|CARNMONEY, a parish , in the barony of LOWER BELFAST, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER; 3 miles (N. by E.) from Belfast; containing 5423 in habitants.
This place was anciently called, Coole, and according to tradition there was a town of that name of considerable extent near the present church, on the decay of which the parish took its modern name from an adjoining hill with a large cairn on its summit. It is situated on Carrickfergus bay, and on the road from Belfast to Londonderry; and according to the ordnance survey comprises 8937.25 statute acres, of which 230 are too mountainous to be cultivated, and the remainder is arable or pasture land excepting about 70 acres of bog. The land is generally in a high state of cultivation, especially near the shore, where several gentlemen who are practical agriculturalists, till their own estates, and their improved methods are almost generally followed by the farmers. Great quantities of limestone are raised in the parish, and are shipped to Scotland and other places. The village of Whitehouse has considerable manufactures: there are a cotton and flax-spinning manufactory, and extensive works for printing cloths, which are made here exclusively for the Manchester market; and at White Abbey also is a cotton and flax spinning manufactory. These establishments together employ about 670 persons.
The scenery is embellished with several gentlemen's seats, the principal of which are Merville, the residence of J. Rowan, Esq.; Macedon, of J. Cunningham, Esq; White Abbey of ?? Getty, Esq.; Claremont of Mrs. Clewlow; Abbey Lands of H. McCalmont, Esq.; Whitehouse of ?? Shaw, Esq.; and the glebe-house of the Rev. S. Smythe, the vicar.
The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Connor, untied, it is supposed in 1614, to the vicarage of Ballylinney and the rectory of Ballymartin, together constituting the union of Carnmoney, in the patronage of the Marquess of Donegal, in whom the rectory is impropriate. The vicarial tithes amount to £210: and according to the report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the gross value of the union, including tithes and glebe, is £575 per annum. The rectorial tithes were placed under composition in 1835. The church, a modern and spacious edifice in good repair, is built on an eminence near the site of a former church, and is intended for the three parishes of the union. The glebe house is a handsome building, erected by aid of a gift of £300 and a loan of £500 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1814: the glebe comprises 80 statute acres valued at £115 per annum.
In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Belfast.
There are two meeting houses for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the first and second classes: charitable bequests to the amount of £260 have been left, the interest of which is divided annually among poor Presbyterians. There are also places of worship for Covenanters, or members of the Reformed Synod and Independents.
Near the church is the parochial school, principally supported by the vicar. A very large school-house was built by the Mssrs. Grimshaw, and the school is now in connection with the National Board; one has also been built and is supported by the proprietors of the White Abbey cotton works; the Presbyterians have built and support a school at Ballyduff; and there is a school at Ballycraigy, built and supported by Francis Turnley, Esq. About 400 children receive education in these schools, and about 200 more in private schools.
About a mile north from the church, near the shore are the picturesque ruins of a large religious house, called White Abbey, from which the townland takes its name, and which was probably the original establishment that was removed to Woodburn: the principal remains are an elegant chapel, in the later Norman or early English style. On the verge of the parish, near Carrickfergus, are the remains of another religious house, called Monkstown, adjoining which is an ancient cemetery, where, according to tradition, Fergus, King of Scotland, who was shipwrecked in the adjacent bay, was interred.