WHITECHURCH, a parish, in the barony of DECIES-WITHOUT-DRUM, county of WATERFORD, and province of MUNSTER, 5 miles (W.) from Dungarvan, on the mail coach road from Waterford, through Youghal, to Cork ; containing 3176 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 besieged and taken by a detachment of his army, hy whom it was afterwards demolished, The parish comprises 9149 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act : the land is of good quality, and the system of agriculture very much improved. Limestone abounds on the lowlands, and marl of rich quality is obtained in several places ; on the high grounds brown freestone and green flagstone are found 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, the property of J. Musgrave, Esq., formerly a seat of the Osborne family, is pleasantly situated in the southern part of the parish, within half a mile of the picturesque ruins of Knockmoan Castle. The other seats are Mount Odell, the property of J. Odell, Esq., of Carriglea, also in this parish, the latter a handsome mansion in the later English style, pleasantly situated in a highly improved demesne, commanding some fine mountain scenery ; Cappagh, of R. Usher, Esq., a handsome residence embracing some picturesque and romantic scenery ; and Whitechurch, of R. Power, Esq., pleasantly situated in grounds tastefully laid out. The farm-houses are of very superior character. At Cappagh is a lake from which a stream issues, and 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, episcopally united to that of Lickoran, and in the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire, in whom the rectory is impropriate : the tithes amount to #525, of which #350 is payable to the impropriator, and the remainder to the vicar ; the gross value of the benefice is #202. 12. 6. The church, towards the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits granted a loan of #600, is a neat edifice, built in 1831. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union of Aglish : the chapel is a spacious edifice. About 90 children are taught in the parochial school at Ballyntaylor, supported by J. Musgrave, Esq. ; and there are two private schools, in which are about 130 children. There are some remains of the ancient castle of Kilmoan, said to have been originally built by a lady, whose tombstone was long shown 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 ; and near 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 innermost of which runs a small stream that disappears at Ballymacourty, and after passing through this cavern emerges from its subterraneous course at Knockane ; the largest 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 another cavern called Oon-na-glour, about 100 feet square, of which the roof is very lofty in some parts ; there is also a small cavern at Bewley, within a very short distance.