1815 Statistical Surveys


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Population, Farmers, Poor, Health and Longevity, Fuel – There are 123 houses, inhabited by 353 males and 375 females. The farmers, who hold from 50 to 80 acres, are, in most of them, in sufficient circumstances; they kill their cow and bacon their hogs, soonally, which they consume in their families; they are, in general, healthful. On Sundays and market days, they appear clean, and in their best apparel; their coats are of frize, which is manufactured at home, waistcoats and breeches of Manchester materials. The food of the poor is potatoes and oatmeal; they seldom taste fresh meat. The males wear frize in coatings, where they can compass it, they wear Manchester waistcoats; the women, on Sundays, wear cotton, on other days lindacy-woolsey. The people are healthful and among the instances of longevity, there are two aged 90, one 87, and one 80 years. Coals, turf and furze are burned by the farmers, furze principally by the poor.


Disposition, Language, St. Columbkill – The poorer class is shrewd and sensible; upon the whole industrious; some are, however, addicted to the whiskey and idleness. Most of the inhabitants speak the English language, but they prefer the Irish among themselves. All the children speak the English language. A patron is held here every 9th day of June, which is called St. Columbkill’s day. The tradition is that St. Columb founded a Christian church here: kile being the Irish for church strengthens the tradition.


Children – The children are taught reading, writing and figures: some are employed in winding quills, some by the farmers and gentlemen in husbandry, while others have no employment at all, except making out firing for their father and mother.


Schools – There is one Roman Catholic school in the parish: the children are taught to read, write and figures; 2s. 2d. per quarter for reading and spelling; 3s. 3d. for reading and writing; 4s. 4d. for reading, writing, and figures: 29 boys and ten girls, at present, are in the school, which is not endowed. The intention of the present rector of Clonmore is to alienate the detached rood of the glebe, herein after mentioned, and give the 40s. which he is bound to do, to a Protestant school-master, whenever he can effect it, and which he has hitherto endeavoured to do, but to no purpose.


There is no public library, nor collection of Irish MSS, or other documents relating to Ireland.


Avowson – The Lord Primate has the advowson of this parish: it is a rectory, and was taxed £22 15s. 4d. Irish money in the 30th year of Henry VIII.


Church, Chapel, Glebehouse, and Glebe – There is a church in it, built 18 years ago by Primate Robinson, having purchased this part of Lord Derby’s estate, and finding the old church decaying, he, at his sole expense, erected a very handsome church and steeple, with minarets, in a portion of ground which he inclosed adjoining the old church-yard. Here is also a Roman Catholic chapel. A glebe-house, built in 1782, by the Rev. John Gibson, and 17 acres of glebe, purchased by the Board of First Fruits, in 1774, from Lord Derby, are attached to the house. At a quarter of a mile distance, there is a rood of glebe near the scite (sic) of the new, and walls of the old church, where there was formerly a residence for the clergyman.


Tithes – Wheat, oats, barley, flax, vetches, and meadow, pay tithes; flax never more than 8s. per acre: sheep being so few in number, are not paid for, nor are there any small dues. The clergyman employs a proctor, who views and sets the parish for him, and the landholders pass their promissory-notes, payable to the incumbent, which the proctor witnesses, and hands over to his employer, who receives the money the year after the notes are passed.


Value of lands – The landlords renew the leases with their tenants before the expiration of the lease, the tenant advancing something in the acreable rent, which makes it difficult to answer his quere. No lease has expired since 1807. The average rent, at present, is 1s. 6d. by the old leases.


Crops, Stock of Cattle – The routine of crops is potatoes, wheat, oats, barley, hay-seed and clover, sown when laying-down the ground. A few sow clover only for tillage, those who hold the largest farms, feed some sheep and a few cows, along with those which give them milk. The small farmers have a cow or two for milk, some of them two or three sheep, with the wool of which they cloath (sic) their families, when manufactured. There is neither fair nor market.


Implements – The implements of husbandry are the Irish plough, barrow, common car, and some Scotch carts and drays. We have a winnowing-machine in the parish, but no threshing machines.


Price of Labour – The labourers are annually employed; such of them, as do not reside with their employers, have from 10d. to 1s. 1d. per day; the cottiers, 6½d; these have a house, half an acre of ground, and grass for a cow, and a run in winter with the farmers’ cows, for which they pay £2 10s. annually.


There are 58 looms employed in this union for weaving linen for the Drogheda market, 3 carpenters, 2 shoemakers, and 2 tailors, &c. The remainder are employed in agriculture.


From The Freeman’s Journal, 10 & 21 February 1815



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Militia Returns – The returns of persons, deemed liable to be balloted for, as fit to serve in the militia for this county, from the parish of Creggan that is in the county of Armagh, taken this summer, by the county constables, appears to have been 1721; the return for Newtown-Hamilton parish was 1425; and for part of the parish of Armagh, in the Barony of Upper Fews, it was 315, making the total number for this barony, fit to serve in the militia, to amount to 3462.


On looking into the vestry book, an account appears to have been taken of the number of houses in the part of the parish that is [in] the county of Armagh, in furtherance of the Militia Act, in the year 1795. The return was 1412 houses, and each house was averaged at five inhabitants, making thus, in 1785, the number of inhabitants in the county of Armagh part of the parish, to amount to 7095.


Since the above statement was formed, an accurate account of the number of families, and the number of children in each, distinguishing male and female, as also the occupation or trade of the different families, was taken by the barony constables, at the desire of the governors of the county in order to ascertain the number liable to serve in the militia. The return is lodged among the public documents of the county. I have seen the return of some townlands and find that the number of cottiers, who do not appear in my tithe-book, is greater than imagined; farms also that were set by me, as one, half a year ago, have, since that, been divided into two, as the sons of the occupier married; I therefore think we may add 300 to the 1700 names appearing in my tithe-books. The higher average children to houses, found to take place in other districts, may certainly stand for Creggan; if we say five, it gives us 10,000 as the gross amount of souls in the parish.


The Freeman’s Journal, 21 February 1815




Note: The parish of Creggan is 24,814 acres in size, 2,991 acres of which lie in the county of Louth (source: General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns Parishes and Baronies of Ireland 1851). The above information relates only to the Co. Armagh portion of the parish. Rev Simon Nelson, in his History of the Parish of Creggan in the Counties of Armagh and Louth 1611 – 1840 (written circa 1845, reference PRONI manuscript T.541), as with Stewartt above, concentrates mainly on the Co. Armagh portion. However, he also mentions Creggan parish in Co. Louth and gives some insight into living conditions at the time of writing:


'The part of this parish in the County of Louth was formerly in the estate of the late Lord Boyne, whose trustee, Colonel Jibithorpe took fines from the principal wealthy tenants both in this and the neighbouring parishes, and gave them leases at reduced low rents, his authority, for doing this, was afterwards cancelled which gave rise to many tedious lawsuits; it was at length determined by the Lord Chancellor that the tenants' leases should remain valid, as the fines were to pay off Lord Boyne's debts. The whole fee and estate was afterwards sold by order of the Chancellor for the like purpose, and purchased by the tenants with very few exceptions.


… Some of the foregoing landlords let their lands reasonable, and wish their tenants to live well under them, whilst others (particularly those who have leases in the County Louth part of the parish), seem only to outvie each other for who can set their lands the dearest, seldom bringing to the recollection those lines from Goldsmith that "… a bold peasantry, their country's pride, when once destroyed can never be supplies"' [BH]



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IN 1816




From a MS. in Public Record Office, Dublin, belonging to late W. Shaw Mason,

kindly copied by Rev. J. B. Leslie.




NAME AND SITUATION. - The Parish of Dundalk, anciently Traghbhailie, is situated in the Barony of Upper Dundalk, Co. of Louth and Diocese of Armagh. The small parish of Castletown was, as far as can be ascertained, added as an appendage in the Primacv of Lord Rokeby, and is permitted to continue

There is beside this a tract of 500 acres in the lordship of BallymascanIon, which pays tithe to the Vicar of Dundalk, but of the time in which this arrangement was first made or of the circumstances in which it originated no record at present can be traced.


BOUNDARIES. - These parishes are bounded on the north by the lordship of Ballymascanlon and the parish of Faughard, on the south by the parishes of Haggardstown and Haynestown, on the east by the Bay of Dundalk, and on the west by the parishes of Ballybarrack, Philipstown and Dunbin.


CONTENTS. – According to the Down Survey Dundalk Parish contains 4,000 acres and that of Castletown 775, but this calculation must be inaccurate as Dundalk is of less and Castletown of greater extent than is specified in that return.


SITUATION OF TOWN. – As the geographical position of a district can be best determined by that of some particular point, It may be mentioned here that the Town of Dundalk lies on the great northern road 40 miles distant from Dublin, and is in 54° north latitude, and 6° 30" west longitude.


RIVERS. – The Castletown River is the only one of any importance in these parishes. It is formed by the junction of the Philipstown River and the River Ballrickan, and, taking a direction from west to east, falls into the Bay of Dundalk about a mile and a half below the town.


MOUNTAINS, BOGS AND MOORS. - The face of the country exhibits a considerable variety of surface, but does not present either mountains or very elevated hills. The soil is fertile and not inclined either to bog or moor. The climate is mild but damp, and every species of tree seems to thrive here - there are not, however, any woods or orchards worthy of mention, nor any plantations, with the exception of those in the demesne of the Earl of Roden, and the ornamental timber of the surrounding seats. A very extensive nursery is kept by Mr. Wm. Reid, whose trees are sought for in England and Wales, and who has exported a considerable number to that spirited planter, Doctor Thackeray, of Chester, by whom they are considered to be the most promising in the various plantations made by him to the extent of more than 500 acres.





MINES AND MINERALS. - No Mines or Minerals have been discovered in these parishes, nor does it appear that their existence has ever been made a subject of much enquiry. A mineral spring, however, of a chalybeate nature found in the lordship of Ballymascanlon, has been used with considerable success on several occasions. Many quarries of the best building stone are open, and the vicinity of these parishes supplies abundance of excellent limestone – a large quantity of which is annually burned for manure.


BUILDINGS. - In the Parish of Castletown there are no public buildings, but in the Town of Dundalk the public structures are numerous and not inelegant. The religious edifices are a Church, a Chapel, a Presbyterian and a Methodist Meeting House. The Church, originally built at a very remote period, after having been destroyed in the Irish wars, was repaired in the commencement of the last century and beautified and enlarged in the beginning of this, by the erection of two galleries, and in order to accommodate the increasing population, has been still further enlarged within the last year. It is now capable of containing one thousand persons; and seats for one hundred individuals have been set apart and are to remain forever unappropriated. The plan upon which it has been enlarged deserves the attention of those in whose churches there may be occasion for increased accommodation.

The churchyard is a model for similar enclosures. A beautiful avenue of lime trees surrounds the whole, under whose solemn shade spacious gravelwalks have been formed, presenting a scene well suited for religious meditation. Those sides which are most in public view are enclosed by a handsome and extensive palisade, and the remainder by well-built walls. At each of the southern angles is a neat building, the one erected by the parish for the accommodation of a sexton, and the other by the Rev. E. Thackeray, Vicar, for a school for the education of the poor. But the establishment of a school on the foundation of Erasmus Smith having rendered this no longer necessary it has been given to the parish for a charitable repository.

The Chapel is a neat modern building. The Presbyterian Meeting House is a small but respectable edifice, and the Methodist place of worship is on a very contracted scale, but sufficiently large for its congregation.


THE INFIRMARY. -  is an old house, ill adapted to the purpose, but under the best system of management. It is capable of containing 24 patients, and the Dispensary, which is under the same roof, enables a considerable number to obtain, without expense, both medicines and advice. It appears from the returns of the last year that 174 patients were admitted into the Hospital, and 1,056 were relieved from the Dispensary.


GOAL [sic]. - The Goal is inconveniently small, but is well regulated and as comfortable as its contracted dimensions will permit; preparations are, however, making for erecting a new Prison on the most improved plan, and £1,600 have been voted by the Grand Jury for the purpose.


MARKET HOUSE. - The Market-house, a handsome plain structure, was built by the late Earl of Clanbrassil. It contains a spacious ballroom with every necessary accommodation. The present proprietor liberally grants the use of it for all public purposes of business or of pleasure.


CHARTER SCHOOL. - The Charter School was an old building, but extremely well arranged. It contains 60 female children who are instructed in the principles of the Established religion, and who after being carefully prepared in every thing likely to fit them for eligible situations are apprenticed into respectable families.

The immediate erection of a new school on a more extended plan is at present in the contemplation of the to [sic] everything connected with the lncorporated Society whose attention advancement of religion cannot be too highly applauded.


LINEN HALL. - The Linen Hall, which was built by subscription about 50 years back, is a neat though small building. It is however sufficient for the trade which is carried on.


CUSTOM HOUSE. - The Custom House, a neat edifice is well calculated for the purpose for which it is designed.


BARRACK. - The Barrack is an extensive square, situate upon the sea shore, and is at the distance of an

English mile from the main street. It is capable of containing 700 Infantry and 200 Cavalry, and has good accomodation [sic] for officers. It was originally built by a grant from Parliament from which circumstance its denomination of Parliament-square has been derived, but the cambric manufacture, for which it was designed, not proving successful; it was converted to its present use.


COURT HOUSE. – A Court House which is at present erecting promises to be as ornamental to the town as creditable to the taste of the designer.


BUTTER CRANE. - The Butter Crane and Stores are on a very extensive scale. The Crane House, built by the Corporation of this town, cost £420. The Stores, which are one among the many proofs of the enterprising spirit of the inhabitants were built by subscription in the year 1812, and cost a sum of nearly £6,000. The general stagnation of trade has, of course, been felt in the article of butter, but it may be expected that the return of more favourable times will produce a briskness of demand which does not at present exist.


PUBLIC BAKERY. - In the year 1811 a Public Bakery was established in this town under the auspices of the Earl of Roden and the most respectable of the inhabitants. As it has had the effect of lowering the price and improving the quality of our bread, it may not be useless to detail its internal arrangements and to state the plan on which it has been formed. Shares of 50/- each were sold to such persons as were willing to purchase without any restriction, except that no individual could have more than 10, and in a very short time the sum of £1,000 was subscribed. Of this £800 was expended in building a bake-house and ovens on such a scale that 100 cwt. of flour may be baked in each week. The regulation of the assize and the examination of accounts is under the management of a committee of 12 elected annually. These are divided, into sub-committees of 4, of whom the chairman attends every day, and .the 3 remaining members every Tuesday, to ensure the regular attendance of the sub-committee so necessary to the welfare of the Institution, each member who is present receives for his attendance 3s. 9d., while those who are absent are fined 2s. 6d. By a steady adherence to this system the greatest advantages have been produced. In the year 1811 3½lbs. of bread sold for one shilling: immediately after the formation of this establishment the loaf was considerably increased. In the year 1815 6¼lbs of bread, composed entirely of first flour, could be purchased for 1s. 1d.; and so evident is the utility of this system that the annual sale at this bakery has amounted to the amazing sum of £10,000.


FREE SCHOOL. - Within these few years a Free School has been erected on the formation of Erasmus Smith. It is a large and handsome structure. But as it is connected with a system of education, which there is much to be observed, and as it occurs again under the article of Schools, we must refer the reader to that section of this report.


DISTILLERY. - In the enumeration of our Public Buildings it would be an injustice to omit a most extensive Distillery the property of an enterprising company, but immediately under the direction of two Scotch gentlemen, Messrs. Brown and Murray. The duties on malt and spirits paid by them to the Crown amount to a sum of £9,726 a month, and they continue to work during more than half the year; their annual contribution to Government is not less than £77,811 0s. 0d. They give employment to upwards of 100 labourers and artisans, besides a number of clerks and other confidential persons. This establishment has been productive of many advantages to the town, and if spirits should unhappily continue to he the beverage of the country the character of those who have the management of its preparation here ensure its being at least as inocuous [sic] as in any part of the kingdom.


TOWNS. -The only places which come under this description are Dundalk - the more remarkable features of which have been detailed in the foregoing part of this Section, and the village of Castletown. The latter tho' small is neatly built, and being situated on a rising ground, presents no unpleasing appearance to the eye.


INNS. - Dundalk contains one Inn, a large and handsome house capable of affording every accomodation. There are besides several inferior places of entertainment and 52 houses licensed for the sale of malt and spirituous liquors. The use of ardent spirits still prevails, but is in some measure de creasing. From enquiry it has been found that the chief consumption of spirits is amongst persons from the mountain district, while those who from a more civilized part of the country give the preference to malt, and it may therefore be hoped that the day will come when beer and porter will be in general use and when the peasantry will enjoy a beverage that is at once wholesome, nutritious and cheap.


ROADS. - The chief road is the great northern road, which crosses the parish of Dundalk in a direction from N. to S., it is intersected by the roads leading to of Ardee, Castleblayney, Carrickmacross, and Markethill. The northern road is on an average 40 ft. in breath and each of the others 32. With the exception of that leading to Castleblayney these roads are in good order, and are repaired with stone and gravel at the rate of 10s.per perch.


BRIDGES. - The only Bridges are those of Dundalk and Castletown – the former is old and ill-adapted for so respectable a town and so great a thoroughfare (NOTE. - However, in the course of the present year this defect will be remedied as a new bridge is to be erected.) The latter is neat and in good order, but built in a situation peculiarly awkward.


SEATS. – On entering the Parish of Dundalk by the Dublin road to the left is Priorland, a comfortable residence the property of Mr. Dawson. On the same side but at some distance from the road is Fair Hill, the house and demesne of the Hon. John Jocelyn - the house is a plain modern built mansion. The demesne is laid out with much taste, and from parts of it there are most beautiful views embracing the sea, the mountain and the plain in their most varied and most attractive forms. By carrying the eye a little farther in the same direction may be seen Lisnawilly, the seat of Mr. Straton. The house is a modern structure, and does much credit to the taste of its present occupier, by whom it was erected. The grounds are well dressed, and the view, tho' less extensive, not less beautiful than that of Fair Hill. In the centre of the town is Dundalk House, the property of Lord Roden. The house is old and irregular but contains several excellent apartments, and as it is understood to be the intention of Lord Jocelyn to make it in a considerable degree his residence much improvement as well in it as in the grounds, is naturally to be anticipated. The Parish of Castletown contains nothing under the description of house and demesne if we except that from which the name of the parish is derived, and which is the property of Charles Eastwood, Esq. The Castle is old but in high preservation and has several good apartments. It is said to be the intention of the present owner to make such additions as will render it a suitable residence, and as they will of course correspond with the original building it will form an object of considerable beauty.





RATHS. - In the Parish of Castletown a Rath is still to be seen which there is every reason to suppose to be of Danish origin. It is in a commanding situation, and is visible for some miles both north and south.

The town of Dundalk formerly contained many castellated ruins, but in the progress of improvement they have given place to more modern structures, and even tradition is silent as to the persons by whom they were founded. A tower, however, still remains, and from a burial place and ruin, not far from it, it has been conjectured to have been a religious edifice, but this is not easy and perhaps not important to determine.


RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLIES. -There are two monthly convocations of the Roman Catholic Clergy for the purpose, it is understood, of examining into religious matters; and on the festivals in honour of St. John and the Blessed Virgin a considerable number of persons assemble around wells dedicated to these Saints. In order to obtain all the benefit expected on these occasions it is necessary to undergo a preparatory fast, the memory of which, however, is soon lost in the revel which usually succeeds it.





POPULATIONS. - From a census taken by order of Government and transmitted to the Clerk of the Peace, July 17th, 1813, it appears that the Parish. of Castletown contains 822 souls, of which persons 396are males and 426 females. These are divided into 161 families, of whom 139 are engaged in agriculture and 18 in handicraft employment. The Parish of Dundalk contains, according to the above return, 8,600 persons, of whom 4,090 are males and 4,510 females. These individuals compose I,777 families, of which 1,349 are employed in the different branches of agriculture, 306 in manufacture and trade, while there are 122 families which cannot be classed under either of the above denominations.


STATE. - The situation of all ranks as to domestic comfort and convenience has been rapidly advancing. The general food of the poor is potatoes, meal, and sometimes a little fish. Those however who live in the town of Dundalk are much better dieted, as the number of cattle usually slaughtered there gives a great facility of procuring coarse meat. The termination of war, however, has naturally diminished the export of beef, and, of course, in a great degree interrupted this supply.


HOUSES. - The condition and general appearance of their houses has been constantly improving; at the same time the use of grates, except immediately in the town, has not become general.


STATURE. - The stature of the inhabitants is much the same as in other parts of the island and the dress of both sexes considerably altered for the better.


LONGEVITY. - There are no extraordinary instances of longevity, but the majority of the inhabitants attain a degree of old age which is probably the best proof of the salubrity of the climate.





GENIUS AND DISPOSITION. - The natural capability of the peasantry is poor, but their attainments moderate. A considerable improvement has, however, taken place in this respect within those last ten years, and much of this is evidently to be attributed to the establishment of a Free School for the gratuitous education of the poor.


LANGUAGE. - English is the language of this part of the country, but there are many by whom Irish is understood and spoken.


CUSTOMS. - Of ancient customs there are still various remains, particularly as to wakes and funerals, but as these do not form any parochial peculiarity it is unnecessary to detail what has been treated of by others and what is to be observed in so many parts of the island.





EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN. - As the majority of the inhabitants are engaged in agriculture a great proportion of the children must pursue a similar walk in life whenever their strength and age enable them to enter upon it. Until that period they are sent to the different places of education, of which there are considerable number in this parish. The rates of tuition are on an average 2s. 6d. per month, for which they are instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic. The amount of pupils in each is respectable, but owing to the establishment of a school on the foundation of Erasmus Smith their number is not as great as it might otherwise be. This institution was founded in the year 1812, and cost a sum of nearly £1,000, one half of which was raised by various modes of subscription amongst the inhabitants of Dundalk. The school consists of two branches - a male and female department; 150 boys and 50 girls are at present on the books, and as the advantages of education are every day more manifest, it is to be expected that the number of pupils will every day increase. This and the other schools which have been spoken of are designed for the instruction of the lower classes. The desire for information, ho ever [sic], is testified equally by every other rank, and for the indulgence of this desire ample means are provided in three very respectable seminaries. One is kept by Mr. Falloon and is a mercantile academy; the second is a classical and mercantile school under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Nielson, a gentleman well-known in the literary world, but more particularly by his attainments in the Gaelic language; and the third is a classical school under the care of a the Rev. J. H. Stubbs, a Clergyman of the Established Church and whose talents are justly appreciated by the University of Dublin, in which he was educated, and sat for Fellowship with considerable reputation. This school has an endowment of Lord Limerick's for the purpose of educating the children of Freemen. It has lately been enlarged, and is at present under the best system of management. Indeed, the progress of the pupils render it unnecessary to expatiate on the merits of the gentleman to whom it has been confided.





ADVOWSON & GLEBE. - The advowson of the parish belongs to the Earl of Roden. The glebe lands consist of about 20 acres of prime quality at the distance of a mile from the town of Dundalk. The glebe house is close to the town and was built about 40 years since by the Rev. Dr. Hamilton. It is in the new (?) style, affording every accomodation [sic] suited to the society in which the Incumbent may be supposed to live, and as far as possible combining this object with the very limited income of the parish. The garden is well laid out; it is enclosed by walls on three sides and open to the Bay of Dundalk, the valley of Ballymascanlon, and the mountains of Carlingford.


TITHES. -The Tithes of the Parish of Dundalk are the property of the Earl of Roden. The only income the Vicar receives from them is £17 6s. 8d. in lieu of Vicarial tythe. The tythes of the small rectory of Castletown are received by the Vicar of Dundalk, and the articles on which it is most usually charged are corn, hay, and flax.


RECORDS. -The Registry of Deaths, Births, &c. is the only Parochial Record, and it is, of course, regularly kept.


CLERGY. - Besides the Clergy of the Established Church, there are here one of the R.C. persuasion and his assistants, together with a Friar and a Presbyterian Minister, both of whom are Chaplains to the County Goal.


ROMAN CATHOLICS. - Any increase in the numbers of the Roman Catholics is merely to be attributed to the increase of population.


FRIENDLY SOCIETY. -There are in this parish two Charitable Institutions peculiarly worthy of notice - the one for the purpose of preventing mendicity and the other for providing clothing for the poor. The first of these is under the direction of a committee of subscribers, who assemble monthly in order to examine into the state of the funds and to make such arrangements as may seem expedient. The contributions are considerable, and a large sum is distributed weekly to such persons as have been properly recommended and have relinquished their former custom of begging. The advantages of this are, however, confined to those who have resided in the Corporation, and a person is appointed whose duty it is to prevent strange beggars from remaining in the streets.


DORCAS FUND. - The second of these Institutions is called Dorcas Fund and although the subscription from each individual is but a penny a week the number of old and infirm creatures to whom it affords comfortable clothing is great indeed. Within the year 1815, by the exertions of female benevolence, no less than 120 persons were supplied with blankets, petticoats, &e., and it is presumed that as its utility is every day more apparent its resources will every day be increased. However, it is to be regretted that the embarassments [sic] of the times have thrown a temporary damp even upon this institution.





LAND. - The land of this country is good, and owing to the extraordinary price of corn during the late wars it has been set at a rent not likely to be permanent. At present, however, it suffers a considerable depreciation and under either of these circumstances it is not easy to ascertain the value.


SUCCESSION OF CROPS. - The succession of crops is generally potatoes and flax, two crops of oats, or else wheat and oats. The Scotch and English husbandry has been introduced within these few years and owes much of its success to the exertions and example of the Hon. John Jocelyn.


IMPLEMENTS. - With improved systems, it is almost needless to say improved implements have been adopted.


MANURES, &c. - Stable dung, lime and marl, are the general manures.


FAIRS AND MARKETS. - There are two weekly markets in Dundalk, one on Monday, and the other on Saturday. In the first of these it is calculated that from six to eight thousand persons assemble. The attendance on Saturday is not so full owing to the corn market being held on Monday, and as it ranks among the highest in this province is the means of collecting people connected with agriculture from every quarter.


RATE OF WAGES. - The general rate of wages per year is from 10d. to 1s. 1d. per day, but labourers employed occasionally receive from Is. 3d. to 1s. 8d. The rate of harvest labour depends on so many circumstances that it is impossible to ascertain it.





FACTORY. - There is no factory in these parishes; but a small quantity of linen, cambric and calico is manufactured by private individuals. Nor are there any persons occupied in making woollen cloths. Yet Dundalk is a considerable mart for what is called "Louth Cloth" and this enables the lower classes to provide themselves with an excellent fabric at the rate of from 4s. to 6s. per yard.


TRADES. - A large number of the inhabitants of Dundalk are engaged in the different handicraft employments, and many are successfully occupied in the various branches of wholesale and retail trade.

Liverpool, Glasgow, and Irvine, are the chief points of commercial communication with this place. The exports consist of a very large quantity of grain, horned cattle, sheep, swine, and even fowl and feathers. The imports are soft goods, and also earthen and other hardware, rocksalt, coals, tobacco, sugar, tea, and the best wines, which are brought direct from Oporto to the well-known vaults of Dundalk. This not being a building port, there are few ships, and, of course, few seamen belonging to the town, but upwards of 320 vessels load and unload here annually.


EMINENT MEN. - Among the distinguished persons whose birth adds celebrity to Dundalk there are no names more conspicuous than those of St. Richard and Cuchullain. The former as remarkable for his piety as the latter for his valor.

St. Richard, according to Sir James Ware, flourished in the thirteenth, century, and after having giving many proofs of his learning and virtue closed his mortal career at Avignon on the 16th November 1360. His bones were too precious a relic to be permitted to remain in a foreign land, and accordingly they were transferred by Stephen de Valle, Bishop of Meath, to Dundalk, a place which is recorded to have witnessed not only his birth but many of those miracles which the veneration or ignorance of the day had ascribed to him. The warrior was not less famous than the Saint and his history is not a little romantic. He was captain of the heroes of the Red Branch and tradition refers his death to the second year of the Christian Era. To the merits of such a renowned champion no female bosom could be insensible and Cuchullain won the heart of a noble Scottish lady. However ardent his passion may have been it is certain that it did not long continue, and the departure of Cuchullain convinced his spouse that she had been both insulted and betrayed. The indignity she had suffered, however, only stimulated her revenge, and when the child of which she was then pregnant arrived at manhood, she directed him to proceed to Ireland and to challenge the bravest of the nation to single combat. The defiance of the young hero was accepted, by Cuchullain beneath whose invincible arm he fell, and in the agonies of his death by the discovery of his name reminded the victor that he had not only broken the heart of a wife but imbued his hands in the blood of a son.





The Parishes at present under consideration are rapidly improving, a desire for information in general prevails and what is of still more importance is generally gratified.

Industry it may fairly be presumed would be promoted by education. Among the many modes, however, in which it might be exerted none would be more lucrative to the individual or beneficial to the public than the establishment of a factory and the formation of a Fishing Company. The Bay is said to contain abundance of excellent fish, and indeed from the quantities that are taken at Carlingford, the next seaport to this, there seems little doubt that enterprise is the only thing wanting for the attainment of this desirable object. The most important improvement known that could be effected for the advantage of Dundalk consists in forming a canal through the interior of the country. In the year 1797 this affair occupied the attention of Lord Blayney, and he has been kind enough to supply the following particulars: - Levels were taken by Mr. Woodgate (an English Engineer) in order to ascertain the most practical line of communication between Dundalk and Castleblayney. It was ascertained that the lake of Castleblayney lay 300 feet above the level of the sea at high water, and that a canal might be formed by means of inclined planes for a sum of £54,000. His Lordship's military duties, however, interrupted the execution of this design. At the same time it would be matter of deep regret if we could not look forward to a day in which this noble work may be accomplished. That it would prove a source of wealth to the counties through which it ran is too evident to need demonstration, and if once carried to Castleblayney it would not be chimerical to anticipate its junction with Lough Erne.


[In a letter to W. Shaw Mason, Mr. Thackeray also says, "Mr. Bell has promised us his assistance in preparing the Survey in such parts as belong more immediately to his taste and profession and wishes you should inform us whether if he takes the trouble to supply drawings you will think them of sufficient merit and value to have them engraved." He referred it seems to the antiquities of the Parish; none of them if supplied are extant. - J.B.L.]


The above article was printed in the 1907 edition of Tempest's Annual. The original manuscript was lost in the fire at the Public Records Office in 1922.





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I. The Name of the Parish, Situation, Extent, &c. - BALLYMASCANLON is the ancient and modern name of the parish, so called from the Scallion family, banished by King James the first. It is situated in the half barony of Lower Dundalk, county of Louth, and diocese of Armagh. Its longitude is 6º 40' west; and latitude, 51° 5' north; and it is bounded on the north, by the parish of Jonesborough, and part of Killevy parish, on the south, by part of Carlingford parish, and the sea; the west, by part of Dundalk parish and the sea and on the east by part of Carlingford and Killevy parishes. It contains thirty-four townlands, and is in length, from north to south, about nine miles, and in breadth, about five miles and a half.

There are about 6,000 cultivated acres of which there may be 200 used as meadow; all the pasture land, except the mountainous parts, receives the plough in turn.

One river, called the Flurry, nearly bisects the parish, in a course from north-west to south-east; it rises in a bog, north-east of Slieve-gullin; and taking a south-east direction, runs into the sea at Dundalk, together with a trifling stream, called the Pluister river, which rises south-east of Slieve-gullin, and meets the former river at Ballymascanlon. A circular lough also, in the centre of a very fertile field, near the shore, covers about a rood of ground, and is remarkable only for its beauty, and for giving name to the townland of Loughanmore.

A vast range of mountains, lying in the eastern part of this parish, goes by no particular name, except one which is called Carraquit. They are all heathy, yet afford tolerable pasture in summer. Their direction is nearly north and south, and they extend about seven miles and a half.

This parish has some turf-bogs, but they are not worth naming. There are no woods, except in Ravensdale demesne; no thickets, nor any plants of an uncommon kind.

II. Mines, Minerals, &c. - Vast iron mines may be supposed to exist in the mountains, from the quantity of chalybeate water springing out of them. The quarries consist of limestone, of which there is great abundance.

The river Flurry is well supplied with trout and salmon. There is an extensive shore south-east of the parish, joining the bay of Dundalk, productive of all kinds, and particularly of flat fish.

III. Modern Buildings, &c. - There are no infirmaries, or other public buildings of a similar nature in the parish. On the old great northern road, a bridge is built over the Pluister water; and another over the same river, on the new great northern road. Also, over the Flurry, stands another bridge on the road from Carlingford to Newry. On the east side of the new great northern road, are Ravensdale park, the seat of Lord Clermont and that of Baron M'Clelland, which is also known by the name of Ravensdale, from its vicinity to the village of the same name. This village, which contains about thirty-six houses, is situate five miles and a half from Newry, and four from Dundalk. On the east side of the road from Dundalk to Carlingford, distant from the latter ten, and from the former, two miles, is the seat of J. Wolfe McNeale, Esq. much improved as to soil, but not well planted. There are many other gentlemen's seats m the parish, but not so conspicuous as to merit description.

The great northern roads, old and new, run through the parish, for about five miles. It is intersected about eight miles, by a good road, leading from Carlingford to Newry, and meeting the new great northern road at Feed; this Carlingford road also branches off at Rockmarshall, towards Dundalk, and cuts the parish about five miles; a branch of it takes a direction about a mile from Ravensdale village, to the new great northern road towards Dundalk; another from the old great northern road at Carrickanena, cutting the new great northern road at right angles, towards Ballymascanlon.

IV. Ancient Buildings, &c. - On the burial ground of Foughart hill, are the remains of an old church. No other old buildings, either religious or military, are to be seen, except the remains of an old castle in Ballymascanlon, and some Danish forts, not worth notice.

V. Present and Former State of Population, Food, Fuel, &c. - There are about 1,400 inhabited houses in the parish, which, from the best observation, cannot be averaged at more than four persons to each house; of these there are about eighty families of the established church, and nearly as many dissenters: the majority is on the female side. The general occupation is spinning, weaving, and agriculture.

Where industrious exertion arises more from necessity than will, the lower order never can be wealthy. It is so with the generality of people here who are therefore poor. Their usual food is potatoes: their appearance not superior to their wealth or food. They are perfectly contented and quiet, except when their bad passions are excited by the artifices of the designing, or by the harsh treatment of landlords and agents, of which, it is to be regretted, instances have been found. They are of course, generally healthy and long-lived; there being numbers now in the parish, from 80 to 90 years old. Though there is no public house in Ravensdale village, both beer and spirituous liquors are universally drank; the latter however, is the favourite beverage.

VI. The Genius & Disposition of the Poorer Classes, &c. - The inhabitants have in them a vast shrewdness of talent and infinite good-nature under a certain mode of treatment; but when irritated, they are cruel and treacherous, and but too easily led by the voice of faction and discontent.

It is gratifying to a person attached to British policy, to have it in his power to say, that the English language is gaining ground fast; and that it is very generally spoken and taught.

There are two patrons; one on the first of February, in honour of St. Bridget, on Foughart hill; and the other on the fifteenth o£ August, in honour of the Virgin Mary, at Piedmont. Near each patron place, is what is called an holy well, named after the saint at which the people do penance. Their original objects were auricular confession, and other religious rites; but they are now converted to the purposes of idle amusements and riot.

VII. The Education and Employment of Children, &c. - There is no industrious employment for the children previously to the age at which they may be supposed capable of assisting their parents in the culture of their grounds. They are indeed generally sent to school for a very short time, and then, except the few who are trained to mechanical trades, they are all turned out to agricultural labour.

There is one protestant schoolmaster in the parish, who has a free house, with a salary of £4 yearly. There are eight Roman Catholic hedge schools; and the number of scholars may be calculated from what is stated in the fifth section. The usual rates of tuition are from 2d. to 5d. per week. No Irish manuscripts, or any historical documents relating to Ireland are to be found in the parish.

VlII. State of Religious Establishment, Tythes, &c. - The parish of Ballymascanlon is in the gift of Lord Clermont, who has a house in it, but he generally resides in England. This parish is not united to any other. Here are one church, two Roman Catholic chapels, and a glebe of twenty acres, on which is built a glebe-house, which is situate about two miles from the church.

There are no tythes taken in the parish, being Abbey lands. King James I granted the tythes, with the lands to a Mr. Hamilton, who set them tythe free, and the succeeding proprietors followed his example. The incumbent is paid £20 annually by Lord Clermont, and £80 from primate Boulter's fund. He holds his glebe at a sworn valuation, the late Lord Clermont, who gave it, being incapacitated from receiving a fine. The amount of the clergyman's income therefore is barely £100 per annum. An application was lately made to the present incumbent, through Lord Clermont's agent, to sign a bond, indemnifying his lordship from the small portion paid by him, but it was immediately rejected.

No parish register was kept here until the time of the present incumbent. Any information derived from it must be unsatisfactory, or rather useless, because the mass of the people are Roman Catholics, who keep no register.

IX. Modes of Agriculture, Crops, &c. - The Scotch mode of husbandry is rapidly gaining ground in the parish. The breed of all kinds of cattle is now so much crossed that it is hard to know how to distinguish them. The best land sets from £5 to £3 per acre, but it graduates downwards to 16s. The farms are small, being generally from fifteen to even so low as three acres. The price of labour is from 10d. to 1s. per day, without victuals.

X. Trade, Manufactures, Commerce, Navigation, &c. - The occupations here are spinning and weaving. There are two bleach greens and a small starch manufactory. The number of hands engaged in the linen manufacture may be estimated at fifty. A weaver can earn about fifteen shillings a week by his loom. There are patents for two fairs, at Foughart and Ravensdale but none are held.

XI. Natural Curiosities, Remarkable Occurrences, &c. - None.

XII. Suggestions for Improvement, and Means for meliorating the Condition of the People. - The means of improving and meliorating the situation of the people, lie chiefly with themselves. A strict adherence to habits of industry; a respect and veneration for the laws of their country; a contempt and hatred of disaffected and rebellious principles: and the constant practice of true religion, honesty and virtue, are the unfailing sources of comfort and independence: not only to the inhabitants of this parish, but to those of Ireland: and no man with health thus acting, can be called poor or wretched. The different degrees of poverty and affluence among the people, grow chiefly from the manner in which they severally act, more than from the state of rent wages or any other cause; which may be seen from a multiplicity of instances of a number of men being joint tenants in a farm, similarly circumstanced, and under similar rents some of whom become independent and happy, while others are insolvent and wretched; and in truth, I know many who would become beggars upon a portion of land, even rent free, which at a high rent would be to others a source of independence and comfort, that not to be judged of by their food or external appearance, but their correct dealing, and good conduct in society; for it is a common thing to see a man worth £50 above his immediate wants, wearing the same coat for several years; while others, who practice drunkenness and its attendant vices, will appear neat on a Sunday, though their effects are under seizure for rent. Common experience is sufficient proof that the price of labour is generally regulated by the price of agricultural produce, and the success or decline of manufactures and commerce. Were the gentry to shew an example of that good conduct, which they would wish to see in the people; did the great land proprietors in their treatment of the peasantry, decline in general to make their own capricious will the law, and thus deprive the ever watchful rebel of his wished for opportunity, to diffuse the destructive poison of his doctrines, these measures would tend much to fix the peace, contentment, and industry of the people. I will add another calamity, as an obstacle to improvement, namely, road jobbing, which comes every half year, a most heavy and unexpected burden upon the poor. It is now become a tax of such magnitude, as nearly to equal the revenues necessary to support the government, and to save the state.

XIII. Name of Townlands etc. - Eddintubber, Carrickarnon, Dromad, Feed, Aughnaskea, Drumnacana, Drumnasilla, Broleck, Borohatna, Colfow, Ballymascanlon, Aughaboy, Navan, Foughart, Ballynamannon, Plaister, Carrickanena, Monascrib, Mullyard, Aughnaverna, Dulargy, Ravensdale, Ballymakellet, Jenkenstown, Spellikanee, Aughnameen, Moonahorockroa, Killin, Piedmont, Loughanmore, Rampark, Rockmarshal, Annas, Kilcurry.

William Shaw Mason's [1774 - 1853] 'Statistical Survey of Ireland' was published in three volumes during the years 1814 to 1819 and for County Louth includes the parishes of Clonmore, Ballymascanlon, Faughart, Creggan and Rathdrummin (but not Dundalk). Although listed under Louth, the Creggan account relates only to Co. Armagh.


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Parish of Faughart, County Louth


By the Rev. GERVAIS TINLEY, Rector.

1. The Name of the Parish, Extent, &c. - THE ancient name of this parish is Foghard, the modern Faughart. It is situated in the barony of Lower Dundalk, in the north-east of the county of Louth, and Diocese of Armagh. It is bounded on the east by Dundalk; west by Fork Hill; north by Jonesborough; and south by Roche; containing about 1,400 acres, divided into the townlands of Balriggan, Rosskeeah, Carrick Edmond, Lurgankeel, and Dungooley.


Its extent from east to west is nearly two miles. About four-fifths of the parish produce good corn, wheat, barley, and oats; and the remainder is in pasture and potatoes. There are no rivers running through the parish; but it is bounded on the south by Dungooley river, which separates it from Roche. Neither are there any bogs or mountains in it; though it is bounded on the north by the Fork hill mountains, which are for the most part pasturable, yet high and beautifully grand.


II. Mines, Minerals, &c. - The mineralogy of this parish, in consequence of the want of mountain, presents us with very little interesting matter. Limestone is the chief substratum; it is found in great abundance, and of a good quality, equally useful for building and manure. There is also rich marl in various parts of the parish.


III. Modern Buildings, &c. - An elegant mansion was lately built by Colonel Ogle on the right side of the main road from Dundalk to Fork hill, in the town land of Carrick Edmond, three miles from Dundalk, and two from Fork-hill; the same gentleman is now erecting a flour mill in the townland of Balriggan, at a great expense, but which promises to be of the utmost utility to the neighbourhood. The high road from Dundalk to Fork hill, Market hill, and Armagh, runs through this parish.


IV. Ancient Buildings, &c. - There are no ancient buildings, either monastic or castellated here; nor at present is there town, church, or glebe-house. One small Danish fort, called Fort hill, is the property of the Earl of Roden. This hill was probably the scene of the celebrated battle in which the Scotch were finally defeated, and their leader, Edward Bruce, killed, in the 15th year of the reign of Edward II by the English of the pale, under the command of Sir John Bermingham who was created Earl of Louth, for this service. Here also Lord Mountjoy, Essex's successor in the government of Ireland, gave the first check to the progress of Tyrone. Another fort is the property of Lord Clermont, from whom, a grant of half an acre of land has just been purchased whereon to build a church, an undertaking much to be desired, and which is to be commenced immediately.


V. Present & Former State of Population, Food, Fuel, &c. - There are in the parish of Faughart twelve Protestant families, containing 56 persons; two Dissenting families, containing 11 persons; and two hundred and thirty-seven Roman Catholic families, making a total of 1,361 persons.


The general food of the inhabitants is potatoes, meal, and milk; some of the wealthier farmers occasionally eat animal food. Their chief employment is agriculture, by which they support themselves very decently; they appear well clothed, and look healthy. There are but few paupers. No remarkable instances of longevity are recorded, though the climate is dry and healthy.


VI. Genius and Disposition of the Poorer Classes, &c. - The genius and disposition of the people are good: they are capable of much mental and corporeal exertion; but have few opportunities of shewing their talents for anything out of the common course of their daily occupation. The men are sober and industrious; and the females sedulously employed m spinning. They have no particular customs, or patron days. Most of them can speak English tolerably well; but their common language with each other is Irish.


VII. Education and Employment of Children, &c. - The children have no particular employment; they are tolerably well educated, and aid their parents on their little farms, as soon as they arrive at an age capable of labour.


There are two good schools in the parish; one of which is kept by a Protestant master, consisting of 40 children; the other by a Roman Catholic, containing upwards of 50 children; but no particular plan is pursued, nor is there any endowment to either. The parents pay a small salary of two shillings and sixpence quarterly; and the rector gives the masters an annual stipend, and provides the children with writing paper, prayer-books, and testaments. There is no public library, or any collection of manuscripts in this parish.


VIII. State of Religious Establishment, Tythes, &c. - In the parish of Faughart there is a Protestant rector, and a Roman Catholic priest. The patron is his Grace the Lord Primate. At present there is no church, neither glebe land nor house; but ground has been lately purchased whereon to build a church; and the rector is preparing to build a house on his own farm in the parish. There is a good Roman Catholic chapel. The tythe of wheat, barley, oats, hay, and flax, are viewed, and set at a valuation agreed on, for which, tythe notes are passed by the farmers (at setting in September) to the rector, payable on the first day of November ensuing; but seldom paid until the following harvest.


IX. Modes of Agriculture, Crops, &c. - Few farmers hold more than fifty acres of land; the rest diminish until they come to 15, 10, or five acres. The price of land, particularly late takes, is from four guineas to five pounds; but what has been held under old leases rates variously, from one guinea to three.


The mode of tillage is not good. The ploughs are heavy, and the horses weak; yet from the goodness of the soil, aided by lime and marl, in addition to the manure each farmer makes at his offices, their crops are productive, particularly that of potatoes, which enables the labourer to support his family at one shilling a day wages in winter, and one shilling and eight-pence in harvest. The chief proprietors of the soil are, the Earl of Roden, the Viscount Clermont, and Mr. Hamilton, of the county of Dublin. There are no market or fairs. Dundalk is the nearest market town.


X Trade, Manufactures, Commerce, &c. - There is no trade here, nor any manufactures, except that of a few pieces of linen cloth, which, the females of each family endeavour to make in the winter evenings, both to answer their own immediate wants and to sell. Being an inland parish, without river or canal, it affords no scope for any remarks on the other subjects of this section.


XI. Natural Curiosities, Remarkable Occurrences, &c. - The following list exhibits the succession of Incumbents, as they appear on the Records of the First Fruits Office. .

Rice Aphugh, Ecclia. de Fagherd, £60. Ibidem Mr. Briscoe Cur. 40s.

Guliel. Smith, Cler. collat. fuit 6° September, 1699, ad Rector. de Fagart et Baronstowne, Dioec. Arm. & Co. Lovid.

Guliel. Caldwell, Cler. collat. fuit 4° die Julii, 1794, ad Rector. de Dunbin et Kilcurly, et ad Prrebend. ibm. Rect. de Faughart et Baronstowne, in Dioec. Arm. et Com. Lovid.

Randolph Lambert, S.T.D. collat. fuit 28° Jun. 1706, ad Vic. Dundalke, Haggardstowne, Rect. Dunbin, Foghart, B.aronstowne et Heinstowne, £6 6s. 8d. Dioec. Armagh et Com. Lovid.

Thom. Leigh, Cler. collat. 9° Nov. 1710, ad Rect. Kilcurly, .et Praeb. ibm. Rect. Heinstowne, Baronstowne, et Foghart, et Vic. Haggardstowne.

Rev. Guliel. Woolsey, Cler. collat. fuit 20° die Julii, 1728, ad Rector. de Foghart, in Com Lovid, et Dioec. Armach.

The Rev. William Tod, Clerk, Bachelor of Arts, was collated and instituted on the 6th of May, 1741, to the Rectory of Foghart, in the diocese of Armagh.

Thomas Wolsey, A.B. Rect. Foghart, 24 April, 1754, Louth.

James Hacket, collated 15 July, 1775, R. Foghart, Louth.

Samuel Jacob, collated 20 April, 1776, R. Foghart, Louth.

James Eastwood, collated 6 Nov. 1797, R. Foghart, Louth.

Gervais Tinley, collated 5 May, 1808, vice James Eastwood, who held from the 6th day of Nov. 1797, vacated by death, Rectory Foghart, Louth, n. t.


XII. Suggestions for Improvement, and Means for meliorating the Condition of the People. - As to suggestions for improvement, and meliorating the situation of the people, new instruments of husbandry would best answer the purpose of the farmers; and a quantity of wheels given gratis among the industrious poor females, would be of essential service.



Balriggan (Lord Roden), Rosskeah (Lord Roden), Carrick Edmund (Lord Roden), Lurgankeel (Lord Clermont), Dungooly (Mr. Hamilton).


Acres, 1,400; Houses, 251; Families, 251; Males, 650; Females, 711; Total, 1361.

(From Parochial Survey of Ireland, edited by Shaw Mason, 1816.)



Click for : Dundalk 1816 ¦  Creggan 1815 ¦ Ballymascanlon 1816 ¦ Clonmore 1815 ¦ Faughart 1816 ¦

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