Mason's Parochial Survey, 1814-19
Clare County Library
Union of Kilrush, Killard, Kilfieragh, Moyferta, and Kilballyhone
III. Modern Buildings, &c.
Ballykett, the residence of a branch of the family of Hickman, whose adjoining estate, for want of male issue, is divided among co-heiresses and their representatives. The house was built in the year 1719, and has the family arms, with their motto, “Nisi Dominus,” over the hall door. A very considerable sum of money was expended on it, a deer-park, and garden walls; but the surrounding lands were left in a state of nature. Mr. Thomas Pilkington is the present occupier of this place, in which several very fine full grown beeches prove to a demonstration, that, contrary to a prevailing opinion, trees would grow here, if they were but planted and protected.
Kilkea House, the former residence of the Macdonel family, is pleasantly situated near a stupendous cliff, a small bay, and a white strand, on the shore of the Atlantic. It has been for some years in a state of decay. Its last occupier of the Macdonel family, was the great grandmother of the present proprietor; she died at a very advanced age, in the year 1788. This lady, who was descended from the ancient house of O’Brien of Ennistymond, kept up the old Irish practice of indiscriminate and unbounded hospitality for many years. She ascribed her health, spirits, and longevity to the efficacy of a very fine spring well on her garden, from which she drank a large glass of water at an early hour every morning. At this place, as well as at Ballykett and Querin, are the almost imperceptible ruins of castles, the materials of which have probably been used in erecting the houses. Kilkea Castle is marked on an ancient map of the Irish Coast.
Opposite to Kilkea House, is Atlantic Lodge, the pleasant summer residence of George Studdert, of Clonderlaw, Esq. who has erected several other houses round the White Strand.
Querin is the residence of Lieutenant William Borough, of the Royal Navy. This house is in itself a very great curiosity, having been built after the old Dutch fashion, with two stories in its long projecting roof. It is credibly reported, that every article of the materials of this house, timber, bricks, shingles, windows, &c. were brought here from Holland in one vessel, by Mr. Vanhoogort, the ancestor of Mr. Borough, who obtained a lease for ever of the estate of Querin, from one of the Earls of Thomond. On this account the Borough family pays a chief rent to Mr. Vandeleur. The late Mrs. Borough, who was grand-daughter of Mr. Vanhoogort, died lately at a very advanced age, adding one to the numerous instances of longevity in this part of the county.
The creek of Querin is remarkable for producing very fine shrimps, and some excellent flat fish, and affords a safe harbour for herring boats, and other small craft. Near this is Dunaha, the seat of a branch of the ancient family of Morony.
Carrigaholt was the residence of the unfortunate Viscount Clare, and is now the property of the Honourable Francis Nathaniel Burton. The house is in ruins: it was attached to the castle, which is still occupied. The garden wall and the piers of the court-yard, both of which were built of brick long before the revolution, are still standing, and in tolerable repair. The sea is however making annual inroads on this place, and now washes the walls of the castle, although Lord Clare often exercised his celebrated regiment of dragoons on a fine lawn which stood between his lofty mansion and the watery element.
These are the residences of the principal proprietors or landholders; but there are several other comfortable seats here, and among them those of Messrs. O’Donnell, Cox and Brew, whose families form the chief part of the congregation in the church of Kilfieragh. At Moyne, near Kilrush, are the ruins of the residence of the family of Ivers, the ancestors of Nicholas Comyn, Esq. who holds that property in perpetuity under Mr. Vandeleur. On the same townland, near the Revenue Square of Kilrush, is a handsome lodge, built and inhabited by Captain Jewel. In addition to these may be mentioned the bathing lodges of George William Stackpole, Esq. and Mr. Singleton, at Farrihy and Baltard.
It would indeed be an act of rashness and injustice, to attempt to describe the romantic scenery of this coast. The pen of a Southey or a Scott would fail in the effort. Let it be sufficient to recommend the poet or philosopher, who may hereafter visit this part of the country, to ride with an intelligent peasant, (and he will readily find one) from Dunmore, by the cliffs, to Loop-Head, passing by Killard, Baltard, Moveen, Carhernaveilan, the Castle and fortified island of Dunlicky, the puffing holes and Castle of Clahansevan, the natural bridges and ancient church of Ross, and the lofty Cairn Croghane. Here, with the ocean on his right-hand, Malbay and the islands of Arran full in his view, the traveller may enjoy the sublime; and on his return, towards Kilrush, by the flowery banks of the Shannon, he may find the beautiful in a thousand varied forms; whilst his ardent and open hearted fellow-traveller will not fail to render the excursion doubly interesting by legendary tales of other days, the glories of the ancient chiefs of Corkavaskin, or the heroism of Lord Clare, whose ghost, and those of his brave “Yellow Dragoons,” are still said to traverse “The West” in the winter nights, and plunge at the dawning of the day, into the surge that foams round the ruins of Carrigaholt.