RATHCLINE

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

RATHCLINE, or RATHLINE, a parish, in the barony of RATHCLINE, county of LONGFORD, and province of LEINSTER; containing, with the greater portion of the market and post-town of Lanesborough, 3036 inhabitants. This place is situated on the bank of the river Shannon, and was distinguished for its castle at the base of the hill of Rathcline, about a mile from Lanesborough, said to have been originally built by the family of O'Quin, and to have been an object of frequent contention in the various internal wars of the country. After numerous vicissitudes it was dismantled by Cromwell's forces, and finally destroyed by fire in the war of the Revolution; there are still considerable remains, which from their fine situation on the margin of the Shannon have a very picturesque appearance.

The parish comprises 8099 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: the land is of indifferent quality; not more than one-third is under tillage, the remainder is in pasture; the surface is tolerably level, and there is a considerable tract of bog, in which are found oak and fir trees, which are used by the poor in roofing their houses. Limestone abounds and is quarried for building and for agricultural uses, and a speckled black and white marble is also found and made into mantel-pieces. The chief seats are Rathcline, the residence of L. White, Esq.; Clonbonney, of G. Davys, Esq.; and Mount Davis, of the Misses Davis. The weaving of linen is carried on in several parts of the parish, and great quantities of frieze are also made; there is a considerable trade in corn and eggs, for which the Shannon affords every facility. A very large fair for horses, cattle, and sheep is held on the 12th of February at Lanes-borough. Within the limits of the parish is the small island of Inchenough, or Inchiana, comprising about 50 acres of land, with 6 houses and 35 inhabitants.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Ardagh, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory is impropriate in R. C. and R. Armstrong, Esqrs.

The tithes amount to £393. 10., of which £262. 6. 8. is payable to the impropriators, and £131. 3. 4. to the vicar; the glebe comprises 30 acres, valued at £45 per annum. The church, a spacious edifice, was erected at the expense of the Lanesborough family, in 1678, on part of the site of the ancient church in Lanesborough, which was called the abbey and is said to have been built by St. Patrick in the 4th century.

The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church: the chapel is large and has a tower at the west end; a small house is also appropriated as a chapel of ease. There are five private schools, in which are about 300 children. Near the ruins of the castle are those of the ancient church, said to have been destroyed from the opposite bank of the Shannon; part of the steeple is yet standing, and the cemetery is still used by the Roman Catholics. In one of the walls of the castle was a marble tablet with a very ancient inscription in the Irish character; from the hill at the base of which these ruins are situated is a very extensive and interesting view.

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