MOTHELL, or MOATHILL, a parish, in the barony of UPPERTHIRD, county of WATERFORD, and province of MUNSTER, 3 miles (S. by E.) from Carrick-on-Suir; containing 3709 inhabitants. St. Brogan founded here an abbey, of which he was the first abbot, and was succeeded by St. Coan: it is thought, to have been a house of Canons Regular of the order of St. Augustine, though some say of Cistercian monks. The abbey and its possessions were surrendered in the 31st of Henry VIII., and two years afterwards were granted to ﾗ Butler and Peter Power, at the annual rent of ﾣ6. 4.
The parish comprises 18,086 statute acres of arable land, as applotted under the tithe act; and 3000 of mountain: all the western part is occupied by the mountains of Cummeragh, extending from the river Suir, southward, to the neighbourhood of Dungarvan. These form an irregular chain of heights, the sides of which are extremely wild and precipitous, presenting, even from a distance, striking masses of light and shade. These wild and lonely mountains, rarely visited but by the sportsman and the summer tourist, everywhere afford romantic and even sublime scenery. They are composed almost entirely of argillaceous schistus, of different qualities, in vertical beds, together with a slaty conglomerate: close-grained white, grey, and red sandstone, and veins of quartz occur, with porphyritic rocks, and indications of iron, particularly iron glance.
There are several lakes on the summits of the mountains, the scenery around which is highly picturesque, and in some parts magnificent; they are called the Cummer-loughs and the Stillogues, in the former of which a remarkably fine species of trout is found. In descending from this elevated situation to the river Suir, the change is remarkably striking, as the country, in parts, assumes a great degree of softness and richness. Near one of the Cummeragh mountains are the village and castle of Clonea, which latter is the seat of Wall Morris, Esq.; it is a perfect specimen of an ancient fortified residence, consisting of a quadrangular building of great height, divided into several stories, approached by a flight of stairs within the walls: the watch-tower commands a magnificent prospect. The keep was formerly surrounded by a strong wall enclosing a square area, with circular towers at each angle and a moat outside; only two of the towers can now be distinctly traced. The plantations on the banks of the river Clodagh, which flows close to the castle, give additional interest to the scene.
The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Lismore, episcopally united, in 1800, to the vicarages of Rathgormuck and Fews, and in the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire, in whom the rectory is impropriate; the tithes amount to ﾣ856, of which ﾣ316 is payable to the impropriator, and the remainder to the vicar; the gross tithes of the benefice amount to ﾣ781. 0. 5. The glebe-house was erected by aid of a gift of ﾣ100, and a loan of ﾣ900, in 1818, from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe comprises 2 ﾾ acres. The church is a neat edifice, with a tower, built by aid of a loan of ﾣ600 from the same Board, in 1817; for its repair the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted ﾣ115.
In the R. C. divisions this parish and Rathgormuck are called the union or district of Rathgormuck and Mothell, in each of which is a chapel. The parochial school, the house for which was built at the expense of the parishioners, is at Clonea; and there are three private schools, the school-house of one of which was built at the expense of Henry Winston Barron, Esq.; in the latter about 200 children are educated. The ruins of the ancient abbey cover a large extent of ground: what appear to have been the south and west walls of the conventual church are standing; in the latter a beautiful Norman arch, about 12 feet high, now partly built up, opens into a small square chamber. Six remarkably sculptured stones, inserted in different parts of the wall, present rude historical reliefs, and the rest are figures of the apostles. In the small building above mentioned, which is set apart for the interment of particular families, are some curious ancient memorials, and several modern tombs of neighbouring families. Here is an ancient moat, from which the parish is said to derive its name. In the river Clodagh a species of muscle is found, frequently containing pearls of a pale blue colour.