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View from Dysert Aenghusa
© View from Dysert Aenghusa

The Irish for Croom is Crom or Cromadh, meaning 'bend', 'curved' or 'strong'. The town of Croom was established with the building of Croom castle by Dermot O'Donovan in 1210AD. A significant segment of the original castle still stands. The town was walled in 1310. Prior to 1641 the area around Croom was known as Ballingaddy parish, comprising the townlands of Croom and Toureen.

According to Lewis, the parish of Croom was the head of the RC district comprising the parishes of Croom, Anhid, Dunaman, Carrigran and Dysart. Anhid parish now forms part of the modern day parish of Croom, although part of the old parish is now in Banogue. In 1861, on the death of Laurence Hartnett, P.P., Banogue was set up as a separate parish from Croom.

Early Christian sites in the locality include Dísert (or Dysert) Aenghusa, which dates from 800AD, and the nearby Mainister an Aonaigh, now in the neighbouring parish of Manister.

Croom Mill was built in 1788. The Earl of Kildare built the original mill in 1340. In 1740 Henry Lyons came to Croom and bought it. He proceeded to demolish the old mill and to build the present one. The wheel was powered with water from the river Maigue. The mill closed in 1927, although the mill wheel continued to operate until the early 1940s.

Tory Hill is a well-known landmark in the parish of Croom. It is claimed that an upper terrace on the hill, which appears to be artificial, was in fact a fortress, and may indeed have been 'Temair Luachra' which was the royal establishment of North Munster. A gold lunula or collar, which dates from 2000 to 500BC, was found there in 1852. It is now in the National Museum.

The name Tory Hill only dates to the 18th century. Two derivations are given for the name. The first, Tóraidhe, may be defined as 'a tory, a robber or a highwayman', and in that sense, the hill may have taken its name from the tories or raparees who took refuge there in the 17th and 18th centuries, and who used it as a base to attack and rob people. The second, more widely accepted derivation is Cnoc Drom Asail, which means 'the hill of the ass's back'.

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Introduction to Croom      Croom Church