CLONES, a market-town and post-town, and a parish, partly in the barony of CLONKELLY, county of FERMANAGH, and partly in the baronies of MONAGHAN and DARTRY, county of MONAGHAN, and province of ULSTER, 10 miles (W. S. W.) from Monaghan, and 62 (N. W. by N.) from Dublin; containing 22,254 inhabitants." The ancient name of this place was Cluan Innis, "the Island of Retreat,' it having formerly been nearly surrounded by water; and more recently it was called Cloanish or Clounish. An abbey, dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, was founded here in the early part of the 6th century, by St. Tigernach or Tierney, who, becoming Bishop of Clogher, removed that see to Clones, where he died of the plague in 550. The abbot was the Primus Abbas, or first mitred abbot of Ireland. In 836, the abbey was burnt; and in 929, Ceanfoile, comarb of Clones and Clogher, died here. The abbey was destroyed by fire in 1095, and, in 1184, the abbot Gilla Christ O'Macturan was elected Bishop of Clogher. In 1207, Hugh de Lacy destroyed the abbey and town; but five years after they were rebuilt by the English, who also erected a castle here. In 1316, and again in 1504, the abbot of Clones was elected Bishop of Clogher. In 1486 died the abbot Philip Mac Mahon, and, in 1502, the abbot James Mac Mahon, both relations of the Lords of Ergal. The abbey was dissolved by the act of Hen. VIII., and in the 29th of Elizabeth an inquisition was taken of its possessions.
The manor of this abbey is still called "St. Tierney," and at the suppression was granted, together with the abbey, to Sir Henry Duke. The corbeship, or comorbanship, of Clones seems to have been held by the sept of Mac Mahon, the head of which, during the rebellion in Queen Elizabeth's reign, procured from the pope a grant of it for his eldest son, who was then a boy, with one of whose daughters it was conveyed in marriage to Sir Francis Rushe, whose daughter Elinor, in 1629, again conveyed it in marriage to Sir Robt. Loftus, eldest son of Adam, Lord Loftus, Primate and Chancellor of Ireland, and first Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin. In 1640, Sir Robert and his son Henry died, and the manor came to Anne, only daughter of the former, who married the Hon. Richard Lennard Barrett, whose son, Dacre Barrett, Esq., represented the county of Monaghan in the Irish parliament in 1692: it has since continued in this family, and is now the estate of Sir Thomas Barrett Lennard, Bart. In the settlement of Ulster, to assimilate the Irish to the English church, corbeships were abolished, and their possessions, commonly called termon lands, granted to' the bishops. At the time of the dissolution of monasteries, there were three ecclesiastical estates belonging to Clones; viz., the abbey lands, now the property of Sir T. B. Lennard, which are tithefree; the estate of the great church of Clones, belonging to the same proprietor, which pays one-third of the tithes to the incumbent; and the lands of the corbe, or the termon lands, the property of the Bishop of Clogher, which pay the entire tithes to the incumbent.
The town is situated on the road from Monaghan to Belturbet, and contains 429 houses., of which those recently erected are slated, and the more ancient are thatched. There is a brewery in the town; and at Stonebridge is an extensive foundry for spades, ploughs, and other agricultural implements, established about ten years since; also large flour-mills at Analoar, on the river Finn, The Agricultural and Commercial Bank has a branch establishment in the town. A yarn market is held on Thursday, at which linen cloth to the value of £150 is sold weekly; and there is a fair on the last Thursday in each month, for cattle, pigs, horses, &c, which is well supplied; and a fair is held at Roslea, in this parish, on the 8th of each month. The marketplace of Clones is of a triangular form, with a markethouse in it, and a pump, also a very ancient stone cross, the shaft of which is about 12 feet high; it stands at the top of a flight of steps, and both the shaft and top are ornamented with figures in relief; the upper part is circular, and the whole has a very antique appearance.
Here is a chief constabulary police station. A manorial court, called "St. Tierney's Manor Court," is held in the town monthly by the seneschal, for the recovery of debts under £2; and petty sessions are held every alternate Friday. Courts are also held in the parish for the manors of Roslea and Shannick.
The parish is of great extent, comprising, according to the Ordnance Survey, 42,877¾ statute acres, of which 27,581½ are in Fermanagh, and 15,296¼ in Monaghan.
About one-twentieth of the land is bog, 6l6¾ acres are water, and the mountainous tracts afford good pasture Agriculture is in an improved state, and much of the land is of a superior quality; tillage is conducted on an extensive scale. Limestone of good quality is found in various places, and on the summit of Carnmore mountain is a quarry of fine white freestone, which is much used for building. A vein of coal was found near this mountain, but is not worked. That part of the parish which is in Dartry barony has no fewer than 32 lakes, of which, Loughs Oonagh, Carom, and Lisnaroe, and the lake near Smithsborough, are the largest. In that part of it which is in the barony of Monaghan is an extensive lake, near Watts-bridge, besides five smaller lakes, the waters of which unite in their course towards Newbliss.
The principal seats are Summerhill, of the Rev. J. Richardson; Lisnaroe, of Nicholas Ellis, Esq.; Lough Oonagh, of Mrs. Murray; Spring Grove, of E. Madden, Esq.; Johnstown, of C. P. Irvine, Esq.; Scottsborough, of W. Scott, Esq.; Island Cottage, of Captain Ross; Carrowbarrow, of the Rev. M. F. Dudgeon; and the glebe-house, of the Very Rev. H. Roper, rector of the parish, and Dean of Clonmacnois.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Clogher, and in the patronage of Sir T. B. Lennard, Bart.: the tithes amount to £950. 3. 11¾. The glebehouse was rebuilt in 1816, and towards defraying the expense, a gift of £100 and a loan of £1500 were granted by the same Board: the glebe comprises 700 acres.
The parochial or mother church stands on the hill of Clones, at the upper end of the market-place, and has a handsome steeple, with a clock and bell: it was built at an expense of about £3500, of which £1022 was a loan and £900 a gift, in 1822, from the late Board of First Fruits. There are also two chapels of ease on the townlands of Clough and Aughadrumsee; the former was built by a loan of £1015 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1828; to the repairs of the latter the Ecclesiastical Commissioners lately granted £136. 2. 11. In the R. C. divisions this parish forms two benefices, Clones East and Clones West: there are chapels at Clones and Drumswords for the former, and at Roslea and Magherarney for the latter; the chapel at Roslea is a spacious building, erected in 1834, with a bell tower and beautiful altar. There is a Presbyterian meetinghouse at Stonebridge, in connection with the Synod of Ulster, and of the third class; at Smithsborough is one of the second class, connected with the Seceding Synod; and there are places of worship for Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. There are male and female parochial schools at Cluigh, also schools at Clones, Carra-street, Smithsborough, Rossbrick, Larg, Granshaw, Magherarney, Aughnashalvey, Bruskena, Greaghawarren, Deer- Park, Clonkeen, Clononacken, Ahadrumsee, Clones, Spring-grove, Magheravilly, Gortnawing, Patenbar, and Knockavaddy. Each of these schools is aided by subscriptions, and at Salloo is one supported by J. Whittsit, Esq. The whole afford instruction to about 1200 boys and 700 girls; and in 11 private schools are about 180 boys and 90 girls, besides a considerable-number in 12 Sunday schools. There are two dispensaries, one at Clones, the other near Roslea; a savings' bank, the deposits in which, belonging to 133 depositors, amounted to £3241. 9. 6. on the 20th of November, 1835; and a charitable loan fund.
On the south side of the town are the ruins of the ancient abbey to which it owes its early fame, and through which the road from Cootehill now passes. The walls of a small chapel still remain on one side of the road, and are built of square hewn freestone on the outside, and of limestone within; it is encompassed by an ancient burial-ground, enclosed by a strong wall.
On the other side of the road is another burial-ground, similarly enclosed, in which are many curiously decorated tombstones, and where there is yet standing one of the ancient round towers. The walls of this tower are four feet thick, and very rough on the outside, but composed of smooth limestone within. The internal diameter is 10 feet, and there are resting-places for the joists of five successive floors. The thickness of the walls diminishes towards the top, and there is a doorway about four feet above the ground; at the top were large embrasures. On the surface, in this burial-ground, is a large stone coffin: the lid is very heavy, and of an angular shape, like the roof of a house, with two small pillars rising from the ends, and an ancient inscription on each side, but so much defaced as to be illegible. It is supposed to be the coffin of a Mac Mahon. Near these cemeteries is an extensive artificial mound of earth, very steep and rather difficult of access, being on the summit of a considerable hill. In the parish are two wells, much celebrated among the peasantry for curing the jaundice; one, about three miles from Clones, on the road leading to Monaghan, is called the Grailabuy Well; the other, about a mile from Clones, on the road to Enniskillen, is called Clintiveran Jaundice Well.
Near the fort is an excellent spring, called Tubber Tierney.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.