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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    KILKEEL, a post-town and parish, in the barony of MOURNE, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 15 miles (S. E.) from Newry, and 65.75 (N. N. E.) from Dublin city ; containing 14,806 inhabitants, of which number, 1039 are in the town.

    According to the Ordnance survey it comprises 47,882.50 statute acres, of which about 11,000 are arable and 12,000 pasture ; the remainder consists of the Mourne mountains. The only creek in the twelve miles of coast that bounds the parish is Annalong, where a small dock for fishing-vessels has been excavated out of a rock. There are coast-guard stations at Annalong, Cranfield, and the Lee Stone, all in the district of Newcastle ; also a constabulary police station. Fairs are held on Feb. 8th, May 3rd, Aug. 2nd, and Dec. 8th ; and a manorial court is held in the sessions-house at Killkeel, once in three weeks, for the manor of Greencastle and Mourne, by a seneschal appointed by the Earl of Kilmorey ; its jurisdiction extends over the whole of the barony of Mourne, which is included in this parish, and is the property of his in lordship, arm pleas to the amount of £10, are determined either by attachment or civil bill.

    The principal seats are Mourne Park, the splendid residence of the Earl of Kilmorey ; Shannon Grove, of J. S. Moore, Esq. ; and the glebe-house, of the Rev. J. Forbes Close.

    The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Down, united, in 1809, by charter of Jas. I., to the rectories of Kilcoo and Kilmegan, and the chapelry of Tamlaght (a small town-land in Kilkeel), which together form the union of Kilkeel, and the corps of the treasurership of the cathedral of Down, in the alternate patronage of the Marquess of Anglesey, and the Earl of Kilmorey. The tithes amount to £800, and of the entire benefice to £1600. The church was rebuilt in 1818, for which the late Board of First Fruits granted a loan of £2160. The glebe-house is situated on a glebe of 30 acres, valued at £37. 10s. per annum, but subject to a rent of £19. 7s. 9 d., payable to the Earl of Kilmorey.

    In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish forms two districts, called Upper and Lower Mourne, the former containing a chapel at Ballymaguagh ; the latter, one at Glassdrummond and one at Ballymartin.

    There are a Presbyterian meeting-house an connection with the Synod of Ulster, and one of the third class in connection with the Seceding Synod, also meeting-houses for Wesleyan Methodists, Baptists, and Moravians.

    About 770 children are educated in eight public schools, to one of which the Earl of Kilmorey contributes £31, and to another, Mrs. Keown £10. annually. Needham Thompson, Esq., built and principally supports the school at Mullartown ; and that for girls, at Ballinahatton, was built by the Rev. J. F. Close, who clothes and educates 65 children there. About 450 children are taught in 10 private schools ; and there are six Sunday schools and a dispensary.