Killucan in olden times

An extract from a Topographical Dictionary of c.1837

KILLUCAN a post-town and parish in the barony of FARBILL, county of WESTMEATH, and province of LEINSTER, 31 miles (E.) from Mullingar and 33 miles (W. By N.) from Dublin, on the road to Sligo and Galway containing 5989 inhabitants, of which number, 206 are in the town.

This place, which is also called Killuquin, appears to have derived its name from an abbey founded here by St. Lucian, which subsequently became the parish church.
A castle called Rathwire was also erected by Hugh de Lacy, of which only the foundation and some of the outworks are at present discernible. The town consists of 29 houses, and is a constabulary police station.
Fairs are held on March 27th,May 25th, Sept. 29th, and Nov. 28th, and petty sessions every Saturday. The parish, which with the district parish of Kinnegad, is co-extensive with the barony, comprises 26,043 statute acres; the surface is greatly diversified, but the land is in general fertile and principally under tillage; there are some large dairy farms; the system of agriculture is improved, and there are some extensive tracts of bog.

A railroad has been recently laid down at Griffinstown, by Mr. Fetherston-Haugh, for draining the bog on that estate. There are some very fine quarries of black flag-stone, from which were taken materials for the custom-house docks of Dublin; and on Sion Hill is a quarry having the appearance of slate, but it has not been yet worked.

The principal seats are Lotown, the residence of William Dopping, Esq., situated in richly wooded demense; Griffinstown House, of J. Fetherston-Haugh, Esq.; Hyde Park, of J. D'Arcy Esq. Wardinstown, of T. M. Webb, Esq. Curristown, of G. Purdon, Esq.; Lisnabin, of E. Purdon, Esq., a hand-some castellated mansion recently erected; Huntington of R. Purdon, Esq.; Joristown, of P. Purdon, Esq.; Grangemore, of E. Briscoe, Esq., a handsome house in a well-planted demesne; Riverdale, of W. T. Briscoe,: Esq.; Craddenstowrn, of L. Ramage, Esq.; Corbets-town, of J. D'Arcy, Esq.; and Derrymore, the property of T. J. Fetherston-Haugh, Esq., of Bracklyn Castle on the demesne of Joristown is the hill of Knockshiban, a conspicuous landmark, commanding a very extensive prospect over a richly diversified tract of country.

The Royal Canal passes through the parish, there are several very small lakes, and to the west are some dry limestone tracts, curiously interspersed with patches of bog. At Thomastown, a small hamlet on the canal, a market is held on Tuesday, where large quan-tities of corn are purchased and shipped.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Meath, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £1072.8.
The church, for the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits gave £100 and granted a loan of £1200, in 1816, Is a handsome edifice, with a well proportioned spire, and contains the sepulchra1 vault of the Pakenham family. The glebe-house is a neat residence, and the glebe comprises 30 acres. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church: there are two chapels, situated respectively at Rathwire and Rathfarne.

About 220 children are taught in four public schools, of which one is supported by the Trustees of Erasmus Smith's fund, who allow the master £30 per annum, with a house and garden rent-free; and two by Lord and Lady Longford. There are also three private schools, In which are about 120 children.

A flax society for spinning and weaving linen has been established, which affords employment to about 100 poor women; and there is also a dispensary. In the old parish church there are several chapels or chantries, of which the largest was dedicated to St. Mary; and at Clonfad, on the southern confines of the parish, was a very ancient religious establishment, of which St. Etchen, who died in 577, was bishop: there are still some remains of the church.

Numerous raths exist in the parish; and on a hill near Lisnabin are the remains of some works called Pakenham's Fort, commanding an extensive prospect. At Rateen are the remains of 3 castle in which the lord-lieutenant, who in 1450 had been made prisoner, was confined for some time. Many silver coins of the reign of Elizabeth, Jas. I., Chas. I, and the protectorates were found in two tin vessels in ploughing near Griffinstown.