CASTLE-LYONS, a market-town and parish, partly in the barony of CONDONS and CLONGIBBONS, but chiefly in the barony of BARRYMORE, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 2 miles (E. by N.) from Rathcormac ; containing 5647 inhabitants, of which number, 689 are in the town. It was originally called Castle Lehane, or Castle O'Lehan, from the castle belonging to the sept of Lehan being situated here ; and it is stated that three cantreds here, which were unjustly detained from Robert Fitz-Stephen by his son Ralph, were subsequently granted by King John to William de Barry, who erected a castle here in 1204, and his descendants for some ages were called the Lords Barry of Castle Lehane. In 1307, John de Barry founded an abbey here, which at the dissolution was granted to Richard, first Earl of Cork, who assigned it to his daughter, wife to David, first Earl of Barrymore, "to buy her gloves and pins." Another of the De Barrys founded a monastery here for Carmelites or White friars. In 1645, Lord Broghill, being posted here with the royal cavalry to cover the army under Lord Inchiquin, that was besieging Castlemartyr, drew the Irish cavalry under Gen. Purcel into an action, commonly called the battle of Castle-lyons, in which he gained a decisive victory. The castle, nevertheless, fell into Lord Castlehaven's hands soon afterwards.
The town is situated on the river Bride, and on the road from Dublin to Rathcormac, and contains 116 houses. Here are a woollen-manufactory and dye-house, a corn-store, and flour-mills, the last built in 1808, worked by the river Bride, and manufacturing 10,000 bags of flour annually. The market is on Thursday, and great quantities of poultry are sold. Fairs are held on New Year's day, Easter and Whit-Mondays, Aug. 28th, Sept. 29th, and Nov. 16th, for cattle and general merchandise. A constabulary police force has been stationed in the town ; and there is a penny post to Rathcormac. A manorial court is held once in every three weeks, for debts not exceeding 40s. by a seneschal, under S. Perrot, Esq., of Cork, who has recently purchased the manor.
The parish comprises 12,326 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £11,726 per annum: three-fourths of the land are arable, and the rest pasture ; considerable improvements have recently been made both in agricultural implements and the breed of cattle. There is no waste land, and very little bog, but abundance of limestone, which is used for building, repairing the roads, and burning. The river Bride abounds with very fine trout. The gentlemen's seats are Castle-lyons House, the residence of the Rev. J. Brown Ryder, A. M. ; Kilcor Castle, of Cornelius O'Brien, Esq ; Bally-Roberts Castle, of Michael Mackay, Esq. ; Towermore House, of Mrs. Oliver ; Coole Abbey, of H. Hawke Peard, Esq. ; Mohera House, of J. O'Sullivan, Esq. ; Bachelor's Hall, of the Rev. P. Berry, M. A., vicar ; Ballyclough, of E. Creed, Esq. ; and Kilbarry, of E. Wigmore, Esq. The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Cloyne, and in the patronage of the Bishop ; the rectory is impropriate in the Rev. J. B. Ryder. The tithes amount to £1713. 11. 1-. of which £1142. 7. 5. is payable to the impropriator, and £571. 3. 8-. to the vicar, The church is an old building, erected on the site of one more ancient. Connected with it is a mausoleum of the Barry family, which contains a sumptuous marble monument, consisting of two Corinthian columns supporting a pediment surmounted by a coronet, and bearing a latin inscription to the memory of James Barry, Earl of Barrymore, who died Jan. 5th, 1747. There is no glebe-house, but a glebe of two acres. In the R. C. divisions this parish is the head of a union or district, comprising Castle-lyons, Coole, and Britway ; the chapel is at Bridgelane, a quarter of a mile from the town. There is a school supported by Mr. Corbett, in which are about 80 boys and 40 girls ; and there are also two private schools, in which are about 100 boys and 50 girls, and a Sunday school superintended by the vicar. Samuel Perrot, Esq., erected a school at an expense of £300, and contributed £20 yearly towards its support, which has been discontinued. A bequest of £500 late currency was made by the late Rev. Mr. Harrison, formerly vicar of this parish, in trust to the dean and chapter of Cloyne, the interest of which, now amounting to £27. 17. 9. annually, is distributed among the Protestant poor of the parish Part of the abbey, erected in 1307, is still standing connected with the parish church. Of the castle of the Lehans there are no remains, but on taking down some of the walls, to make room for the castle of the Lords Barrymore, a stone was found with the inscription, LEHAN O'CVLLANE HOC FECIT MCIIII. Nothing now remains of the castle of the De Barrys, but part of the arches on which it stood, and some of the partition walls : several coins of the Henrys, Mary, Elizabeth, Jas. II., and Wm. III., have been found among the ruins, and are in the possession of the Rev. J. B. Ryder. On the banks of the river Bride is Bally-Roberts castle, a high square tower, built by Robert de Barry as a defence against the Fitz-Geralds of Coshbride ; and on the confines of this parish and those of Fermoy and Rathcormac is the mountain Corran Tierna, or Carn hill, a remarkable eminence, on the summit of which were discovered, after removing an immense heap of stones and a large flagstone, two antique urns, containing ashes ; one was broken by the workmen, to ascertain whether it contained money ; the other is in the possession of the Rev. J. B. Ryder, and is nearly globular, neatly marked, and has apparently been baked.