BALLINSPITTLE, a village, in the parish of RINGRONE, barony of COURCEYS, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 4 miles (W. S. W.) from Kinsale, on the road to Kilbritain: containing 105 inhabitants. It has recently been much improved by J. B. Gibbons, Esq., who has erected a square of slated houses. There is a court-house, in which petty sessions are held on alternate Tuesdays; and it is a constabulary police station. Fairs are held on May 14th and September 25th, and a large fair for pigs commences on St. Stephen's day, and is held every Monday for about a month. A road is being formed from the village to the ferry of Kinsale. The R. C. chapel for the union or district of Courceys is situated here, and has been recently repaired by a bequest of £200 from the late T. Rochford, Esq., of Garretstown. Near it is a large school, built in 1833 by a gift of £200 from Mr. Rochford, on land given by Mr. Gibbons. A dispensary has been erected for the parishes of Ringrone, Kilbritain, Ballinadee, and the remainder of the barony of Courceys. Ballinspittle House is the residence of J. Barry Gibbons, Esq., and around the village arc several other handsome houses, which are noticed in the article on Ringrone.
RINGRONE, or RINGORAN, a parish, partly in the barony and liberties of KINSALE, and partly in the Eastern Division of the barony of EAST CARBERY, but chiefly in the barony of COURCIES, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER ; 2- miles (S. W.) from Kinsale, from which it is separated by the river Bandon, containing, in 1831, 4813 inhabitants, since which time the population has considerably increased. This place, from the peculiarity of its situation, projecting far into the sea on the south, and on the east and north completely commanding the entrance of the celebrated and ancient harbour of "Cean Sailah," now Kinsale, has from a very early period been distinguished as a place of importance. On the conquest of Ireland, the surrounding territory was granted to John de Courcy, afterwards Earl of Ulster, who erected a strong castle at Duncearma, near the old head of Kinsale, and another at this place, opposite to that town. The former of these castles was for many generations the baronial residence of his descendants ; and the latter Was occupied by a formidable garrison for the protection of the port and the ferry leading to it. Near the fortress, which, during the occupation of Kinsale by the Spaniards in 1600, and also during the war of the Revolution, Was an object of severe contest, was a royal dockyard, where the whole of the King's ships on this station employed in the war as convoys Were refitted and repaired.
The parish, which is situated on the southern coast and on the shore of Kinsale harbour, comprises 9586 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £6887 per annum : the northern portion, immediately opposite to the town of Kinsale, is bounded by the river Bandon ; the southern stretches out into the long promontory called the old head of Kinsale, and on the east is a peninsula projecting boldly into the entrance. of the harbour. The soil is light but fertile, and, especially in the western part of the parish, the land is rich and in good cultivation: the system of agriculture is improved ; in some places green crops are cultivated with success. The cliffs around the shore are in many places strikingly bold and interesting, and there are numerous pleasing and picturesque glens ; the schistose formation is generally prevalent in the hills, changing into all the varieties of transition rock, with extensive veins of quartz traversing them in every direction. Near the Old Head is an extensive tract of land covered with sand blown in from the bay, which is every year increasing ; there is no other wasteland, and very little bog ; the want of fuel is consequently much felt, The principal seats are Coolmain, that of E. Stowell, Esq. ; Glouneveraine, of J. Howe, Esq. ; Lahorne, of H. Scott, Esq. ; Ballinspittle, of J. B. Gibbons, Esq. ; Fort Arthur, of W. Galway, Esq. ; Ardkelly, of R. Gillman, Esq. ; Roughwood, of W. Bullen, Esq. ; Castle Park, of J. Giliman, Esq. ; and Sea View, of the Rev. J. B. Webb. There are also several excellent farm-houses. The inhabitants are principally employed in agriculture and the fisheries. There are coast-guard stations at Howes Strand, the Old Head, and Sandy Cove, forming three of the eight that constitute the district of Kinsale. The Old Head is situated in lat. 51- 36' 15", and lon. 8- 33' 15": it is a bold and lofty promontory rising abruptly from the sea. On the head is a well-built lighthouse, the lantern of which has an elevation of 294 feet above the level of the sea, and contains 27 lamps, exhibiting a bright steady light which in clear weather is visible at a distance of 23 nautical miles.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Cork ; the patronage is at present disputed. The tithes amount to £750 ; the glebe comprises only - of an acre. The church, a small ancient edifice without either tower or spire, is situated at the head of Sandy Cove, overlooking the Bandon water: divine service is also performed in a school-house near the Old Head, for the accommodation of parishioners in that district. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union of Courcies ; the chapel is at Ballinspittle. About 15 children are taught in the parochial school, supported by the rector ; and there are three private schools, in which are about 200 children, and a Sunday school. At the Ferry side, near Kinsale, are almshouses for four Protestant widows, founded by Dr. Worth, Bishop of Killaloe, who endowed them with £10 per ann., which sum is now paid by W. H. W. Newenham, Esq., of Coolmore. The old castle of Duncearma, the ancient residence of the de Courcys, is a venerable ruin: it is situated on the narrower part of the Old Head, on a rock which at the base has been perforated by the action of the waves in the form of an irregular pointed arch. A little to the north of it are the ruins of a more modern edifice, the residence of the barons of Kinsale, near which are the remains of a signal tower. Opposite Kinsale are the ruins of Ringrone castle and Old Fort, or Castle-ne-Park ; the latter a very strong citadel with extensive bulwarks, ramparts, and fosses ; in the inner court are the remains of the two towers of the gateway entrance and drawbridge. The old castle of Ringrone gives the title of Baron to the ancient family of de Courcy.