Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary, Ireland

Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary Ireland comprises of several counties, cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland.

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    CLONMANY, or CLUINMANAGH, , a parish in the barony of ENNISHOWEN (Inishowen), county of DONEGAL, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (W. by N.) from Carne (Carndonagh); containing 6450 inhabitants.

    According to Archdall, a very rich monastery existed here, built by St. Columb in the 6th century, of which there is now no trace, but the festival of that saint is observed on the 9th of June. The parish, which is bounded on the north by the Atlantic ocean, comprises 23 divisions, called 'quarter-lands' and, according to the Ordnance Survey, 23,376 statute acres, two thirds of which are irreclaimable mountain land and 127.25 are water. The shore forms a semi-circle for nearly nine miles, and abounds with sea-weed which is used as manure. The mountains, of which the largest is Raghtin, rising to an elevation of 1656 feet above the level of the sea, are chiefly composed of whinstone and clay-slate, and near the pass to Desertegny a valuable deposit of limestone has been recently discovered. In the mountains of Ardagh are veins of lead-ore, which have not yet been worked. The land is not generally favourable for cultivation. There are three corn-mills. Fairs are held on Jan 1st, March 24th, June 29th, and Oct 10th, for horses, cattle, sheep, flax, yarn, &c. Within its limits are the rivers Clonmany and Ballyhallon: the former has its rise in Meendoran Lough, and the latter from a small spring in the western part of the parish: they contain trout and eels, and in autumn, salmon. Within the parish also is Dunaff Head, between which and Fanet Point, in the parish of Clondevadock, is the entrance to Lough Swilly. On Dunree Point an artillery station was erected in 1812, in which a small garrison is still maintained. At Rockstown is a coast-guard station, and at Strand or Clonmany, one for the constabulary police.

    The principal seats are Dresden, the residence of T. L. Metcalfe, Esq.; Glen House, of M. Doherty Esq.; and the glebe house of Rev. Mr. Molloy.

    The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Derry and in the patronage of the Marquess of Donegal: the tithes amount to £400. The glebe house which is on a glebe of five acres was built in 1819, by aid of a gift of £100, and a loan of £675, from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe at Cherbury comprises 365 acres of which 300 are uncultivated. The church is a neat structure, with a low square tower: it is situated in the vale of Tallaght, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £368 4s. 3d., for its repair.

    The R.C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and has a large and well-built chapel.

    The parochial school is aided by an annual donation from the incumbent; and at Garryduff is a very large and handsome school house built in 1835. There is a school at Urras, aided by an annual donation from Mrs. Merrick, in which are educated 35 boys and 17 girls; and there are four pay schools, in which are 170 boys and 30 girls.

    On the north east of the parish are the ruins of a castle, called Carrick a Brakey, consisting of a circular tower, 25 feet high and 10 feet in diameter. A mile south east of this is another castle, called in Irish 'Caislean na Stucah'; it stands on a pyramidal rock, insulated by spring tides, the top of which is 80 perches above the level of the sea, and is inaccessible except by long ladders. Tradition states that it was built by Phelemy Brasselah O'Doherty. At Magheramore is a very perfect cromlech, consisting of a table stone of above 20 tons, supported by three upright pillars: it is called "Fion McCuil's finger stone." Among the natural curiosities is a chink in a rock at Tallaght, under which is a cavern: and at Leenan Head is a beautiful cave, 70 yards long and five or six broad, excavated by the sea, through which boats can pass; besides a waterfall dashing over a perpendicular rock 50 feet high, and several caves. Here are also some chealybeate springs; and on the lofty mountains eagles build their nests, and are very destructive, particularly in the lambing season.