Charleville in 1788

Compleat Irish Traveller 17881

Volume 2 pp41–44

  From Buttervant we proceeded about five miles north to Charleville, the principal place in the barony of Orrery and Kilmore, situate on the most northern extremity of the county of Cork, and borders of Limerick. It was formerly called Rathgogan, but was made a corporation at the expense and encouragement of Roger, the first earl of Orrery, lord president of Munster; who here kept his presidential court, and adorned this town with a magniocificant house, built in 1661; to which he added a noble gardens, and a fine park. This house was burnt down, in the year 1690. In this town the same earl of Orrery endowed a celebrated free school, who, although he had great offices and a plentiful estate, yet his soul seemed much larger than his fortune: the same nobleman procured the erection of one of the charter-schools near this town, which is properly provided with the necessaries.

  In this town is a decent parish church, erected by the lord Orrery before mentioned, and a good horse-barrack, on that part of the town which stands in the county of Limerick; it is a considerable thorough-fare from Cork to Limerick, and is very well watered; but there being no turf-bogs near the place, firing is dear.

  The lands round Charleville are mostly under stock for butter and beef, with very little corn; the poorer inhabitants living on potatoes and milk. They manure mostly with lime; the soil being a light brown earth, lying deep, on a lime-stone bottom.

  Near this town formerly were plantations of all kinds of fruit and forest trees, sold here at easy rates, and sent into other parts of the kingdom, fit for cyder plantations. Broghill-castle, which is situated about a mile south-west of it, was formerly belonging to the FITZGERALDs. About two miles south of Charleville is Castle-Dod, which also belonged to that family, now only a modern built good house. The castle of Kilbolane, about four miles south-west of Broghill, belonged to the earls of Desmond; but it is said to have been built soon after the coming over of Dtrongbow, by the COGANs; it is now a god house and improvement, and not far from it is the parish church of Kilbolane, in good repair. Castle Ishin, about a mile south-west of the former, was another seat of the FITZGERALDs. And is situated on the extremity of the county of Cork.

  About a mile south-west from Charleville is Ringfort, a good house and plantation, which we passed in our return to Doneraile. A mile more to the south is Milltown, a well-planted improvement with a handsome canal. On this place formerly stood a strong castle, burnt by the beseigers in 1641. Thence we proceeded to Toonmore, now Gibbon's grove, the house and plantation of Mr. GIBBON, three miles south of Charleville, famous for a celebrated cyder apple, called the Toonmore apple. Some years ago there was discovered near this place, in the centre of a large stone, the rowel of a spur, which is still kept, as a great curiosity, by Mr. GIBBON, and which is evident proof of the growth of stones, Not far hence is Cooline, seated a rising ground, and beautified with fine plantations.

  Five miles south of Charleville, is Annagh, a pretty thriving village: This place and a large tract of the adjacent lands, were, at a very great expense, reclaimed from a deep and dangerous morass, now pleasantly planted and well improved; large drains and canals being cut through the morass, which empty themselves into a branch of the river Awbeg. Here stood a strong castle, that, in the wars of 1641, was for four years garrisoned, at the expense of Sir Philip PERCIVAL, and deemed impregnable; but was at last taken, anno 1645, by treachery, and whose garrison put to the sword, in cold blood, by order of lord Castleconnel, who then commanded the Irish army, consisting of 5000 horse and foot; and who, was a very inveterate enemy of Sir Philip PERCIVAL, because he had refused to give him his daughter in marriage before the war. This castle was demolished by the late earl of Egmont, who drained the ground, built the village of Annagh, and established linen manufacture therein. Through this morass the road runs from Churchtown to Charleville, which, from the deepness of the soil, is in winter extremely bad. As limestone abounds in all parts of this country, tillage might be carried on at an inconsiderable expense, the soil being naturally very rich; on the contrary, one sees very little corn here, but herds of black cattle and sheep, every where; so great is the encouragement for beef and butter in the markets of Cork and Limerick, and so small that for corn; yet there are large quantities of wheat yearly imported into the city of Cork, which is one of the most plentiful places in the kingdom.

1  Available on microfilm at the National Library of Australia.