SHILLELAGH

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

SHILLELAGH, an ecclesiastical district, in the barony of SHILLELAGH, county of WICKLOW, and province of LEINSTER, 3 miles (N. W.) from Carnew, on the road to Tullow, contiguous to the small river Derry: the population is returned with Carnew, out of which this district was formed in 1833; the village of Shillelagh contains 91 inhabitants. This district takes its name from the wood of Shillelagh, once the most celebrated forest in Ireland for the excellence of its oak, which was exported to different parts of Europe; and hence it is also said that Turlogh, king of Leinster, sent the oak for the roof of Westminster Hall to William Rufus. Agriculture has much improved here within the last few years, and the late Earl Fitzwilliam reclaimed an extensive tract of bog and waste land by draining and trenching, under the superintendence of Mr. Mill, from Scotland.

Adjoining the village are extensive flour, carding, and bone mills, and a bleaching green. The villages of Coollattin and Coolboy are within the district, as is also the handsome seat of Coollattin Park, the property of Earl Fitzwilliam, and the residence of R. Chaloner, Esq., his lordship's agent; the mansion is very large, and situated in a fine park of about 400 acres, tastefully laid out and planted with a variety of forest trees. Hillbrook, pleasantly situated in a rich demesne embellished with fine timber, is the residence of J. Symes, Esq.; and Coolboy House, of J. Chauncey, Esq.

The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Ferns, and in the patronage of the Rector of Carnew. The church, erected in 1834, is in a picturesque situation, and in the mixed Gothic style of architecture, with a tower embattled and surmounted with a spire; the interior is elegantly fitted up, and the whole is of hewn granite: the cost was £2500, of which sum the late Board of First Fruits gave £900, the remainder having been supplied by Earl Fitzwilliam, excepting a sum received for the sale of a few seats, the rest of the seats being free.

In the R. C. divisions Shillelagh forms part of the union or district of Carnew and Crosspatrick. A male and female school is solely supported by Earl Fitzwilliam; the late earl erected a commodious building for the purpose, in which about 220 children of all religious persuasions are taught. Here is a lending library.

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