BRIGOWN, a parish, in the barony of CONDONS and CLONGIBBONS, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, on the road from Fermoy to Cahir; containing, with the market and post-town of Mitchelstown, 9169 inhabitants. It comprises 14,502 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £12,101 per annum; 104 acres are woodland, 2726 mountain and bog, 83 roads and waste, and the remainder good arable and pasture land, principally under tillage. The soil is mostly a heavy loam and the system of agriculture is in a state of progressive improvement. Limestone abounds in the parish: on the lands of Kilshanna are some fine quarries, which are worked for various purposes ; some of this stone is susceptible of a high polish, and several handsome mantel-pieces have been made of it for Mitchelstown Castle, the spacious and superb castellated mansion of the Earl of Kingston, which adjoins Mitchelstown and is described under that head. A new line of road between Mitchelstown and Lismore, was opened in 1835, at the expense of the county. Ballinvillin, the property of the Earl of Kingston, and occasionally the residence of his lordship's agent, is pleasantly situated near the river Gradogue, commanding a flue view of the castle and demesne. The glebe-house, the residence of the Rev. R. H. Graves, D. D., is a handsome and commodious mansion, situated on a gentle eminence near the town. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Cloyne, constituting the corps of the prebend of Brigown in the cathedral of Cloyne, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £1000. The church was originally built in 1801 at the sole expense of the late Countess of Kingston; it fell down in the year following, and was rebuilt by her ladyship in 1803; it again fell down in 1804, and was rebuilt in the following year. It was enlarged in 1830, by aid of a loan of £1300 from the late Board of First Fruits, and a gift of £500 from the Earl of Kingston towards the erection of the tower and spire, which are much admired for their beautiful proportions and elegant design. The glebe-house was completed by a gift of £100 and a loan of £1000, in 1807, from the same Board, in addition to an outlay of £1300 by the then incumbent, chargeable on his successor. The original glebe comprised 9 Irish acres, to which 12 more were added under a lease for ever from the late Countess of Kingston, at a rent of £4. 4. per acre. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, which is also called Mitchelstown, and comprises the parishes of Brigown and Marshalstown, and the hamlet of Ballinamona, in the parish of Kilbehenny. The chapel, a spacious and handsome cruciform structure, is situated in the town; the first stone was laid by the Earl of Kingston, who contributed £500 towards the expense of its erection. The parochial school occupies a site given by the noble family of King; and was built in 1827 by a grant from the lord-lieutenant's school fund. All children that apply for instruction are taught gratuitously, without distinction of religion; the master and mistress are supported by annual donations of £25 from that family and £15 from the rector, who also supplies coal and other requisites. A school kept in the old R. C. chapel is aided by a grant of £30 per annum from the National Board and collections at the chapel. In these are about 500 children; and there are also five pay schools, in which are about 190 children. The late Robert Crone, Esq., bequeathed £15 per annum to be distributed by the rector among the poor of the parish. On the lands of Kilshanna is a chalybeate spring, but not used for medicinal purposes. The college chapel is the burial-place of the Kingston family. The ruins of the old parish church are situated in the Mitchelstown demesne; and there are vestiges of a more ancient one near the glebe, said to have been founded by St. Finnahan. Here was also an ancient round tower, which is supposed to have fallen about the year 1720 -See MITCHELSTOWN.
MITCHELSTOWN, a market and post-town, in the parish of BRIGOWN, barony of CONDONS and CLONGIBBONS, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 24- miles (N. by E.) from Cork, and 101 (S. W.) from Dublin, on the mail coach road to Cork ; containing 3545 inhabitants. This place formed part of the extensive possessions of the White Knight, otherwise called Clongibbon, from whom part of the barony derived its name, and who was descended by a second marriage from John Fitzgerald, ancestor of the illustrious houses of Kildare and Desmond. The White Knight erected here a castle, which was reduced by the insurgents in 1641, but was retaken by the English, and was afterwards besieged by the Earl of Castlehaven, to whom it surrendered in 1645. Margaret Fitzgerald, who was sole heiress of the White Knight, married Sir William Fenton, and their only daughter conveyed this portion of the estates by marriage to Sir John King, who was created Baron Kingston by Chas. II., in 1660, and was ancestor of the present Earl of Kingston. The town is situated on the declivity of a bill, washed at its base by the small river Gradogue, which is here crossed by a stone bridge, and falls into the river Funcheon within the demesne of Mitchelstown Castle. It consists of two principal streets, called respectively George-street and Cork-street, of which the latter is the chief thoroughfare, and the former is terminated by the church at the southern extremity, and at the other leads into a spacious and handsome square, the north side of which is occupied by the extensive buildings of Kingston College ; on the east side is a large and handsome hotel, which contains a news-room, supported by subscription ; and immediately opposite is the entrance to the demesne of Mitchelstown Castle. The principal streets, which are parallel with each other, are intersected at right angles by four smaller streets ; the total number of houses, in 1831, was 535, most of which are well built and of respectable appearance ; the square and principal streets are paved, but the footpaths are not flagged. The inhabitants are amply supplied with water raised by pumps in various parts of the town ; of these, one in King-square, of superior construction, worked by machinery and enclosed with an iron railing, was erected by the Earl of Kingston in 1825. Great improvements have been made under the auspices of the Earl of Kingston, who is proprietor of the town ; a new road to Lismore has been completed, and a continuation of the line to Limerick is about to be opened, which will give to an extensive, fertile, and improving district facilities of access to the market of Mitchelstown ; the former line, by diminishing to within 14 miles the distance to the river Blackwater at Lismore, now affords the advantage of water conveyance for coal, culm, timber, and other articles at a moderate charge. A very considerable trade is carried on in corn, butter, and pigs, which last are purchased in great quantities chiefly by merchants from Cork, Youghal, and Limerick. A large tanyard and currying concern has been established in the town ; and at Gurrane, on the river Funcheon, is an extensive bleach-green, with flax and tucking mills, and machinery for carding and spinning wool, to which a power-loom for the manufacture of blankets has been lately added by the proprietors, Messrs. J. and F. Atkins. A branch of the National Bank has been established in the town. The market is on Thursday, and is amply supplied with corn, butter) pigs and sheep, and with provisions of all kinds ; the corn is chiefly bought on commission. Fairs for cattle, sheep, pigs, and various kinds of merchandise, are held on Jan. 10th, March 25th, May 23rd, July 30th, Nov. 12th, and Dec. 2nd ; a fair called the Brigown fair is also held on the 6th of December. The market and court-house, situated in Cork-street, a very neat and well-arranged building, was erected in 1823, at an expense of £3000, by the Earl of Kingston, and occupies part of an area called the Market-square. A chief constabulary police force is stationed in the town ; and in the immediate vicinity are the barracks, a neat range of building, adapted for 3 officers and 72 non-commissioned officers and privates. Petty sessions are held in the court-house every Wednesday ; and a court for the manor of Mitchelstown, formerly held every third Monday, for the recovery of debts not exceeding 40s., is now held occasionally in the upper part of the market-house. Its jurisdiction extends over the parishes of Brigown, Marshalstown (with the exception of the Killee estate), Mologga, Farihy, Nathlash, and Kildorrery, in the county of Cork, and Kilbehenny and Ballylander, in the county of Limerick.
The parish church, situated at the south end of George-street, is an elegant structure of modern erection, in the later English style, with a lofty embattled tower surmounted by a beautiful and finely proportioned octagonal spire, and is seen to great advantage from King-square through the vista of George-street. The R. C. chapel, situated on an eminence above the market-house, is a handsome cruciform edifice, in the later English style of architecture, and flanked in the front with two octangular towers surmounted by cupolas ; it is embellished with a window of elegant design, and strengthened at the angles with buttresses terminating in pinnacles. Kingston College, a handsome and extensive range of building, was partly erected during the lifetime of its founder, James, Lord Kingston, who endowed it with £25,000, to be vested in trustees, consisting of the Archbishop of Cashel and the Bishops of Cloyne, Waterford, and Limerick, to be appropriated, after the completion of the buildings, to the maintenance of a chaplain, 12 poor gentlemen, and 18 poor gentlewomen, with preference to such as have been tenants on the Kingston estates. The chaplain, whose duty it is to read morning and evening prayers daily, to preach a sermon every Sunday morning, and to administer the sacrament at Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas, has a stipend of £120, with a house and garden ; and the inmates, who must be members of the Established Church, receive each £40 per annum, and have a house and garden between every two. The buildings consist of 16 dwelling-houses, with a chapel in the centre of the range, beneath which is the vault of the Kingston family. The fever hospital, to which a dispensary is added, was built in an airy and healthful situation to the south-east of the town, at the expense of Lord Kingston, in 1823 ; it contains four wards and 13 beds. A portion of the residue of a fund collected in London for the relief of the poor during the famine in Ireland, amounting to £569, was borrowed at 2- per cent, from the loan committee of Cork, and is appropriated as a loan fund for the relief of the poor of the town and neighbourhood.
Mitchelstown Castle, the splendid seat of the Earl of Kingston, is a noble and sumptuous structure of hewn stone, in the castellated style, erected after a design by Mr. Pain, of Cork, at an expense of more than £100,000. The buildings occupy three sides of a quadrangle, the fourth being occupied by a terrace, under which are various offices : the principal entrance, on the eastern range, is flanked by two lofty square towers rising to the height of 106 feet, one of which is called the White Knight's tower, from its being built on the site of the tower of that name which formed part of the old mansion ; and at the northern extremity of the same range are two octagonal towers of lofty elevation. The entrance hall opens into a stately hall or gallery, 80 feet in length, with an elaborately groined roof, richly ornamented with fine tracery, and furnished with elegant stoves of bronze, and with figures of warriors armed cap-a-pie ; at the further extremity is the grand staircase. Parallel with the gallery, and forming the south front and principal range, are the dining and drawing-rooms, both noble apartments superbly fitted up and opening into the library, which is between them : the whole pile has a character of stately baronial magnificence, and from its great extent and elevation forms a conspicuous feature in the surrounding scenery. Near the Castle is a large fish-pond, and from a small tower on its margin, water is conveyed to the baths and to the upper apartments of the castle, and across the demesne to the gardens, by machinery of superior construction. The gardens are spacious and tastefully laid out ; the conservatory is 100 feet in length and ornamented with a range of beautiful Ionic pilasters. The demesne, which comprises 1300 statute acres, is embellished with luxuriant plantations, and includes a farming establishment on an extensive scale, with buildings and offices of a superior description, on the erection of which more than £40,000 was expended ; it is in contemplation to erect an entrance lodge, on the model of Blackrock castle, near Cork. It is estimated that the castle, with the conservatories, farm, and the general improvement of the demesne, has cost its noble proprietor little less, if not more, than £200,000. About halfway between this town and Cahir are the magnificent caverns which, from their being visited by persons generally making this place their headquarters, are sometimes called the Mitchelstown caverns ; they are situated in the parish of Templetenny, in the county of Tipperary, under which head they are described.