Mason's Parochial Survey, 1814-19

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Union of Kilmanaheen, Kilasbuglenane, Kilmacreehy, Kileilagh and Kilmoon

IV. Ancient Buildings, &c.

Ruins of Churches
No ruins of the monasteries remain in the union, but there are ruins of a church in every parish. In this parish of Kilmanaheen are the ruins of a church, near the river of Ennistymon. The literal translation of the Irish word ‘keil’ is church, and frequently applied to the burying-place; that is, Keilmanaheen, contracted into Kilmanaheen, signifies the church of Manaheen, of whom there is nothing particularly recorded by tradition or otherwise, except the aukwardness of the site he pitched upon for his church, and his being a Bishop.

There are two castles in this parish, one at Ennistymon, attached to the mansion-house, and so cut down and modernized, that it has not much the appearance of a castle: another, called the castle of Dough, to the west of Ennistymon, and about two miles distant from it, near the confluence of the two rivers already described, not far from the sea and bathing-place, and surrounded with sand-hills. No round tower appears to have been in the union.

Danish Forts
In the parishes of Kilmanaheen, Kilaspuglenane, and Kilmacreehy, are about twelve Danish forts of different sizes, some about 100 yards in circumference, some about 80 yards, and so on; the size supposed to be proportioned to the circumstances of the man or party who erected them. These are all made with earth, of a round shape, with a platform in the middle. In the parishes of Kilaspuglenane and Kilmacreehy, there are about eight of these forts, surrounded with stone, and the platform in the middle a rock. These forts were built by the native Irish for the protection of themselves and families against the Danes, who made frequent predatory irruptions into different parts of Ireland, before their over throw in the battle of Clontarf. All their cattle and moveables were brought into these forts, so as to have them as much as possible out of the reach of the invader. The forts thus erected, are, on that account, called Danish forts. They are now held sacred by the common people, and are supposed by them to be seats of the fairies, or fallen angels, as they call them, and, on that account, are never turned up or cultivated. They were all built within view of each other; and when any of them was attacked, there was a signal made for all the rest to collect and rally about this point: for their mutual defence against the common enemy, all the castles are also in view of each other. There are no monuments or inscriptions worth noticing in this union.

The parish of Kilasbuglenane has nothing in it worth notice, except the ruins of the church built by Bishop Lenane.

Ruins of a Church
The parish of Kilmacreehy has the ruins of a church of the same name, that is, the church of M’Creehy. This M’Creehy is also said, by tradition, to have been a Bishop, and there is a bust of him with a mitre on it in the church, the walls of which are still extant, which supports the opinion of his being a Bishop. There is also a bust (with only a part of a mitre on it) of Manaheen in this church, sunk in the wall directly opposite to the other bust. It appears, therefore, that these three parishes adjoining each other, had at one time a Bishop for each of them.

Liscannor Castle
There is a castle near the village of Liscannor, to the west of it, on a high clift, called the castle of Liscannor, derived form the Irish word ‘Lis’, a ‘fort’ and ‘Cannor’, a corruption of the word ‘Connor’. All the castles in the barony of Corcumro were built, at different periods, by the chieftains of the name of O’Connor, of whom there is not a trace now extant.

Signal Tower
To the north-west of this village is the signal tower already mentioned, on the very high clift of Mohir. This signal tower may be of use in communicating intelligence to the interior of the country, at any time that a hostile fleet may be seen from it passing, or hovering on the coast; but to suppose that an invading enemy would at any time attempt to land on this coast, or any where from the mouth of the Shannon to the bay of Galway, is absurd in the extreme.

Within about a quarter of a mile of this, stands a smaller church of inferior note, called Tuomullen, the walls of which are still extant, that seems as if it was a chapel of ease, that had a glebe of about one acre annexed to it.

Doonagore and Doonmacfeilim Castles
In the western part of this parish are two castles, Doonagore and Doonmacfeilim. Doon and Lis are, in the Irish language, synonimous terms, and signify places of safety; but, in the present instance, Doon appears to signify domain, as well as a place of security: in that sense, the castle of Doonagore signifies, the castle on the domain of Gore. It was known by some other name before the Reformation, for it was some time after that period, that Mr. Gore settled in this country: his descendant, Francis Gore, of Mountshannon, was attainted by King James’s Parliament in the year 1689, but was soon after restored by King William to Mountshannon and the rest of his estates in this county. From him the present Francis Gore, a lawyer of eminence at the bar, is lineally descended. The castle of Doonmacfeilim signifies also, the castle on the domain of McFeilim, that is, of the son of Pheilim, whose surname was O’Connor.

Balynalakin Castle
In the eastern part of this parish is another castle Balynalackin, derived from the Irish word ‘bally’, which signifies townland, and ‘lakin’ rocky. This is built on a rock, for the most part impregnable, and appears to have been inhabited at a much later period than any of the rest. The stairs inside are perfect, and there are still extant in it, four chimney pieces of stone tolerably well executed. This castle is about two miles distant from the castle of Doonmacfeilim, and about three from Doonagore. It lies about a mile inland from the sea: the other two, which are almost due-west of this, are not far from the sea.

Thample na Spanigg
In the parish of Kileilagh is a burying-place called Taumple na Spanigg, that is, ‘the burial-place of the Spaniards,’ opposite to the islands of Arran, and nearly due-south of them. Taumple na Spanigg is an Irish word, derived from ‘taumple’, temple (but generally applied to a burying-place), and ‘na spanigg’, of the Spaniards.

Spanish Armada
Between Spanish-point and this Taumple na Spanigg, there was a great part of the famous Spanish armada wrecked, and all that were on board those ships that were forced by the tempest into the parish of Kileilagh, were buried in this spot, ever since called Taumple na Spanigg. There was an oak table on board one of those ships, probably the Admiral’s, of curious workmanship, particularly the legs and claws of it. It was given by Boetius Clanchy, the then inheritor of the place, to Connor O’Brien, his brother-in-law, and is now in high preservation in the hall of Dromoland House, the seat of Sir Edward O’Brien, who is lineally descended from the said Connor.

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