INNISHANNON, a post-town and parish, partly in the Eastern Division of the barony of EAST CARBERY, but chiefly in the barony of KINNALEA, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 12 miles (S. W.) from Cork, and 138 (S. W.) from Dublin, on the river Bandon, and on the mail coach road from Cork to Bantry; containing 3840 inhabitants, of which number, 653 are in the town. This place, which was formerly of considerable importance, and, according to Smith's History of Cork, was walled and had several castles in it, was, together with its fern across the Bandon, granted by Hen. V. to Philip de Barry in 1412. The castle of Downdaniel, at the confluence of the Brinny and Bandon, built by Barry Oge in 1476, and the castle of Cariganass, built by the McCarthys, were both besieged and taken during the war of 1641 by the garrison of Bandon. Poulnalong castle, which in the same war was held for the insurgents by its owner, Patrick Roche Fitz-Richard, was surrendered to Capt.Adderley in 1642. The castle of Annagh, near this parish, was garrisoned for the King on the breaking out of the war, and obstinately defended by its proprietor, Sir Philip Perceval, against the army of Gen. Barry in 1642. From its situation on a small island in the centre of a deep morass, it was also enabled to hold out against the forces of Lord Castlehaven, till it was almost battered to pieces, when the commander of the garrison, named Fisher, who in several sallies had killed about 300 of the assailants, being still resolved to defend it, was invited to a conference by the besieging army and treacherously slain; the garrison then agreed to surrender (in condition of quarter, but were all put to the sword. The present town consists principally of one neatly built street, containing 108 houses, of which several are of a very superior description, and has a cheerful and pleasing appearance. The river Bandon is crossed here by a neat bridge of six arches, over which the new line of road is carried; and its situation on the river, which is navigable for vessels of 200 tons' burden up to Colliers' quay, and for lighters into the town, is well adapted for an extensive trade. A canal to Bandon was contemplated some short time since, and a rail road to Bantry is at present under consideration. The cotton-manufacture was formerly carried on here to a considerable extent, but is now almost extinct. Fairs are held on May 29th, and Oct. 3rd; a constabulary police force is stationed here, and petty sessions are held on alternate Tuesdays in a sessions-house.
The parish comprises 7080 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £5815 per annum the land is in general good, though in some parts the soil is light and shallow, the substratum being generally schistus based on argillaceous grit; the system of agriculture has been lately much improved. There are about 300 acres of woodland in gentlemen's demesnes, and a tract of turbary of about 100 acres. Indications of copper exist but no attempt has been made to work it. The alternation of greenstone and freestone is singularly curious, and the sudden transitions of the rocks also render the parish interesting to the geologist. The scenery is beautifully picturesque; the vale in which the town is situated is covered with hanging woods extending on the west to Bandon, and on the east to Shippool, and is on both sides embellished with pleasing villas and thriving plantations, among which the tower of the church forms a picturesque feature. The principal seats are Downdaniel, the residence of the Rev. H. L. Conner, a modern mansion near the site of the castle of that name, partly built with the materials of the ancient structure, and commanding a fine view of the vale; Fir Grove, of R. Quin, Esq.; Shippool House, of Capt. Herrick, R.N.; Woodview, of F. Seely, Esq.; Sunning Hill, of Mrs. Quinn; Belmont of Major Meade; Cor Castle, of Chambre Corker, Esq.; Frankfort, of Major Westcott; the residence of the Rev. T. Meade; and Rock Castle, of E. Becher, Esq., on the lawn of which and on the margin of the river were the ruins of Cariganass castle, on removing which, by the uncle of the present proprietor, several cannon balls were found. The river above the town abounds with fish, and is much frequented by anglers. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Cork, and in the patronage of the representatives of the late Jas. Kearney, of Garrettstown, Esq.; the tithes amount to £632. 6. 11.; the tithes of the ploughland of Skevanahish, amounting to £42. 10., are appropriated to the see, and payable to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. There is no glebe-house, and the glebe comprises only about half an acre. The church, situated in a thick plantation near the river, is a very neat edifice with a square tower. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parishes of Brinny, Knockavilly, and Leighmoney; the chapel was built at an expense of £1500, in 1829, on a site of two acres presented by E. Hale Adderley, Esq. There is also a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. About 100 children are taught in two public schools, of which the parochial school is supported by a grant of £30 per annum, from the trustees of Erasmus Smith's fund, and a donation from the rector, who provides a house rent-free; and there are four private schools, in which are about 250 children. The late T. H. Adderley, Esq., bequeathed £5 per annum to the poor; Dr. Synge, Bishop of Cork, who died in 1678, made a bequest to the parish, of which nothing is at present known. A dispensary is supported in the usual manner. On the lands of Barnas is an extensive circular fortress, surrounded by a double rampart and fosse, in which Barry Oge encamped when driven from Downdaniel Castle; and near it is a powerful chalybeate spring, containing a large portion of carbonic acid gas.