CLONMEEN, or CLOONMEEN, a parish, in the barony of DUHALLOW, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 2 miles (S. S. E.) from Kanturk ; containing 5344 inhabitants. A monastery for Augustine Friars was founded here by the O'Callaghans, ancestors of Lord Lismore ; and a castle existed here, which was destroyed in the war of 1641. On the 26th of July, 1652, a body of the parliamentary forces under Lord Broghill, having during the night repulsed the cavalry of Lord Muskerry, who was endeavouring with his Irish forces to advance to the relief of Limerick, crossed the Blackwater, about half a mile east of Bantyre bridge, came up with Lord Muskerry's troops, posted on the elevated ground of Knockbrack or Knockiclashy, and made so resolute an attack that they were routed with great slaughter. After the Restoration, Sir Richard Kyrle settled here, erected iron-works, cut down woods, and considerably improved the neighbourhood ; and when the French threatened to invade Ireland, in 1666, Sir Richard offered to raise a troop of 60 horse. The parish is situated on both sides of the river Blackwater, and on the new Bogra road from Kanturk to Cork : the new Government road to King-William's-Town and Castle Island passes through that part of Clonmeen which lies to the north of the Blackwater, It comprises 20,815 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued for the county cess at £7632 per annum. The land consists partly of reclaimable mountain pasture and bog, and partly of arable land, which latter produces wheat of a superior quality. Culm exists at Drumcummer, but is not worked ; and there is a valuable limestone quarry near Rosskeen bridge. Gurtmore rock, on the south side of the Blackwater, rises to a considerable height, and contains several large caverns. The seats are Gurtmore House, the residence of the Rev. P. Townsend, and Gurtmore, of E. Foote, Esq.
The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Cloyne, and with part of the rectory is episcopally united to the vicarage of Rosskeen, forming the union of Clonmeen, in the patronage of the Bishop ; the other portion of the rectory is appropriate to the economy estate of the cathedral of St. Colman, Cloyne, The tithes amount to £415. 9. 3. ; and the gross value of the tithes of the benefice is £369. 4. 7-. The church is an old dilapidated building, without a tower, and was the burial-place of the O'Callaghans : it has been recently condemned, and it is expected that a new one will shortly be erected. In the R. C. divisions that portion of the parish lying north of the Blackwater forms part of the union or district of Castle-Magner ; the remainder is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parish of Kilcorney, and containing two chapels, one in each parish ; the chapel of Clonmeen, at Bantyre Cross, is a large edifice lately built, and adjoining it is a commodious house, erected by the late Rev. Myles Bourke, parish priest, who bequeathed it for the benefit of his successors. A parochial school has been recently built and is supported by subscription ; and there are several private schools, in which are about 250 children. On one of the Gurtmore rocks, on the south side of the Blackwater, stand the remains of the castle of Clonmeen, near which several cannon balls have been lately discovered.