It was in the past a corporate and burrough town. In former times it was governed by a sovereign and burgesses, and later down returned two members to the Irish Parliament. In the early part of the nineteenth century the linen manufacture flourished and gave employment to 1,000 persons whose earnings realised £300 weekly. Cotton was also manufactured and 40 looms employed. The harbour is only fit for small boats, and the larger vessels discharge their cargoes at Ring, about a mile from the town. The Catholic Church here is a beautiful edifice, and would be a credit to any town or city.
To the south-west of Clonakilty is CastleFreke. Smith tells us in his history of Cork that this beautiful residence was in his time in the possession of Sir John Freke. The Frekes fell in for three ploughlands of forfeited