BALLYSADERE, or BALLASODARE, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BALLYSADERE, or BALLASODARE, a parish, partly in the barony of LENEY, but chiefly in that of TIRAGHRILL, county of SLIGO, and province of CONNAUGHT, comprising the post-town of Collooney and the villages of Ballydryhed and Tubberscanavin (all of which are separately described); and containing 7562 inhabitants, of which number, 546 are in the village. It is situated on the road from "Boyle to Sligo, and on the Unshion or Ballysadere river, which issues from Lough ARROW, near Boyle, and is here joined by the Coolaney river; and after falling over several ledges of rocks, the last of which is ten feet in height, empties itself into an arm of the sea, called Ballysadere channel. St. Fechin founded a monastery here towards the middle of the seventh century, which was richly endowed: in 1179 it was burnt by the men of Moylisha and Moylterary, and in 1188 was again destroyed by fire, but was restored and existed until the general dissolution, when a lease of it was granted, in the 30th of Eliz., for 21 years, to Bryan Fitz-William, at an annual rent of £2. 13. 4.: the remains are situated above the waterfalls, and consist merely of the outer walls, which are richly clothed with ivy. St. Fechin also founded an abbey at Kilnemanagh, which existed till the general suppression, when it was granted to Richard, Earl of Clanricarde; there are yet some remains.

The parish comprises 9999 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: between one-third and one-half of it is waste land and bog; there is little woodland, except from 600 to 700 acres on the Markree estate. The land under cultivation is generally good, but the old system of tillage, though gradually improving, is still mostly practised. There are quarries of excellent limestone, much used for building, and some of it is also hewn into mantel-pieces and other ornamental parts of masonry; and a lead mine, yielding also a considerable proportion of silver, was worked a few years since, but has been abandoned. Near it are some chalybeate springs, not used. The village of Ballysadere, which comprises about 45 houses, is a place of some little business, and has a penny post. The falls on the river afford favourable sites, and a never-failing supply of water for mills: there is a large corn-mill, belonging to Mr. Sim, worked by two wheels of 36-horse power, and employing 25 persons; and another on a large scale, with the most approved machinery, was built by Mr. Culbertson in 1835, having two water-wheels of 70-horse power, and employing 20 persons; there are also some smaller corn-mills, and a large bleach-mill and green. Vessels of about 100 tons' burden come up the channel for the exportation of corn and meal: a small pier has been built, and it is in contemplation to erect one on a more extensive scale. Fairs are held at the village on Feb. 8th, May 30th, July 11th, Aug. 4th, Oct. 24th, Nov. 12th, and Dec. 15th; and besides those held at Collooney and Tubberscanavin (which are enumerated in the accounts of those places), the largest fair for horses in the county is held at Carricknagatt, on Feb. 1st. Here is a station of the constabulary police. Petty sessions are held every alternate Thursday at Collooney; and a manorial court is occasionally held there, under the seneschal. Markree, the seat of E. J. Cooper, Esq., is a handsome and modern castellated building, situated in the centre of an extensive demesne clothed with wood and spreading into verdant lawns, through which the Unshion pursues a winding course: the gateways leading into the demesne are handsome structures, of ancient English architecture, and in the grounds there is a very excellent observatory. The other seats are Cloonamahon, that of J. Meredith; Esq.; the Cottage, of R. Culbertson, jun., Esq.; Ballysadere House, of J. Reed, Esq.; and Ballysadere Villa, of A. Sim, Esq.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Achonry, constituting the corps of the prebend of Ballysadere, in the patronage of the Bishop: the rectory is impropriate in Matthew Baker, Esq.: the tithes amount to £461. 10. 9 ½., payable in moieties to the impropriator and the incumbent. The church, situated at Collooney, is a handsome building, in the ancient English style of architecture, and contains some good monuments, of which one to the memory of the late Mrs. Cooper, executed at Florence, is a fine piece of sculpture; it was enlarged in 1834, by aid of a gift of £700 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and donations of £800 from Mr. Cooper and £50 from Major O'Hara. The glebe-house was built by aid of a gift of £400 and a loan of £400, in 1819, from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe comprises 20 acres. In the R. C. divisions this parish is the head of a union or district, called Collooney, comprising also the parish of Kilvarnet, and containing three chapels, situated respectively at Collooney and Currownagh, in Ballysadere, and the third in Kilvarnet. There are seven schools, two of which, at Ballysadere and Collooney, were built and are supported by Mr. Cooper; also five private pay schools and Sunday schools. On an eminence immediately over the harbour is an ancient burial-ground of considerable extent, still used, in which are the remains of a church.

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