From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
TARMONBARRY, a parish, in the barony of BALLINTOBBER, county of ROSCOMMON, and province of CONNAUGHT, on the road from Strokestown to Longford; containing, with part of the market and post-town of Ruskey (which see), 4048 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the Shannon, comprises 4097 statute acres, about half being inferior arable and pasture land, and the other half consisting of unreclaimed bog. The two branches into which the Shannon is here divided are crossed by two bridges connected by a raised causeway across the intervening island, that on the Roscommon side having seven arches, and that on the Leinster side four, the whole forming a straight passage, 126 yards in length and of imposing appearance: a flat tract above the bridge is composed chiefly of the island of Cloondragh, formed by the Shannon, and by two branches of the river Camlin. At this island terminates the Royal Canal, in the navigable channel of the Camlin, which unites a little below with the Shannon.
Here the Canal Company have extensive docks, basins, and warehouses, called Richmond Harbour, in honour of the Duke of Richmond, who, when Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, was present at the opening of the navigation. Tarmonbarry, however, is the name more generally given to the place, although this designation applies strictly only to the little village on the Roscommon side of the bridge, and the surrounding parish. Houses have increased on the Leinster side, where there are some considerable mills on the Camlin river, and a distillery. There are rapids in the Shannon at the bridge, which are avoided by coasting round Cloondragh Island, at the lower end of which a short canal communicates with the Shannon. The communication by water between Richmond Harbour and Dublin is frequent and regular; four merchant boats starting each week on fixed days.
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Elphin, and in the patronage of the Bishop, being the corps of the prebend of Elphin; the tithes amount to £228. The glebe-house was built in 1817, by aid of a gift of £400 and a loan of £344 from the late Board of First Fruits; the glebe comprises 16 acres, valued at £16 per ann., subject to a rent of £2. 2. to the Bishop. The church is a small neat building in the town of Ruskey, erected by aid of a gift of £800 from the same Board, in. 1813. The R. C. parish, also called Ruskey, is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and contains two chapels, one in Ruskey, the other at Newtown. In the parochial school about 90 children are taught: there are also six private schools, in which are educated about 440 children; and three Sunday schools. A patron is held here annually. There are remains of an old church in Killybeg, with other ecclesiastical ruins in the churchyard.
Charlotte Milligan Fox, sister of the poet Alice Milligan, was a founding member of the Irish Folk Song Society and an indefatigable field collector of Irish traditional music. Her singularly important work on Irish haprers is here presented for the twenty-first century reader. This edition of Annals offers a much greater number of illustrations than were included in the original 1911 publication, a full biographical introduction, an extensive bibliography of the writings of Milligan Fox and an appendix discussing the variant texts of Arthur O’Neills Memoirs.
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