Uibh Laoire and Its Villages
Uibh Laoire Map (Google)
Uibh Laoire (eve-lair-eh) is a parish in County Cork, the most south-westerly county in the Republic of Ireland. In older texts it is usually referred to as Uibh Laoghaire (Older Irish) or even Iveleary (an Anglicised form). Sometimes the parish is referred to inaccurately as Inchigeelagh, but this causes confusion with Inchigeelagh village which is situated near the centre of the parish. However you spell it, it means 'the home of the O'Learys'; a dominant Clan in the area, who arrived around the end of the 12th century and owed allegiance to the McCarthy Muscraighe Clan.
It is consists of a greater part of the watershed of the upper River Laoi (anglicised to Lee). East to West it is around 23Km. and North to South around 13 Km, giving an area of a bit under 300 sq.Km. The extents have altered a little during history, we may touch on that in other articles.
It is an area of outstanding natural beauty and special mention must be made of Loch Allua and of the Gougane Barra Forest Park.
On the whole the soil is acidic and poor, but in places peaty and boggy, others stony. A few spots, usually near the river are quite rich and loamy with some lime. The better soils are generally in the eastern end of the parish. The major industry is livestock farming, with forestry second, but there are some small industries ranging from biscuit-making to shirt manufacture and information technology.
The main centres of population are two small villages: Ballingeary and Inchigeelagh, and two hamlets: Gougane Barra and Toons Bridge. All of these, excepting Gougane, are situated on the road from Bantry to Macroom, the R584. There is a Google map of the parish available, see top of page. The parish today consists of 118 townlands, if you don't know what townlands are then see Townlands Explained
The western half of the parish is in the West-Muskerry Gaeltacht or official Irish speaking area, but don't worry, everyone speaks English as well.