KILTENNEL, or COURTOWN, a parish, in the barony of BALLAGHKEEN, county of WEXFORD, and province of LEINSTER, 2 miles (S. E.) from Gorey, on the sea-side road from Wexford to Dublin; containing 1389 inhabitants. This parish, which is also called Kilbride, is situated on the Irish Channel and bounded on the south by the Awen-o-varra river; it comprises 4372 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, of which the greater portion is under tillage and the remainder good pasture and meadow land. The soil is generally fertile and the system of agriculture improving. On Tara Hill, of which the greater part is in this parish, are some quarries of good building stone, which supply the surrounding neighbourhood. Courtown, the elegant seat of the Earl of Courtown, is situated in a retired spot on the banks of the Awen-o-varra, which winds through the richly-wooded demesne; the grounds are tastefully laid out, and from the house is obtained a glance of the sea through a vista in the surrounding plantations. Seafield, held by Walter Hore, Esq., from the Earl of Courtown, is situated about a mile and a half to the north of Courtown.

There are several boats belonging to this place, which are employed in the Courtown fishery, and great quantities of cod are taken off the coast; but from the uncertainty of the voyage to Dublin, by which the cargo is frequently spoiled before it reaches the market, the value of the fishery has been very much diminished. To obviate this evil an act was obtained, in 1824, for the construction of a harbour at or near the mouth of the Awen-o-varra river, to be called the Courtown harbour. This work, originally planned and begun by the late A. Nimmo, Esq., was for a time much retarded in its progress, from the shifting nature of the sands off the coast, and from other unforeseen impediments; but these obstacles have been surmounted, and the works, which have been for the last two years under the direction of Francis Giles, Esq., engineer, who has greatly improved the original plan, are now considerably advanced. A lock, 14 feet deep, and capable of admitting vessels of upwards of 100 tons, has been constructed of hewn granite, through which, by a diversion of its course, the river has been brought, supplying a body of water which may be employed in scouring the channel, where there is constantly a depth of eight feet of water. The entrance is between two parallel piers, with flood-gates leading into the basin, which is capable of receiving about 60 vessels of 100 tons, and is also the receptacle of the small Chapel river. The harbour is entered at Lloyd's, and when completed it is intended to introduce well-boats, by which the fish may be kept alive during the voyage. Several good slated houses and other buildings have been erected along the quay, and there is a constabulary police station.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Ferns, and in the patronage of the Earl of Courtown; the tithes amount to £150. A glebe-house has been lately built at the joint expense of the Earl of Courtown and the incumbent, the Rev. F. Owen; and there is a glebe of 30 acres. The church, a handsome edifice in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, is situated on a well-wooded eminence, and is a conspicuous and interesting feature in the landscape.

In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union of Bally-garret. Schools for children of both sexes, with apartments for a master and mistress, who have also an acre of land rent-free, were erected by the Earl of Courtown, and are supported by subscription; and there is a Sunday school under the superintendence of the Protestant clergyman. The late Hon. T. Stopford, D.D., successively rector of this parish, dean of Ferns, and bishop of Cork, bequeathed £300; and Lady Anne Hore, wife of the Rev. T. Hore, of Ham Common, county of Middlesex, bequeathed £100, to the poor of this parish. At Courtown is a chalybeate spring; and in an ancient burial-ground, called "Prospect," are the vaults of the Courtown and Seafield families, with monuments to Mary, Countess of James George, third Earl of Courtown, who died April 14th, 1823; and to Lady Anne, wife of W. Hore, Esq., who died April 4th, 1808. The lordship of Courtown gives the title of earl and baron to the head of the noble family of Stopford.

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »