HOOK

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

HOOK, or HOOKE, a parish, in the barony of SHELBURNE, county of WEXFORD, and province of LEINSTER, 4 miles (S. S. W.) from Fethard, on the road to New Ross; containing 489 inhabitants. This parish forms part of a peninsula at the south-western extremity of the county, and is bounded on the west by Waterford harbour, and on the east by Slade bay. At what time, or by whom, the tower of Hook was built, is not precisely known; tradition ascribes its erection to Rose Macruim, the reputed foundress of New Ross; and a letter from the recorder of that place to the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, in 1688, states that "Hook tower, or the tower of Ross," with 7 acres of land around it, formerly belonged to the corporation, from whom it had been claimed by Mr. H. Loftus, as included in his patent. Dr. Ledwich, in his continuation of Grose's Antiquities, attributes its erection to the Danes, and others to Florence de la Hogue, who, in 1172, attended Henry II. into Ireland, and of whose name the appellation Hook may perhaps be a modification.

The parish comprises 1723 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act; the soil is fertile, producing abundant and early crops, and the system of agriculture is greatly improved. Loftus Hall, the ancient seat of the Redmond family, was purchased in the 17th century by H. Loftus, Esq., whose son Nicholas was, in 1751, created Baron Loftus, of Loftus Hall, and in 1756, Viscount Ely; it is now the property of his descendant, the Marquess of Ely. The mansion is spacious, but the demesne is unembellished, the growth of timber being much retarded by its exposure to the ocean; the massive and apparently two-handed sword of Strongbow is preserved here. Limestone quarries are extensively worked; from Fethard bay alone 15 boats, from 12 to 20 tons' burden, are employed in carrying it up the river Scar to different parts of the country. There are several small bays on each side of the peninsula, of which the principal are those near the villages of Slade and Churchtown, both chiefly inhabited by fishermen.

Hook tower, now used as a lighthouse, is a circular structure, 100 feet high, with walls of remarkable thickness; it is situated on the east side of the entrance of Waterford harbour, in Lat. 52° 7' 20" (N.), and Lon. 6° 58' (W.); the lantern contains 17 lamps, displaying a fixed light 139 feet above the level of the sea at high water.

The living is a vicarage, episcopally united to the impropriate curacy of Templetown, in the diocese of Ferns, and in the patronage of the Marquess of Ely: the tithes amount to £84. 13. 1 ½., of which £48. 7. 6. is payable to the Marquess of Ely, in whom the rectory is impropriate, and £36. 5. 7 ½. to the vicar. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a district, comprising also the parishes of Templetown, St. James, and Fethard; there are chapels at Templetown, Ramsgrange, Duncannon, and Poulfur. The parochial school is near Loftus Hall. Near the village of Slade are the remains of Slade castle, said to have been erected by one of the Hay family, descendants of Richard de la Haie, who accompanied his kinsman, Hervey de Montemarisco, into Ireland.

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