All Lewis entries for Ballyaghran


More information on Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)
Accompanying Lewis map for Derry


AGHERTON, or BALLYAGHRAN, a parish, in the liberties of COLERAINE, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (N. N. W.) from Coleraine; containing, with the town of Portstewart, 2746 inhabitants. This parish occupies the whole of the promontory between the Bann and the Atlantic, comprising, according to the Ordnance survey, 3896- statute acres, of which 3709 are applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £2831 per annum. With the exception of about 320 acres, the whole is arable; there is a small portion of unenclosed land, part of which is light and sandy, and chiefly a rabbit warren, and part affords excellent pasture. The cultivation of wheat was introduced by Mr. Orr, in 1829, and great quantities are now annually raised. Similar success attended the cultivation of barley, potatoes, mangel-wurzel, and turnips; and the agriculture of the parish is at present in a very flourishing state. Iron-ore is found in great quantities, and might be worked to great advantage, but no works have yet been established. There are several gentlemen's seats, the principal of which are Cromore, an elegant mansion, the residence of J. Cromie, Esq.. the principal proprietor in the parish, who has recently planted several acres with forest and other trees; Flowerfield, of S. Orr, Esq.; O'Hara Castle, of H. O'Hara, Esq.; Low Rock, of Miss McManus; and Black Rock, of T. Bennett, Esq. There are also several villas and handsome bathing lodges at Portstewart, a pleasant and well-attended watering-place. A small manufacture of linen and linen yarn is carried on, and many of the inhabitants are employed in the fisheries, particularly in the salmon fishery on the river Bann. Of late, great quantities of salmon have been taken along the whole coast, by means of a newly invented net; and the sea fishery is continued for a long time after that on the river is by law compelled to cease. The Bann, which is the only outlet from Lough Neagh, discharges itself into the Atlantic at the western point of the parish; it appears to have changed its course, and now passes close under the point of Down Hill, the celebrated mansion erected by the Earl of Bristol, when Bishop of Derry. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Connor, united by charter of Jas. I., in 1609, to the rectory of Ardclinis, together constituting the union of Agherton, and the corps of the treasurership in the cathedral church of St. Saviour, Connor, in the patronage of the Bishop. The tithes amount to £240; and the tithes of the union, including glebe, amount to £470, constituting the gross income of the treasurership, to which no duty is annexed. The church, a small edifice, was erected in 1826, at an expense of £960, of which £100 was raised by subscription, £800 was a loan from the late Board of First Fruits, and £60 was given by John Cromie, Esq., who also paid the interest on £700 of the loan until the debt was cancelled in 1833. Divine service is also performed by the curate every Sunday in the school-house at Portstewart. The glebe-house, a handsome residence close adjoining the church, was built in 1806, for which the Board granted a gift of £250 and a loan of £500; the glebe comprises 20 acres of profitable land, valued at £80 per annum. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Coleraine. There are places of worship for Presbyterians and Wesleyan Methodists, the former in connection with the Synod of Ulster and of the third class. There is a male free school, and a female and two infants' schools are supported by Mrs. Cromie, who has built a large school-room for one of the latter: 275 children are taught in these schools; and there are four private schools, in which are about 130 children, and four Sunday schools. Mark Kerr O'Neill, Esq., in 1814, bequeathed £40 per ann. to the poor. There are some remains of the ancient castle of Mac Quillan on the glebe land adjoining the church. Near them are the gabled walls of the old church, still tolerably entire; and in the adjoining field is an extensive cave formed of uncemented walls covered with large flat stones, one of the largest and most perfect yet known in this part of the country there are also several other caves in the parish. In the townland of Carnanee is a very fine triangular fort, called Craig-an-Ariff; it is defended by fosses and breastworks, and is the only fort so constructed in this part of Ireland; within the enclosure are two cairns or tumuli. Dr. Adam Clarke, whose father kept a school for several years in the old parish church, received the rudiments of his education here; and in the latter part of his life spent much of his time in the summer at Portstewart, where during his stay in 1830, he built a handsome house, and erected in the gardens of Mr. Cromie a curious astronomical and geographical dial, which is still preserved there.-See



PORTSTEWART, a sea-port and town, in the parish of BALLYACHRAN, liberties of COLERAINE, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 3? miles (N.) from Coleraine, to which it has a penny post ; containing 475 inhabitants. It is situated at the foot of a branch of the great basaltic range of promontories, and commands an extensive view of the estuary of the Bann, the entrance into Lough Foyle, and the promontory of Down-hill, with the peninsula of Ennishowen in the distance. The exertions of the proprietors, John Cromie and Henry O'Hara, Esqrs., have raised this place, in the space of a few years, from a group of fishermen's huts to a delightful and well frequented summer residence. Its principal street, which commands the view already described, consists of well-built hotels and shops, having the mansion of Mr. Cromie near its centre ; at a little distance to the south is another street of smaller houses, and westward are a number of detached villas, lodges, and ornamented cottages, chiefly built for bathing-lodges by the gentry of the surrounding counties. In this portion is a castle, built in 1834 by Mr. O'Hara, on a projecting cliff over the sea, the road to which is cut in traverses through the rock on which it stands, thus giving it the character of a chieftain's fortress of the feudal ages. A mail coach passes through the town every day ; numerous vehicles ply to Coleraine ; and steamers frequently arrive from Liverpool, the Clyde, Londonderry, and occasionally from Belfast. A mile from the 'town is the parish church of Agherton ; divine service is also performed in a school-house in the place. There are a meeting-house for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, and a chapel for Wesleyan Methodists. The town is plentifully supplied with wild fowl, round and flat fish and herrings, of which last one of the most productive fisheries is off this port and on the coast of Ennishowen, The air here is serene and pure, the scenery grand and picturesque, the country well cultivated, planted, and embellished with elegant mansions, the principal of which, besides those already noticed, are Cromore, the seat of John Cromie, Esq. ; Flowerfield, of S. Orr, Esq. ; Low Rock, of Miss McManus ; and Blackrock, of T. Bennet, Esq. The vicinity presents a variety of objects of geological interest, especially at the castle and near the creek of Port-na-happel, where there is a rock of the colour and appearance of Castile soap, which, on being burnt,, emits a sulphureous smell, and leaves a purple cinder: here also are large layers of zeolite, stentite and ochre among the rocks of basalt. Not far from the town is the old channel of the Bann, from which the new channel has shifted nearly a mile westward: between both are large drifts of sand blown in from the sea, and covering many acres of excellent land.

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