Samuel Lewis – 1837
DURAS, a parish, in the barony of KILTARTAN, county of GALWAY, and province of CONNAUGHT, 16 miles (E. S. E.) from Galway: the population is returned with Kinvarra. This parish, which is situated on the bay of Galway, takes its name from a small fertile island close to the shore, which was granted by Cromwell to Major John Walcot, whose grandson sold it to Mr. French, from whom it descended in the female line to the Baron de Basterot, its present proprietor. A great portion is rocky and incapable of cultivation; but some of the land is very rich and produces excellent wheat. Limestone is abundant, and much is quarried for agricultural and other purposes. The late Mr. French raised embankments in several places to prevent the encroachment of the sea, and built a long bridge to connect the island with the main land; great improvements have also been made by bis successor.
The principal seats are Duras Park, that of P. M. Lynch, Esq.; and Duras House, of the Baron de Basterot. Great numbers of oysters and other fish are taken off the coast, and about a mile and a half to the west of Duras Point a pier has been constructed, which, though dry at low water, is accessible to vessels of 60 or 80 tons’ burden at the return of the tide; the expense of its erection was partly defrayed by a grant from Government. From the west end of the pier a ledge of foul ground extends to Deer Island. Here is a large flour-mill, worked by the tide. The parish is in the diocese of Kilmacduagh; the rectory is partly appropriate to the see, and partly to the benefice of Ardrahan; the vicarage forms part of the union of Kilcolgan; the tithes are included in the composition for Kinvarra, which see.
In the R. C. divisions it is part of the union or district of Kinvarra; the chapel was erected by the late P. M. Lynch, Esq., and was enlarged and a spire added to it by his son, the present proprietor of Duras Park, by whom it has been also endowed with £10 per annum. On the island of Duras are the remains of an ancient friary, with a burial-ground; and there are the remains of a druidical altar, near which some ancient silver coins have been found.