PALLASKENRY

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

PALLASKENRY (formerly called NEWMARKET), a market and post-town, in the parish of CHAPEL-RUSSELL, barony of KENRY, county of LIMERICK, and province of MUNSTER, 12 miles (W.) from Limerick, and 103 ¾ (S. W.) from Dublin; containing 630 inhabitants. This town, which is one of the most improving in the county, is situated on the road from Limerick to the quay of Ringmoylan, and on the lower road from the same city to Castletown; and comprises 115 houses, the greater number of which are well built, but covered with thatch. Petty sessions are held once a fortnight: it is a chief constabulary police station, and contains the dispensary for the barony, which has a resident physician and is open daily. The market, held on Thursday, is well attended and amply supplied with provisions. The linen manufacture was formerly carried on here to a great extent, and there was a large bleach-green near the town: though the population is chiefly engaged in agriculture, yet flax-dressing, spinning and linen-weaving still give employment to many of the inhabitants.

The spirit of industry has been powerfully excited latterly by an institution called the Chapel-Russell Loan Fund. It was commenced in 1823, by means of a fund of £218 subscribed by the Earl of Charleville, the county of Limerick Trustees, the London Committee, the Irish Peasantry Society, and the County of Limerick Ladies' Committee. The fund is lent out in small portions, sometimes in money, but more frequently in wool, flax and implements for manufacture, such as wheels, reels and looms, and is repaid by weekly instalments, in which the manufactured goods are taken at a liberal valuation. In seasons of scarcity provisions are issued, and articles for clothing and bedding occasionally. In consequence of the judicious management of the trustees, it appears that, at the end of thirteen years, a profit of £76 has accrued from it, and the habits of those for whose benefit it has been so successfully carried on have been much improved.

The new and elegant parish church stands at a short distance eastward; and in the town is a small but very neat meeting-house belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists. Male and female parochial schools are kept in the town, in connection with different societies, aided by the Earl of Charleville and the rector. Not far distant are the ruins of the castle of Pallaskenry, originally built by the O'Donovans, but for many generations in the possession of the Fitzgeralds. In a quarry near the town was found an ancient silver bodkin, weighing 5oz. 2dr., now in the possession of Sir Aubrey de Vere, Bart.; and in 1834, part of a golden fibula, weighing 3oz., was found in a drain near the church. Numerous petrifactions have been found in a stream which flows through Currah and Hollypark wood, and also in the neighbourhood of Dromore lake, about a mile from the town.

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