JOHN'S (ST.)

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

JOHN'S (ST.), or IVERNOON, a parish, in the barony of ATHLONE, county of ROSCOMMON, and province of CONNAUGHT, 8 miles (N. by W.) from Athlone, on the road to Roscommon; containing 3135 inhabitants. It was anciently called Teach-eon-Rinduin and Randown, and appears to have derived the name of St. John's from the foundation of a house for Knights Hospitallers, in the reign of John. This place was fortified in 1226, and made one of the strongest places in Connaught. A town appears to have arisen in the neighbourhood of the castle, which was pillaged by Phelim O'Conor in 1237. The castle occupied a rocky eminence rising abruptly from Lough Ree, and consisted of a large court, with an offset comprising a chapel, or banqueting hall, and a keep of great strength. Some of the ruins still exist, and there are remains also of a church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity early in the 13th century, and of a circular tower and a strong wall, 500 or 600 yards long, with an arched gateway near the middle and strong square towers at from 60 to 90 yards distance from each other; outside this wall are the rude remains of other ecclesiastical buildings, with a cemetery, which is still much used.

The parish comprises 4773 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and is not well cultivated. Potters' clay and pipe clay are found here, and limestone is abundant. The principal seats are St. John's, the residence of Oliver Goldsmith Hodson, Esq.; Carrenure, of R. W. Bond, Esq.; and John's Port, the property of J. Hodson, Esq. It is a vicarage, in the diocese of Elphin, forming part of the union of Killenvoy; the rectory is impropriate in the Incorporated Society. The tithes amount to £122. 14. 5., of which £60 is payable to the impropriators and the remainder to the vicar. In the R. C. divisions it is the head of a union or district, comprising the parishes of St. John's, Killenvoy, Kilmain and Raharrow, in each of which is a chapel. There is a public school of 100 children, to which Col. Lloyd subscribes £2 annually, and a private school in which about 60 children are educated. On the shore of the bay of Kilmore are the conspicuous remains of an ancient mansion, and on Nuns' Island are the remains of a nunnery. Many gold coins have been found in the parish.

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