1st January 1837
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A snapshot of pre-famine local history, as described in the "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" by Samuel Lewis, 1837. (The information collected here was submitted by members of the local gentry and clergy of the time).

BALLYMORE, or BALLYMORE-EUSTACE, a market-town and parish, in the barony of UPPER-CROSS, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER, 18 miles (S. W.) from Dublin city; containing 2085 inhabitants, of which number, 841 are in the town.

This town derives its name, signifying 'the great town of Eustace; from its foundation by that family, a branch of the Fitzgeralds, who also erected here a castle of great strength, the ruins of which have been lately entirely removed. It is situated on the river Liffey, over which is a handsome stone bridge of six arches, and consists of one principal and three smaller streets : there is a penny post to Naas (Co. Kildare).

The great southern road formerly passed through it, but has been diverted through the village of Kilcullen by the construction of a new line, and the town bas since considerably decayed. A large manufactory, in which every description of cloth is made, was erected in the vicinity by Mr. Christopher Dromgoole, in 1802 and, when in full work, employs about 700 persons. The market, granted by Jas. I. to the Archbishop of Dublin, having fallen into disuse, was revived about seven years since; it is held on Wednesday and is well supplied with grain. Fairs are held on Easter-Monday, June 24th, Aug.26th, Oct. 28th, and Dec. 21st, principally for cattle, pigs, and sheep. Here is a station of the constabulary police.

The parish is the head of a lordship and manor belonging to the Archbishop of Dublin, and comprising the parishes of Ballymore, Ballybought, Cotlandstown, Yagoe, Tipperkevin, and Tubber, in the county of Dublin, and of Milltown and Tornant, and part of Rathsallagh, in the county of Wicklow. The system of agriculture is improving. Mount-Cashell Lodge, the property of the Earl of Mount-Cashell, is pleasantly situated, and is in the occupation of Mr. Dromgoole. The other principal residences are

  • Ardenode, that of E. Homan, Esq. ;
  • Season, of Mrs. O'Brien ; and
  • Willfield, of R. Doyle, Esq.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough, with those of Ballybought, Cotlandstown, and Yagoe episcopally united time immemorially, forming the union of Ballymore, in, the patronage of the Archbishop: the rectory is partly appropriate to the economy estate of the cathedral of St. Patrick, Dublin, and partly united to those of Boystown and Luske, which together constitute the corps of the treasurership in that cathedral, The tithes amount to £145-11s-1d, of which £27-10s- 7d, is payable to the lessee of the dean and chapter, £39-2s- 7d to the lessee of the treasurer, and £78-17s.-11d, .to the vicar; and the gross tithes of the benefice amount to £137-2s.-3d. The church is a plain building with an embattled tower surmounted with pinnacles, erected in 1820 by the late Board of First Fruits, at a cost of £900 : the churchyard is of great extent, and contains the remains of the old church, and numerous ancient tombstones. There is neither glebe nor glebe-house.

In the R. C. divisions this parish is the head of a union or district, which comprises also the parishes of Ballybought, Cotlandstown, and Tipperkevin, in the county of Dublin, and the parish of Hollywood and part of Blessington, in that of Wicklow : the chapel at Ballymore is a substantial and commodious building, and there is another at Hollywood. The parochial school is supported by subscription; and there is another school, for which a school house was erected by subscription in 1835, at an expense of about £400 : there are also two private schools in the parish.

About a mile from the town the river Liffey forms the celebrated cascade of Poul-a-Phuca, or the Demon's Hole, consisting of three successive waterfalls 150 feet in height. The chasm is only 40 feet wide, and is skirted on each side by perpendicular masses of grauwacke rock; and when the river is swollen by heavy rains the water rushes down with tumultuous impetuosity into a circular basin of the rock, worn quite smooth and of great depth, the form of which imparts to it the motion of a whirlpool, and from which the cascade derives its name. It then dashes through narrow openings in the rocks, and forms two more falls, the lowest being about 50 feet high. Immediately over the basin, on the line of the new turnpike road from Blessington to Baltinglass, is a picturesque bridge of one pointed arch springing from rock to rock, built in an antique style from a design by the late Alex. Nimmo, Esq., at an expense, including the land arches and approaches, of £4074-15s. ; the span of the arch is 65 feet, the altitude of the chord above the upper fall is 47 feet, and the height of the keystone of the arch above the bed of the river is 150 feet. The late Earl of Miltown took a lively interest in this picturesque spot, which he embellished by planting one side of the glen forming part of his estate, making walks, and erecting rustic buildings in various places, beside. a banqueting-room, 45 feet long by 25 wide, from which there is a delightful view of the falls and the bridge, with the perpendicular rock. partly planted, and the upper moss seat appearing through the arch; but owing to the disturbances of 1798 he went abroad, and some time after sold it to Col. Aylmer, who is now the proprietor, and has appointed a person to take proper care of it, by whom accommodation has been prepared for the numerous visitors that resort hither from Dublin and else- where, and seats have been placed in the most advantageous situation. for obtaining different views of the fall ; a rustic seat above the head of the fall command an excellent view of the cataract, bridge, lower rustic seat, and banqueting hall, with the winding of the river.



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