This place, from a bull of Pope Innocent VIII., dated February 9th, 1486, appears to have been distinguished as the seat of a monastery for friars of the Dominican order, founded by Richard de Bourke, Lord Mac William Oughter, head of the Turlough family, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.
- The monastery was granted to Nicholas Weston, who assigned it to Theobald, Viscount Costello-Galen; there are still some remains.
The parish is situated on the north-east shore of Clew Bay, and on the high road from Castlebar to Achill island: it comprises 12,550 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act.
- The lands are chiefly under tillage; and many of the islands in Clew Bay, which are within the parish, afford good pasturage for sheep.
- There is a large tract of mountain and bog, about two-thirds of which are reclaimable.
- Salt-works were formerly carried on here.
The principal inhabited islands are
- Mynishmore, (Moynish More)
- Inish-na-crusna, (Inishnacross)
- Inishcougha, (Inishcoragh)
- Inishurken, (Inisherkin)
- Inishtubride (Inishtubbrid) and
- Inishturk (Inishquirk).
There are two large lakes in the parish, called Lough Feagh and Lough Furnace; and on the narrow neck of land between these are the ruins of an old smelting furnace; there is also another at the old abbey.
The river of Burrishoole, on which is an excellent salmon fishery, has its source in these lakes.
The principal seats are
- Newport House, that of Sir R. Annesley O'Donell, Bart.;
- Newfield, of J. McLoughlin, Esq.;
- Seamount, of Connell O'Donnell, Esq.;
- Tymore, of J.T. S. Stuart, Esq.;
- Newfort, of J. Hilles, Esq.; and
- Abbeyville, of J. McDonnell, Esq.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Tuam, and in the patronage of the Archbishop the tithes amount to £350.
- The church is a neat plain structure, for the repairs of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £338. 9. 3.
- The glebe-house was built by aid of a gift of £400 and a loan of £360, in 1819, from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe comprises 51a. 3r. 26p.
The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and contains two chapels:
- one at Newport-Pratt (now St Mary's Church Newport) and
- the other at Newfield (now St. Brendan's Church), both good slated buildings.
There is a place of worship for Primitive Methodists, open each alternate Wednesday and Friday; and a Presbyterian minister attends occasionally and performs divine service in the parish school-house.
There are twelve public schools in the parish;
- that at Trienbeg is aided by an annual donation from the Marquess of Sligo, and
- a school-house at Newport-Pratt was erected at the expense of the Rev. Jas. Hughes, P. P.
- In these schools are about 1300 children; and in a hedge school at Carrig-a-neady are about 20 children.
There are the remains of a castle, formerly belonging to the O'Malley family; also several Druidical caves, many of which contain large rooms arched over with flags.
A patron is held here on St. Dominick's day, the 4th of August.
SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)
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