This village is in the parish of Killnamannagh (the Church of the Monks). Philip O’Sullivan states that Bonaventura, a Spanish Bishop, had a monastery constructed on Dursey Island, which was demolished by pirates, and from this the parish probably derives its name. A portion of the ruins can still be seen and also of a church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. Dursey Island (called by the Irish, Oilian Baei Bheirre), as before referred to, was the theatre of some barbarous acts of war. It was the last post on which the O’Sullivans relied, and they made it a place of refuge for their women and children. Owen O’Sullivan, a supporter of the Queen, and John Bostock, an Englishman, with an army, were ordered to attack the defenceless islanders. Philip O’Sullivan will relate the rest of the story:

“The inhabitants were terrified by the sudden arrival of the enemy; some sought the protection of the altars, some ran to hide, some betook themselves to the fort, which the few armed men surrendered on the enemy’s promise of safety, as it had no cannon or fortifications. The English, after their wonted manner, committed a crime far more notable for its cruelty than their honour. Having dismantled the fort and fired the church and houses, they shot down, hacked with swords, or ran through with spears the now disarmed garrison and others, old men, women, and children, whom they had driven into one heap. Some ran their swords up to the hilt through the babe and mother, who was carrying it on her breast, others paraded before their comrades little children writhing and convulsed, on their spears, and, finally, binding all the survivors they threw them into the sea over jagged and sharp rocks, showering on them shots and stones. In this way perished about 300 Catholics, the greater part of whom were mercenaries of my father, Dermot.”

The Allihies Copper Mines were discovered by Colonel Hall in 1810. They were worked for many years by Mr. Puxley, who gave employment to between 1,000 and 2,000 men, women, and children. While they were in his hands they produced large returns, but he sold them to a company who worked them at a profit till the year 1860, after which they began to decay. It is believed by those competent to form an opinion that there is plenty of copper ore still in the district, and, on account of the igneous rocks in the vicinity, it is possible, if tried in depth, tin may be found. Asbestos is found at Cahermore.

The fisheries are very important and usually yield a good return. The mackerel fishery forms the chief industry. The fish are cured, and, for the most part, forwarded to the United States of America. About 400 men, besides women and children, are employed at the business. The value of the fish may be estimated roughly at £5,000 a year.

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