Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary Ireland comprises of several counties, cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland.
ContentKIRKINRIOLA, or KIRCONRIOLA, a parish, in the barony of LOWER TOOME, county of ANTRIM and province of ULSTER, on the road from Belfast to Londonderry ; containing, with the post-town of Ballymena, 7297 inhabitants.
This parish, which is also called Kirconriola and Ballymena comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 6390 statute acres, in a very indifferent state of cultivation. The soil is light and sandy, and in some parts intermixed with stones, an consequently unproductive without great labour and expense ; the farms are small, and are chiefly in occupation of persons who, dividing their attention between agriculture and the spinning of yarn and weaving of linen, expend but little capital on the land and pay but little attention to its improvement. There are considerable tracts of waste land and a large extent of bog. In the valley of the river Braid are Indications of coal, but no mines have yet been opened ; and there are extensive quarries of stone in several parts of the parish from which has been raised all the stone for building the houses and bridges in the town and neighbourhood.
The principal seats are Ballymena Castle, the residence of P. Cannon, Esq.; the Green, of A. Gihon Esq. ; Hugomont of H. Harrison Esq.; Brigadie of J. Tracey Esq. ; and Ballygarry, of D. Curell, Esq.
It is an Impropriate curacy, in the diocese of Connor, forming part of the union of Ballyclugg; the rectory is impropriate by purchase from the Earl of Mountcashel, in William Adair, Esq. The tithes amount to, £223. 10s. 4d., the whole payable to the impropriator, who is proprietor of the parish and charges them in the rent of the lands. The stipend of the curate is £71. 16s. per annum of which £31. 10s., is paid by the impropriator, and £40. 6s., from Primate Boulter's augmentation fund. The glebe-house, toward the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits granted a loan of £73. 16s. 11d., in 1823 is near the church ; the glebe comprises six acres valued £15 per annum. The church of the union was built in 1712 at the extremity of the parish, near Ballyclugg, an repaired in 1822, for which purpose a loan of £100 was granted by the late Board of First Fruits.
In the Roman Catholic divisions it is the head of a union or district, called Ballymena, and comprising also the parish of Ballyclugg ; there are chapels at Ballymena and Crebilly respectively ; there are places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the first and second classes, one in connection with the Seceding Synod of ;he third class, and one for Wesleyan Methodists.
Guy's free school is supported by a bequest of the late John Guy, Esq. ; the school-house was built at an expense of between £400 and £500 ; and the master has a house and garden rent free ; there are also ten other public schools ; the master of one of which, the diocesan school receives a salary of £120 per annum : they afford instruction to about 850 children. In ten private schools about 400 children are taught, and there are nine Sunday schools.
There are some remains of the ancient parish church, which appears to have been a spacious and handsome structure, but they are diminishing rapidly by the removal of the materials for gravestones. There are several ancient encampments in the parish, of which the most conspicuous is on the high grounds above Ballingarry, near which, in the townland of Bottom, is a fine circular fortress, surrounded by a fosse and valium. Near the glebe-house is a mass of rock, 30 feet in circumference and 8 feet high, called the 'Standing stone,' of which no tradition is extant ; and near Ballymena, on the Braids water opposite the castle, is a very remarkable moat rising from the brink of the river to a great height, and now covered with a plantation.