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Benowen or Bunnown, Westmeath

Historical Description

BENOWEN, or BUNNOWN, a parish, in the barony of KILKENNY WEST, county of WESTMEATH, and province of LEINSTER, 2¾ miles (N. by E.) from Athlone; containing 1418 inhabitants. This parish forms the north-eastern bank of an arm of Lough Ree, called the Inner Lake, and, near the village of Glasson, touches for a few perches on the road from Athlone to Ballymahon. It was the retreat of Sir James Dillon, when driven from Athlone, which he had taken, in 1641, by one of the boldest military mauoeuvres on record. In his retreat from that place Sir James at first took up his quarters at Bally-Kieran, and afterwards retired to the castle of Killinure, in this parish, whence, in about three weeks, he recaptured Athlone, which, after a short occupation, he was again compelled to abandon. The parish comprises 2937 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: about 160 acres are underwood and bog, and of the remainder, the principal portion is arable and pasture. Agriculture is in a state of slow but progressive improvement; the only waste lands are the rocky shores of the lake. Portlick Castle, the residence of Robert Smyth, Esq., is beautifully situated on the border of Lough Ree, and is one of the very few ancient feudal castles at present in good repair and inhabited. Killenmore, the residence of Capt. Fry, is also finely situated on the border of the lake. The other seats are St. Mark's, that of John Potts, Esq.; Lough Ree Lodge, of Gustavus H. Temple, Esq.; Killinure, of Major-Gen. Murray; Benowen, of Capt. Caulfield; and the beautiful cottage on Hare Island, in Lough Ree, belonging to Viscount Castlemaine. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Meath, and in the patronage of the Bishop, to whom the rectory is appropriate, as a mensal: the tithes amount to £92. 6. 1¾., payable to the lessee of the bishop. The church, a neat plain structure, was erected in 1822, by aid of a gift of £600 from the late Board of First Fruits in 1818. The glebe-house was built by aid of a gift of £415 and a loan of £46 from the same Board, in 1829. In the R. C. divisions this parish forms part of the union or district of Noughoval. A school of 6 boys and 18 girls is aided by Lord Castlemaine and an annual donation from the rector; and there is a pay school, in which are about 12 children. The ruins of the ancient church, in which are some monuments to the Dillon family, are romantically situated on the verdant bank and at the very extremity of the Inner Lake; and a little higher up are the ruins of the ancient castle of Benowen. A small portion of Killinure castle still remains, occupying a site on a bold and picturesque eminence over the Inner Lake, and adjoining Killinure House; and on Hare Island are the ruins of a religious house, founded by the family of Dillon. some of whose descendants still live in the neighbourhood. There is also a well dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.-See GLASSON.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840 by Samuel Lewis

Civil Registration

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Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Benowen or Bunnown from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Westmeath is available to browse.