Extracts pertaining to local and historical information are taken from a Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis published in 1837.
BALLYRASHANE, or ST. JOHN'S-TOWN, a parish, partly in the barony of LOWER DUNLUCE, county of ANTRIM, but chiefly in the north-east liberties of COLERAINE, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (N. E.) from Coleraine; containing 2851 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the road from Coleraine to Ballycastle, and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 6360 3/4 statute acres, of which 2689 are in the county of Antrim, and the remainder in the county of Londonderry. The greater portion of the land is fertile and in a high state of cultivation; wheat and barley have been introduced since the year 1829, and are raised with great success. There are detached portions of bog, affording a good supply of fuel. Vast quantities of basalt are raised; and in a geological point of view the parish is very interesting, containing beautiful specimens of amorphous, columnar, and divaricated basalt, which are found here in all their varieties, accompanied with chalcedony, opal, zeolite, and other fossils; it abounds also with botanical specimens of considerable interest. Brookhall, the seat of S. Boyce, Esq., is in this parish. The inhabitants are principally employed in the weaving of linen cloth; and there are some paper-mills for brown and fancy papers, affording employment to about 30 persons. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Connor, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £350. The church is a plain small edifice, in the later English style, erected by aid of a grant of £900 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1826. The glebe-house, nearly adjoining it, was built in 1828: there is no glebe. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Coleraine. There are two places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster; one at Kirkstown of the first class, and the other at Ballywatt of the third class. The male and female parochial schools at Lisnarick are supported by the rector, who also contributes annually to the support of a school at Ballyrack; at Ballyvelton is also a school, and there are two private pay schools and two Sunday schools. At Revel-lagh are the ruins of a castle and fort. There are also some extensive artificial caverns at Ballyvarten, Island Effrick, and Ballynock; the first has four rooms or cells, 5 feet high and 2 1/2 feet wide, having the sides formed of unhewn stones and the roof of large flat stones.