KILBARRON

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

KILBARRON, a parish, in the barony of TYRHUGH, county of DONEGAL, and province of ULSTER, on the road from Donegal to Enniskillen; containing, with the greater part of the sea-port, and market and post-town of Ballyshannon, 10,521 inhabitants. St. Columb founded a church here, of which Barrind was bishop about 590. According to the Ordnance survey, the parish comprises 23,932 ¾ statute acres, of which 915 ¼ are water. About half is arable; the remainder is meadow, pasture, and mountain land, and there is a sufficient extent of bog. In addition to the usual crops, great quantities of carrots and onions are raised in the open fields. The Abbey river, which flows into Abbey bay, in Ballyshannon harbour, contains eel, trout, and salmon; and off the coast most kinds of sea fish are abundant, but are preyed upon by a kind of small shark, or dogfish. During spring and summer here are many seals, and the coast is frequently visited by large whales, and great numbers of skate and thornback are taken with the long line. Sandstone and whinstone are found at Kildoney, and a kind of stone coal appears in the cliff overhanging the sea; the seam is about 7 inches thick and dips towards the land. In boring for coal, emery has been discovered about 12 feet below the surface.

The principal seats are Parkhill, belonging to the representatives of the late J. O'Neil, Esq.; Cavan Garden, the residence of T. J. Atkinson, Esq.; Cherrymount, of Dr. Crawford; Camlin Tredennick, of I. Tredennick, Esq.; Fort William, of W. Tredennick, Esq.; Danby, of J. Forbes, Esq.; Wardton, of J. Folliott, Esq.; Laputa, of J. F. Johnston, Esq.; and Cliff, of Colonel Conolly, who has greatly benefited this part of the county, in which he is one of the largest proprietors, having for many years expended at least £1000 per annum in agricultural implements, flax seed, dispensaries, schools, and roads; in addition to which he has expended large sums on the improvement of Ballyshannon harbour.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Raphoe, and in the gift of Colonel Conolly, in whom the rectory is impropriate. Of the 44 townlands comprised within the parish, only four pay full tithe, three are subject to a small modus, and the remainder are tithe-free: the tithes amount to £45, of which £26 is payable to the impropriator, and £19 to the vicar. The church was erected in 1745, on an eminence near the town, and is the principal landmark for vessels entering the harbour. Divine service is also performed in a school-house. There is a glebe-house, for the erection of which a gift of £100, and a loan of £675, were granted, in 1810, by the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe comprises 316 acres.

The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church: the chapel, in Ballyshannon, is a large neat building, erected in 1795; another at Castleard was erected in 1832, and has a burial-ground. There are also places of worship for Presbyterians, in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the third class, and for Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. About 580 children are educated in seven public schools, to one of which Colonel Conolly subscribes £8 annually; and about 310 are taught in ten private schools: there are also seven Sunday schools.

Near the glebe-house, on a stupendous rock rising almost perpendicularly out of the sea, are the ruins of the castle of Kilbarron, which is supposed to have been inhabited by freebooters. Within the parish are fourteen Danish raths; and in the harbour of Ballyshannon, at the mouth of the Erne, there was formerly an island, called Inis Samer, where, according to the Munster annals, was a religious house, in which Flaherty O'Maoldora, King of Conall, or Tyrconnell, having renounced the world, died in 1197. There is a chalybeate spring in the parish.—See BALLYSHANNON.

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