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Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Noughaval (a)

                                                                                                                        27th October 1839.

Dear Sir,
The next Parish of Burren to be noticed is that of Noughaval, but it is not necessary to give any explanation of the name as we have collected as much evidence as we could on the meaning of it in treating of Faughanvale in Derry. See also my letters on Noughaval in Westmeath and Mayo.

The Parish of Noughaval is bounded on the north by the Parishes of Rathbornia and Kilcoarney; on the east by the Parish of Carran; on the south by the Parishes of Killineeboy and Kilfenora; and on the west by the Parishes of Killony and Rathbornia.

The old Church of Noughaval, called in Irish Teampull na h- Uachomhbhala, consists of nave and choir, the former measuring in length fifty three feet and twenty one feet six inches in breadth, and the latter twenty eight feet in length and twenty feet nine inches in breadth. The west gable is down except a few feet. The south wall contains a pointed doorway (placed near the west gable) which is curiously ornamented at top, and a square window divided into five parts by stone mullions. The choir arch is perfectly semi-circular and measures ten feet ten inches in breadth and of proportionate height. It is built of well cut limestone. The south wall of the choir contains a semi-circular window measuring on the outside about six feet in height and eight inches in breadth, and between this and the east there is a small window or aperture about three inches in breadth and three feet in height. The east gable there contains a round-headed window, measuring on the outside about eight feet in height and eight inches in breadth. Under this window on the inside there is a broken stone altar. Thickness of walls, three feet three inches.

A few yards from the northeast angle of this Church there is a small stone-roofed Chapel measuring twenty feet in length and twelve in breadth and containing a pointed doorway and two windows, but not worth particular description. The following inscription appears on a stone placed over the doorway:- “This Chapel was built by James Davoren of Lisdoonvarna, who died the 31st of July 1725, aged 59 years.”

A short distance to the east of this Church there is a Holy Well called Tobar Mo Ghua at which “a Pattern” was annually held on the 10th of February, as well as the natives can now remember, but it is probable that the true name is Tobar Mic Duach, and the true day the 3rd February, which is St. Mac Duach’s day according to all the Calendars.

There are the ruins of three castles in this Parish said to have been built by the O’Loughlins, viz.:-

  1. The Castle of Binroe, called in Irish Caisleán-na-Binne Ruaidhe, (i.e., the Castle of the Red Pinnacle) which is now nearly effaced.
  2. The Castle of Ballyganner, of which only one angle, about twenty four feet in height, remains, and
  3. The Castle of Ballymurphy, of which the foundations only are now visible.

I find but one of these Castles mentioned in the list of O’Loughlin Burren’s Castles preserved in Trinity College Library, viz., Ballemoroghee, which is the present Ballymurroghoo or Ballymurphy.