Place:Culfeightrin, County Antrim, Northern Ireland


Alt namesCoolfayton
Coordinates55.18044°N 6.12213°W
Located inCounty Antrim, Northern Ireland
source: Family History Library Catalog

Historical description

Extracts pertaining to local and historical information are taken from a Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis published in 1837.

CULFEIGHTRIN, or COOLFAYTON, a parish, in the barony of CAREY, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER, 1/2 a mile (E.) from Ballycastle; containing 5012 inhabitants. This parish, which is also called Carey, from Castle Carey or Kerragh, which gave name to the barony, was the scene of a sanguinary conflict that took place between the forces of Mac Quellan and those of Sorley Boy Mac Donnell, who encamped on the plains of Bonamargy, on the 4th of July, 1569. This battle, by which the Mac Donnells obtained possession of the castles and estates of the Mac Quellans, is described as having continued throughout the whole vale of Glenshesk, of which every yard was fiercely contested, and nearly the entire surface strewed with the slain. The victory was at length determined in favour of the Mac Donnells, and the fate of Mac Quellan was finally decided on the mountains of Aura, on the 13th of the same month; Shane O'Dennis O'Nial fell in this battle, and his cairn or tumulus is still shewn near Cushendun. The parish, which is bounded on the north by the Atlantic ocean, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, an area of 26,338 statute acres, including 49 acres under water. The surface is mountainous; the entire mountain of Carey, and the promontories of Fair Head, the most northern part of Ireland, and Tor Point being within the parish: the highest spot is Carnlea, which, according to the same survey, is 1253 feet above the sea. The system of agriculture is improving, but there are very large tracts of waste land, among which is the extensive mountain of Carey, covered with heath; the only profit from it is the peat or turf carried from its bogs for fuel: it is well stocked with grouse. The lower grounds are well cultivated, and the townland of Murloch, which is an inland continuation of the bold and craggy promontory of Fair Head, is extremely fertile, producing an abundance of corn and excellent pasturage. The collieries, generally known by the name of the Ballycastle mines, which were extensively worked about the middle of the last century, are in this parish, but were discontinued in 1833: it is supposed that the mines are exhausted, the workmen, on penetrating inland from the face of the promontory, for a distance of from a quarter to half a mile, having been stopped by a whin-dyke which here crosses the country, and though experimental shafts have been sunk on the other side of the dyke, lower than the levels previously wrought, no coal has been found: it is, however, conjectured that this mineral could be found by sinking under the former levels or beneath the surface of the sea. There are fine quarries of freestone, which are extensively worked, affording employment to a considerable number of persons; also valuable mines of coal under the promontory of Fair Head, and at Murloch; the former have never been worked, and the working of the latter has been discontinued for some years. The road from Belfast to the Giants' Causeway, along the shore, formerly led over the dreary mountain of Carey, where, for nearly ten miles, not a single habitation was to be seen. The royal military road is now in course of formation, by means of which that mountain will be avoided, or its difficulty obviated, and the baronies of Carey and Glenarm will be united by a splendid viaduct thrown across the romantic valley of Glendun. Great preparations have already been made by levelling the hills and the draining of bogs and lakes; the whole line of road for 8 miles through this parish is entirely new. The scenery is boldly diversified, including the stupendous rocks of Glendun, the lakes of Cranagh, and Tor Point and Fair Head, in the crags of which eagles build their nests. Within the limits of the parish are Church-field, the residence of T. Casement, Esq.; Cushendun House, of Edm. A. McNeill, Esq.; Cottage, of Major McAulay; Glenmona, of M. Harrison, Esq.; and a cottage residence of Gen. O'Neill. At Tor Point and Cushendun are coast-guard stations, which are two of the eight that form the district of Ballycastle.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Connor, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory was attached to the Chancellorship of Connor from the year 1600 till 1831, when, on the death of Dr. Trail, the late chancellor, it became a separate consolidated rectory and vicarage under Bishop Mant's act. The tithes amount to £350: there is neither glebe-house nor glebe. The church, a neat edifice, in the later English style, was erected in 1830, on the site of the ancient structure, by a loan of £600 from the late Board of First Fruits. It is in contemplation to erect a chapel of ease at Cushendun, now a fashionable watering-place, at the eastern extremity of the parish, and seven miles distant from the mother church, which is situated at the opposite extremity. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also the Grange of Innispollan, and containing two chapels; that in Culfeightrin is at Carey, near the church. An excellent school-house was built at Bonamargy, near the bridge, by Alexander McNeil, Esq.; and there is also a school at Cushendun, chiefly supported by the resident gentry of the neighbourhood. About 180 children are educated in four private schools. On the bay of Cushendun are some fine remains of Castle Carey.