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HISTORY OF BANDON
[Pages 346-376] CLONAKILTY - TIMOLEAGUE - COURTMASHERRY - ENNISKEANE - BALLINEEN - KINNEIGH.
About twelve miles from Bandon lies the town of Clonakillty. It is situated in the parish of Kilgarriff, and in the eastern division of the barony of East Carberry. Up to nearly twenty-five years ago Clonakilty was spelt Cloughnakilty, and previous to that it was Cloughneekeelty (that is, according to some, the stone* of Kilty-a family of that name having occupied the site on which the town stands before any houses were erected there). Others derive it from the Cluan Callow (the harbour of the valley). Another derivation-and probably the correct one-is Cluan Keeltha (the harbour of the woods).+
In all likelihood the town was founded by some of those who came over to the new colony on the banks of the Bandon towards the close of Elizabeth's reign, as the names of many of its first inhabitants are common to both settlements-one brother settling in one place, and another in the other.
That they were English, and that they professed the same religious and political opinions as their fellow-colonists at Bandon-Bridge, may be looked upon as equally certain.
* It is stated that the stone from which the term Clough is derived may still be seen at the side of the street opposite the court-house, and adjoining the entrance to the butter-market.
+ We take this opportunity of acknowledging our obligations to our friend, Zachariah Hawkes, Esq., for much interesting information to be found scattered throughout these pages.
Amongst the first that settle here were:-
The town was of some importance as early as 1605; in which year-according to Smith-it was incorporated. That a representative body of some sort did exist at that time appears from a petition dated July the 5th, 1605, and addressed to the authorities at Cork, "from the portreeve and corporation of Cloughnakilty."
In 1613, however , a charter was granted to the town by James the First, by which the inhabitants were incorporated as the "sovereign free-burgess, and commonalty of the borough of Cloughnakilty."
The charter, which was a lengthy document, appointed Sir Richard Boyle-and, after him, his heirs and successors-as "lord of the town;" and authorized him to elect, nominate, and choose one of the three names to be presented to him by the burgesses, who were to assemble for that purpose on St. James's day July 25th; and the person nominated by him+ was to be sworn as sovereign on the following St. Luke's Day, October 18th.
* The Rev. James Morgan-probably a descendant of Morgan, one of the first settlers-was born in Clonakilty in 1741. He wrote the life of Rev. Thomas Walshe (a distinguished preacher among the Wesleyans), and other works. He died in Dublin, at the early age of twenty-seven. He is described in a MS. lately in our possession as "a scholar, clear head, and clean man."
+ One one occasion "the lord of the town" neglected to select a name from those presented to him in the usual way, whereupon the corporation laid their case before an eminent lawyer-Mr. Francis Bernard, solicitor-general. I have perused (said counsel) a copy of the charter of Cloughnakilty, which was laid before me by Captain Snowe; and as the charter is worded, I am of opinion as followeth, viz.:-That if the corporation has done its duty by nomination three persons on St. James's day, an presenting their names to the lord of the soyle in due time, and his lordship has neglected to signifie to the corporation the person he designs should be sworn suffrain before the day of swearing, then, and in such case, there being a neglect in the lord of the soule, the right of election is, as I can conceive, devolved on the corporation, and they may elect and swear in a magistrate on St. Luke's day. This opinion was endorsed by a very competent authority. "I am of the same opinion." says Sir Richard Cox, ex-Lord-Chancellor.
The lord of the town also appointed the recorder, who, as well as the sovereign, was a justice of the peace for the borough and liberties - the latter embracing a district of three miles long by three in breadth, with the old chapel in the middle of the town for its centre. In addition, the sovereign and recorder were also empowered to hold a court of record for the recovery of debts and the determining of pleas, not exceeding twenty pounds late Irish currency.
A manor court was held on the third Wednesday in every month by seneschal. where debts could be recovered to the amount of forty shillings.
The corporation consisted of a sovereign and burgesses. The burgesses were never to exceed twenty-four in number, or to be less than thirteen. As vacancies would occur amongst them they were to be filled up from the freemen, and the freemen themselves were to be nominated by the burgesses. The corporation was to be assisted in the performance of its duties by a sergeant-at-mace, three constables, a toll-collector, and a weigh-master.
The right of sending two members to Parliament was also conferred on the town by this charter; and this privilege it continued to exercise until the passing of the Act of Union in 1880, when it was disfranchised.
The first two members returned for Clonakilty were:-Sir Edward Harris, Knt., Cahirmoney, and Sir Henry Gosnell, Knt. Their return is dated May 3rd, 1613.*
* The following is a complete list of those who represented the town from 1613, when it sent its first two members to Parliament, until its last:-
1613- (May 3rd) - Sir Edward Harris, Knt.; Sir Henry Gosnell, Knt.
1634- Sir Robert Travers, Knt.; Phillip Manwaring, Esq.
1639- (February 4th) - Sir Robert Travers, Knt.; Peregrine Banastre, Esq.
1661- (April 8th) - Joshua Boyle, Esq., Castle-Lyons; Arthur Freke
1692- (September 1st) - Sir Percy Freke, Bart., Castle-Freke; Francis Bernard, Esq., Castle-Mahon.
1695- (August 12th) - Sir Percy Freke, Bart., Castle-Freke; Bryan Townsend, Esq., Castle-Townsend.
1703- (September 1st) - Sir Ralph Freke, Bart., Castle-Freke; Lieuntenant-Colonel George Freke.
1713- (October 28th) - Sir Ralph Freke; Brigadier-General George Freke.
1715- (October 17th) - Sir Ralph Freke; Brigadier-General George Freke.
1717- (September 1st) - Richard Cox, Esq., Dunmanway (vice Sir Ralph Freke, deceased).
1725- (September 26th) - Francis Bernard, junr., Esq., Castle-Mahon (vice Cox, deceased)
1727- (October 16th) - Francis Bernard, junr., Esq.; Sir Richard Cox, Bart., Dunmanway.
1761- (May 1st) - Richard Lord Boyle, Castle-Martyr; Sir Richard Cox, Bart.
1761- (November 27th) - Henry Shears, Esq., Golden Bush (vice Lord Boyle, returned for the county of Cork).
1766- (February 15th) - Mathew Parker, Esq., Yougal (vice Cox, deceased).
1768- (July 7th) - Richard Longfield, Esq., Castle-Mary; Riggs Falkiner, Esq., Cork.
1776- Thomas Adderly, Esq.; A. Wood, Esq.
1784- Charles O'Neil.
1792- Sir J. C. Colthurst.
1793- Viscount Boyle.
1794- J. Hobson, junr.
1797- Thomas Prendergast.
At the Union, Lord Shannon-a descendant of the first lord of the town-was awarded £15,000 as compensation for the disfranchisement of this town.
When the great rebellion broke out in 1641, Clonakilty suffered severely. It had no walls to protect it, and it was therefore almost at the mercy of any persons who choose to walk in and help themselves to the property of its inhabitants.
On one occasion, Joan Barry* marched into the town at the head of three hundred women, and ransacked every house that was in it. There was no opposing these Amazons. With one weapon in their fists, and another between their teeth, they could bewilder as well as pommel their antagonists. Quickly they overspread devoted Clonakilty. Like a swarm of locusts they pitched upon everything. The curiosity and the pillaging proclivities of Joan's "red shanks," left nothing escape them. These unwomanly women stuffed everything into their bottomless wallets. Candies and taffety were in all likelihood wedged in with silks and picked pork, whilst salt fish and ribbons were in juxtaposition with pots of pomatum and new-laid eggs.
After bringing her regiment of rebels together, they set out for home; but whether they fell on or fell out on the line of march-whether they helped one another with their knapsacks, or scrawled one another's eyes out-we are not able to say. At all events they walked off. leaving many a full heart behind them and an empty shelf.
But Joan was not the only one who visited Clonakilty with bad intentions. Teige O'Hea, of Kilgarriff, made off with the cattle of one townsman, and, in conjunction with Garrett Arundell, of Ring, he robbed another.
Cornelius Crowly† disarmed another settler, and he stripped him his wife and three children, in the beginning of the month of February, and left them, "with divers others, to the number of five-and-forty,"‡ to shiver in the cold.§
* Joan Barry was a widow lady. She lived at Mucrus, and was the mother of David McPhillip Barry, a captain in the rebel army.
† Teige O'Hea, Garrett Arundell, and Captain Crowly were indicted for treason at the great sessions held at Yougal, August 2nd, 1642, and outlawed subsequently in the King's Bench.
‡ See MSS. Trinity College, Dublin
‡ Amongst those stripped were:- John Justice, of Clonakilty, and his son, Edward; Mills and his son, and his son's wife and three children; Cahpman Sheapheard, his wife and children; Ellen Duffill, Mabel Hollowell, Mary Ware, - Cotter. They were stripped in John Baker's house in Clonakilty, on the 10th of February, 1642.
Donogh O'Shea, of Ring, robbed another townsman, and then took away his clothes.
Dermod Duffe took a man's coat and hat away, and "then took some necessaries from his pocket." And "one Tom Barry." who pretended to be a friend of another Clonakilty man, kept tow trunks full of clothes, two brass kettles, a sword, a brass skillet, and divers other small things which he was entrusted to take care of by a poor fellow whose wife the rebels murdered the year before.
Several of the townspeople made their escape to Bandon; and one of them (Walter Bird), contrived to take the charter and other corporation documents with him; but many of them remained-amongst others, Mr. Linscombe, the sovereign. He, poor fellow, was a very quiet, inoffensive man, and the Irish-with whom he appeared to be a favourite-assured him that there was no fear whatever of him; and we have no doubt but that several of the leaders of the great movement in this quarter* intended to dispossess the colonists of their lands, and redress some of their alleged grievances-but no more. But when once their followers had tasted blood, their thirst became insatiable. Laying hold of Mr. Linscombes, they forced him to drink until his nauseated stomach rejected the fluid, and then they hanged him at his own door.
* Lord Muskerry, for instance, who took a very prominent part in the rebellion, hanged several of his own followers for thieving.
During the siege of Rathbarry Castle, an effort was made to relieve it by a detachment of the Bandon militia, and the Scotch regiment commanded by Lord Forbes. Upon their arrival in Clonakilty, one company of the Bandonians and two to the Scots remained behind in the town. Being suddenly attacked by the Irish, the Scotch companies were cut to pieces, but the Bandonians forced their way to the old Danish fort on the road to Ross, where they defended themselves until the return of the troops who marched to Rathbarry; them uniting with them they all fell on the rebels, upwards of six hundred of whom were destroyed.
The town never recovered form the effects of the ill-usage it received in the great rebellion.
Before 1641 the town flourished greatly, says Smith; but being then burned down, it had since but slowly recovered.
In 1679 tradesmen's tokens were issued at Clonakilty. One of these, at present in the collection of an eminent numismatist, has, on the obverse, the coat of arms of the issuer, and on the reverse, "Cloghnikilty, PE. IB> farthing."
A quo warranto was issued against the corporation by Tyrconnell, and the old charter set aside. A new one was then conferred on the town, dated July 12th, 1688, in which one Daniel McCarthy was appointed sovereign, and twenty-four burgesses were nominated with him. This did not remain long in force, and the town resumed its original charter again.
On the 11th of April, 1691, five hundred of the Irish soldiers in James's service attacked the town, but they were valiantly repulsed by the garrison, which consisted of fifty dragoons and twenty-four men belonging to Captain Fenwick's company of foot.
The two oldest documents to be found at present among the records of the Clonakilty corporation have reference to the election of John Townsend as sovereign of the town:-
|}||At a court of record held in the borough of the 25th of July, 1675, Thomas Gookin, the present sovereign, John Townsend, and William Warner, Esquires, being free-burgesses of the said borough, were chosen and elected to be presented to the|
| Rt. Hon. Richard, Earl of Cork, to the end that one of them may be nominated and appointed by his lordship to be the sovereign the next ensuing year, according to his Majesty's most gracious grant in that behalf.
|John Sweet, junr.
Thomas Gookin, sovereign
Richard Cox, recorder
The return of the sovereign was duly certified as follows:-
|}||At a court held for the borough, the 18th day of October, John Townsend, Esq., one of the free-burgesses of the borough, pursuant to the nomination and appointment of the Rt. Hon. Richard, Earl of Cork and Burlington, Lord High-Treasurer of|
|Ireland and lord of the said borough, was sworn sovereign of the said borough for the next ensuing year, and had the ensigns of authority delivered to him before the late sovereign and the under-named burgesses|
Richard Cox, recorder
1678- Jonas Stawell. sovereign. The tolls of the fairs,* markets, and customs were let for five years, at the rate of nine pounds yearly, to James Barry and John Spiller; "and if they find their bargain hard, they may surrender at the year's end. The freemen are not to pay custom for anything they buy, except on market and fair days." It does not appear that Barry and Spiller found their bargain hard, as-upon the expiration of the five years-they entered into a new contract with the corporation, and agreed to pay the increased rent of twenty pounds annually.
1687- The records contain no account of the transactions of the corporation from this year until February 4th, 1692; when Mr. Charles Gookin was elected burgess. It is highly probable that the interval was occupied by the proceedings of James the Second's corporation; and that, upon the restoration of law and order under William, nearly everything connected with their civic connection with the town was destroyed. The only thing about them that has survived, is that John Hull, who was sworn in as sovereign for the year beginning in October, 1687. was set aside by Tyrconnell's new sovereign-Dan McCarthy.
1692- On the 7th of September, Francis Bernard, Esq., was sworn and admitted recorder, before Thomas Gookin, Esq., sovereign, and Piercy Freke, Bryan Townsend, and Edward Jenkins, burgesses; pursuant to the Earl of Cork's order, dated July 7th, 1692. Mr. Bernard was appointed in place of Richard Cox, who was made a judge of the Court of Common Pleas. A week after Mr. Bernard was appointed recorder, he and his cousin-german-Colonel Piercy Freke-were elected to represent the town in the new Parliament that was to assemble at Chichester House, Dublin, on the ensuing 5th of October.
|}||Pursuant to a precept directed to the sovereign , burgesses, and commonalty of this borough, returnable on Monday, the nineteenth day of this instant, grounded upon their Majesty's writ of summons, to choose two burgesses, of the most discreet|
|and the most sufficient men of the said town, to be and appear at the next Parliament, to be held in Dublin of the fifth day of October next, we, the said sovereign, burgesses, and commonalty, have freely and unanimously elected and chosen Colonel Piercy Freke and Francis Bernard, Esq, recorder of the said borough, to serve in the said Parliament, this fourteenth of September, 1692.|
|John Jeremy (treasurer)
|Thomas Gookin, sovereign
Francis Bernard, recorder
Samuel Jervois, jun.
1699- A stringent rule was passed against forestallers buying before ten in the morning.
"Whereas several foreigners, on market days, in the morning, engrosses the several provisions and commodities brought thereto, to the great detriment of the inhabitants of the said borough. We therefore find and present, that any person not living within the said borough, that henceforth shall buy or earnest anything brought to the said market before the hour of ten o'clock in the forenoon, shall pay to the poor of the parish the sum of one shilling out of each crown laid out or earnested for the same, and such proportion to be paid to the church-wardens, to the use of the said poor, for the time being; and that mo townsman buy for any foreigner, under any pretence whatever, under the penalty aforesaid."
The same year that they imposed this penalty of twenty per cent. upon all sums expended by foreigners in Clonakilty market, the corporation were determined to show that they looked after the morals of their people as well as after cheap food. "We find and present," said those chaste burgesses, "that Honora Keliher is reputed to be a common w-----e, by having two bastards by two several persons, and humbly desire as such she may be prosecuted." But they did not confine their solicitude merely to cheap provisions and morals-they looked after the health of their people also. They gave directions "that the dunghills which are now in the streets, to the great nuisance of all the neighbourhood, be removed within three weeks; and that, for the future, no dunghill lie in the street from the making of the same, upon pain and penalty of one shilling.
1704- A resolution of the burgesses this year shows us how they managed to keep up the roads in their vicinity in those days. "We find and present," said they, "that the road leading from Clonakilty to Timoleague-between the lands of Cahirgale, Gullames, and Dorrey-ought to be repaired; and that three men out of each ploughland, living within the corporation, repair the same." Should they, or any of them, refuse to come, "they must pay a shilling each, to be levied by the corporation constable. Mr. Herbert Baldwin and Capt. Richard Hungerford to oversee the work, that it is properly done. The said men to appear at the work with spades and shovels." When the road, however, lay within the jurisdiction of the corporation, it was repaired out of a rate levied off the townlands within the liberties. Thus, when the road from Clonakilty to the strand, through the lands of Laconagubbondane, was out of order, twopence per ploughland throughout the corporation was passed to restore it; the money to be levied by the petty constable.
1706- Robert Travers, sovereign. Before Travers was elected, he promised "to finish that part of the market house that now is lathed within-side, glaze the said house, and hang up the bells, upon his own cost and charge within his year."
1715- Michael Beecher, who had been nominated sovereign by the lord of the town, could not attend to be sworn on St. Luke's day, "he having the gout."
Originally Clonakilty was built in the form of a cross; but, as trade increased, streets sprang out in every direction, and crossing the Farlah, formed another town on its southern banks.
After the manufacture of woollens had ceased, Clonakilty became celebrated for its linen yarn; and on market-days large sums were expended in the purchase of this-for over two centuries its staple product; but the yarn trade, too, had died out, and the town now relies for support on its dealings with the farmers in its neighbourhood.
The parish church, which was situated on an eminence overhanging the present Main Street, was built by the first Earl of Cork,* who also planted the town with English Protestants. In 1679, although there was no other church for the Protestant inhabitants of Inchidonny, Templebrian, Desert, Killkerran, Rathbarry, and Ardfield, to worship in, yet so much was it suffered to fall out of repair, that the Grand Jury of the county were obliged to come to its relief, and pass a presentment, levying the sum of eight shillings off every ploughland in the parishes just mentioned, to render it suitable for divine service.
The present church, which is a plain, unpretending structure, was built on the site of the original church, which was taken down in 1818. It is capable of accommodating five hundred persons, and was erected at a cost of £1,460.
Clonakilty contains also a Presbyterian church-a very handsome edifice, erected within the last few years; a Wesleyan chapel, which had been recently enlarged and beautified; and a Roman Catholic chapel.
The bay to which the town has given its name, is spacious but ill-protected. In Smith's time, its eastern boundary was formed by one of the Dunworly headlands;† on the west it was bounded by Dunny Cove. The water was eight fathoms in depth on the Dunworly side, five on the western side, and no less than twelve fathoms deep across the mouth of the bay.
* "* * Clonakilty, wherein he hath built a fair, new church, and made a plantation-all of English Protestants. See Particulars of the first Earl of Cork's Commonwealth Works.
† At present this headland forms the eastern boundary of what is now known as Dunworly Bay.
Timoleague lies about eleven miles south of Bandon. It was formerly spelt Tagumlag, Tymulagy, Tymoleague, &c., and it derives its name from the Tee Molaga (the house of Molaga),* and Irish saint, who lived in A.D. 665, and to whom the abbey, built in the beginning of the fourteenth century, was dedicated. The town of Timoleague, and much of the adjacent country, anciently belonged to the Hodnetts-an English family who settled here from Shopshire; and prior to their advent it belonged to the O'Cowigs.
In the reign of Henry the Third a great battle was fought at Timoleague, between the Hodnetts, under Lord Phillip Hodnett, and the Barrys, under Lord Barrymore; when the former were routed, and their leader, Lord Phillips, killed.
The Barrymores then became its owners, and they and their descendants retained possession of it until some years since, when it was purchased by the late Colonel Travers.
When the site of the town of Bandon was "a meer waste bog and wood, serving for a retreat to wood-kerns and wolves," Timoleague was a town, and contained more than a dozen hostelries, where Irish gentlemen and Spanish merchants could rest, and regale themselves with a refreshing cup of sack, ere the former set out on their way to Cork or Kinsale, or the latter went into the market-place, and bartered their wines and olives for the hides and butter for which the town was famous.
In 1589 (temp. Queen Elizabeth) Timoleague was known as a seaport town, and in that year was mentioned in conjunction with Kinsale; both being described as "market and haven towns, the furthest not a myle from the maine sea."
The importance of Timoleague towards the close of the sixteenth century may also be inferred from another fact, namely:-that excepting Bandon, Timoleague was the only town in the west riding of the county deemed suitable for holding courts of inquiry concerning owners in capite deceased what they died possessed of, and who were their lawful heirs, &c. And although the "Inquisitions Post-Mortem" were much more frequently held in the former than in the latter, yet an inquisition was held in Timoleague nearly twenty years before one was heard of in Bandon. The first jury that was empanneled in Bandon was in the case of James Fitzwilliam Roche, September 10th, 1613; the one we have referred to as being held in Timoleague was in the case of David Barry, and bears date April 12th, 1594.
In the great rebellion Sir Robert O'Shaunghnessy held the castle† and town of Timoleague for the rebels, but was compelled to lower his flag to Lord Forbes. Forbes neglected to garrison it; an it was again occupied by the Irish, who were again forced to surrender it to Colonel Myn, on the 1st of July, 1643.
* St. Molaga was a native of Fermoy, and his principal monastery there was called Tulach-Min Molaga. His festival day was on the 20th of January. It is not known when he died, but he was alive in A.D. 665, having survived the great plague which raged in that year.
† Said to be built by the Morils, A.D. 1206
Most, if not all, the Irish gentry in the neighbourhood of Timoleague were at this time actively engaged in the vast civil strife that was convulsing the kingdom from one end of it to the other. John Oge MacRedmond Barry,* of Dunworly, William Barry, of Lislee, James Barry, of Dunworly, William Barry, of Glanwirane, were in open arms against the English; and William Barry, of Agha, had collected stores, and had two houses in Butlerstown full of corn, to furnish the rebels with supplies.
In 1649 Captain Sweete and his company of foot were quartered in the castle; and being anxious to join the Parliament, he wrote to England to say so, and desired that some shipping should be sent into the bay. Inchiquin, who seems to have had some inkling of his designs, ordered him and the force under his command to shift their quarters.
Should Sweete do this, his scheme would have been frustrated; he therefore called on the Rev. John Godfrey,† of Timoleague, and requested him to get up a petition in the name of the gentry and respectable inhabitants of the locality, and present it to Lieutenant-General Barry, urging that Sweete and his command be allowed to remain with them.
The petition was duly presented, and its prayer assented to; and thus the parliamentarian was afforded the desired opportunity, and of which he availed himself, "to secure the castle of Timoleague for the English interest."
Cromwell confirmed him in his command, and he remained governor of the castle until November, 1652.‡
Whilst Sweete's company lay in the castle, some of McCarthy-Reagh's troop of horse came into the locality, demanding that meat should be sent to Kinsale fort; but they were set upon by a small detachment from Sweete's force, consisting of Sergeant John Barnes, George Woods, Robert Hooper, George Reinor, Daniel Seaberry, and some others; who succeeded in capturing six or seven of McCarthy's troopers, together with their arms, and eight or nine horses.
On another occasion, between fifty and sixty foot, sent into Ibane by Colonel Crosby, the governor of Kinsale garrison, drove off two hundred cows and beeves.
Captain Sweete heard of it, and nothing daunted by their superior numbers, he dispatched Sergeant Barnes, and a little force consisting of Privates Seaberry, Warner, Stephens, Viner, Dennie, Patch, Hopper. and Teige O'Monoghane, to go in pursuit, and rescue the cattle.
* John Barry, of Dunworly, William Barry, Lislee, James Barry, Dunworly, &c.. There were no less than five Barrys from Dunworly indicted for high-treason at the great Yougal sessions, and subsequently outlawed.
† The Rev. John Godfrey, in 1639, was curate to the Rev. Robert Snowswell, who was vicar of Fanlobbus and rector of Ballymoney. At the time Captain Sweete obtained his assistance he was curate to the Rev. John Eveleigh, who was vicar of Timoleague from 1634 to 1663. Godfrey had a son, John, also in holy orders, who was born in Bandon in 1639. This Rev. John was rector of Kilmeen, prebendary of Currograngemore, vicar of Drinagh, &.c- Vide Clerical Records of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross.
‡ Captain John Sweete was awarded the sum of £809 16s. 0d. for his services. This sum was assigned to Randal Clayton in trust for him.
The abbey was built in A.D. 1320, by Daniel McCarthy, prince of Carberry. It is stated that the ground upon which it was erected was previously occupied by a building belonging t the Morils, and taken from them by the McCarthys. In 1373, William Barry, lord of Ibane, was buried there. In 1400 it was given to the Franciscans of the Strict Observance. In 1484, in accordance with a bequest of William Galway, of the city of Cork, the friars of "Tymulagy" received a portion of six pecks of salt and six stone of iron.
Edmund de Courcey* added the handsome Gothic tower, which is seventy feet high, an which is still in excellent preservation; and to him the abbey was also indebted for the dormitory, infirmary, and library. He died in 1518, having bequeathed for the use of the friars many valuable books and much plate.
De Courcey was held in high esteem by Henry the Seventh, whose rights he strenuously defended against the efforts of Lambert Simuel and Perkin Warbeck. Indeed, so greatly was he respected by Henry's government, that when Sir Richard Edgcomb arrived in Dublin after Warbeck's rebellion, to administer oaths of fidelity and allegiance to the principal personages in Ireland, he sent for De Courcey to consult with him, and deemed the administration of oaths in his case as altogether unnecessary.
Provincial chapters were held in the abbey in 1552, and again in 1563; and by an inquisition held shortly after, it was found that it possessed only four acres and a-half of land, but derived a large income from tithes, The land was given to Lord Inchiquin, and the greater portion of the tithes to Trinity College, Dublin.
* Edmund de Courcey had been a monk in Timoleague Abbey. He was subsequently raised to the See of Clogher, and was the first prelate of English descent that ever wore the mitre in that diocese. He was appointed to Clogher by Pope Sixtus IV., in June, 1484, and to that of Ross, in September, 1494. He died in March, 1518. at a very advanced age, and was buried in his beloved abbey. He was brother of Nicholas de Courcey, baron of Kinsale (he died in 1474), and was uncle of James, Lord Kinsale- a nobleman from whom he received much assistance in the great additions and improvements which eh made to the abbey in which he first took his vows.
Father Mooney, provincial of the Irish Franciscans, visited the abbey in 1603. Speaking of it, he says:-
"The church was, indeed, a splendid edifice, having a spacious choir, aisle, lateral wing, and magnificent tall tower. The cloister was very beautiful, square, richly arcaded, and covered with a platform, on which there was a suite of apartments-comprising chapter-room, refectory, and the guardians' ample chamber. Along with these the convent had also its dormitory, kitchen, cellars, and other appurtenances, which made it one of the noblest houses of our Order in Ireland. When I visited the place, the entire edifice was still standing, though sadly in need of being repaired; for, indeed, it had suffered much from the ruthless Vandalism of the English soldiers, and also from the sacrilegious rapacity of William Lyons, Protestant bishop of Cork, and a certain Doctor Hanmer, an Anglican minister. During the late war, a body of English soldiers, consisting of one hundred infantry and fifty horsemen, halted before Timoleague, and, entering the church, began to smash the beautiful stained-glass windows, and destroy the various pictures about the altar. It so happened that the carpenter, whom our friars employed to look after the repairs of the sacred edifice, was present on this occasion; and seeing the impiety of those creedless mercenaries, he addressed himself to our holly founder thus:- 'St. Francis, in whose honour this house was built, I know that thou art all-powerful with God, and canst obtain from him whatsoever thou askest. Now I solemnly swear that I will never do another day's work in this monastery, if thou dost not take speedily vengeance on those sacrilegious wretches who have destroyed the holy place.' And, indeed, it would appear that the poor man's prayers were soon heard; for, on the following day, when the soldiers had struck their tents, after doing such serious damage to the church and monastery, they were encountered by Daniel O'Sullivan, prince of Bear, who, with a small force then under his command, fell upon them, and cut them to pieces. Dr. Hanmer, whom I previously mentioned, destroyed the dormitory in 1596; for he came in a small vessel to Timoleague, in order to procure timber for a house which he was building near Cork; and having learned that the friar's cells were wainscoted with oak elaborately carved, he pulled asunder the rich wood-work, an placed it aboard his vessel. But his sacrilege was duly avenged; for his ship had hardly put to sea, when a gale sprung up, and sent it with its freight to the bottom. Lyons the Protestant bishop of Cork, was an unrelenting enemy to our convent of Timoleague, and never spared that beautiful house when he required building materials. In 1590, having commenced building a mill, he and his posse made a descent on a mill belonging to our friars, which stood on the Arrighideen, and carried off the hammer-stones and machinery; which he re-erected in his own neighbourhood. Soon afterwards, however, an inundation swept away all his work; and many who witnessed the fact attributed it to the indignation of Heaven."
Notwithstanding the severity exercised towards the friars, they seemed to have taken up their abode within the old walls whenever a favourable opportunity presented itself.
When the great rebellion was raging, there were friars residing in the abbey; and when that great revolt was finally crushed by Cromwell, amongst those that suffered for their partizanship with the rebels were "the ffryers of St. Ffancis's Order," at Timoleague. They had but one acre of ground-"now a garden"-and this the relentless Oliver deprived them of. Again:-When James the Second showed unmistakable signs of attachment to the Church of Rome, the friars were to be found there once more. Even in April. 1696-years after the departure of the last of the Irish soldiers for France-it was announced, upon official authority, that four friars were then living in the abbey.
From that period up to the present it has only been used as a burying-place; and such has been the rage for interments there, that, on several occasions, the bones of many of those deposited within its hallowed precincts have been removed to make room for fresh inmates.
All those bones and skulls were collected, and arranged in the form of a wall; and, up to about twenty-five years ago, they were the first to catch the visitor's attention on his entrance to the graveyard. At present, the lower portion of this crumbling structure can still be seen, but it is so overgrown with moss as to escape the eye of the ordinary observer.
The building itself is in a very fair condition, and is a t this day in a better state of preservation than it was nearly a century since. For this it is solely indebted to the late Colonel Travers, who, at considerable expense, repaired and strengthened the walls, and by these and other means kept it from falling. So that to this gentleman it is owing that a feature prominent in the landscape for over five hundred years is yet in being, and the student and the tourist can still visit and admire the venerable abbey of Timoleague.
The buildings are nearly entire, says Lewis, except the roof, surrounding three sides of a court sixty yards square. On the east is a church, with a nave and choir (the former thirty and the latter fifteen yards long). From the division a transept opens to the south, more than twelve yards long; and on the south of the nave is the open arcade extending round one side of the transept, and supported by seven irregular arches, resting on cylindrical and square pillars, without capitals. The windows are round in their style and elevation. The east window is composed of three lofty lights, divided by stone mullions. The south window of the transept is also of three lancet-shaped lights, and the great west window of two. On the east side of the south transept is an oratory, with light and elegant windows; and those of the nave are pointed, square-headed, obtuse, and ogee. The division or screen between the nave and choir is by a lofty arch, on which rests a small, light, square tower, sixty-eight feet high; and beneath this tower is a narrow and curious passage, similar to those leading to the rood-loft in the English cathedrals. The dormitories, refectory, and other domestic offices, are remaining.
There are several tombs belonging to old Irish families of distinction to be found within the walls. That of the McCarthy-Reaghs, of Kilbrttain, is in the centre of the choir. Near this is a monument to one of O'Cullinanes, with the following inscription:- "Hic jacet bonus vir dominus Thade O'Culleane al Totan cum suis filiis eorum et successori bus. Reyuescant in Pace. Amen. A.D.1635." There is also a tomb of the De Courceys, baron of Kinsale. Eugene O'Hagan, bishop of Ross, Apostolic vicar of Clement the Eighth, and who was was killed in the fight on the banks of the river Bandon, in December, 1602, is interred in the north-western angle of the cloister. Allen Patrick O'Fihelly, of the Order of Friars Minor, "a man framed for his great learning," is buried here. John Imurily, who succeeded De Courcey in the See of Ross, and died in 1519, also found a resting-place within these walls, and many others of lesser note.*
* The Barrys, O'Learys, Regans, O'Heas, O'Donovans, &c., bury their dead here still. In the will of Daniel O'Donovan, made in August, 1629, he directed that "hise bodie be buryed in ye abbeye of Tymulagy."
Famous as this old abbey is, it may have been more famous still, by contributing to the literary lore of our country's history; and in all probability would have done so, were it not for a piece of heartless Vandalism. inexcusable even in school-boys and pigs.
It appears that, about twenty years ago, a new master arrived to take charge of the National School at Timoleague. In order to ingratiate himself with his pupils, and generate a good feeling in the school to the schoolmaster, he granted a half-holiday. The play-ground at that time was the abbey and graveyard. It was a bright, sunny day in July; and the boys, who had just got rid of an ill-grained pedagogue, and received a kind, considerate man in exchange, were more than usually merry and frolicsome. Some raced with their bare feet over the marble slab, underneath which lay many a grim chieftain of the McCarthys; others peered courageously into the gloomy vault, which contained the dust of several of the descendants of the champion of England in the reign of King John; and more scaled the walls, and chased one another along their dangerous summits. Whilst running on the top of one of the latter, one little fellow trod with his heel upon a flag, and it gave out a hollow sound; he trod again, and the sound was more hollow still. Calling two or three of his companions to him, they resolved to raise it, expecting that underneath they would find gold goblets and other valuables, which the monks may have secreted there in the old times. At length they succeeded in tumbling the guardian stone into the nave below, but, instead of gold goblets, all that they beheld was an old parchment book. Descending with this, they collected all their school-fellows around them, and through sheer vexation-intermingled with that strong love of mischief common to young scholastic humanity all the world over-they kicked the musty volume from one end or the village to the other, and then back again. At last, when almost tired of maltreating it, they flung it into a puddle, where they pelted it with stones to prevent it floating. Then something more exciting catching their attention, away they ran. One would think its misfortunes had now drawn to a close, but it was not so. Scarcely had the boys gone away when a sow and her bonnives paid it a visit. We are unable to say whether materfamilias, or any one of her bewitching offspring, was ambitious of being looked upon as "a learned pig" but certain it is that they one and all seem to have been bent on making their own of what the school-boys had unintentionally spared. One interesting little porker was observed to hold several of the leaves determinedly between his teeth, whilst another tore more than half of them away from him; and then both literati, retiring with what they had to a neighbouring sink, literally devoured them. A gentleman residing in the vicinity heard on the same evening of what had occurred, and although he was ready to give almost everything he possessed for the old MS., all he was enabled to procure was a portion of the cover; and thus perished a manuscript which may have been as welcome to the student of Irish history as the Psalter of Cashel or the Annals of the Four Masters.
When the abbey was in its glory, and when those ivy-mantled ruins, now tenanted by the bat and the owl, were occupied by numerous Franciscan friars, it mist have been delightful-at full tide, on a waning summer's evening-to listen to the vesper-hymn pouring from out the painted windows of the cloister, and rolling with melodious swell down through the echoing woods which at the time embosomed the estuary of the Arigadeen; and listen on, and hear the last lingering note grow soft and faint-and yet softer and fainter still-as it slowly crept along to the great ocean that lay asleep outside the dark cliffs of Lislee.
On the strand, between the abbey and Barry's Hall, a light chalybeate spring was noticed upwards of a hundred years ago. The water is free from sulphur, and easily lathers with soap. It is said to be good for indigestion, loss of appetite, and for strengthening the stomach. On the eastern side of the town is another chalybeate spring, but its waters are not thought to be salubrious as the former. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary; and on the 8th of September, was formerly much frequented by the peasantry, who had great faith in the efficacy of its waters.
In 1726, Benjamin Holme, a very zealous member of the Society of Friends, visited this place, and preached to a very attentive congregation.
There was formerly a pig market held here on every Thursday, but this had fallen into disuse for a great many years, and the market-day itself was almost forgotten. It had of late again been brought into notice by Robert Travers, Esq., the present proprietor of the town, who has established a market there for the sale of lump butter, and with considerable success.
Through the interest of David, Earl of Barrymore, a patent for fairs was obtained to be held at Tymulagy, on the 28th March, July 5th, August 21st, and on December the 7th.
In a field on the side of the road between Timoleague and Dunworly are the ruins of an hospital for lepers, of which little now remains save the northern wall. In digging the foundations of this building-which was erected by one of the McCarthys-tradition asserts that the workmen were frequently not only interrupted, but absolutely driven away, by the groans of some fiends who were buried there; and who were unwilling to be disturbed, even for so charitable a purpose as the erection of a house of refuge for those who were looked upon with almost as much horror as themselves.
Courtmasherry is upwards of two miles to the south-east of Timoleague. It is a very pretty marine village, and is most agreeably situated on the southern-side of Courtmasherry Bay. It consists of one long street, whose windings in and out, with the graceful curvature of the water upon whose shores it is built, renders its aspect varying and attractive. The portion of it principally occupied by visitors contains many good-sized, comfortable, and cleanly dwellings; and they are built at the foot of a well-wooded hill, which almost surrounds the village on three sides-screening it from the scathing east wind, as well as from winds from the south and west.
Although, as we have said, it consists but of one street, yet that street contains houses but on one side; the other side being open to the sea. And thus the invalid in his easy chair, or the recluse, is enabled in one look to gaze upon the sparkling waters of the harbour, the white sands of Flax-fort and Burran, the embattled towers of Coolmaine, and the distant lighthouse on the "Old Head."
Should the visitor desire it, there is nothing to prevent him sauntering through silent groves and dark-embowered arcades, on his way to "the Point." Here, reclining on a bed of green moss, he may bask in the sun,-as he perhaps, listening drowsily to the shrill whistle of the wild sea-mew, as she soars rapidly in the air, and then swooping down, rides on the swelling wave; or he hears the soft sea-breeze nestling among the leaves of the ash and the oak behind him; or he grazes on the world of waters that stretch from where its waves heave lazily at his feet, out far, far out, until its blue tints blend with the blue of the cloudless sky above. Occasionally too, he sees a white sail-like the wing of a great white bird-shining a long way off in the horizon, and he wonders from what sunny clime it has come, and whither it is speeding. Oft, too, he beholds a fishing-smack, with its black hull and its brown outspread canvas, slowly passing and repassing before him; and now and then a long line of smoke points to some giant ploughing his way through the resisting main, on his way to that great empire which those of our race have founded in the distant West.
In the reign of James the First, Courtmasherry was spelt Courtneshry, and, up to a few years since, Court-mac-Sherry (that is the court of Mac Sherry, according to Smith, who states that it was built by a Shropshire man named Hodnett, and that he, wishing to drop his English patronymic and become wholly Irish, assumed the name of Mac Sherry)
Others state that it was an Englishman named Foley, whose Irish name was MacSearuig, who gave this place his name. Another derivation is "Cluan na uishga geel" (the harbour of the white waters); and another is "Cuirt na muishire" (the court of the oysters)-in reference to the great oyster bed that was here formerly.
In former days all the neighbouring lands belonged to the Hodnetts, who, as we have stated previously, owned Timoleague; and who had also large possessions near Queenstown, where one of them built Belvelly Castle, and resided there.
The Hodnetts remained in possession of Courtmasherry until the suppression of the great rebellion, when Edmond Hodnett, who years before was outlawed-as was also his son, James Fitz-Edmond, and his brother, Richard of Barrireagh-and who then represented the Hodnett family, was dispossessed by Cromwell; and most of his lands bestowed on Captain Robert Gookin, who received a grant of Abbey-Mahon and ninteen ploughlands in the vicinity, and subsequently (March 20th, 1656-7) seven ploughlands more.
At the restoration, however, Gookin, who was a most zealous Cromwellian, fearing he would be dispossessed, passed his grants to Lord Orrey-then in high favour with the King-who obtained letters patent for them in his own name, dated March 2nd, 1660; and from him Gookin took a lease, which expired in 1760.
There was but few men in this district displayed more activity in that great effort of the Irish in 1641 to throw off the English yoke than Edmond Hodnett. Scarcely had he declined the invitation to move into the English quarters, when he appeared at the head of four hundred men, and, in conjunction with William Barry, of Agha, prepared to attack a government ship that was coming into the harbour. He drove away sheep and cattle belonging to Mr. Gookin, to the value of £2,000. He seized five horses, twenty cows, and eleven hundred sheep belonging to Mr. Henry Sampson, and, in addition, all his corn and household stuff. He possessed himself of the house, the goods, and estate of poor Burrowes, who shortly after was hanged at Killivarrig wood by Mac-ni-Crimen, of Ballinorohur; and the weapons which he brought away with him he gave to the rebels. And when an unhappy wretch flying for his life from his friend, William Barry, arrived at Courtmasherry, and got into a boat, Hodnett took away the oars, and then told him if he did not be off, he'd cut his throat.
When the day of retribution came he lost everything. He was deprived of Ringe, Ballycarriga, Milmanie, Lisletemple, Callinagh, Ballyreagh, Killmaramosse, Ballygallman, Ballycurdy, &c. And there are not a few hardy fishermen and humble peasants dwelling along the adjoining coasts, whose selves and whose fathers for several generations have never spoken a word of English, and yet, with a pardonable pride, they still retain the Christian names and the surname of the old Shropshire family form who they are sprung-a family who were living at Courtmasherry when Christopher Columbus was on his way to the unknown shores of the New World, and won exercised almost kingly authority in Ibame and Barryroe for centuries before a plantee set his foot in O'Mahony's country, or Bandon-Bridge had even a name.
When Gookin's house was being levelled some years ago, two quaint-looking old bottles, with R. Gookin, 1718, inscribed on them in raised characters were discovered under the foundation-stone, unbroken, and carefully sealed. Upon being opened they were found to contain a dark, tasteless fluid, supposed originally to have been claret.
Between Courtmasherry and Timoleague are the ruins of Abbey-Mahon. It was founded by the Bernardine monks, and stands close to the waters of the bay. It was endowed with the eighteen ploughlands* which constitute the parish of Abbey-Mahon. But these were only granted to it whilst it was being built; and when it would be finished, the monks were to look for their support from other sources.
It was never completed. This dissolution of monasteries was decreed and enforced before it was roofed, and the lands which Lord Barrymore bestowed to aid in its erection, being then the property of the abbey, were escheated.
* In 1634 the tithes of the eighteen ploughlands were valued at £80 per annum. In the year the curate was Benjamin Hearice-Harris, and for performing all the duties he was rewarded with the sum of forty shillings yearly.
ENNISKEANE (Enniskeen / Enniskean)
Enniskeane is ten miles to the west of Bandon, and is situated on the northern side of the Bandon river. It derives its name form Ennis-Keane (the inch of Keane). This Keane was Keane Mac Moyle More-one of the O'Mahonys-a sept who were long connected with this locality, before McCarthy-More obtained a grant of Iniskean, Blarney, Muskerry, &c., from the crown.
In the great rebellion, McCarthy-Reagh, of Kilbrittain Castle, and his sons, quartered themselves in the neighbourhood for some days; and whilst there, deliberated with Teige O'Downy, Teige O'Norse, and other notorious rebels, on the furtherance of their designs. And it was during their stay here that Mr. Meech, and "one Holbrooke"-both of the parish of Moragh-together with thirteen other English (including men, women, and children), were brought into McCarthy's camp.
After being carried away, up and down, their captors grew tired of them; and, as the deponent* "had been credibly told, and believeth the truth thereof, they were knocked on the head by the rebels with stones, and murdered;" after which they were buried in a field belonging to Mr. Snowswell, the rector of Ballymoney.
In 1678 tradesmen's tokens were in circulation here. One of them bearing this date, has on the obverse, "Henry Wh----n [Whalen], merchant," and on the reverse, "Eniskean, His PENNY."
Upon the 11th of April, 1691, Enniskeane would have been the scene of a dire tragedy, had not a few of the Bandon militia, under Major Wade, and some troops of horse belonging to Colonel Coy's regiment, opportunely arrived and prevented it.
When Brigadier O'Carroll drew off with his four regiments from his unsuccessful attack upon Clonakilty, he fell upon Enniskeane-which was at that time garrisoned by forty-four men of Sir David Collier's regiment, under the command of Ensigns Lindsey and Daniel. This little force manfully held the streets for some time against the overwhelming numbers opposed to them; but finding that the Irish inhabitants were letting in O'Carroll's men through their back-doors, they all retreated to one house, which they barricaded, and resolutely defended.
Although the resistance they made was a gallant one, and ought to have elicited the admiration even of an enemy, yet there was "no quarter" for them. Faggots were placed round the house, and the flames were to accomplish what the prowess of fifteen hundred men could not achieve; and, in all likelihood, would have done so, had not Major Wade and ten of the Bandon militia arrived at this critical time.
Although this mere handful of men could apparently be but of little assistance, yet the help they rendered the besieged was great. Notwithstanding that the rebels had a hostile cordon surrounding the little garrison, and notwithstanding that there was a distance of six hundred yards between the ill-fated house and the outside barrier, yet the undaunted Bandonians unhesitatingly entered the rebels lines, and forced their way to Collier's men.
We presume the Irish, would have never allowed one of these militiamen to pass through alive, were it not that they supposed further assistance was close at hand-and so it was; for some time after, Major Ogilby galloped up at the head one hundred and fifty horse, and dashed at them. The enemy fled in disorder; Ogilby followed hot-foot, and slew seventy-two of them in the pursuit.
There was formerly a weekly market held here every Thursday, but this has long since fallen into disuse.
The manor of Enniskeane was one of the largest in the county. It contained no less than eighty ploughlands, situated on both sides of the Bandon river.
The following is a "lit of the fees chargeable"† :-
|Bill of costs
|}||Attachment and services................................
Drawing and entering declaration...................
|Motion and rule for the defendant to answer, Copy of same.......||1||4|
|Drawing and entering replication................................................||1||0|
|Motion and rule for the defendant to rejoin, Copy of same.........||0||6|
|Making up the issue..................................................................||2||6|
|Venire and special service.........................................................||3||0|
|Evidence of rejoin and swearing certificates...............................||1||2|
|To the jury and bailiffs on verdict...............................................||4||6|
|Attorney, pleading fee on trial....................................................||3||4|
|Motion for judgment on verdict..................................................||1||0|
|Execution and service................................................................||2||0|
|Bill of costs...............................................................................||0||4|
|Motion and rule for service for or against the bails......................||2||0|
|Service fees and service............................................................||2||0|
|Copy of bail's plea....................................................................||0||6|
|Drawing and entering answer thereto.........................................||1||6|
|Motion of judgment for want of plea..........................................||2||6|
|Execution and service................................................................||2||0|
|Bill of costs
|}||Application and copy of declaration............
Drawing and entering answer.......................
|Motion and rule for replication, Copy of same............................||1||4|
|Drawing and entering rejoinder...................................................||1||0|
|Attorney' trial fee........................................................................||3||4|
|Evidence's expenses, and swearing such......................................||1||2|
|Motion for judgment and verdict.................................................||1||0|
|Entering the same.......................................................................||1||0|
|Execution and service................................................................||2||0|
* See Mrs. Stringer's depositions, Trinity College, Dublin.
† The same fees were chargeable in the manors of Clonakilty and Ballydehob, of which Mr. Snowe was also seneschal. Mr. William Snowe was agent to Lord Cork, and swore to the corrections of the above, May15th, A.D. 1718.
About an English mile to the west of Enniskeane is the pretty little town of Ballineen. It consists of one long street running east and west, and of another street starting from its centre, and running due south to the Bandon river. At one time it belonged to the Earl of Cork-one of whom parted with it to the Heathcote family.* From the Heathcotes it was purchased by an ancestor of the present Earl of Bandon, from whom, and his successors, it was held for a long time by lease, during which period it made little progress; but upon the expiry of the term-about twenty years ago-it came into the immediate possession of the late Lord Bandon, and since then it has been almost rebuilt.
It now contains a handsome market-house, a new court-house, one or two hotels, a Wesleyan chapel, a boys' and girls' school, a new glebe house, and a beautiful new church.
The latter is a Gothic structure, with belfry, spire, and two porches; over one of which is the arms of the late Earl of Bandon impaled with those of Broderick, and over the other, the arms of the Rev. Robert Meade, the late rector.
It was built partly by the ecclesiastical commissioners, and partly by Lord Bandon, aided by some private subscriptions.
So much admired was the fine spire of this church by Dr. Bloomfield, the late bishop of London-who was reputed to have a great taste in church architecture-that he was anxious to have a drawing of it taken, in order to introduce it into the wealthiest and most important diocese in the world.
The site for the church was given by the late rector, and the church itself, which was dedicated to St. Paul, was opened for divine service, September 3rd, 1849.
Bishop Downes visited this place in 1699. "The church," he writes, "is large, and the walls and roof are in good repair; seats in the east end, but none in the west. The west end was repaired when Keneigh and Fanlobbus were united to it. Contention about a seat gave occasion to the building Keneigh and Fanlobish churches, and dividing the parishes. Usually eighty persons at church. Mr. Synge preaches one Sunday at Murragh, the other Sunday at Desert."
Under the date Saturday, May 25th, 1700 he says:-"I went from Cork to Ballymoney. Sunday, May 26th, I preached at Ballymoney, and confirmed about sixty-two persons. There were about one hundred and fifty persons at church. About half the land of this parish is the estate of Mr. Henry Boyle, brother to Lord Cork; Sir Richard Cox, Counsellor Bernard, Mr. Wade, and Mr.Peter Hewit, are proprietors of the rest. There is a Popish priest of Fanlobish parish, called Charles Carthy, and another at Kineigh, called Teige Murphy. These two divide Ballymoney between them. There are four Papists for one Protestant; in Fanlobish there are ten Papists for one Protestant. The further you go westward, the disproportion betwixt them is greater."†
The old church, which stands in the graveyard, is now unroofed, and suffered to go to decay.
Ballymoney is one of the three parishes which were formerly known as the "Paradise of Parsons." The fortunate incumbents were in the enjoyment of large incomes, for which they do not appear to have done anything remarkable. They spent no small portion of their long lives in a round of social festivities. One day the shepherds of Desertseges and Kilmeen would dine and spend the evening with the shepherd of Ballymoney-and that, too, in an age when the moistening of their pastoral clay was not almost wholly restricted to those effeminate addenda to the modern dinner-table, tea and coffee; the next day the shepherd of Kilmeen would feast his late host and the shepherd of Desertserges; and the latter, the day following, would share his hospitality with the two former; then the pastor of Ballymoney would begin again, and so on. The good care they took of one another helped to carry them all beyond the allotted three-score and ten. From on fact alone we may infer to what a great age some of the rectors in former days used to attain to, namely:-that the three parishes above mentioned were possessed by rectors; and by adding together the time that three of them-one from each parish-were in holy orders, the sum total will be found to want only thirteen years of being no less than two centuries.
There are three entrances to the graveyard from Ballineen. That on the right is the circuitous route used by the Episcopalians, on their way to the grave with the remains of those of their persuasion; that on the left is the still more circuitous route belonging to the Roman Catholics; but the direct route-the short cut, in fact-is the exclusive property of the Methodists and Presbyterians.
Ballineen, at which is a station of the West Cork Railway, is not more than an hours and a half's journey by rail to Cork; and is a clean and healthy town. Standing on a gentle eminence, a low chain of hills effectually screen it from the northerly winds; whilst its position-overhanging the Bandon river-enables it to intercept the fresh breeze as it rises off the water, and to temper it with the warm air which gushes to it from the south. All the lands lying north of Ballineen-for several miles-are the property of Lord Bandon.
Some years ago this large district enjoyed a very unenviable notoriety. Illicit distillation was carried on there to a great extent; and, we regret to say, murder was not of unfrequent occurrence also. But since it has passed into the hands of the late Earl-and those of his successor, the present proprietor- a great change has been effected for the better. Those amongst whom were many who spent their time in unlawful pursuits, and many at whose door grave charges were laid, were removed, and their places filled by an industrious, orderly, and contented tenantry; and we doubt if this extensive tract of country has since furnished a single case deemed sufficiently important to be sent before the criminal judge of assize.
About thirty years ago a noted fairy-woman, who was then in the full-bloom of her fame, lived in Ballineen. Her reputation had spread far and wide, and it was nothing unusual to see pilgrims all the way from "the beautiful city," visiting at the shrine of Moll Carroll.
All her nights she spent with the fairies, with whom she was a great favourite, and to whom she used to relate every bit of gossip she could lay her tongue to. And she was equally fond of them; and so she ought. When many of her poor neighbours were obliged to be of to Mohn-drohid bog before day, with kitches on their back, to purloin a handful of bog stuff to help to manure their gardens, or to form an antiseptic couch for the pig, Moll could lie in her bed, fine and soustha, and take her two or three fine cups of elegant strong tea, and he couple of fine fresh eggs, for her breakfast. Besides, her house was one of the best furnished in the whole street. Her bed had curtains to it; there was a looking-glass on the table, where Moll could take a quiet survey of her rbicund visage, without being disturbed; and there was a chest of drawers, with brass handles to it, in which she kept her Sunday clothes and her bran-new blue cloth cloak. Then, as to the kitchen, which was used as a parlour and drawing-room as well, the splendid dresser was all ablaze with emblazoned basins, and plates, and cups and saucers, and tea-pots, and egg-cups. There was a settle there, which was painted a bright red; and there were chairs to match; and there was a geranium crock on a saucer in the little window; and as for the walls, they were papered all over with ballads and pictures. Amongst the latter was a grand engraving of the Great Liberator striking the shackles form off the manacled limbs of weeping Erin; and another containing a representation of Adam and Eve standing on each side of the tree of Knowledge, with their scanty fig-leaf aprons on, and throwing a wistful eye at the big scarlet apple that hung so temptingly from one of the branches.
Although Mary used to spend all her nights with the fairies, yet she was sometimes seen in her bed before cock-crow, and by those, too, who naturally thought she ought to be elsewhere at that witching time. On one occasion a traveller, who had come a long way to consult her, told her secrtetary-one Don Hart-that he peeped in through a hole in the door, and saw her in bed.
"You didn't," said Dan.
"I did," said the pilgrim.
"Yerra! whisht, ye fool, you!" said Dan-who, when he found that the man wasn't to be persuaded against the evidence of his two eyes, promptly changed his tactics-"that was only her body you saw there; she was away herself. Tell me," says he, "didn't you ever see a snail's shell lying on the ground empty, and the snail himself walking about the place minding his business?"
Mary's fees were regulated by those great commercial principals which tariff the prices of everything-demand and supply. When trade was very brisk, she was known to demand half-a-sovereign for a single consultation; and when it was the other way, she would take a dozen of eggs, or a weight of potatoes, or a bottle of cream.
The queries put to her were on a variety of subjects-on love, on marriage, on death-but he principal business was in carrying messages to and from those lately deceased to their relatives on this side of the Styx, and vice versa. It was a great point with her to pick al she could out of her clients before she uttered her communications; and then form a sort of flexible reply, that could be twisted to suit any question. Thus, in answer to a young woman who would ask her, "Who will I be married to?" she'd often say, "To a man with a green coat." Now this would answer for a policeman; or it would do in case she died unmarried, for then the green coat she'd be wedded to would be the grass on her grave. Or, should she say to some one with hair over his mouth, her prediction would be considered verified if the applicant marched off with one of the South Cork Militia, or evaporated with a medical student, or was goose enough too cut away with a young tailor, or made a pet of a tom-cat or a Skye terrier.
Mary did not confine the advancement of temporal interests by spiritual means entirely to herself; she allowed herself to be made the medium for promoting the temporal interests of others as well, when she was properly paid for it. A strong farmed died, and left his buxom young widow in comfortable circumstances. She soon had many suitors; but there was one whom she looked upon with a sweetness which spoke volumes in favour of his chances of occupying the place vacant by the demise of poor Mick. Another lover, seeing the direction of the current, hurried off to Moll;; and the very next morning she went to the widow, and told her she saw Mick the night before, and that he was as mad as a hatter at the thought of Johnny ---- getting his ground, and his cattle, and his wife; and that if he had to come back to the world again, and take possession of all he had before, he'd do so rather than that ommedawn of a devil-who didn't know how to take a butt of pratees to the market-should have any of his substance. "If she wants to get married," says Mick's ghost, "let her take and marry James -----, a descent honest boy, that she needn't be ashamed of. But, by this and by that"-and he crossed his fingers, said Moll, as he spoke-"I'll never consent to any one else!" The widow, who never cared a trauneen about her deceased lord, and who didn't want to see his face any more, never dared to disobey him when he was alive; and now that he was dead, she felt it double incumbent on her to be obsequious. Accordingly she sent a message to the man of her husband's choice, by Moll herself; and in a few days-preliminaries being arranged-they were married.
Her secretary-Dan Hart-was of the greatest assistance to her. A poor woman came looking for her one day, from the Cove of Cork. Dan immediately put himself in her way; to whom she told that her husband was at sea, and that she had heard no tiding of him for a long time, and she wanted to know if he was drowned. The assistant, having heard her story, made her sit down by the fire, and warm herself. And then, under some pretence or the other, he slipped out the back-door, and made straight for the public, where Molly sat communicating with the spirits which were confined within the four wall of the glass bottle that stood before her, and told her all the woman told him.. She shortly after retuned home; and walking straight up to the strange woman, looked carefully into the palm of her hand.
"Your husband gains his living by ploughing the salt seas, ma'am," say Mary.
"Och! then, you're right ma'am," says the poor mariner's wife.
"And you want to know," says Moll, peering closely into the centre of her hand; "you want to know," says she slowly, "if he's alive."
"Och! wisha! then," says the poor woman, "that's the very thing that, brought me up all the way here; and shure you must be a wonderful woman entirely, entirely, to be able to tell that."
"Well," says Moll, putting out her hand, into which the sailor's wife placed five shillings, "there'll be a great change come over you before you see him again; and as for his grave, you'll never be able to kneel on his tombstone. and say a rosary for the dead."
The woman set out for home, distressed of course, at the confirmation of her worst suspicions, but sounding the praises of the extra-ordinary fairy-woman of Ballineen as she passed along.
Moll had a roaring trade of it for a long time; but during the famine years, and since, the fairies do not seem to have taken scarce any interest in sublunary affairs-here at least; and, as a consequence, the trade declined so low, that for some time previous to poor Moll's death it had almost ceased. And when poor Moll did cross over in the ferry-boat, and drop her courtesy in fair-land, her divining-mantle does not appear to have fallen upon the shoulders of any successor.
The celebrated Kinneigh steeple stands in a wild country, a few miles from Ballineen. It is rather a singular structure, being hexagonal in form from its base to a height of fifteen feet, and circular from that up. An old legend states that it was built in one night by two angles; but that it was never finished, owing to an old woman-who certainly had no right to be out star-gazing long after midnight. Be that as it may, she most unexpectedly made her appearance at the back-door of a neighbouring cabin-when, like all honest people, she should have been fast asleep in her bed-and frightened them. Away they flew; but whether it was that the spell under which they laboured was broken by the old lady's unwarrantable intrusion, or that they flew off in a fit of indignation at having their workmanship overlooked by human eye, has not transpired.
Two or three miles to the north-east of the steeple is Castletown (or Poldenstown, as it was formerly called) the property of the Earl of Bandon; and near the steeple-the steeple is in fact its belfry-is the new parish church of Kinneigh, an edifice in no small degree indebted to the liberality of the nobleman just mentioned. The church which originally stood here occupied the site upon which the late parish church stood. It was founded by Saint Macomoge, and was the cathedral of a diocese that existed before the English invasion. For some time previous to that event, the appointment of a bishop to the See of Kinneigh was discontinued, and it was united with Ross.
Bishop Downes visited Kinneigh in 1700. Speaking of the church, he says:-" 'Tis supposed the church was formerly a cathedral. A stone in the south-west corner of the church is considered very sacred, which the Irish swear upon. This church is accounted amongst the Irish very sacred. There is a tradition amongst the Irish, that formerly, in the the churchyard, there was a well that had great medicinal virtues; and that the concourse of people being very chargeable to the inhabitants, they stopped it up."
The remains of old buildings and Danish forts abound in this locality. Not long since, one of the latter-which is said to communicate subter-raneously with the steeple-was opened by Colonel Bernard; but he was unable to enter in consequence of the quantity of foul air that continued to pour through the aperture. It was subsequently opened by another gentleman; but the foul air was still present in large quantities, and had such an injurious effect upon two of the workman, that they took ill and died.
A new glebe house was lately erected at Kinneigh, and occupied by the Rev. Godfrey Smith, prior to whose time there was no resident since the days of old Bellingham Swan. This old clergyman flourished in an age when there were many specimens of a class which it is to be hoped are now altogether extinct, namely,-those who prized the sheep of their pastures more for the value of the wool that grew on their backs, that for any pleasure they received in feeding them. Old Swan lived to be ninety-five; and to the day of his death he used to keep a large brass blunderbuss over his mantelpiece, which he used to exhibit to his friends as "God's vengeance against Popery." In his younger days he was a curate of Dean Swift's. He died on the 2nd of October, 1798, and , it is said, that for several weeks after his death he was represented as being alive, in order that his representatives might be entitled to claim the tithes which would become due on the 1st of the following November.
* At present represented by Sir William Heathcote and Lord Aveland.
† See Clerical Records of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross.
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