The most ancient relic of antiquity is a ruin called the White Obelisk, or Temple of the Sun, in the Slieve Bloom mountains, being a large pyramid of white stones. Danish raths are common: a chain of fortified moats commanding toghers or bog passes extends through the county. Ballykillen fort was a famous rath, in the centre of which was a vault where some curious relics were found. The number of religious establishments in this county appears in former times to have been very great in proportion to its extent. Of the existing remains the most remarkable are the ruins at Clonmacnois. Of the other religious establishments, there are still vestiges of those of Clonfertmulloe, Drumcullin, Kilcolman, Killegally, Rathbeg, and Reynagh, which have been converted into parish churches. At Killeigh, now a small village, there were three religious houses. Durrow was the site of a sumptuous abbey, founded by St. Columb; the abbey of Monasteroris was founded by one of the Birmingham family, in a district then called Thotmoy; Seirkyran abbey was founded by St. Kieran, near Ballybritt: the abbeys of Clonemore, Glinn, Kilbian, Kilcomin, Kilhualleach, Killiadhuin, Liethmore, Lynally, Mugna, Rathlibthen, and Tuilim, are known only by name. The ruins of ancient castles are also numerous; most of the baronies take their names from some one of them. Several are still kept up as the mansions of the proprietors; but the greater number are in ruins. Those deserving special notice, together with the modern mansions of the nobility and gentry, are described under the heads of their respective parishes.

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