ROSS (OLD), or ST. MARY'S, OLD ROSS, a parish, in the barony of BANTRY, county of WEXFORD, and province of LEINSTER, 3 ½ miles (E.) from New Ross, on the old road to Wexford; containing 2402 inhabitants. The situation of the castle built in this parish by Strongbow, or his daughter Isabella, on an extensive tract of elevated meadow land, which in Wales is called Rhos or Ros, is supposed to have been the origin of its name. On the completion of this castle, the royal residence of Dermod Mac Murrough, King of Leinster, in a valley called the Island, on the bank of the Barrow, and from its unprotected situation much exposed to the assaults of the neighbouring septs, was abandoned by Strongbow, who succeeded to that king's possessions. The superior advantages both as to security and commerce afforded by New Ross on the Barrow, where also a castle was afterwards built, led to the rapid and irrecoverable decay of this place.

The parish comprises 1792 acres, chiefly under tillage, and of which the greater part was set out in farms of 40 acres each to part of a colony introduced here from Germany by the late Mrs. Ram. The inhabitants are remarkable for the comfort and neatness of their domestic arrangements. The soil is in general light; agriculture is in a state of high improvement. This property, which is peculiarly designated Old Ross, has been lately purchased by Lord Carew. Robinstown, lately the property of George Giles, Esq., is now on sale. Palace, the residence of the Rev. Thomas Harman, a neat villa, recently much enlarged and improved, occupies the site of a seat originally belonging to one of the chieftains of the country; its fosse and part of the walls were in existence within the memory of persons now living. The parish is in the diocese of Ferns, and is a rectory, forming part of the union of St. Mary's, New Ross: the tithes amount to £522. 6. 9. The old church having been destroyed by the insurgents in 1798, a plain building without tower or spire was erected in its stead, for the repair and improvement of which £195 has been lately granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

In the R. C. divisions it is within the district of Cushinstown, in the parish of Carnagh, where the chapel is situated. The parochial school has apartments for the master, with an acre of land attached to it; Lord Carew contributes £5 annually and the rector £2 towards its maintenance. At Cushinstown there is a private school of about 60 children. John Hughes, of Cracken, in this parish, bequeathed £10 per annum late currency to the poor during the remainder of the term of his lease of Ballylane, on which it is charged. Of the ancient castle of Ross the only trace now existing is the artificial mound on which some part of it stood.

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