BALLYROAN, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BALLYROAN, a parish, in the barony of CULLINAGH, QUEEN'S county, and province of LEINSTER, 2 ½ miles (N. E.) from Abbeyleix, on the road from Monastereven to Durrow; containing 3544 inhabitants, of which number, 714 are in the village. It comprises 8625 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and contains several high hills, the largest of which, Culli-nagh, gives name to the barony. The village, which lies low, contains 132 houses; it is a constabulary police station, and has a patent for a market, but no market is held. Fairs are held on Jan. 6th, April 2nd, May 15th, the first Wednesday in July (O. S.), Aug. 15th, and the second Wednesday in Nov. (O. S.), chiefly for cattle and pigs. At Cullinagh are some cotton-mills and a boulting-mill, both badly supplied with water; in the former about 50 persons are employed, of whom two-thirds are children. But the inhabitants are chiefly engaged in agriculture: the soil consists of a rich loam and a deep black earth, and is equally productive under tillage and in dairy husbandry. The system of agriculture is improving; there is but a small tract of bog, not more than sufficient to supply the inhabitants with fuel. The dairy lands are sometimes appropriated to the fattening of black cattle. Limestone is quarried principally for burning; and grit flagstone is found in the mountains. A thin stratum of coal has been discovered, but has not been worked, though there is near it a mineral vein; much of the same kind of coal is found in the mountain of Cullinagh, where works were commenced but have been discontinued some years.

The chief seats are Blandsfort, the residence of J. T. Bland, Esq., in whose family it has continued since 1715; and Rockbrook, of L. Flood, Esq. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Leighlin, and in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes amount to £415. 7. 8 ½. The church is a neat plain edifice in good repair. There is neither glebe-house nor glebe. In the R. C. divisions the parish is in the union or district of Abbeyleix; the chapel is a spacious edifice. In the village is a school endowed with lands in Cappaloughlan, bequeathed by Alderman Preston: the school-house is a large slated building, erected at an expense of £500; about 20 boys receive a classical and English education under a master, whose stipend is £55 per annum, each boy paying £4 yearly in addition. There are also a scriptural and a national school, in which are about 80 boys and 50 girls. Sir Jonah Barrington, late Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, and author of "Personal Sketches of His Own Times," and other works relating to Ireland, resided at Cullinagh.

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