GRANARD

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

GRANARD, a market and post-town (formerly a parliamentary borough), and a parish, partly in the barony of ARDAGH, but chiefly in that of GRANARD, county of LONGFORD, and province of LEINSTER, 12 miles (N. E. by E.) from Longford, and 59 (W. N. W.) from Dublin, on the road from Edgeworthstown to Virginia; containing 10,315 inhabitants. This place, of which the name is a compound of the Irish words Grian, the "sun," and Ard, an "eminence," is supposed to have been at a remote period one of the stations appropriated to the celebration of idolatrous worship. In 1315 it was burned by the Scots under Edward Bruce, and appears to have first risen to importance as a town in the reign of James I., who, in 1612, granted to Sir Francis Shaen some annual fairs, to which were added a grant of a market to Sir Francis Aungier, and also of a second market in 1619. A charter of Charles II. to the Earl of Longford in 1678, erecting the lands of Ballynelack and Longford into manors, granted that, for the better plantation, the freeholders of the market-town of Granard, which was also the property of his lordship, should have the privilege of returning two members to the Irish parliament, which they continued to do until the Union, when the £15,000 awarded as compensation was paid to G. Fulk Littleton and W. Fulk Greville, Esqrs.

The town consists chiefly of one regular street, about half a mile in length, and contains 458 houses, of which several are well built and of handsome appearance. It was formerly celebrated for an institution established in 1784, by Mr. Dungan, a native of the place, for awarding annual prizes to the best performers on the Irish harp. Near one extremity of the principal street is an artificial mount, called the Moat of Granard, commanding from its summit a view into several counties; the surrounding scenery is finely diversified. The market, in which corn, provisions, and coarse linens are sold, is on Monday; and fairs are held on May 3rd, and Oct. 1st. Petty sessions are held every Thursday, and a chief constabulary police force is stationed in the town. The market-house, over which is a court-room, is a large building in the centre of the town.

The parish comprises 15,756 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act; the land is chiefly under tillage, the system of agriculture improving, there are some small tracts of bog, and limestone of the best description is quarried for agricultural uses. In the neighbourhood are several lakes, of which the principal are Lough Gawnagh, Lough Sheelin, and Lough Kenale, all embellished with pleasing and picturesque features. Lough Gawnagh is more than 10 miles in length and from 2 to 3 miles broad; its shores, which are abruptly steep, are richly wooded. On an island called Inchmory are the remains of an abbey, founded by St. Columb, to which a cemetery is attached; there is also another island, which, from specimens of jasper having been found in it, has obtained the name of Jasper Island. This lake is also called Erne Head Lake, being regarded as the source of Lough Erne, into which it discharges its superfluous waters. Finely situated on its shores are Erne Head, the handsome seat of J. Dopping, Esq.; Woodville, of R. Lambert, Esq., a pleasing residence commanding rich and extensive views; Frankfort, of E. McEvoy, Esq.; and Kilrea, of H. Dopping, Esq. There are also in the parish, Clonfin, the handsome residence of J. Thompson, Esq., pleasantly situated in a well-cultivated demesne; Mossvale, of J. Barton, Esq.; Cartron Card, of J. W. Bond, Esq.; Moorhill, of R. Blackall, Esq.; Bessville, of C. Helden, Esq.; Castle Nugent, of W. Webb, Esq.; Furry Park, of R. R. McCally, Esq.; Creevy House, of A. Bell, Esq.; and Higginstown, of F. Tuite, Esq.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Ardagh, episcopally united to the vicarages of Drumloman, Cullumkill, Ballymacue, and Scrabby, and in the patronage of the Impropriator. The rectory is impropriate in W. Fulk Greville, Esq.: the tithes amount to £890, of which £400 is payable to the impropriator and £490 to the vicar; and those of the whole benefice, including glebe, to £1647. 10. 9. The glebe-house was built in 1825, by a gift of £100 and a loan of £900 from the late Board of First Fruits. Attached to it is a glebe of four acres, and there are also, in this parish, a glebe of 25 acres, valued together at £56 per annum; in the parish of Ballymacue, a glebe of 11 acres, valued at £20. 13. per annum; and in the parish of Drumloman, a glebe of 150 acres valued at £234. 0. 8. per annum. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners recommend that the union be dissolved on the next avoidance, and that each parish become a separate benefice. The church is a plain ancient structure. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; there are two chapels, one in the town and one at Granard kill. About 130 children are taught in four public schools, of which the parochial school is supported by the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity and a donation from the vicar; and there are 15 private schools, in which are about 930 children, and a dispensary. At Granard kill are the remains of the ancient town.

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