NEWTOWN-MOUNT-KENNEDY

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

NEWTOWN-MOUNT-KENNEDY, a post-town, in the parish and barony of NEWCASTLE, county of WICKLOW, and province of LEINSTER, 7 miles (N.) from Wicklow, and 17 (S. by E.) from Dublin; containing 825 inhabitants. The town is situated on the mail coach road from Dublin to Wexford, and owes its origin and its name to Alderman Kennedy, who was knighted in the reign of Charles II. and obtained a grant of the manor. In the disturbances of 1798 it was the scene of a sharp skirmish between the insurgents and the King's forces; the former, to the number of about 1000, variously armed, commenced an attack on the town, early in the morning of the 30th of May, by burning some houses; but on advancing to the market-house, they were opposed by the little garrison, consisting of a detachment of the Ancient Briton cavalry, another of the Antrim militia, and some yeomen cavalry, in all 100. In the first onset the commander of the Ancient Britons was killed and the captain and lieutenant of the yeomen severely wounded, but after some loss on both sides the insurgents were totally routed.

The town is pleasantly situated on a declivity towards the east, in the centre of some of the most beautiful scenery in the county. It chiefly consists of one wide street, with a small market-house in the centre, which being disused as such for a long time, is now called the court-house; and contains 123 houses irregularly built, some slated, but the greater number low and thatched. The market, which was held on Friday, has been discontinued. Fairs are held on Feb. 2nd, April 5th, June 29th, Aug. 15th, Oct. 29th, and Dec. 21st. Petty sessions are held on alternate Saturdays, and road sessions every quarter. It is also a constabulary police station. There is a fever hospital and dispensary, supported in the usual manner.

On an eminence near the northern entrance of the town a church is in progress of erection, as a chapel of ease to Newcastle, on a site given by Robert Gun Cunningham, Esq., the lord of the manor, who also contributed £100 towards its construction: it is in the later English style, and although not finished, divine service is performed in it. About 120 children are educated gratuitously in a school kept in the old market-house. The town has an excellent inn, well supplied with carriages of various descriptions. In the neighbourhood are some of the most beautiful and romantic places in the county, such as the Glen of the Downs, Belview, described under Delgany; Woodstock, under Newcastle; Dunran, Kiltimon, and the Devil's Glen, under Killeskey; and in its immediate vicinity are several fine mansions and elegant villas.

Mount-Kennedy, formerly the residence of Sir Richard Kennedy, was purchased from his descendant by the late General Cunningham, who was afterwards raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Rossmore, and who expended upwards of £60,000 in plantations and other improvements: it is now the seat of R. Gun Cunningham, Esq. The house is a noble structure of the Ionic order, built after a design by Wyatt: from the portico on the western side is a fine prospect of highly ornamented grounds, closed in by the mountains in the distance; and from the eastern front another prospect equally rich in scenery and more extensive in scope, terminated by the sea: on the lawn grew an arbutus of extraordinary dimensions, which being shattered by a storm, the arms, having been laid down and taken root, serve by the extent of ground they spread over to convey an idea of the great size of the parent trunk: the demesne contains some very fine specimens of the sweet chesnut, oak, and ash in the highest degree of vigour. In the hall are the fossil horns of a moose deer, found with several others at Kiltimon.

Altidore, the seat of the Rev. L. W. Hepenstal, is a large and plain building, but the grounds are peculiarly picturesque: in a wooded glen near the house is a succession of cascades of great height, over which the late proprietor, Mr. Blachford, threw alpine bridges, and also constructed seats and laid out a series of walks calculated to display its beauties to the utmost advantage: the glen, called the Hermitage, formerly contained the mansion of Colonel Carey. Glendarragh, the elegant seat of St. George Knudson, Esq., on an eminence overhanging a richly wooded glen; East Hill, of James Lamb Audouin, Esq.; Monaline, of T. J. Stamper, Esq.; Hermitage, of the Rev. Joseph Callwell; Ballinahinch, of — Rider, Esq.; Truddar House, of S. Henry, Esq.; Newtown, of J. Armstrong, Esq.; and Warble Bank, of Mrs. Smyth, are all worthy of notice.

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