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Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland 1845


Kilrush Parish

A parish, containing a town of the same name, on the south coast of the barony of Moyarta, Co. Clare, Munster. Length, from east to west, 5 miles; breadth, 4; area, 15,658 acres, 3 roods, 15 perches,-of which 77 acres, 1 rood, 34 perches are water. Pop., in 1831, 9,732; in 1841, 11,385. Houses 1,574. Pop. of the rural districts, in 1831, 5,736; in 1841, 6,314. Houses 910. The bay of Poulnasherry forms part of the western boundary; and the estuary of the Shannon bounds the whole of the south. The coast upon the Shannon trends west-north-westward, and, if measured in a straight line, extends 3 miles; but it is constantly sinuous, and is indented about the middle by Kilrush Harbour. The parochial surface is low, comparatively flat, extensively boggy, and almost everywhere destitute of wood; yet it comprises much good land, and so blends in the general landscape with interesting objects in the vicinity as to be free from insipidity. The highest ground in the interior has an altitude of 100 feet; and the highest ground on the northern boundary has an altitude of 252 feet. The principal country residences are Kilrush-house, Broomhill-house, Fort-house, Bellevue-house, and Monmore-cottage. Most of the water area lies in Loughs Monmore and Knockerry. INNISCATTERY lies in the Shannon opposite the town; and HOG ISLAND, lies between the town and Inniscattery. Scarcely a townland is destitute of convenient turbary; and the north-west district is largely occupied with a chief section of the great and singularly useful bog of Monmore. Georgical improvement has been extensively performed to the amount of burning exhausted bogs, and converting them into excellent tillage-grounds for oats and potatoes; and though it has too commonly proceeded no further, it might in every case be facilely conducted to all the amount achievable by means of a plentiful supply of sea-weed, sea-shells, lime, sand, earth, and marl. Some handsome plantations of comparatively recent date on the demesne of Kilrush-house, are the principal woods; and even these have been reared in defiance of a stupid popular conviction that the vicinity of the ocean is inimical to arboriculture. Modern experiments have proved that such trees as ash, oak, birch, elm, alder, and Scottish fir, thrive well; and the abundant dendritic contents of the bogs demonstrate that the whole district must at one time have been a forest. The bog timber consists partly of yew, but chiefly of fir and oak; and is often found so undecayed and of such large size as to serve for roofing houses. One fir-tree, dug up a number of years ago, measured 38 inches in diameter at the thickest end, and 31 inches in diameter at the height of 68 feet; and was sold for 14 19s. 6d. "The manner of finding these trees," says the Rev. John Graham, "is remarkably curious. Early in the morning, before the dew evaporates, a man with a long, small, sharp spear, called in Irish, tharagher or bog-auger, goes into the bog; and, as the dew never lies on the part over the trees, he can ascertain their position and length; and easily find whether they are sound or rotten: if sound, he marks with a spade the spot where they lie, and at his leisure proceeds to extricate them from their bed, which is undoubtedly a laborious, and oftentimes a very difficult process." A chalybeate well at Monmore was, a number of years ago, frequented every summer by multitudes of invalids. Several brickfields were, many years ago, in operation on the townland of Monmore; and valuable clays for bricks and potteries occur not only there, but in other localities. Quarries of excellent grit flags exist at Knockerry and Tullagower; the great grit stone quarry of Crag impends over the town; and deep beds of excellent buildings sand are found, both round the hill of Crag quarry, and in digging for the foundation of almost every new house.

Kilrush parish is a rectory, and a vicarage, in the dio. of Killaloe. The rectory forms a sinecure and separate benefice, and the corps of the prebend of Inniscattery. Tithe composition and gross income, 240; nett, 228. Patron, the Marquis of Thomond. The vicarage, jointly with the vicarages of KILFIERAGH, KILBALLYHONE, and MOYARTA [see these articles], constitutes the benefice of Kilrush. Vicarial tithe composition, 152 6s. 2d.; glebe, 15. Length of the benefice, from east to west, 20 miles; breadth, 5. Pop., in 1831, 27,107. Gross income, 506 9s. 1d.; nett, 432 9s. 8d. Patron, the diocesan. The incumbent also hold the sinecure rectory of Kilrush. Two curates, the one for the parish of Kilrush, and the other for the rest of the benefice, have each a salary of 69 4s. 7d. Kilrush church was built in 1819, by means of 1,384 12s. 9d. borrowed from the late Board of First Fruits, and 193 16s. 11d. raised by the sale of pews. Sittings 400; attendance 200. There is a church also in Kilfieragh. Two Roman Catholic chapels in Kilrush have an attendance of respectively 1,450, and from 500 to 600. There are 5 Roman Catholics chapels in the other parts of the union. In 1834, the Protestants of the parish amounted to 798, and the Roman Catholics to 9,445; the Protestants of the union to 1,045, and the Roman Catholics to 27,857; and seven daily schools in the parish and union-one of which was salaried with 30 from the board of Erasmus Smith, one with 7 from the Protestant clergyman, and 12 from the Roman Catholic clergyman- had on their books 492 boys and 139 girls.

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

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