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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    MUCKAMORE, a grange, in the barony of LOWER MASSAREENE, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER, 1 mile (S. E.) from Antrim town ; containing 1798 inhabitants.

    This place, anciently 'Mach-airi-mor,' or the "great field of adoration," is situated on the Six–Mile-Water river; and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 3921.25 statute acres, exclusively of 1519 acres covered by Lough Neagh. It probably derived its name from its having been, during the times of Druidical superstition, the place selected for the performance of the religious rites of that people ; a rude pillar consisting of a single stone, now called the " hole stone," or "old stone;" is supposed to commemorate the fact. A monastery was founded here in 550, by Colman Elo, commonly, from the great number of churches that he had founded, called St. Columbkill. This establishment acquired great celebrity, and notwithstanding the internal wars which distracted the country, continued to flourish till the 32nd of Hen. VIII., when it was delivered up to the kings commissioners by Bryan Doyomahallon, its last abbot.

    Soon after the conquest of Ulster, in 1172, De Courcy visited this monastery and confirmed to the monks their former possessions and extended their ancient privileges, to which were added a grant of free warren, with an annual fair and a monthly market by Hen. VI., in 1430. In the 18th of Jas. I., it was granted by letters patent to Sir Roger Langford, from whom it descended to the Earls of Massereene, under whom it is held on lease for lives renewable in perpetuity. Only a very small portion of this once splendid pile is now remaining ; but the extensive cemetery is still the burial-place of the surrounding district. Its situation was one of the finest that could have been selected, comprehending. every advantage of wood and water, and every variety of hill and dale, with a pleasingly undulating surfaces and a soil of exuberant fertility.

    Muckamore House, the residence of S. Thompson, Esq. ; Greertmount, of W. Thompson, Esq. ; the Lodge, of F. Whittle, Esq.; and New Lodge, of the Rev. A. C. Macartney, are all handsome mansions delightfully situated in grounds tastefully and elegantly laid out.

    The whole of the grange, which is extra-parochial, is in the highest state of cultivation, and is drained, fenced, planted, and stocked upon the English system. Close to the ruins of the abbey, and on the Six-mile-Water, is a very extensive bleach-green, belonging to W. Chaine, Esq., at which more than 80,000 pieces of linen are annually finished for the London market ; there air also, on the same river, another bleach-green on a smaller scale, an extensive paper-manufactory, and one of the most complete flour-mills in the county, in which 2200 tons of grain are annually ground : these works afford employment to the labouring population of the liberty, and also to many from the town of Antrim. The fair granted by Hen. VI. is held in the village of Oldstone, on the l0th of June, and is the largest horse fair in the province.

    The members of the Established Church attend divine service in the church of Antrim.

    About 80 children are educated in a school at Oldstone aided by an annual donation from Mr. Thompson.; and about 30 children in a private school. There are also two Sunday schools. Within the liberty are several raths and forts, two of the first of which are very extensive and in a perfect state ; and there are also several remains of cromlechs. Among the ruins of the abbey, two silver candlesticks and other valuable relics are said to have been discovered some years since.