WATERFORD ANTIQUITIES

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The county presents vestiges of many periods of antiquity, and of various character. At Ardmore is a very perfect and beautiful ancient round tower. There are remarkable raths on the hill of Lismore, at Rathgormuck in the parish of Kinsalebeg, near Youghal, and at Ardmore, the remains of which show it to have been of great extent: many others of less note are dispersed in various quarters. Circular intrenchments, consisting of a small area, defended by a rampart and fosse, and called in the language of the country lis, "a fortified residence," are very numerous, and appear to form with each other branches from more important stations that formerly existed at Waterford, Lismore, Dungarvan, and Ardmore.

One of the sepulchral mounts called in England "barrows," and here "duns," is to the west of Dungarvan, and many others occur in different parts. A large double trench, called by the Irish Rian-bo-Padriuc, "the trench of St. Patrick's cow," commences to the east of Knockmeledown, and runs in nearly a direct line across the Blackwater, and through the deer-park of Lismore, towards Ardmore, being traceable for sixteen or eighteen miles; it corresponds exactly with that extraordinary work called "The Danes' Cast," which runs through the counties of Armagh and Down. A second trench, which runs from Cappoquin, through the plain along the side of the mountains westward into the county of Cork, is called by the peasantry Clee-duff.

There are cromlechs in the barony of Gaultier, within five miles of Waterford; on Kilmacombe hill; on Sugar-loaf hill, near Reisk; at Dunhill, Gurteen, near Stradbally, and others in different places. There appear to have formerly existed, within the limits of this county, 24 religious establishments; but at present there are vestiges of the buildings of those only of Mothill, Dungarvan, Stradbally, Lismore, and Ardmore.

The castles and fortified houses were anciently very numerous: there still exist (some of them entire, and the rest in ruins) that of Lismore, one on the Little Island, one at Crook, Cullen Castle, and those of Carrickbeg, Ballyclough; Feddens, Clonea, Darinlar, Dungarvan, Modeligo, Kilbree, Strancally, Conagh, and Castlereagh. The princely castle of Lismore, the mansion of the Duke of Devonshire, and that of Curraghmore, the seat of the Marquess of Waterford, with which is embodied the ancient castle of that place, with the other mansions and seats of the nobility and gentry worthy of particular notice, are described in the accounts of the parishes in which they are respectively situated.

Chalybeate springs are particularly numerous in the barony of Gaultier: the most efficacious are that at Monamintra, and that near the "Fairy Bush." The Clonmel spa, on the Waterford side of the Suir, is a strong chalybeate; and the others of the same nature at all noted are some very strongly impregnated between Dungarvan and Youghal; that of Two-mile bridge; that of Ballygallane, between Lismore and Cappoquin; one between Knockmeledown and Lismore; and one at Kilmeaden. The vitriolic spas are those at Modeligo and Cross, the latter in the parish of Kill-St. Nicholas.

Among the natural curiosities may be noticed the numerous caverns, of which the largest, are on the sea-coast. In the little bay of Dunmore is a small fissure; and some distance westward is an immense hole, called the Bishop's cave, upwards of 100 feet long and 24 wide; and though more than 80 yards from the sea, it is approachable in a boat at high water. There are several other caves in this neighbourhood, as at Rathmoylan and Ballamacaw, and in Brownstown Head. Others of great extent have also been worn by the waves in the rocky shore of Ardmore. In the inland parishesof Whitechurch, Kilwatermoy, Lismore, and Dungarvan there are, in the limestone rock, several singular caverns adorned with stalactites.

In the mountains of Cummaragh are several large and deep pits, very difficult of access; some of them are evidently artificial. This county gives the title of Marquess to the Beresford family, and of Earl to that of Talbot, also Earl of Shrewsbury, in Great Britain. The barony of Decies gives the title of baron to a branch of the Beresford family.

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