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Mount-Rath, Queens County

Historical Description

MOUNT-RATH, a market and post-town, in the parish of CLONENAGH, barony of MARYBOROUGH WEST, QUEEN'S county, and province of LEINSTER, 6½ miles (W. S. W.) from Maryborough, on the road to Roscrea, and 47¼ (S. W.) from Dublin; containing 2593 inhabitants. This place, called also Moynrath, or the "fort in the bog," became, in the beginning of the 17th century, the property of Sir Charles Coote, who, although the surrounding country was then in a wild state and overspread with woods, laid the foundation of the present town. In 1628, Sir Charles obtained for the inhabitants a grant of two weekly markets and two fairs, and established a very extensive linen and fustian manufactory, which in the war of 1641, together with much of his other property here, was destroyed. His son Charles regained the castle and estate of Mountrath, with other large possessions, and at the Restoration was created Earl of Mountrath, which title, on the decease of Charles Henry, the seventh earl, in 1802, became extinct. The present possessor is Sir Charles Henry Coote, premier baronet of Ireland. The town, which in 1831 contained 429 houses, is neatly built, and has been the seat of successive manufactures; iron was made and wrought here till the neighbouring woods were consumed for fuel, and on its decline the cotton manufacture was established; an extensive factory for spinning and weaving cotton is carried on by Mr. Greenham, who employs 150 persons in the spinningmills, and about 500 in weaving calicoes at their own houses; the average quantity manufactured is from 200 to 250 pieces weekly. Stuff-weaving is also carried on extensively; there is a large brewery and malting establishment, and an extensive oil-mill; and the inhabitants carry on a very considerable country trade. The market is on Saturday; the veal sold here is considered to be the best in the country; much corn and butter are also sold in it: the market house is a respectable building. There are fairs on Feb. 17th, May 8th, June 20th, Aug. 10th, Sept. 19th, and Nov. 6th. General sessions are held here in June and December under the new act, and petty sessions every Thursday. A new court-house and bridewell are about to be erected. The parish church, a handsome structure, is situated in the town: it was nearly rebuilt and considerably enlarged in 1832, by a grant from the late Board of First Fruits, and by subscription, and further alterations have been lately made by means of a grant from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Mount-Rath is the head of a R. C. union or district, comprising part of the parish of Clonenagh; there are two chapels, one in the town and the other at Clonad; the former a very large cruciform building. In Coote-street there is a monastery of the order of St. Patrick, in which are a superior and eight monks, who superintend a classical boardingschool, a school for the middling classes, and another in connection with the Board of National Education. There is also in the town a convent of the order of St. Bridget, consisting of a superioress, eleven professed nuns, and one lay sister; some of whom are engaged in the education of young ladies of the higher classes, and others in superintending a school for poor children in connection with the Board above-mentioned; the average number of pupils in the latter school is about 200. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, and for Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists; and a dispensary is supported in the usual manner. The parochial school, situated in the town, is under the patronage of Sir Chas. H. Coote and Lady Coote, who entirely support it; the average number of pupils is 100 of both sexes: the building, which is large, was erected in 1820, at an expense of £500, defrayed partly by subscription, and partly by a donation of £230 from Sir Chas. Coote, who also gave an acre of ground for its site; it was enlarged in 1821, at an additional expense of £350, half of which was contributed by subscription, and the remainder from the Lord-Lieutenant's fund.

Ballyfinn House, the fine residence of Sir Chas. H. Coote, Bart., is situated in the centre of a demesne and pleasure grounds laid out with the greatest taste, on sloping grounds overlooking a noble lake, and nearly surrounded by densely planted hills: the entrance to the mansion is by a portico of the Ionic order: the interior is fitted up in the most costly style and has a fine collection of paintings, statues, and busts, and a large and well selected library; the pavement of the great hall was brought from Rome. The saloon and ball-room are splendid apartments; many of the articles of furniture of each were executed for Geo. IV., when Prince of Wales, and purchased by the present possessor. The other principal seats in the vicinity are Forest, the residence of J. Hawkesworth, Esq.; Anne Grove Abbey, of J. E. Scott, Esq.; Springmount, of Mrs. Bourne; Donore, of W. Despard, Esq.; Scotchrath, of R. White, Esq.; Roundwood, of W. Hamilton, Esq.; Newpark, of Jas. Smith, Esq., M.D., formerly the residence of the late Earl of Mountrath; Westfield Farm, of J. Price, Esq.; Laca, of John Pim, Esq.; Castletown, of Edw. Palmer, Esq.; and Killeny, of Edw. Maher, Esq.

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Mount-Rath from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Queen's is available to browse.