KILWORTH, a market and post-town, and a parish, in the barony of CONDONS and CLONGIBBONS, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 20 miles (N. N. E.) from Cork, and 106 (S. W.) from Dublin, on the mail coach road from Cork to Dublin; containing 3038 inhabitants, of which number, 1963 are in the town. This place was the scene of some battles in the war of 1641 and during the usurpation of Cromwell, by whom the manor was given to Fleetwood, whose name it still bears. In July, 1642, the castle of Cloghlea, on the banks of the river Funcheon, near the town, said to have been built by the family of the Condons, and at that time the property of Sir Richard Fleetwood, was taken by Lord Barrymore and the custody of it entrusted to Sir Arthur Hyde, from whom it was afterwards taken by a descendant of the original founder, who surprised the garrison and either put them to death or detained them prisoners.

The town is situated on the river Funcheon, over which is a neat stone bridge of six arches, about a mile above its confluence with the Blackwater: it consists principally of one long irregular street, containing 343 houses, of which several are well built and of handsome appearance, and is sheltered by a low mountain ridge, which rises immediately behind it. There are several mills on the river, the principal of which are the Maryville flour-mills, the property of Laurence Corban, Esq., generally employing from 20 to 30 men, and producing annually about 12,000 barrels of flour; there is also a flax-mill belonging to Dr. Collet, and adjoining the town is a mill for oatmeal. The market is on Friday, but since the rise of the town of Fermoy, only 2 miles distant, it has been gradually declining; the fairs are on Jan. 25th, Easter-Tuesday, Corpus Christi day, Sept. 11th, Nov. 21st, and Dec. 10th. The market-house is a neat building near the church; there is a constabulary police station, and a manorial court is held every three weeks for the recovery of debts under 40s. late currency, with jurisdiction over this parish and parts of the parishes of Kilcrumper and Macrony.

The parish comprises 6521 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £2973 per ann.; the soil is good; about one half of the land is under tillage, and the remainder in pasture; the system of agriculture has been much improved and is still advancing; and there is little waste land except reclaimable mountain. There is no bog; consequently fuel is scarce. Limestone of good quality abounds, and is quarried chiefly for agricultural purposes. Moore Park, the seat of the Earl of Mountcashel, is a noble and spacious mansion, situated on the right bank of the Funcheon, which flows through a richly wooded demesne of 800 acres, comprehending much beautiful and interesting scenery. Within the grounds is Cloghlea castle, a lofty square tower rounded at the angles, and situated on the highest ground on the bank of the river, commanding one of its most important passes. The other seats are Maryville, the residence of L. Corban, Esq., a handsome mansion of recent erection and finely situated on the Funcheon; Woodview, the neat modern residence of Lieutenant F. Prangnall, R. N.; and Rushmount, of D. Geran, Esq.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Cloyne, episcopally united to the vicarages of Kilcrumper, Macrony, and Leitrim, by act of council, in 1692, together constituting the union of Kilworth, in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory is impropriate in W. Charters, Esq.

The tithes amount to £340, one-half payable to the impropriator and the other to the vicar; the vicarial tithes of the union amount to £850. The glebe-house, situated in the parish of Kilcrumper, was erected by the present incumbent, assisted by a gift of £100 and a loan of £1300 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1820; attached to it are 34 acres of glebe, and there are 10 more acres in the union. The church, an old structure, has lately been thoroughly repaired by a grant of £371 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, which, with the exception of part of the parish of Kilcrumper, attached to the district of Fermoy, is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; the parochial chapel at Kilworth is a neat and spacious edifice; and there is a chapel at Coolmahon, in the parish of Macrony. The parochial school is supported by the interest of a bequest of £500 by the Rev. Dr. Moore, a late incumbent, and an annual donation from the vicar: the school house, which is a neat building, has 2 acres of land rent-free attached to it. Another school is chiefly supported by Lady Mountcashel, who also patronises a Sunday school; and a large national school-house was erected in the R. C. chapel-yard in 1833. There are also four private schools in the parish in which and in the public schools are about 220 children. A dispensary and a temporary fever hospital have been opened for the poor. The only relic of antiquity is the lofty tower of Cloghlea castle, already noticed. In that part of the demesne of Moore Park called the Castle field, numerous copper and silver coins, and some human skeletons, have been found. There are several ancient raths, under some of which appear to be chambers or subterraneous apartments. Kilworth gives the inferior title of Baron to the family of Moore, Earls of Mountcashel.

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »