All Lewis entries for Ballywillin


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


BALLYWILLIN, or MILLTOWN, a parish, partly in the barony of LOWER DUNLUCE, county of ANTRIM, but chiefly in the North-East liberties of COLERAINE, county of LONDONDERRY, and province of ULSTER, 3- miles (N. by E.) from Coleraine, on the road to Portrush; containing 2219 inhabitants. This parish is bounded on the north by the Atlantic ocean, and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 4673- statute acres, of which 1617 are in the county of Antrim about 300 are sand and 150 bog; the remainder is arable and pasture. The entire district abounds with fossils and minerals of great variety, and with features of high geological interest. The soil, though various, is generally good; and the lands are in an excellent state of cultivation, particularly where not exposed to the drifting of the sand, which accumulates on the coast near Portrush. There is no waste land, except the sand hills near Portrush, which, from the constant blowing of the north and north-west winds, have overspread a large tract of excellent land, which it has been found impossible to reclaim. Much of the hog has been exhausted and brought under cultivation, and there is now barely sufficient for the supply of fuel. There are vast quantities of ironstone ; in some places the ore is found nearly in a metallic state, and in nodules of stone used for making the roads have been found nuclei of almost pure metal. Limestone is very abundant, but is not worked; the extensive quarries in the adjoining parish of Dunluce being held under a lease which prohibits the opening of any other upon the estate. Basalt in every variety is found here in a confused mixture of amorphous basalt with veins of red ochre, chert, soap-stone, and zeolite. In other parts there are magnificent columnar masses, the prisms of which are more perfect and more beautiful than those of the Causeway. These columns form part of a bold ridge of hills lying north and south, and displaying some of the finest features of basaltic formation in the island. Beardiville, the seat of Sir F. Macnaghten, Bart., a spacious and handsome mansion, is pleasantly situated and surrounded with extensive and thriving plantations ; and at Portrush are several elegant lodges and pleasing villas, which are occupied by their respective proprietors during the bathing season, and one of which belongs to the Bishop of Derry. The Skerries, a cluster of islands about a mile from the shore, and containing, according to the Ordnance survey, 24a. 1r. 9p., belong to this parish. Behind the middle of the largest of them a vessel may ride well sheltered in from to 7 fathoms of water, and on good holding ground.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Connor, and in the patronage of the Bishop: it was formerly an appendage to the chancellorship of that see, under a grant by Jas. I., at which time a vicarage was instituted; but it again became a rectory under the provisions of Dr. Mants act on the death of Dr. Trail in 1831. The tithes amount to £263. The church is an ancient, spacious, and handsome edifice, in the early English style, and is said to be the only one in the diocese or county, built prior to the Reformation, in which divine service is now performed; it has neither tower nor spire, but being situated on an eminence it is visible at the distance of several leagues at sea. There is a glebe-house, for the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits, in 1828, gave £450 and lent £140. In the R. C. divisions this parish forms part of the union or district of Coleraine. There is a place of worship at Magherabuoy for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, and of the second class, and at Portrush is one for Wesleyan Methodists. The male and female school at Portrush is aided by an annual donation from Miss Rice; the school-house was erected in 1832 by Dr. Adam Clarke. A male and female school is aided by an annual donation from Mr. Lyle. In these schools are about 80 boys and 60 girls; and there are also a pay school, in which are about 40 boys and 10 girls, and a Sunday school. Here are the remains of Ballyreagh, or "the Royal Castle," situated on a promontory having a bold facade of rock rising to the height of 296 feet, the base of which is washed by the Atlantic. Dunmull, originally a druidical circle, afterwards a Danish fort, and now a pasture for sheep, is one of the most curious and extensive vestiges of antiquity in the country; and about half a mile to the north-west of the church are the remains of a druidical circle and altar, with an extensive and well-arranged cave; there is also a druidical altar near Beardiville, in a very perfect state. Fine impressions of the cornua ammonis are found in the chert at Portrush; the cornua and the echenite are found also in the limestone, and every variety of the zeolite and opal in the basaltic or trap formation, with chalcedony, strontium, agate, rock tallow, and veins of fullers' earth.


PORTRUSH, a sea-port, in the parish of BALLYWILLAN, barony of LOWER DUNLUCE, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (N. E.) from Coleraine, to which it has a penny-post ; containing 337 inhabitants. It is situated at the north-western extremity of the county, on a peninsula of basalt jutting a mile into the sea toward the Skerries, having on the west a small but deep bay. According to the early annalists, this was the chief landingplace in the territory of the Rowte or McQuillan's country ; it was also chosen by Sir John Perrot, as time landing-place of his artillery at the siege of Dunluce castle. On the plantation of Ulster by Jas. I., it was made a creek to Coleraine, but it latterly has absorbed all its trade, as the accumulation of sand on the bar of the latter port has rendered it very dangerous. A large artificial harbour has been just finished at Portrush, the entrance to which is 27 feet deep at low Water, which has not only secured to it this advan-tage but has considerably increased its trade. The number of vessels now trading hither is 120, of the aggregate burden of l0,260 tons, The principal trade is with Liverpool, Whitehaven, the Clyde and Campbel-town. The chief imports are timber, coal, iron, barilla and general merchandise ; the exports, linen cloth, provisions, grain, live stock, poultry, eggs and salmon, the export of which last is very great during the season, which commences in May and ends in September ; the numbers of salmon taken off the shore have been much increased by an improved kind of net, but the principal supply is from the Bann and Bush rivers. The grain shipped in 1834 exceeded 6000 tons ; the butter, 8166 firkins. Steam-boats ply weekly to Liverpool and Glasgow, and three times a Week to Londonderry, Moville and Ennishowen. The town, owing to these causes, is rapidly improving. Many villas and lodges have been built in it or its immediate neighbourhood ; and the beauty of its situation, commanding an extensive and varied range of scenery, makes it a favourite place of resort for strangers, particularly during the bathing season. A chapel of ease is about to be built in it, the parish church being a mile distant: there is a meeting-house for Wesleyan Methodists. It is a station for the constabulary police and for the coast-guard. A male and female school, founded by the late Dr. Adam Clarke, and supported by the Irish Missionary Society, is kept in a large and handsome brick edifice with a cupola and bell. A handsome hotel is now in progress. Close to the town is a beautiful and extensive strand, and at its southern extremity is a range of cliffs of white limestone, in which are several extensive caves ; near it are some hills formed wholly of sand drifted by the northern winds ; some of these are of recent formation, as the rich vegetable soil, bearing evident marks of cultivation, can be traced beneath them. After a violent storm in 1827, which swept away some of the sand, the remains of an ancient town were exposed to view, shewing the foundations of the houses, in which were found domestic utensils, moose deer's horns, spear heads of brass, and other military weapons. In the immediate neighbourhood is also a rock in which are imbedded large and perfect specimens of the cornu ammonis: various other species of fossils are frequently discovered, A new line of road from this place to Portstewart was made along the cliffs close to the shore, and a railroad from it to Coleraine is in contemplation.

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