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Kilgarvan, Kerry

Historical Description

KILGARVAN, a parish, in the barony of GLANEROUGH, county of KERRY, and province of MUNSTER, 6 miles (N. E.) from Kenmare, on the road from that place to Millstreet and Macroom; containing 3443 inhabitants, of which number, 157 are in the village. Callan, in this parish, is celebrated for the surprise, defeat, and slaughter, in 1261, of John Fitz-Thomas and his son Maurice (ancestors of the Fitzgeralds, Earls of Desmond) by the McCartys. Tradition states that a younger son, named John, escaped the slaughter, and was afterwards called "John of Callan." The parish, according to a recent survey, comprises 43,090 statute acres, a large portion of which consists of mountain and bog, the greater part reclaimable, from the abundance of limestone that exists, but the want of roads has hitherto rendered such improvements ineffectual. A new road, however, has been lately opened towards Macroom, in the county of Cork, from which a considerable improvement may be expected to result. The river Roughty, which takes its rise in this parish, runs through a picturesque valley into the river Kenmare: it produces excellent salmon and trout. Near the village is a station of the constabulary police, and petty sessions are held every third Monday. The gentlemen's seats are Ardtully, the ancient mansion of R. Orpen Townsend, Esq.; Woodville, the residence of R. H. Orpen, Esq.; Bridgeville, of Capt. H. Orpen; the glebe-house, of the Rev. Bastable Herbert; Clontoo, of R. E. Orpen, Esq.; Kilfadamore, of D. McCarthy, Esq.; and Sillerdine Cottage, of J. B. Warren, Esq., who has lately formed some extensive plantations. The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe, united to that of Killaha, and together constituting the union of Kilgarvan, in the patronage of the Bishop: the rectory is impropriate in the Earl of Donoughmore. The tithes amount to £221. 10. 8., payable in equal portions to the impropriator and the vicar: the gross vicarial tithes of the union amount to £230. 15. 4. The church is a neat building, situated about a mile from the village, for the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits, in 1815, gave £600; and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted £125 for its repair. The glebe-house, a substantial mansion, was erected about 1818, when the late Board granted £400 as a gift and £280 as a loan for that purpose: the glebe comprises 20 acres, subject to a rent of £27; and there is another glebe of about 7½ acres, the property of the vicar, and one of 6 acres, which, with one-third of the tithes of the "church quarter," belongs to the Archdeacon of Aghadoe. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church: the chapel is in the village, and adjoining it are the ruins of the old church: a school is held in the chapel. The parochial school, near the church, is supported by the incumbent and other subscribers: in this school about 60, and in two other schools about 70 children are educated. At Ardtully are the remains of an ancient castle, which, from the thickness of the fragments of wall that remain, must have been formerly of great strength: it was reduced by Cromwell during the civil wars. On one side of the river Roughty, which here separates a limestone soil from one of grit, a large limestone rock is seated on a bed of grit stone, while a large rock of grit appears on the limestone, on the other side of the river. Near a small brook in the mountainous district is a rock, which, from numerous impressions like those of human feet, bears the name of "the Fairy Rock." Indications of copper appear in several places, and some unsuccessful attempts at working have been made.

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 Kilgarvan from the following:

Land and Property

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