All Lewis entries for Rahoon


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


BARNA, a village, in the parish of RAHOON, county of the town of GALWAY, and province of CONNAUGHT, 3 miles (W.) from Galway: the population is returned with the parish. It is situated on the coast of Galway bay, and is chiefly noted for the quality of its butter, with which it supplies the town of Galway. A pier was originally built by a private individual in 1799, and rebuilt by Mr. Nimmo in 1822, but being only indifferently constructed, it was destroyed in 1830, and partially rebuilt in the following year by the officer of the coast-guard and collector of Galway, with the aid of charitable funds at their disposal, and has been found very useful for the fishery ; it is sheltered from the south and south-west gales, and is the only safety harbour for small craft in an extent of 27 miles of coast. Barna is the seat of Nicholas Lynch, Esq. Here are a constabulary police station and a coast-guard station, the latter forming one of the seven stations that constitute the district of Galway. The R. C. chapel for the parish, a small thatched building, is situated here-See RAHOON.


CLADDAGH, a village, and suburb of the town of GALWAY, in that part of the parish of RAHOON which is within the county of the town of GALWAY, and in the province of CONNAUGHT : the population is returned with the parish. This place is situated on the coast of the bay of Galway, and from that circumstance its name, which in the Irish language signifies " the sea shore," is said to be derived. It is a large and populous village, consisting almost entirely of thatched cottages and inhabited chiefly by fishermen engaged in the extensive fishery carried on in the bay. Though within the jurisdiction of the town of Galway, and separated from it only by the mouth of the river, it forms a kind of colony, remarkable for the primitive peculiarity of its inhabitants, who differ not only in habits and character, but also in dialect from those of Galway. The whole estate is the property of Mr. Whalley, whose ancestor was a colonel in Cromwell's army. The inhabitants pay no direct taxes, nor do they suffer strangers, whom they call " transplanters," to live among them. They seldom marry out of their own village, and generally at a very early age ; the parents contriving to give as a dower either a boat or a share in a boat, which is sufficient to secure a maintenance for the families. They depend entirely on the fishery ; on returning from sea, the fish is consigned entirely to the women, who dispose of it to hawkers and to those who have standings in the marketplace of Galway. About 140 sail boats, each from 12 to 14 tons' burden, and about 50 row boats are engaged in the fishery, which affords employment to nearly 2200 persons, but is carried on without much enterprise, and might under better regulations be very much increased. The fishermen elect from among themselves, annually on St. John's day, officers whom they call a mayor and sheriffs, when they march in procession through the town of Galway, preceded by men carrying bundles of reeds fastened to the ends of poles, to which at night they set fire from numerous bonfires kindled in various parts of the town. To these officers they pay implicit obedience, and in all things submit to their authority ; the only official distinction used by the mayor is the white sail of his boat and a flag at the mast head. The time of fishing is indicated by the approach of sea fowl and other unfailing signs ; the fleet then assemble, and stand out to sea by signal from the mayor, who also regulates the time for setting the nets, which at first is done simultaneously, after which each boat is allowed to fish at pleasure. The fishermen claim and exercise an exclusive right to fish in the bay, according to their own laws, any infringement of which is punished by the destruction of the nets, or even the boats, of the offending party. For the protection of those who attempted to fish against the regulations of the Claddagh fishermen, a gun-brig was stationed in the bay some few years since, during which time the object was obtained ; but on its removal, the fishermen again enforced their authority, and now exercise an uncontrolled power of preventing others from fishing in the bay in opposition to their peculiar regulations. The bay abounds with fish of every kind ; but the Claddagh boats are principally engaged in the herring fishery ; shell fish of every kind is abundant, and few places are better supplied with oysters. The boats, since the increase of their tonnage, navigate to Limerick, Westport, Sligo, and other places. A very convenient pier has been constructed for the boats belonging to this place, and the Commissioners of Public Works have advanced £300 on loan towards continuing the quay wall. With the exception of two Protestant families that settled among them during the last century, the inhabitants are all Roman Catholics ; and their chapel is attached to a Dominican friary nearly in the centre of the village. This friary occupies the site of the ancient convent of St. Mary of the Hill, founded by the O'Hallorans for Premonstratensian nuns, on whose retirement it was granted, in 1488, by Pope Innocent VIII. to the Dominican friary of Athenry. It was richly endowed by various inhabitants, but was dispossessed of its revenues at the dissolution ; and in 1642, Lord Forbes, on his landing here, took possession of the house, and converted it into a battery for the reduction of the town of Galway ; but failing in that object, he defaced the church and committed other outrages. In 1652 the whole of the buildings were levelled with the ground by the corporation, to prevent their conversion by Cromwell's soldiers into a station for assaulting the town. The present friary was built upon the site, and the chapel was completed in 1800 : the latter is a neat edifice, 100 feet in length and 28 feet in breadth ; the high altar is richly decorated, and a spacious gallery with a good organ has been erected. The residence of the friars, adjacent to the chapel, commands some beautiful and extensive views, including a pleasing prospect over the bay, terminated by the opposite shores of Oranmore, Renville, and Ardfry, and the Clare mountains, with the new lighthouse and part of the town quay and shipping.


RAHOON, a parish, partly in the barony of MOYCULLEN, county of GALWAY, but chiefly in the county of the town of GALWAY, and province of CONNAUGHT, 3- miles (W.) from Galway, on the road to Oughterard ; containing, with the village of Freeport, and Mutton Island, 14,135 inhabitants. This place is situated on the bay of Galway, and partly on the road along the coast. The village of Freeport was much frequented as a fishing station ; there is still a quay, which was erected by the Fishery Board, but it is at present of very little use and much out of repair. Mutton island, in the harbour of Galway, is connected with the main land by a ridge of sand which is dry at low water, and a light has been placed on it to facilitate the navigation of the bay. The parish comprises 24,000 statute acres of land, which is of very inferior quality and principally in pasture. Fairs are held at Barna on the 5th of Feb., May, Aug., and Nov. It is a rectory and perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Tuam ; the rectory forming part of the union of St. Nicholas, or wardenship of Galway ; and the perpetual curacy, part of the union of Kilcummin, The tithes amount to £117. 1. 6., and the glebe comprises 34 statute acres. In the R. C. divisions it is in the diocese of Galway, and co-extensive with that of the Established Church : there are two chapels, situated respectively at Bushy Park and at Barna ; and a Presentation convent, in which is a school for poor girls, who are gratuitously instructed by the ladies of that institution. About 580 children are taught in three public schools, of which that held in the convent is in connection with the New Board of Education, and one is partly supported by the parish priest, for which a house rent-free was bequeathed by the Rev. Mr. Morney, P. P. ; there are also seven private schools, in which are about 250 children.

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