Place:Skerry, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

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NameSkerry
Alt namesSkirrie
Squirre
TypeParish
Coordinates54.95633°N 6.15372°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.


SKERRY, SKIRRIE, or SQUIRRE, a parish, in the barony of LOWER ANTRIM, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (N. E.) from Ballymena, on the river Braid, and on the roads leading respectively from Glenarm and Larne to Ballymena; containing 4405 inhabitants. According to the Ordnance survey it comprises 26,176 statute acres. The surface is mountainous, and the soil varied; the lower lands are fertile and well cultivated, but in other places the ground is entirely neglected; there are large tracts of bog, producing abundance of fuel, and of waste and mountain land, affording rough pasturage. The principal seats are Knockboy, the residence of A. Davison, Esq.; Bushyfield, of the Rev. R. Stewart; Nowhead, of J. Logan, Esq.; White Hall, of J. White, Esq.; Tullymore, of the Hon. J. B. R. O'Neill; Glencairn, of the Rev. W. Crawford; and Claggan, the splendid hunting seat of Earl O'Neill. Coal and ironstone have been discovered, but neither has been yet worked; basalt of every description is obtained in abundance, and greenstone is found in some places. At Knockboy is an extensive mill for spinning linen yarn and flax, and the weaving of linen cloth is carried on in almost every house. An annual fair is held at Tullymore, on Nov. 17th, for cattle, horses pigs, and pedlery. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Connor, united from time immemorial with the rectory of Racavan, and in the patronage of the Marquess of Donegal: the tithes amount to £399. 7. 8., and of the entire benefice, which is popularly called the union of the Braid, to £716. 3. 9. The ancient church has been long in ruins; the present, situated in the town of Broughshane, and which is the church of the union, is a small edifice in the Grecian style of architecture, with a handsome spire; it was erected by Charles, ancestor of the present Earl O'Neill, probably about the year 1765, on condition of the parishioners keeping it in repair; a gallery was added to it, and a vestry built at the expense of the parish in 1829. In the church is a beautiful marble font, the gift of the Rev. Mr. Craw-ford. In the R. C. divisions the parish, with Dunaghy, is called the parish of Glenravel. There is an excellent parochial school-house, in which also divine service is performed on alternate Sundays; and there are also schools at Ballycloghan, Correen, Knockboy, Tullymore, Longmore, and Ballymena, chiefly supported by the resident gentry. The late Alex. Davison, Esq., bequeathed £100 towards the education of poor children. The ruins of the ancient church, in which were interred many of the ancestors of Earl O'Neill, are situated on the summit of a conical hill, and form a conspicuous object for many miles round; and there are numerous forts, raths, and artificial caverns in the parish. It is said that small particles of gold have been found in the rills running from the hills where the greenstone is obtained; and in the valley of the river Artoags, near the bridge, are some fine basaltic columns of four, five, six, and seven sides, exactly like those of the Giants' causeway. Above the bridge, on the same stream, is a picturesque waterfall; and about a mile from Claggan is a curious cave, formed of large stones in appearance similar to those forming druidical monuments, from which the townland on which it is situated is supposed to have derived its name; several of the stones have been removed by the peasantry, and the plough has contributed to deface this monument of ancient times.

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