From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
KILCOE, a parish, in the Western Division of the barony of WEST CARBERY, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 5 miles (W.) from Skibbereen, on the river Roaring Water, and the road to Rock Island; containing 2316 inhabitants. It comprises 3232 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £2030 per annum. The surface is rocky and uneven, and not more than one-third of the land is in cultivation; the remainder consists of bare rocks of clay-slate, intermixed with small tracts of bog; the land under tillage is chiefly in small patches amidst the rocks, and is generally cultivated by the spade; the manure is brought to it on the backs of horses, and the produce carried off in the same manner; some of the higher grounds afford tolerable pasturage for young cattle. The scenery is wild, and marked with features of rugged grandeur; the glen, through which the river rushes with furious impetuosity, forming numerous cataracts in its progress to the bay to which it gives name, abounds with young and thriving plantations, and is finely contrasted with the sterility around it. In this romantic glen is Roaring Water House, the residence of J. O'Sullivan, Esq., who has erected mills, corn stores, and quays on the banks of the river; and Greenmount, of Capt. Long. Two manorial courts are held here monthly, by the seneschals of the bishop of Ross and Thomas Hungerford, Esq., respectively.
The parish is in the diocese of Ross; the rectory is partly impropriate in Lord Riversdale, and partly constitutes a portion of the archdeaconry of Ross; the vicarage is united with that of Cape Clear, and in the patronage of the Bishop. The tithes amount to £300, of which half is payable to the impropriator and the archdeacon, and half to the vicar. The church, a small edifice, for the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits gave £600, is nearly in the centre of the parish. There is neither glebe-house , nor glebe. In the R. C. divisions it forms part of the union or district of Aghadown: the chapel is a large edifice, situated near the Roaring Water. About 60 children are taught in the parochial school, and there is a private school, in which are about 80 children. On a point of land at the head of Roaring Water bay are the extensive remains of Kilcoe castle, built by the McCartys, lords of Clandermot, and consisting principally of a large massive square tower, with a small turret; and at no great distance, close to the shore, are the ruins of the old parish church. Several swords and spear-heads of bronze were found in 1825, by some labourers quarrying stone; they were all in good preservation.