GLANWORTH

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

GLANWORTH, a parish, partly in the barony of CONDONS, and CLONGIBBONS, but chiefly in that of FERMOY, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 5 ½ miles (S .by W.) from Mitchelstown, on the new road to Cork; containing 4455 inhabitants, of which number, 1098 are in the village. This place, which is situated on the river Funcheon, and also on the road from Fermoy to Limerick, was anciently called Glanore, or "the golden glen," from its great fertility. During the parliamentary war it was the scene of several conflicts, and was among the last garrisons in the south of Ireland that held out for the king; till the castle being besieged by Ireton ultimately surrendered.

The village is said to have been formerly a corporate and market-town, but no existing records afford any evidence of the fact, though probably its inhabitants may have obtained extensive privileges from the founder of the castle, and continued to enjoy them under several of the succeeding lords. In 1831 it contained 215 houses, mostly thatched; it is pleasantly situated on the south-western bank of the river, over which is an ancient narrow stone bridge of twelve arches; and as seen in the approach from the Fermoy road, with the thriving plantations around the glebe-house half concealing the spire of the church, presents a beautifully picturesque scene, of which the most interesting features are thrown into bold relief by the chain of mountains in its rear, on the confines of the county of Limerick. Near the bridge are two large flour-mills, the property of Messrs. Murphy and Killeher, producing on an average 10,000 barrels of fine flour annually. The Funcheon is remarkable for the abundance and excellence of its trout; it also affords some salmon. A constabulary police force is stationed in the village, and fairs are held on Jan. 15th, March 16th, May 13th, Aug. 10th, Sept. 24th, and Nov. 30th, for live stock, but chiefly for pigs. The parish comprises 11,232 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £9878. 11. 7. per annum; the land is in general good, and chiefly under tillage; the system of agriculture is gradually improving, and there is abundance of limestone, which is quarried principally for agricultural purposes. The seats are Ballyclough, the residence of General Barry, a handsome mansion, in the Elizabethan style, situated in a fine and well-planted demesne; and Glanworth Glebe, of the Rev. John Brinkley, Prebendary, a large and handsome mansion adjoining the village, and commanding a picturesque view of the bridge and ruined castle.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Cloyne, united by act of council, at a period unknown, to the vicarages of Ballydeloughy and Derryvillane, the rectory and vicarage of Kilgullane, together with the particle of Legane (which has long since merged into the parish), constituting the union and the corps of the prebend of Glanore in the cathedral of Cloyne, and in the patronage of the Bishop. The tithes amount to £729. 16. 11 ¼., and of the whole benefice, to £1107. 13. 11 ½. The glebe-house was built by the late incumbent, at an expense of about £2000, aided by a gift of £100 and a loan of £1000 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1809: the glebe comprised nearly seven acres, but it is all lost except one acre, which has been given to the master of the parochial school by the incumbent. The church is a plain edifice with a low tower and spire. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parishes of Derryvillane, Kilgullane, Downmahon, and Killenemor: the chapel in the village was built on a site given by Carden Terry, Esq., of Prospect, near Cork; and there is also a chapel at Ballydangan, in the parish of Ballydeloughy. About 30 children are taught in the parochial school, which is wholly supported by the rector; and there are seven private schools, in which are about 350 children, and a Sunday school. The late Rev. J. Killeher, P.P., bequeathed £100, one-half towards the erection of a school-house and the other for repairing the chapel.

On a rocky eminence on the western side of the Funcheon are the extensive and interesting ruins of Glanworth castle, an ancient seat of the Roche family, and occupied in 1601 by Lord Fermoy, by whose descendant it was forfeited in 1641. They consist of an ancient square tower of considerable strength, supposed to be the keep, and the remains of another building of more recent date and superior construction, apparently containing the state apartments; they are within a quadrilateral area, enclosed by strong walls, nearly six feet in thickness, and defended at each angle by a round tower. To the north-west are the ruins of an abbey, said to have been founded by the Roches, in 1227, for Dominican friars, and dedicated to the Holy Cross; they consist of the nave and chancel of the church, between which rises a low square tower supported on four finely pointed arches; the windows are square-headed on the outside, but finely arched in the interior. Beneath the castle, and near the margin of the river, is a well dedicated to St. Dominick, which is held in great veneration by the peasantry.

On a conspicuous mountain in the Kilworth range, and on the border of the adjoining parish of Kilgullane, is a solitary tower, the sole remains of Caherdriny castle, said to have been built by the Roche family; it commands a great extent of country, and is surrounded at a short distance by a wall of loose stones. Between Glanworth and Fermoy is Labacally, or "the Witches' Bed," an ancient druidical altar, one of the covering stones of which is 17 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 3 feet thick, supported on each side by double rows of large flags fixed in the ground; the whole appears to have been nearly 30 feet long and proportionably wide, and was enclosed by a circle of flagstones of 14 feet radius; its position is nearly due east and west. About half a mile north-west of the village is a stone pillar, about 12 feet high, supposed to have been an ancient boundary, and at a short distance to the east is a similar pillar of smaller dimensions, forming part of a series between the Awbeg and Funcheon. Several brass coins bearing the date 1565, with the inscription "Paul Maylor, mayor of the city of Cork,' have been found in this parish.

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