Abbeylaragh, co. Longford

Description
ABBEYLARAGH, a parish, in the barony of GRANARD, county of LONGFORD, and province of LEINSTER, 6½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Castlepollard, on the road from Granard to Dublin; containing 3112 inhabitants, of which number, 316 are in the village. The monastery of Lerha, at this place, is said to have been founded by St. Patrick, who appointed St. Guasacht its first abbot: it was refounded for monks of the Cistertian order, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, in 1205, by Lord Richard Tuit, who settled here soon after the first invasion of Ireland by the English, and being killed by the fall of a tower at Athlone, was interred here in 1211. The parish is divided into two nearly equal parts by that of Granard, which intersects it from north to south ; the eastern division is situated on Lough Keinaile, and the western on Lough Gownagh; both together comprise 5715 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act. The lands are chiefly under tillage ; the principal crops are wheat and oats; and there are large tracts of bog and abundance of limestone. The gentlemen's seats are Newgrove, the residence of R. J. Hinds, Esq.; Fernsboro', of A. Burrowes, Esq., situated in a finely planted demesne; and Kilrea, of H. Dopping, Esq., pleasantly seated on Lough Gownagh. The village, in 1831, contained 66 houses: a market and fairs are about to be established here by Capt. Ball, to whom the fee simple partly belongs, and who is making great improvements. Here is a station of the constabulary police. The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Ardagh, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory is impropriate in the Marquess of Westmeath and Messrs. Armstrong. The tithes amount to £260, of which £110 is payable to the Marquess of Westmeath, £45 to Messrs. Armstrong, and £105 to the vicar, The church, a neat plain edifice, was erected about thirty years since; and divine service is performed twice in the week in two school-houses, respectively situated at the extremities of the parish. There is a glebe-house, with four acres of glebe. In the R. C. divisions the western portion of the parish is included in the union or district of Columbkill ; and to the eastern is united the northern part of the parish of Granard; the chapel in the village is a large and well-built edifice. There are two schools, in which 37 boys and 40 girls receive gratuitous education; and three pay schools, in which are 98 boys and 65 girls. Of the ancient monastery, a fine arch supporting one side of the conventual church, several smaller arches (all of which, except one, are blocked up), and a winding staircase still entire, are the only remaining portions.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, by Samuel Lewis, 1st edition published 1837.