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).

ENNISTYMON, a market and post-town in the parish of KILMANAHEEN, barony of CORCOMROE, county of CLARE, and province of MUNSTER, 16 and a 1/2 miles (W. by N.) from Ennis, and 128 (W. by.S.) from Dublin, on the river Inagh, and on the mail road from Ennis to Miltown-Malbay; containing 241 houses and 1430 inhabitants.

The town, though irregularly built, has a picturesque appearance. A little below the bridge the river, which has its source in the mountains to the south-east, rushes over an extensive ridge of rocks and forms a beautiful cascade, at a short distance from which it joins the river Derry: the latter forms a junction with the river Inagh, and the united streams fall into the Atlantic ocean at Liscanor bay, about 2 and a 1/2 miles west of town.

Races are occasionally held at Lahinch, on the bay of Liscanor, for the amusement of visitors during the bathing season.

This place had formerly a considerable market for strong knit woollen stockings which were purchased in large quantities by dealers for supplying Dublin and the north of Ireland; but since the improvement in the stocking machinery this trade has gradually declined, and is now chiefly confined to the immediate neighbourhood, The market, which is held on Saturday, is well supplied with provisions, and is also a good a mart for the sale of corn and pigs; and fairs are held on March 25th, May 15th, July 2nd, Aug. 22nd, Sept, 29th, Nov. 19th, and Dec, 17th, for general farming stock.

Sea-sand for manure is brought up the river, and in the vicinity are raised thin flags, used for roofing and other purposes, a body of manganese appears on the edge of a bog near the river. Coal was found in the neighbourhood several years since, and some of it sent to the cities of Galway and Limerick, but from its inferior quality, the works were discontinued.

Quarter sessions are held here four times in the year; also petty sessions weekly on Monday, The sessions-house and district bridewell form a neat and commodious building, considered one of the best in the county, A seneschals' court for the manor of Ennistymon is held about once in each month, for the recovery of small debts. Here is a chief constabulary police station.

The church, erected in 1830, is a handsome cruciform structure, in the later English style, with an octagonal tower on its south side resting on a square base: it is advantageously situated at the northern entrance of the town, and on an eminence to the east are the ruins of the old church.

The R.C. chapel is a large and substantial building, erected about 12 years since; the old chapel has been converted into a school.

The male and female free schools are supported by subscriptions, and by the proceeds of an annual charity sermon at the chapel; a school is also supported partly by Archdeacon Whitty, and partly by the pupils. fees; and there is a public dispensary.

Immediately adjoining the town is Ennistymon Castle, formerly a seat of the O'Brien family, descendants of the Earls of Thomond, and now the residence of Andrew Finucane, Esq,; it is boldly situated on the north bank of the river, is surrounded by a richly wooded park, and contains some fine old family pictures.

At a short distance is the glebe-house, the residence of the Ven. Archdeacon Whitty, a handsome and substantial mansion of recent erection, situated in a pleasing demesne, which is ornamented by young and thriving plantations.

An abbey is said to have formerly existed here, over which St. Luchtighern presided.

SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)

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