A part of this parish is in the barony of Bantry and the rest in the barony of Bere or Beare. Beare derives its name from Beara, who was the daughter of a King of Spain. Owen Mor, King of Munster, in the second century had to fly to Spain for aid against Con of the Hundred Battles. He remained in that country for nine years and married the Princess Beara. On his return home he landed at the north shore of Bantry Bay, which he called Berehaven in honour of his wife. The whole barony abounds in Pagan remains—pillar stones, cromlechs, cairns, stone circles, ogham stones, etc. It is a very interesting locality for the antiquarian. Judging from those remains it must have been fairly populated at an early date. It is a historical fact that the Milesians first landed here. From the 13th to the 17th century it enjoyed profound peace under the O’Sullivans, who paid tribute to the McCarthys. The district was laid waste by Carew, but there were no permanent foreign settlers till after the wars of the Commonwealth.

This was a very backward district in the good old times. There were no roads worthy of the name, no bridges, no piers or slips, no fairs or markets, no towns or villages. The roads which are used at the present were all made within the past eighty years. After the great famine in 1846-7 the principal main roads were constructed. The old roads that existed prior to the year 1850 were scarcely fit for carts and carriages. It is doubtful if there were carriages here previous to that date. Several old people often told me that in former times they used to carry their butter to Cork on the backs of their horses. A horse would carry three firkins of butter.

The parish of Adrigole is also called Clan Lawrence, and in Bere Island there is a Lawrence Cove. Who this Lawrence was I cannot say. I could not find anyone of that name in the O’Sullivan pedigree. He may have been an O’Driscoll. The scenery in the vicinity of Adrigole harbour is very pretty and there are several caves not far distant worthy of a visit. There are several ancient remains as forts, cromlechs, etc. The Adrigole Waterfall is one of the finest in Ireland after a heavy fall of rain. Iron and copper abound in various parts of the parish, but neither is at present worked. In former times iron ore was raised in large quantities and smelting houses were established at Adrigole and Glengariff. When wood became scarce they ceased to be worked. The greater portion of the parish is mountain, and not more than one-sixth is under cultivation.

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Early Irish History and Antiquities, and the History of West Cork

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