BALLYBEG, or BALLYBEGSHANAGH, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BALLYBEG, or BALLYBEGSHANAGH, a parish, in the barony of ORRERY and KILMORE, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 1 mile (S.) from Buttevant, with which parish its population is returned. This place, which appears to have merged into the parish of Buttevant, is situated on the river Awbeg, and on the mail coach road from Cork to Limerick, which towards Mallow winds for some distance through a rocky glen recently embellished with plantations, and at the northern opening of which are situated the venerable remains of the abbey of St. Thomas. This establishment was a priory for Canons Regular of the order of St. Augustine, founded by Philip de Barry, who, in 1229, endowed it with ample revenues, in remembrance of which his equestrian statue of brass was erected in the church. The endowment was subsequently augmented, in 1235, by Sir David de Barry, who founded the friary of Buttevant. The priory and its possessions were, in the 10th of James I., granted to Sir. J. Jephson, whose descendant, C. D. O. Jephson, Esq., is the present proprietor of the parish.

The parish comprises 2045 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £1693 per annum. The only seat is Springfield, the residence of J. Norcott, Esq. The living is an impropriate rectory, in the diocese of Cloyne; the tithes, being wholly the property of Mr. Jephson, are not under composition; the occasional duties of the parish devolve on the incumbent of Buttevant. In the R. C. divisions it is included in the union or district of Buttevant. The remains of the abbey consist of the steeple, part of the chancel with the east window, and a lofty tower detached from the rest of the building, of which it originally formed a part, and which shews the whole to have been an extensive pile. Close to the abbey are the vestiges of an ancient round tower. Many years since a stone coffin was excavated from the ruins of the abbey, containing a skeleton ornamented with a cross and chains of gold.

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