CLONENAGH, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

CLONENAGH, a parish, partly in the baronies of CULLINAGH and MARYBOROUGH EAST, but chiefly in that of MARYBOROUGH WEST, QUEEN'S county, and province of LEINSTER; containing, with the parish of Clonagheen and the post-town of Mountrath, 18,136 inhabitants. This place, originally called Cluain-aith-chin and Cluain-aednach, is of very remote antiquity. A monastery was founded here, at an early period, by St. Fintan, who became its first abbot, and was succeeded by St. Columba, who died in 548. This abbey was destroyed in 838, by the Danes, who, in 843, carried its venerable abbot, Aid, who was also abbot of Tirdaglass, into Munster, where, on the 8th of July, he suffered martyrdom. After being frequently plundered and destroyed by the Danes, it continued to flourish for a considerable period, but little is known of its history subsequently to the English invasion. At Gutney Cloy, in this parish, a battle took place between the forces of Brian Boroimhe, on their return from Clontarf, and those of Fitzpatrick, Prince of Ossory. The parish is situated on the road from Maryborough to Roscrea, and comprises, with Clonagheen, 34,855 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act. Of these, from 9000 to 12,000 are bog, and about half that number is mountain and waste; the remainder is arable and pasture land, nearly in equal portions. The system of agriculture is greatly improved, and green crops have been generally introduced. Bally-fin House, the elegant mansion of Sir C. H. Coote, Premier Baronet of Ireland, is a modern structure in the Grecian style of architecture, and is fitted up in a style of costly splendour; it is situated on a very elevated site on the side of a mountain, and commands extensive views of the surrounding country. The other seats are Springmount, that of Sir E. J. Walshe, Bart.; Forest, of J. Hawkesworth, Esq.; Ann Grove Abbey, of J. E. Scott, Esq.; and Scotch Rath, of R. White, Esq. An extensive cotton manufactory is carried on at Mount-rath, where fairs are held on Jan. 6th, Feb. 17th, April 20th, May 7th, June 20th, Aug. 10th, Sept. 29th, and Nov. 5th, for general farming stock. Petty sessions are held at Mountrath every Thursday, and at Ann Grove every alternate Wednesday.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Leighlin, episcopally united, in 1661, to the rectory and vicarage of Clonagheen, and in the alternate patronage of the Crown, which has two presentations, and of the Bishop, who has one: the tithes for both parishes amount to £1500; there is neither glebe-house nor glebe. There are two churches, one at Mountrath, a spacious and handsome edifice, erected in 1800, by aid of a gift of £900 and a loan of £500, and enlarged in 1830, by aid of a loan of £1500, from the late Board of First Fruits, and towards the repair of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £246. 18. 7.; and one at Roskelton, a neat small edifice, for the repair of which the Commissioners have also granted £254. 12. 3. At Ballyfin is a chapel, endowed by the Hon. William Pole, the chaplain of which is paid by Lord Maryborough; towards the repairs of this chapel, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have also recently granted £368. 8. 4. In the R. C. divisions the parish is styled an abbacy, and constitutes the three benefices of Ballyfin, Mountrath and Clondacasey, and Raheen and Shanahoe. There are five chapels, all neat plain buildings, situated respectively at Mountrath, Ballyfin, Raheen, Shanahoe, and Clondacasey; also places of worship for the Society of Friends and Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. There are a monastery and convent of St. Patrick's and St. Bridget's confraternity, to which a school is attached; the school-house was built by the late Dr. Delany. At Oak, Cootestreet, Ballyfin, Mountrath, Trummera, Raheen, and Ballyeagle, are national schools; and there are five schools Supported by subscription. In these schools about 680 boys and 450 girls are instructed; and there are also five pay schools, in which are about 170 boys and 250 girls. The late Rt. Hon. W. Pole bequeathed £100 per annum late currency for the endowment of the chapel at Ballyfin, and £20 per annum for a schoolmaster and clerk. At Forest is a chalybeate spring.—See Mountrath.

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