INNISHERKIN

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

INNISHERKIN, or SHERKIN, an island, in the parish of TULLAGH, Eastern Division of the barony of WEST CARBERY, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 2 miles (N. W.) from Baltimore; containing 1026 inhabitants. This island, which is situated in the western part of the harbour of Baltimore, is about 3 miles in length from east to west, and 1 mile in breadth. A monastery for Franciscans of the Strict Observance . was founded here, according to some writers, in 1460, by Florence, or, according to others, in 1470, by Dermot O'Driscol, which family had a castle at this place. In 1537, the citizens of Waterford, in retaliation of an act of piracy by Fineen O'Driscol and his son on a Spanish vessel consigned to that port, fitted out three ships with 400 men and besieged the castle, of which they kept possession for. five days. During this time they ravaged the island, destroying all the villages, together with the Franciscan monastery, which was situated near the castle, and finally that fortress also; and having seized O'Driscol's chief galley and a great number of pinnaces, returned in triumph to Waterford. The castle was subsequently rebuilt, but in 1602 it was attacked by the Spaniards, to whom it was surrendered by Sir Fineen O'Driscol, and supplied with ammunition and artillery; but on the capitulation of Kinsale it was taken from them by the English.

The island comprises 1469 acres of land, which is generally fertile, though some parts, especially towards the south, which attain a considerable elevation, forming one side of the entrance to the bay, are rough, hilly, and uncultivated. The higher districts are chiefly of the schistose formation, and in several places good freestone is found; near the southern extremity are some valuable slate quarries, which are extensively worked, affording employment to nearly 100 men. The slate is of remarkably good colour, and very hard and durable; several cargoes have been shipped to England, where it is in great demand. In the R. C. divisions the island forms part of the union or district of Cape Clear; the chapel is a small neat edifice, and near it is a good residence for the R. C. clergyman. Here are two public schools, in the school-house of one of which divine service is regularly performed by the rector. The ruins of the abbey, which are extensive, consist of the nave and tower of the church, one of the transepts, with part of the cloister, refectory, dormitories, and other portions of the conventual buildings. These ruins are close to the bay, and have a fine effect as seen from Baltimore; the tower is nearly entire, and several of the walls and gables are standing. Not far distant are the ruins of the castle.

« Innishargey | Index | Inniskeel »


Library Ireland Facebook