Extracts pertaining to local and historical information are taken from a Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis published in 1837.
DERRYAGHY, or DERRIAGHY, a parish, partly in the barony of UPPER BELFAST, but chiefly in that of UPPER MASSEREENE, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER, 2 miles (N.) from Lisburn; containing 5325 inhabitants. In 1648, a severe battle was fought near the church, between the royalist forces commanded by Col. Venables and Sir Charles Coote, and the Scots under Monroe, in which the latter were defeated. The parish, which is bounded on the southeast by the Lagan Canal, and situated on the road from Belfast to Dublin and Armagh, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 12,479 3/4 statute acres, of which 6857 3/4 are in Upper Massereene; about one-third is under tillage, and two-thirds are in pasture. The surface is in many parts mountainous; the soil in the lower part is fertile, producing excellent crops of wheat and barley in the plains, and of oats and potatoes in the mountainous districts; the system of agriculture is rapidly improving; there is a considerable tract of bog, and a large extent of uncultivated land in the mountains, which affords excellent pasturage for cattle. Coal and iron-stone abound in the parish, and attempts have been made to work mines, but the adventurers abandoned their enterprise before they had penetrated to a sufficient depth. There is an extensive limestone district, which is worked for building and for manure. The parish is rich in mineral productions, but none of the mines are worked to any extent, though the Lagan Canal affords every facility of water conveyance. The surrounding scenery is boldly varied and enlivened with several gentlemen's seats, among which are Ballymacash, the elegant mansion of E. Johnson, Esq., J. P.; Seymour Hill, of W. Charley, Esq.; Ingram Lodge, of Jonathan Richardson, Esq.; and Collin, of Walter Roberts, Esq. There are three extensive bleach-greens, the property of Messrs. Charley, Richardson, and Roberts, in which, upon the average, more than 50,000 pieces of linen, lawn, and damask of the finest quality are annually bleached and finished for the English markets. A manorial court is held here every three weeks, for the manor of Derryvolgie, for the recovery of debts under £2; and a court of record is held occasionally, for the recovery of debts and determination of pleas under £200.
The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Connor, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate, to whom the rectory is appropriate : the rectorial tithes, which belonged to Black Abbey in Ardes, previously to the Reformation, are now held under the Lord-Primate, on a lease which will expire in 1841, when the living, by his lordship's munificence, will become a rectory : the tithes amount to £450, of which £300 is paid to the lessee of the Lord-Primate, and £150 to the vicar. The church, which was nearly destroyed in the battle previously mentioned, was shortly after rebuilt, and was enlarged and beautified in 1813. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms the head of a union or district, comprising also a small portion of that of Belfast, or Shankill, and containing three chapels, one near the village of Milltown, the Rock chapel in the mountains, and one at Hannah's town, in the Belfast portion of the union. A parochial school was established here previously to 1750, and endowed by Mrs. Hamill with £50 for the instruction of 12 children; it has been rebuilt, and is now well attended. A school was built at Ballymacash, in 1790, by the Rev. Philip Johnson, and handsomely rebuilt in 1833, by E. Johnson, Esq., by whom it is supported : a school was also built at Stonyford by the Marquess of Hertford, and other subscribers; and there are schools at Collin and Rushy Hill, in connection with the National Board, also six pay schools. In the mountain district are the interesting ruins of Castle Robin, once the residence of Shane O'Nial, and subsequently rebuilt by Sir Robert Norton, in 1579. On the mountain of Collin is a large cairn, and there are several raths and forts scattered throughout the parish. Bishop Jeremy Taylor resided for some time at Magharalave House, now in ruins; Dr. William Smith, Bishop of Raphoe, was born at Ballymacash; Philip Skelton, author of some valuable works on divinity, was born here in 1707; and the Rev. Philip Johnson, for 61 years vicar, was also a native of this parish. He distinguished himself during the disturbances of 1798; wrote a reply to Plowden, who had made mention of him in his History of Ireland, and died in 1833.