Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary, Co. Down

Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary comprises of several cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland. Here are From-Ireland.net’s records for Co. Down.

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    DROMARAGH, or ANNESBOROUGH, a post-town and parish, partly in the barony of KINELEARTY, partly in that of LOWER IVEAGH, but chiefly in that of UPPER IVEAGH, county of DOWN and province of ULSTER ; 5 miles (E. S. E,) from Dromore, and 72 miles (N. by E.) from Dublin, on the road from Banbridge to Ballynahinch ; containing, with the district of Maghera hamlet, 10,199 inhabitants.

    It contains part of the lands granted by patent of Queen Elizabeth, in 1585, to Ever Mac Rorye Magennis, which were forfeited in the war of 1641, and afterwards granted by Char. II. to Col. Hill ; they are included in the manor of Kilwarlin.

    According to the Ordnance survey, it comprises 21,192.75 statute acres, of which 6027.25 are in Lower Iveagh, 7024.50 are in Kinelearty, and 8141 are in Upper Iveagh. The greater part is arable land, and about 91 .75 acres are under water ; considerable improvement has been made in agriculture, and many even of the mountain tracts have been brought under tillage. The village, which is small, is called Annesborough, or Annesbury, in a patent which granted a weekly market on Thursday, and a fair for three days in Sept. ; the market has been changed to Friday, and is held chiefly for the sale of butter and linen yarn ; and the fairs are now held on the first Friday in Feb., May, Aug., and Nov., for farming stock and pedlery. Petty sessions are held in the village every fourth Monday : here is a sub-post-office to Dromore and Comber. Woodford, formerly the residence Jas. Black, Esq., has extensive bleach-works, and was once the seat of a flourishing branch of the linen manufacture.

    Dromaragh, with part of the rectory of Garvaghey, constitutes a union and the only prebend in the cathedral of Christ the Redeemer at Dromore, in the patronage of the Bishop ; the tithes of the parish amount to £620.17s. 5d., and of the union, to £937. 4s. 3d. The glebe-house was erected in 1821, for which a gift of £100 and a loan of £1125 was obtained from the late Board of First Fruits. The ancient glebe, consisting of one moiety of the town-land of Dromaragh, which was granted to the rector in pure alms by Jas. I., is now in the possession of the Marquess of Downshire ; 90 acres of the same, held at a rent of £42 per ann., constitutes the present glebe. The church is a small handsome edifice, with a tower and clock in good repair, built in 1811, at the expense of the parishioners. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recommended that this union be dissolved on the next avoidance of the prebend, and that Garvaghey be separated from it, and consolidated with its vicarage, and the 9.50 townlands now forming the perpetual cure of Maghera hamlet be constituted a distinct parish, leaving the remainder of Dromaragh to form the corps of the prebend.

    The Roman Catholic parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, with the exception of the district of Maghera hamlet, which is united to the R. C. parish of Magheradroll : the chapel is a large handsome edifice at Finnis, built in 1833.

    At Artana is a meeting-house for Presbyterians of the first Class, in connection with the Synod of Ulster.

    Here are 10 public schools, two of which are aided by an annual donation from Capt. Maginnis ; also 11 private and eight Sunday schools.

    On the mountain of Slieve Croob is a cairn, having a platform at the top, on which eleven smaller cairns are raised ; and in the downward of Finnis is a remarkable artificial cave, 94 feet long, 6 feet wide, and upwards of 5 feet in height, with a transept near the centre, 30 feet long ; the walls are rudely niched near the top, which is covered with slabs of granite : in 1833, the Rev. H. Elgee Boyd, rector of the parish, caused it to be cleared out and an iron door fixed up to protect it from injury.