Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary Ireland comprises of several counties, cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland.
ContentBRIGHT, a parish, in the barony of LECALE, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 8 miles (S. by E.) from Downpatrick ; containing 2030 inhabitants.
This parish is situated on the road from Downpatrick to Killough, and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 5544.25 statute access of which 5503 are applotted under the tithe act. The land, with a trifling exception, is all in an excellent state of cultivation, and there is neither waste land nor bog. Oakley, the handsome residence of J. Burner, Esq., is situated in a fertile demesne of 168 acres, tastefully disposed and embellished with some of the finest timber in the county. The parish was formerly one of the six which constituted the union and the corps of the deanery of Down, from which it was separated. by act of council in 1834, when, with the townland of Carradressy, which formerly belonged to Kilclief but was annexed to Bright by the same act, it was constituted a separate and distinct parish.
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Down, and in the patronage of the Crown : the tithes amount to £583.18s. 9d. The church, a small edifice in the Grecian style, erected in 1745, is situated on the summit of an eminence, and is an excellent landmark for mariners : it contains an elegant monument to the memory of Lord Lecale. There is neither glebe-house nor glebe.
In the Roman Catholic divisions it is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parish of Rathmullen, and containing three chapels, situated respectively at Conierstown in Bright, and at Killough and Rossglass in Rathmullen.
Here is a school of about 80 boys and 50 girls, for which a school-house in the churchyard was built by subscription; also a pay school, in which are about 20 boys and 20 girls.
Near the church are the ruins of Bright castle ; and. about a mile and a quarter to the west are those of Castle Screen, built within the area of a Danish rath, near which are the remains of the. ancient abbey of Erynagh, founded by Magaell Makenlefe, King of Ulster, Sept. 8th, 1126 or 1127. This abbey was garrisoned against De Courcy in 1177, who, for that reason, levelled it with the ground and transferred its possessions to the abbey of Inch, which he subsequently founded in the Isle of Inis Courcy, on the ruins of a pagan temple. A circle of upright stones and other Druidical remains are still existing near the spot.