FRENCH-PARK

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

FRENCH-PARK, a market and post-town, in the parish of TAUGHBOYNE, barony of BOYLE, county of ROSCOMMON, and province of CONNAUGHT, 7 miles (S. S. W.) from Boyle, and 91 (N. W.) from Dublin, at the junction of the roads from Elphin, Boyle, Castlerea, and Ballaghadereen; containing 76 houses and 447 inhabitants. Much advantage is likely to result to this place from the mail coach road now constructed so as to pass through it. Silicious sandstone for building is found within a quarter of a mile, and limestone abounds.

The agricultural improvements have led to preparations for the erection of a market-house, a market being held on Thursdays, which is much frequented by the Sligo merchants, who purchase butter in firkins for exportation; considerable quantities of yarn are also sold, and it is an extensive pig market. Six fairs are held during the year, on Jan. 1st, March 17th, May 21st, July 12th, Sept. 21st, and Nov. 10th. It is a constabulary police station, and has a dispensary.

The noble seat and demesne of French Park, which gives name to the town, is contiguous; the mansion is a massive structure of brick, with two projecting wings, and is the property of Arthur French, Esq.; the demesne comprises about 1458 statute acres, finely wooded. Here is a R. C. chapel, towards the erection of which the French family contributed largely. Near it is the rent-office of Arthur French, Esq., where petty sessions are held. In the deer park of the demesne is a remarkable cave, consisting of five rooms, supposed to be druidical.

On the verge of a bog, within half a mile of the town, are the ruins of Clonshanvill Abbey, which, from the open and level character of the surrounding country, form an imposing object: it is said to have been founded by St. Patrick, and re-erected by Mac Dermot Roe, in 1385; it was dedicated to the Holy Cross, and belonged to the Dominican friars. The remains consist of the walls of the church, the tower of which rests on pointed arches of a square building, which appears to have formed the habitable part of the monastery, and of some detached chapels within the cemetery. The chancel is now railed off for tombs, the cemetery being still much used.

One of the most remarkable relics is a cross of sandstone flag, rising 11 feet from the ground, said by tradition to mark the spot beyond which a corpse might not be carried by the relatives and friends, but there be delivered up to the monks.

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