In the last edition we gave a pen-picture of Killegland in the 1650’s. This month we move forward in time to 1836 where we find a description of the parish of Killegland, with sections on Race Hill, Ashbourne, Killegland Castle, Ashbourne Bridge and Killegland Graveyard.
The section on Ashbourne describes it as ‘situated near the eastern boundary of the parish, on the Mail Coach Road from Dublin to Slane and Drogheda. It is just 10 Irish miles from the city of Dublin. This is a small town, the property of Mr.Bourne of Terenure, Co.Dublin.’
Interesting for us in the context of Ashbourne today the account continues ‘It contains 2 hotels, a dispensary, a police station and a Roman Catholic Chapel. Its houses are built of stone. At the E. end of the town there is a toll house*. From this a row of houses runs eastwards, called the Bachelors Walk. The Dispensary is in Castle Street. There is also a Post Office here. Almost all the coaches going from Dublin to the North pass through the town. Mr.Bourne is endeavouring to establish a market in it. There are 5 fairs held here on Jan. 6th, April 16th, May 21st, July 29th and October 31st.
The above extracts are from Ordnance Survey Field Names Book 1835/36.
* The toll house was at the site of the present Turnpike House where Bachelors Walk meets the Main Street.
….and a year later:
We can learn a lot about ourselves from how others see us and so we print a description of Ashboume from ‘A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland’ by Samuel Lewis, 1837. This lists all the baronies, parishes, towns, villages and counties in Ireland with details of local administration, agriculture and industry and other local information.
‘ASHBOURNE, a post-town in the parish of Killegland, barony of Ratoath, county of Meath, on the mail coach road to Londonderry and Belfast; containing 60 houses and 473 inhabitants. It is a constabulary police station and has fairs on Jan.6th, April 16th, May 21st, July 29th and Oct31st. Here is a R.C. chapel, a neat modern building; and a dispensary is principally supported by the rector and curate assisted by some of the parishioners.’
‘KILLEGLAND, or Killeylan, also called Kilmeglan, a parish, in the barony of Ratoath, containing 473 inhabitants, who are all in the post-town of Ashboume, of which the parish principally consists. It is a rectory and vicarage in the diocese of Meath, forming part of the union of Ratoath, the tithes amount to £54. In the R.C. divisions also it is part of the union or district of Ratoath and has a chapel at Ashbourne. About 120 children are educated in two public schools, one of which is principally supported by the rector.’
N.B. The R.C. chapel was what is now the Village Hall.