Organisation : Waterford County Museum
Article Title : Lewis's Topographical Dictionary - Waterford County
Page Title : Whitechurch
Page Number : 79
Publication Date : 15 March 2011
Expiry Date : Never Expires
Category : Home

Whitechurch, a parish, in the union of Dungarvan, barony of Decie-without-Drum, county of Waterford, and province of Munster, 5 miles (W.) from Dungarvan, and on the coach-road from Waterford, through Youghal, to Cork; containing 3403 inhabitants. This place was the scene of repeated hostilities during the parliamentary war. In 1645 Sir Richard Osborne, then proprietor of Knockmoan Castle, notwithstanding his scrupulous observance of the cessation of hostilities which had been previously concluded, was closely besieged by the Earl of Castlehaven, to whom he was compelled to surrender.

 The castle was delivered up to Lord Lisle in 1646; and in 1649, while Cromwell was besieging Dungarvan, it was taken by a detachment of his army, by whom it was afterwards demolished. The parish comprises 9952 statute acres; the land is of good quality, and the system of agriculture very much improved. Limestone abounds on the low lands, and marl of rich quality is obtained in several places on the high grounds, brown freestone and green flagstone are in abundance; manganese is also found at Cappagh, but has not been worked to any extent; and at Carriglea is a stratum of pure black marble, Ballyntaylor, formerly a seat of the Osborne family, is in the southern part of the parish, within a half mile of the picturesque ruins of Knockmoan Castle.

The other seats are, Mount Odell, the property of the Odell family, of Cariglea, also in this parish, the latter a mansion in the later English style, situated in a highly improved demesne commanding fine mountain scenery; Cappagh, a handsome residence embracing some picturesque and romantic views; and Whitechurch, pleasantly situated in grounds tastefully laid out. The farmhouses are of superior character.

At Cappagh is a lake whence a stream issues, which after turning a mill pursues a subterranean course for nearly two miles, emerging at Canty, where it falls into the river Brickey. A fair is held on the 5th of August, and at Cappagh is a constabulary police station.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Lismore, united to the vicarages of Lickoran and Colligan, and in the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire, in whom the rectory is impropriate: the tithe rent-charge is £393.15., of which £262.10. are payable to the impropriator, and the remainder to the vicar; the gross value of the vicarial benefice is £184.4.4. There is neither glebe-house or glebe. The church, towards the erection of which the Board of First Fruits granted a loan of £600, is a neat edifice built in 1827.

In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish forms part of the union of Aglish: the chapel is a spacious edifice. There are some remains of the castle of Kilmoan, said to have been originally built by a lady, whose tombstone was long shewn here; they occupy the summit of a lofty limestone rock, surrounded by a deep morass, the only passage across which was a narrow causeway. Near Cappagh is an ancient building, said to have belonged to the Knights Templars; not far from Ballylemon, when searching for marl, the skeletons of several moose-deer were found.

In the limestone-rocks are two extensive caverns, situated near each other. One, called Oon-na-glour, or "the pigeon hole", is divided into two chambers, through the inner of which runs a small stream that disappears at Ballymacourty and after passing through this cavern emerges from its subterraneous course at Knockane; the larger chamber is of elliptical form, and about 150 feet in length, very beautifully ornamented with stalactites and crystallizations of various forms. The other cavern, which is called Oon-na-mort, contains numerous chambers, and has been repeatedly occupied as a place of religious retirement. Near the river Phinisk is a cavern called Oon-na-glour, about 100 feet square, the roof of which is very lofty in some parts; there is also a small cavern at Bewley, within a very short distance.

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