great importance: it was of great strength, and was powerfully garrisoned by the Earl of Desmond against the forces of Elizabeth. At no great distance were the castles of Duneen and Conna, both founded by the Fitzgeralds for the defence of other passes of the Bride, of which there are some picturesque remains. The parish comprises 3480 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £2296 per ann.: 2855 acres are arable and pasture land; 425 are coarse land and bog, but capable of being improved; and 200 consist of waste and mountain. The soil is in general fertile, particularly in the Vale of the Bride, where the substratum is limestone; the land is principally under tillage, and the system of agriculture is rapidly improving under the exertions of Spotswood Bowles, Esq., and the Hon. and Rev. L. Tonson. Ahern House, the residence of Mr. Bowles, is pleasantly situated near the picturesque ruins of the ancient castle, and the grounds comprise some interesting and beautiful scenery. There is a constabulary police station; and petty sessions are held on the first Thursday in each month.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Cloyne; the rectory united from time immemorial to that of Ballynoe, and in the patronage of the Crown; and the vicarage episcopally united for many years to the entire rectory of Britway, and in the patronage of the Bishop. The tithes amount to £370. 18. 5 ½., which is equally divided between the rector and the vicar; and the gross tithes of the union, payable to the incumbent, amount to £456. 17. 4 ½. The church, situated near the bridge, at the extremity of the parish, is a neat edifice, built in 1817, for which the late Board of First Fruits granted a loan of £500. The Board also granted a gift and loan, each of £300, for the erection of the glebe-house, in 1822: the glebe comprises seven acres of profitable land. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Knockmourne, also called Ballynoe. The parochial school, in which are about 20 boys and 20 girls, is endowed with an acre of land by the Duke of Devonshire; there are also a Sunday school and two hedge schools, in which latter are about 80 boys and 40 girls.

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