KINGSCOURT, a market and post-town, in the parish of ENNISKEEN, county of CAVAN, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (W.) from Carrickmacross, and 505 (N. W.) from Dublin, on the road from Carrickmacross to Bailieborough; containing 1616 inhabitants. This town, which is situated on the confines of the counties of Louth, Meath, and Monaghan, was founded near the site of the old village of Cabra, by Mervyn Pratt, Esq., towards the close of the last century, and was completed by his brother, the Rev. Joseph Pratt. From the facility afforded by its situation for procuring materials for building, the advantageous conditions of the leases granted by its proprietor, the construction of good roads, and the establishment of a market, it has rapidly risen into importance, and is now a thriving and prosperous place. It consists of one spacious street, containing 314 houses, which are well built of stone and roofed with slate; has a neat and commodious market-house, and a daily post; and is the head station for the Kingscourt district of the Irish society for promoting the education of the native Irish, through the medium of their own language.

Near the town is Cabra Castle, the seat of the proprietor, Colonel Pratt, a superb baronial castellated mansion in the Norman style of architecture, with suitable offices, situated in an extensive and beautiful demesne, comprising 1700 statute acres, and embellished with luxuriant woods and richly varied scenery. In a spacious meadow to the west of the castle, which is interspersed with stately trees of ancient growth, is an aboriginal wood covering several hundred acres, and reaching to the summit of a lofty eminence crowned with the ruins of an ancient castle and a rotundo of more modern date, commanding a rich view over several counties, terminating in the Carlingford mountains to the east, and the bay of Dundalk, which is visible in clear weather. On a rising ground at a short distance towards the south are the tower of Kingscourt church and part of the town; and to the south-east, on a high hill, the church of Ardagh.

At the western extremity of the demesne is the romantic and thickly wooded glen of Cabra, of great depth and nearly a mile in length, watered by a rapid mountain torrent, which taking a winding course over beds of rock, forms several picturesque cascades. A very romantic bridge is thrown across the glen, the abutments of which are hewn in the solid rock; the arch, raised to a very great height, is covered with ivy and ornamented with several trees of large growth, whose stems are also entwined with ivy, giving to it a splendid and imposing appearance. Near this spot, on a slight eminence, is Cabra Lodge, where the present proprietor has erected some vertical saw-mills of great power. It is traditionally recorded that one of the northern tribes, in its passage to the west of Ireland, was met in this glen by the enemy and totally routed and cut to pieces; several of the old inhabitants recollect the discovery of human bones in this place, which, it being unconsecrated ground, must have been those of bodies interred before the Christian era. This circumstance is alluded to in a note appended to Ossian's poems, a fact which would, in the opinion of antiquaries, confirm the authenticity of at least a part of that work.

Contiguous to Cabra is Mullintra, the grounds of which, together with those of Cormee, the site of the present castle, now form part of the demesne, the whole having been united by the present proprietor. The market is on Tuesday; and there are fairs on April 1st, May 23rd, June 18th, Aug. 1st, Sept. 19th, Nov. 8th, and Dec. 4th and 24th. A chief constabulary force is stationed here, and petty sessions are held on alternate Tuesdays. The parish church is situated in the town, in which are also a handsome R. C. chapel and a dispensary. In the neighbourhood are several planted raths, one of which commands a very extensive and magnificent prospect.

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »