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A look at Abbeystrewy, Skibbereen in the 1840s

ABBEYSTREWRY, a parish, in the union of Skibbereen, Eastern division of the barony of West Carbery, county of Cork, and province of Munster; containing, with part of the market and post town of
Skibbereen, 6225 inhabitants. This parish is near the southern coast, on the road from Cork to Baltimore,
and is intersected by the river lien. It contains 9396 statute acres ; and is said to derive its name from a
religious house, the ruins of which are situated close to the northern bank of the lien, one mile west from Skibbereen, but of the origin of which no particulars are on record. About one-third of the land is waste or bog, the former consisting of rocky elevations which in some parts afford tolerable pasturage; the bog is only of small extent, and peat is becoming somewhat scarce.

Generally the system of agriculture is not much improved : the heavy old wooden plough is still used.
The substratum is entirely of the sehistus formation: there are quarries of excellent slate at Derrygoole,
but not much worked ; and throughout the parish is found clayslate for building, and repairing the roads.
There are numerous large and handsome residences. The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Ross, and
in the patronage of J. S. Townsend, Esq., the impropriator of the rectory : the tithe rent-charge is £485, of which £184. 12. are payable to the impropriator, £18. 9- to the vicar (under an appropriation grant
of Richard, Earl of Shannon), and the remainder to the lessees of the impropriator. The church, situated in
the town of Skibbereen, is a large edifice in the early English style of architecture, with a lofty square tower
at the east end : it was built on a new site in 1827, at an expense of £1200, of which £900 were given by the
late Board of First Fruits , and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners recently granted £180 for its repair. The
glebe-house, near the town, was built in 1824, by aid of a gift of £450 and a loan of £50 from the same Board, on a glebe of fifteen acres purchased by the Board and subject to a rent of £13. J. per anuum. In the Roman Catholic divisions this parish is united to Creagh and Tullagh, under the denomination of the union of Skibbereen : the chapel in that town is a spacious and handsome structure in the Grecian style, with an elegant altar ; there is also a chapel in the parish of Tullagh.

Extract from: Lewis – A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland

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