All Lewis entries for Reynagh


More information on Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)
Accompanying Lewis map for Offaly


BANAGHER, a market and post-town (formerly a parliamentary borough), in the parish of RYNAGH, barony of GARRYCASTLE, KING'S county, and province of LEINSTER, 6 miles (N. W. by N.) from Parsonstown, and 64 miles (W. S. W.) from Dublin; containing 2636 inhabitants. This town is situated on the side of a hill, on the south bank of the Shannon, just above the influx of the little Brosna river, and at the junction of the roads from Parsonstown to Cloghan and Eyrecourt. The bridge, connecting it with the Galway shore, is one of the oldest across the Shannon: it consists of several small arches with projecting piers, and is very narrow and inconvenient, but of great strength and solidity. Latterly, however, this bridge, which is supposed to have stood between 400 and 500 years, has shown numerous symptoms of decay : it completely obstructs the navigation of the river, to remedy which a canal with a swing-bridge over it has been formed on the Galway side. Its military defences are very strong: on the King's county or Banagher side is a tête-du-pont mounting three pieces of heavy ordnance, and about a - of a mile lower down the river is a circular field work with six pieces of ordnance; on the Galway side to the right is a Martello tower, and on the left a small battery. The town comprises about 500 houses, mostly well built; the streets are Macadamised. It has a reading-room; and close to the bridge are infantry barracks for 3 officers and 63 men. There are a distillery, brewery, malt-house, and tanyards; and the town has a good general trade with the rural population of the surrounding district. It is well situated for trade, having the advantages of steam navigation to Limerick and the sea, and of water communication with Athlone, Ballinasloe, and Dublin: the introduction of steam navigation on the Shannon, has greatly benefited the general trade of this place, and in the autumn of 1836 extensive surveys were made by order of Government with a view to improve the navigation of this noble river. The market, originally granted in 1612 to Sir John McCoghlan, Knt., to be held on Thursday,- and to the corporation in 1628 on Monday, - is now held on Friday, and is a considerable corn market. Fairs are held on May 1st, Sept. 15th and three following days, Oct. 28th, and Nov. 8th; that held in September is a large fair for live stock, inferior only to that of Ballinasloe. Here is a station of the constabulary police. The inhabitants were incorporated in 1628 by charter of Chas. I., by which it was ordained that certain lands, altogether comprising 200 acres of arable and pasture land, and 70 acres of wood and moor, should be a free borough; 1-13th of these lands was granted to Sir Arthur Blundell and his heirs, 1-13th to Sir Matthew Derenzie and his heirs, and 1-13th to each of the other burgesses named in the charter, to be held in free burgage at a rent of 3s. 1d. respectively. It further granted to the corporation 222 acres of arable and pasture land, and 7 acres of wood and moor, for the support of a resident preaching minister, whom they were to appoint; and 200 acres of arable and pasture, and 85 acres of wood and moor, for the maintenance of a schoolmaster in the town, to be appointed by the viceroy, or, in default) by a majority of the burgesses. It also contained a grant of a court with jurisdiction to the amount of £20; and constituted the sovereign, or his deputy, a justice of the peace within the borough, and coroner and clerk of the market, and empowered the corporation at large to send two members to the Irish parliament. The corporation was styled "The Sovereign, Burgesses, and Free Commons of the Borough and Town of Bannacher alias Bannagher ; and consisted of a sovereign and twelve burgesses, with power to admit freemen and appoint a recorder and other officers; but the corporate offices have not been filled up since the year 1800, when the borough was deprived of its right of parliamentary representation, and the £15,000 awarded as compensation was paid to the Rt. Hon. Win. Brabazon Ponsonby. The sovereign formerly held, under the charter, a court for the recovery of debts to the amount of £20 late currency, which was discontinued about forty years since: the only court now held is a court of petty sessions every alternate Monday. The lands granted by the charter for a preaching minister are said to have been formerly held by a clergyman appointed by the corporation, who officiated in a church now fallen into decay in the town; but they have for many years become united to the rectory, and are now held by the incumbent of the parish. At the entrance to the town is the parish church, a handsome edifice in the ancient English style of architecture, with a tower and spire, built in 1829 at an expense of £2286, of which £2030 was granted on loan by the late Board of First Fruits. There is also a R. C. chapel, a large plain building in good repair. A school was established by the corporation pursuant to the charter granting lands for its endowment: by an act of the 53rd of Geo. III., cap. 107, these lands, which according to a survey made in 1817 comprised about 370 acres, of which about 233 acres are arable and pasture, were vested in the Commissioners of Education, and the schools placed under their control. The lands were formerly let at a rent of £300, but are now held by the master at a rent of £148. 17. 10. per annum, and the Board has recently proposed to allow him a salary of £200 on the condition of his surrendering all interest in them, with a view to their being placed under the superintendence of a local qualified agent. The school is held very near the town, and was suspended from 1798 to 1807: there are no free scholars on the establishment which in no respect differs from an ordinary classical school, except that it is under the control of the Board. The parochial school in the town is aided by an annual donation from the incumbent; and there is a national school for boys and girls, aided by voluntary contributions, also a dispensary. In the vicinity is Cloghan Castle, the seat of Garrett O'Moore, Esq., and one of the oldest inhabited castles in Ireland; and a short distance to the south of the town, near the banks of the Little Brosna river, are the ruins of Garry castle, which gave name to the barony-See RYNAGH.


RAPEMILLS, a hamlet, in the parish of REYNAGH, barony of GARRYCASTLE, KING'S county, and province of LEINSTER, 3 miles (S.) from Banagher, on the road to Parsonstown ; containing 9 houses and 64 inhabitants. It takes its name from some rape-mills erected here.


REYNAGH, a parish, in the barony of GARRYCASTLE, KING'S county, and province of LEINSTER, on the road from Parsonstown to Banagher bridge and Galway ; containing, with the post-town of Banagher, 4271 inhabitants. This place takes its name from a monastery founded here by St. Regnacia, sister to St. Finian, who died in 563. The establishment, which was called Kill-Rignaighe, was placed under the super-intendence of Talacia, mother of St. Finian, who was abbess for some time ; but no further details of its history are recorded, The parish is situated on the river Shannon, and comprises 6555 statute acres, of which a very large proportion is bog ; part is waste land, chiefly sand hills ; and the remainder, which is chiefly under tillage, is of very indifferent quality. The system of agriculture is in a very backward state, though, from the abundance of limestone, which is quarried both for building and agricultural uses, the lands under a better system might be easily improved, About half a mile from Banagher, on the road to Parsonstown, is Carrigcastle, the demesne of H. B. Armstrong, Esq., with the extensive flour-mills, established in 1818 and employing 20 persons : in the ruins of an adjoining castle coins of Queen Elizabeth and several skeletons were found. Mount Carteret is the property of John Priaulx Armstrong Esq. ; the glebe-house, the residence of the Rev. John Burdett ; and Claremount, of the late Henry Goode, Esq. There are extensive flour and oatmeal-mills at Garrycastle. The Shannon affords facility of conveyance by steam-boats to Limerick, and the canal to Dublin. Fairs are held on May 1st and Sept. 15th, for horses, cattle, and sheep ; and petty sessions are held at Banagher every Monday. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Meath ; one-half of the rectory is impropriate and at present the subject of litigation ; the other half is annexed to the vicarage, which in 1798 was united to the vicarage of Gallen, and is in the patronage of the Bishop. The tithes amount to £288. 7. 8., payable in moieties to the impropriator and the vicar, The glebe-house was rebuilt in 1800, and has been enlarged by the present incumbent, at an expense of £664. 12. 3-.: the glebe comprises 94 acres, valued at £173. 18. per annum, and there is also a glebe at Gallen of 137 acres, valued at £155. 12. 3. ; the gross income of the benefice, including tithe and glebe, amounts to £681. 7. 11. per annum. The church, a handsome structure in the later English style, with a tower surmounted by a well-proportioned spire, and in very good repair, was erected in 1829, at an expense of £2030 British, advanced on loan by the late Board of First Fruits. There is also a church in the parish of Gallen. In the R. C. divisions this parish is in the diocese of Ardagh, and the head of a union called Banagher, comprising also the parish of Gallen ; the chapel at Banagher is a large plain edifice, and there is also a chapel in Gallen. About 340 children are taught in two public schools ; and there are seven private schools, in which are about 350 children. There is also a royal free school at Cuba House, near Banagher, which see ; and a dispensary. There are some remains of the Danish rath called Garrycastle, also the ruins of Streamstown castle, and of an ancient church called All Saints, near which is a holy well.

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