TEMPLETENNY

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

TEMPLETENNY, a parish, in the barony of IFFA and OFFA WEST, county of TIPPERARY, and province of MUNSTER, 4 miles (S. W.) from Clogheen, on the road from Ballyporeen to Mitchelstown; containing 3786 inhabitants. It comprises 9720 statute acres, of which about 240 are woodland, 3800 waste and bog, and the remainder arable and pasture. The surface is mountainous; the lower lands are of good quality, and in a state of profitable cultivation; limestone is abundant, and is quarried for agricultural purposes. The surrounding scenery is boldly varied, and there are two woods of considerable extent, the property of Lord Kingston. It is a vicarage, in the diocese of Lismore, forming part of the union of Shanrahan; the rectory is impropriate in Caesar Sutton, Esq.

The tithes amount to £594. 12. 3., of which £410 is payable to the impropriator, and £184. 12. 3. to the vicar. The church, a neat edifice recently erected, is situated in the village of Ballyporeen; there are some remains of the old church, the burial-place of which is still used.

The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and is called Ballyporeen, where the chapel is situated.

On the townland of Coolagarranroe, near the road from Mitchelstown to Cahir, about six miles from the former and seven from the latter place, are the Kingston caverns, which, though in this parish, are sometimes called the Mitchelstown caverns, from parties visiting them usually making that town their head-quarters. These extraordinary and magnificent caverns were first discovered in 1833, while quarrying the limestone hill, on the farm of a tenant of Lord Kingsborough, named Gorman, to whom his lordship confided the charge of preserving them from injury, and of acting as guide. The entrance is from the quarry by a slanting passage, 50 feet long, terminating at the edge of a precipice, from which is a descent of 20 feet by a ladder to a second sloping passage, 100 feet in length, and greatly obstructed by scattered masses of rugged rock, which leads into an area about 70 or 80 feet in diameter, and 30 feet high. From this are various galleries or passages leading into other chambers of various dimensions, of which at present 15 have been explored; of these, the principal are called the House of Commons, the House of Peers, O'Leary's Cave, O'Callaghan's Cave, Kingsborough Hall, the Altar Cave, the Closets, the Cellar, and the Garret.

The stalactites depending from the roof of several of these caverns are exceedingly beautiful, assuming every variety of form and every gradation of colour; in some places uniting with the stalagmites rising from the floors, and forming beautiful columns of spar, and in others spreading into thin transparent surfaces, resembling elegant drapery tastefully disposed in the most graceful folds. In some of the chambers the stalagmites rise in the form of massive pyramids, ornamented at the base with successive tiers of crystallizations of the most fanciful forms; and in others in columns resembling those of the Giants' Causeway. In several places are small pools of limpid water between large masses of rock. The extent of the cavern, including the various chambers, is from 700 to 800 feet in length, and about 570 in breadth: and the depression of the lowest chamber beneath the level of the entrance, about 50 feet; the limestone hill in which it is situated has an elevation of 100 feet above the level of the road.

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