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Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland 1845

Barony of Burren

A maritime barony of co. Clare, Munster. It is bounded, on the north, by Galway bay; on the east, by co. Galway and the barony of Inchiquin; on the south, by the baronies of Inchiquin and Corcomroe; and on the west, by the South Sound, which separates it from the Arran Islands. Its greatest length, from east to west, is 15 miles; its greatest breadth, from north to south, is 9 miles; and its area is 74,361 acres. " The general features of the greater part of the barony of Burrin, are altogether different from those of any other part of the country. In the central portion of this district, the entire surface seems one unbroken mass of limestone rock; and the bare hills, rising from the shore to a great elevation, in regularly receding terraced flights, present a vast amphitheatrical outline. The disjointed blocks, composing the surface of this immense concavity, though not deposited with all the precision of the trap rocks, are laid generally in horizontal lines, giving to the whole, at a distance, a regular and formal character. The more elevated parts are destitute of herbage, and present to the eye an arid, cold, and joyless waste, unchanged by either summer’s sun or winter’s cold, and but little varied by either light or shade." [Fraser’s Guide.] Yet the upland grounds, though extremely rocky, produce a short sweet herbage; and annually nourish vast numbers of sheep for the great fair of Ballinasloe. The west coast presents a gently curved line to the sea; and the north coast is intricately indented by the ramifications of Blackhead bay. The streams are all indigenous and inconsiderable. Recently formed and good roads run from New Quay to the boundary toward Ennis, and from New Quay by Ballyvaughan to Liscanor bay; and an improved hilly road connects Ballyvaughan with Kilfenora. Previous to these roads being made, the barony was little known. Cean-gan, the earliest name of the district, means ‘the external promontory,’ and was corrupted by Ptolemy into Gan-ganii; Hy-Loch-Lean, a later name, signifies ‘the district on the waters of the sea;’ and Burren, the present name, means a distant part of a country.--This barony comprehends the whole of the parishes of Abbey, Carron, Drumcreehy, Glaninagh, Kilcorney, Kilonahan, Kilheny, Kilmoon, Noughoval, Oughtmanagh, and Rathborney; and it contains the villages and hamlets of Abbey, Burren, Behagh, Currenroe, Ballyvaughan, Ballyconree, Ballinacraggy, Loughrusk, Glaninagh, Murroghkelly, Murroghtwohy, Fermoyle, Noughoval, Aughnish, and Finavara. Pop., in 1831, 10,963; in 1841, 12,786. Houses 2,056. Families employed chiefly in agriculture, 1, 798; in manufactures and trade, 225; in other pursuits, 136. Males at and above 5 years of age who could read and write, 1,263; who could read but not write, 346; who could neither read nor write, 3,987. Females at and above 5 years of age who could read and write, 528; who could read but not write, 360; who could neither read nor write, 4,616.

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, 1845
Courtesy of Clare Local Studies Project

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