All Lewis entries for Omey


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


CLIFDEN, a sea-port, in the parish of OMEY, barony of BALLYNAHINCH, county of GALWAY, and province of CONNAUGHT, 39- miles (W. by N.) from Galway, and 144 miles (W.) from Dublin ; containing 1257 inhabitants. It is situated on an eminence on the shore of a Winding estuary that falls into Ardbear, or Clifden, harbour, on the Connemara or western Coast ; and is quite of modern origin, as it contained only one house in 1815, when John D'Arcy, Esq., settled here, principally through whose exertions 300 had been erected previously to 1835, including a commodious hotel for the accommodation of visiters ; and although Clifden and a large tract of country did not yield Is. of revenue in 1814, it yielded a revenue of £7000 in 1835. In that year also 800 tons of oats were exported to London and Liverpool, when, so recently as 1822, scarcely a stone of oats could be procured. It has a daily post to Galway. A chief constabulary police force is stationed in the town ; and it is the residence of the inspecting commander of the Clifden district of coast-guard stations, which comprises Innislaken, Mannin bay, Claggan, and the Killeries. Markets are held in a neat markethouse on Wednesday and Saturday ; and f~airs on June 25th, Sept. 1st, Oct. 15th, and Dec. 17th. This is a quarter sessions town, and petty sessions are held every second Thursday. There is a bridewell, containing three day-rooms and several cells, with keepers' apartments ; and a handsome sessions-house is in course of erection. An elegant church and school have been erected, principally at Mr. D'Arcy's expense ; and there are a R. C. chapel, national school, dispensary, and fever hospital in the town. At a short distance, on the northern side of the town, is Clifden Castle, the delightful residence of John D'Arcy, Esq., the l)rol)rietor of the district, by whom it was erected. It is a castellated house standing on the verge of a fine lawn sloping down to the bay, and sheltered behind by woods and a range of mountain ; the view to the right embraces a wide expanse of ocean. The pleasure grounds comprise about fifteen acres, and are adorned with a grotto of considerable extent, through which passes a stream, and with a shell-house or marine temple, composed of shells, spar, ore, &c. ; though on the shore of the Atlantic, the trees and shrubs flourish luxuriantly. Two copper mines were worked here for a short period, and some coal has been found in the neighbourhood. Green and white marble are met with near Clifden Castle, of which the former has been worked, but not extensively.

The surrounding country is mountainous : much of it has been brought into cultivation by Mr. D'Arcy. It is generally a boggy soil, from three to four feet deep; sea sand has been principally employed in reclaiming the bog, which produces particularly fine oats, that have borne a higher price in London than any other in the market. In 1822, roads were commenced by Government from Oughterard to Clifden, from Galway to Clifden, and from Clifden to Westport, the completion of which and the formation of new ones in Connemara would prove highly beneficial to the district. There is a quay at Clifden, where vessels of 200 tons burden can lie, and part of the funds for the relief of the distressed Irish were expended in lengthening it. Corn and butter are shipped here for Liverpool, and large quantities of sea manure landed. This quay was commenced by Mr. Nimmo, in 1822, and its completion would be of great benefit, as it is the only place from which corn and fish are exported, and at which salt, iron, pitch, tar, hemp, timber, groceries, and manufactured goods, are imported. There is a great quantity of fish on this coast, and vessels from the Skerries and other places often fish here. At the head of Ardbear harbour is a good salmon fishery, into which falls the mountain stream or river of Owen-Glan. The shores of the bay of Clifden, which is also called Ardbear, are high ; the entrance to the harbour would be

greatly benefited by the erection of a lighthouse on Caragrone rock. Mackenzie, in his chart of the western coast, lays this down as the safest and best harbour for large vessels : it is a rendezvous for vessels of war on this coast, which can ride in the greatest storms secure from all gales. Stores for salt and other necessaries for the fishery, or for ships in distress, have been erected near the harbour. Within a mile of the town are the remains of a druids' altar ; and at Clifden Castle is an excellent chalybeate spring.-See OMEY.


ENNISTURK, or INNISTURC, an island, in the parish of OMEY, barony of BALLYNAHINCH, county of GALWAY, and province of CONNAUGHT, 4 miles (N. W.) from Clifden, on the western coast: the population is returned with the parish. It contains 85 statute acres. The sound between it and the mainland is deep and forms a harbour, within which is Kingstown, a good harbour for small vessels, but difficult of access on account of the rocks at its mouth.


OMEY, an island, in the parish of OMEY, barony of BALLINAHINCH, county of GALWAY, and province of CONNAUGHT, 4? miles (N. W.) from Clifden, on the western coast : the population is returned with the parish. The island, which comprises 296 statute acres of arable land, lies very low, and is connected with the mainland at low water : the channel forms a natural harbour at each end. The female inhabitants are generally employed in spinning wool and knitting stockings, in the manufacture of which they are very expert, and produce an excellent article known by the name of Connemara stockings. There are three burial-places on the island, two of which are kept as distinct cemeteries for men and women, according to an ancient custom, supposed to have originated with a religious fraternity established by St. Feighan, who died in 664. The island is said to have been given to St. Feighan, after he left Fore, by Guaira, King of Connaught,


OMEY, or UMMA, a parish, in the barony of BALLINAHINCH, county of GALWAY, and province of CON NAUGHT ; containing, with the sea-port and post-town of Clifden (which is separately described), 6721 inhabitants. This parish, which is called also Umond, is situated on the coast of Connemara, and forms the extreme western portion of that very extensive and highly interesting district. It comprehends within its limits the islands of Omey, Tarbert, Ennisturk, Cruagh, Ardilane or High island, and Friar island, with the harbour of Ardbear or Clifden ; and is 9 miles in length and 3 in breadth, comprising 3553 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act. The surface is strikingly diversified with numerous mountains, lakes, and bogs ; and the coast, which is rugged and abrupt, is deeply indented with bays and creeks, forming excellent harbours. Though extremely wild and but very badly cultivated, it contains many tracts of fertile land, and the substratum is rich in mineral wealth. A great portion of the mountain land and bog might be easily reclaimed, and from the abundance of sea-weed and coralline sand found in the numerous creeks and bays, might soon be brought into a state of profitable cultivation. The oats grown in this parish and district are of remarkably fine quality, and in the London market obtain higher prices than any others. Copper ore abounds, and on the estate of T, B. Martin, Esq., in this parish, two shafts were sunk from which about 60 tons of very rich ore were raised. Coal has also been found, and there is every probability that, when good roads shall have been opened throughout the district, and its natural advantages fully developed, it will be found rich in agricultural produce and in mineral wealth. The scenery in many parts is boldly and impressively majestic, and in others beautifully picturesque and romantic. On the High island, which comprises about 50 acres, and which is of very dangerous access except in very fine weather, are the remains of an ancient religious house ; the stone cells of the monks are still in a perfect state. The entrance to the bay of Clifden is obstructed by many shoals and rocks ; at the distance of five miles to the south of that island are the Carrigarone rocks, always above water, The inlet, a little farther up, divides into two branches, of which the southern or Ardbear has a bar of one fathom at the entrance, but within has deep water ; the upper part is rocky and has a good salmon fishery at its head ; the northern branch runs up to Clifden and is dry at low water, but the tide rises 12 feet at the quay. Leaving Clifden, there is a channel for small vessels on the north of Carrigarone, between Rualie and Tarbert island ; and between Tarbert island and Kingstown is a bar, passable only by small vessels at high 'water. The sound between Ennisturk and the mainland is called Kingstown, and forms a good harbour for small vessels, but is difficult of access from the rocks at its mouth. Streamstown bay or river is an inlet navigable for five miles, but almost dry at low water : the channel at Omey island forms a natural harbour at each end. From this place to Aghris Point, in lat, 53- 32' 45" (N.), and lon, 10- 8' 30" (W.), the coast to Cleggan bay is a low granite shore with rocks in the offing, outside of which are the small isles of Cruagh, High, and Friars ; between these and the main land is deep water, but with several rocks and breakers, This district, which is regarded as the Irish Highlands, was the strong hold of the celebrated Grana-Uile, or Grace O'Malley, whose heroic exploits by sea procured for her the honour of an interview with Queen Elizabeth. The parish is the nearest point of land in Europe to the continent of America.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Tuam, forming part of the union of Ballynakill : the tithes amount to £50. 15. 4-. The glebe-house, a very comfortable residence, situated in the town of Clifden, was built in 1823, at an expense of £507, of which £415 was a gift, and £92 a loan, from the late Board of First Fruits, which also granted £554 for the erection of the church, also in the town of Clifden, and which serves for the whole union. The glebe comprises 40 acres, valued at £40 per annum. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union, called Clifden, comprising also the parish of Ballindoon, and containing three chapels, two in this parish and one in Ballindoon. About 30 children are taught in the parochial school, under the Tuam Diocesan Society, to which Mr. D'Arcy has given a house and two acres of land ; and there are five private schools, in which are about 200 children, and a dispensary. At Errislaneen are the ruins of a church, and within a mile of the town are evident traces of a Druidical station ; there are chalybeate springs at Clifden and Kingstown.


TARBERT, an island, in the parish of OMEY, barony of BALLYNAHINCH, county of GALWAY, and province of CONNAUGHT, 3 miles (N. W.) from Clifden : the population is returned with the parish. It is situated on the western coast, about half a mile from the shore, and comprises about 90 statute acres of arable land. Between this island and that of Rualie is a channel to Clifden for small vessels ; and between Tarbert and Kingstown is a bar, passable only by small vessels at high water.

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