Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-10 > 0909120970
From: linda Merle <>
Subject: Lower Bann Valley -- Pt I
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 22:36:10 -0700
Hi, when I was in Ulster I bought a book at Queens Bookstore entitled
"Quiet Places of the Lower Bann Valley" by John HUGHES and Donal
BARTON. It is published by themselves at 36 Mosside Road, Dunmurry,
Tel: 615949/683147 .Copyright reserved. My copy is signed by both of
them 12-8-98. it is a travelbook of the Lower Bann, the area in Antrim and
Derry. It is the native area of Seamus Heaney, above one hour's drive
from Derry, Ballymena, Armagh, and Belfast. It contains much information
about this area, but I will share some townland history and surnames.
Buy the book!
Near Cranfield is a cottage at Creggan name: McATEERs. This is Toome.
Cranfield is quite ancient, with a church there from 1306. In 1584 the
rectory was appropriated to the priory of St John of Jerusalem-- an order
now known as the Knights of Malta. It is hard to trace the history of properties
belonging to these old orders in Ireland. Supposedly the Templars owned
a number of monasteries, esp. in the west. The theory is that the church
here was built in the 12th century by St. Malachy, Bishop of Armagh.
Or it was founded by Normans. We only know that it was decayed by
1662. There is an old graveyard, still used by some local families, with
headstones going back to 1704 -- Martha O'HAGAN, wife of Captain O'HAGAN
and daughter of Brain O'NEILL of Largy (between Moneyglass and Portglenone),
who died Feb 14, 1704. The tradition is that Mass was celebrated here
during the penal days.
In 1911 an annual celebration was observed. In 1979 it was revived again by
Fr McHUGH, curate at the parish, who is now parish priest at Ballintoy. There's
a holy well there, St. Olcans, still beleived to cure illness. [Mentioning these
priests, who rarely leave descendents, because they are from local
families -- who did!!]
Staffordstown in a small hamlet on the wall to Doss. It was named after the
STAFFORDs, a family who owned much land. They built a castle here. It
was distroyed, according to the Rev. James O'Laverty in his history
of the diocese of Down and Connor, in 1641, when the Irish overran it. When
the land about was cultivated, 15 pits of bones were discovered. The family
descended from Sir Frances Stafford, Gov. of Ulster in the days of Queen
Elizabeth I. Their land here and in Portglenone passed in the early 19th
century to the ALEXANDER family, which is gone from the area today.
At Toome we find the monument erected to John CAREY, who lies down
the road in the Duneane Presbyterian Churchyard.Long history of John
omitted.... Email me if he is hiding in your tree.
At the Church of Ireland in the parish of Duneane is Rody MacCORLY. It
is in the townland of Lismacloskey and is the supposed site of an older
church. When the monasteries were dissolved in 1542 Duneane and
Drummaul had a monastery at Kells. After the Siege of Derry Major DOBBIN,
a local landlord, pulled down part of the church. In 1615 the Bishop
owned four townlands: Lismacloskey, Tamnamore, Cloghogue and
There is an old Chapel at Ballyscullion called The Old Bog Chapel where
Mass was held during the penal days. Since then the first priest mentioned
is Patrick O'SCULLION, who is intered on Church Island.He was ordained
in 1683 in Galway. His securities were local gentlemen: George DOWNING
of Termoneeny and Owen McPEAKE of Ballyscullion, both gentlemen.
Father O'SCULLION himself was of local stock. In the 18th century we
have the Rev Rodger MULHOLLAND, residing at Roes Gift, Ballydermot,
Ballaghy, who is intered at Castledawson. Then Father Charles McCANN,
native of the townland of Lislea near Kilrea. Living at the end of the century,
he is buried with his kin at Drummagarner, Kilrea.
Many praises of the Manor of Portglenone deleted and much history up to
the point where St Patrick visits on his way to visit local chiefs in
Dalriada, and a century later by Saint Columcille. Portglenone is one of
four passes into Derry -- so it got a lot of traffic. It is beleived he
appointed the O'MUHOLLANDs to the position of Co-keepers of St. Patricks
Bell. The first building we know of erected here was the Castle built by
John de COURCEY in 1197. Dr ALEXANDER, Protestant bishop of Down
and Connor in the early 1800's purchased the castle and lots of local
land and demolished it in 1810!!! He built a new one. It has had several
owners since he died in 1850: YOUNGs of Galgorm, Ballymena for one.
It was bought in 1948 by the Cistercian Order. It was here the Manor Court
was held and a ferry service operated till it was replaced by a wooden
bridge, described by Richard DOBBS in his history of Co Antrim in 1683.
A seven arched bridge replaced it in 1824 and a five arch structure
In Co Derry across from Portglenone is Innisrush, named after an island
that used to be in the middle of Green Lough. There was the residence of
Hercules ELLIS, local landowners. It was once quite a thriving village.
John CLEMENTS owned a woodworking business. The Greenlough which
gave its name to the parish has now disappeared, having been drained
in the process of draining bogs in the late 1800's. However once there was
an island in the middle of it and Brian CARRAGH built a castle on it
and lived there till he died in 1586. He was the great grandson of Dumnhall
Donn, Donnell the Brown, O'NEILL, who founded the sept clan
Domhnaill-Duin-Na-Bana. He lived on the Antrim side but siezed the
O'Cahan clan's lands, which this was. Many tried to capture him but at
this time the land was bog, water, and wood. [Many stories of
The St. Patricks Bell that the O'MUHOLLANDs guarded existed in 552
according to the Annals of Ulster. A shrine was built to protect it, paid
for by Donal McLOUGHLIN, King of Ireland, for Donal McAMALGAID,
Primate of Armagh, at the end of the 11th century. St Colmcille supposedly
recovered it with a goblet and Bible from St Patrick's tomb and entrusted
the relics as he left Derry to the O'Mullhollands and O'MEALLIANs
families. O'Mullholland is O Maoil Chalainn means servant of Colmcille.
This sept controlled much land in South Derry and South West Antrim,
with a stronghold probably at the townland of Shanemullagh near the
village of Castledawson. They were displaced at the time of the plantation
by Sir Thomas PHILLIPS, gov of County Coleraine, who also received
land around Limavady and in Antrim.
Phillips sold these townlands in South Derry: Annaghmore, Aughrim,
Ballymaguigan, Creagh, Derrygarve, Letrim, Tamniarn, and
Shanemullagh to Thomas DAWSON, creating the Dawson estate in
1633. The Mullhollands were scattered. In 1659 Bryan Mullholland lived
in Drumard, Cormac in Ballymacpeake, and Bernard in Mayogall. They
continued to hold these treasures till Bernard died in 1758, emerging
again in the 1800's in the hands of Henry Mulholland, last of the
hereditary keepers. He became a school teacher in the village of
Eden-duff, Carrick, and on his deathbed gave a box, buried nearby,
to a former student and successful Belfast businessman Adam
McCLEAN. It contained a Gaelic Bible, St. Patrick's Bell and the
shrine. It is now in the National Museum in Dublin. The title page
of the Bible contains additional Mulholland genealogy.
>From Clady by the Glenone road across Bellaghy to Portglenone
Road are neat houses lived in by McERLANEs, QUINNs, DOHERTYs,
CASSIDYs, and McCANNs.
At New Ferry is another crossing point of the Bann. It was owned once
by Miss HAMILL, who had a large residence, now gone. A ferry was operated
by Philip SEXTON. During WWII the American Army put a pontoon bridge
across here. Nearby was a town of Ferrytown, about 20 families with one
grocier: Mr MURRAY. They are now all gone -- the folk were employed
at the Diatomite Company. Pitch made for the Maid of Antrim, a pleasure
Cruiser which operates in the summer. Must try it some time.
Our authors discuss at length the Bishop's property at Ballyscullion. He built
a huge house. Some land was purchased from a Mr Richard WILLIAMS
who had got it from Mr CONNELLY. This family bought the Bellaghy estate
of 32,000 acres from the Vintners in 1734. They came from Ballyshannon,
Co Donegal. Eventually they owned estates in 13 counties of Ireland.
Ballyscullion House is now owned by Richard MULHOLLAND. The
current house was built by the bishop's second cousin Harry BRUCE
in the 1840's. The Bruce's lost their wealth in the Wall Street Crash.
Innis Cille or Church Island is no longer an Island. Presumedly there was
a church tehre in the time of ST. Patrick. The original name was Innis
Taoide -- for it was founded by St. Thaddeus according to the Annals
of Ulster, where it is referenced in 1129. It was called Innis Toide until
the SCULLIONs became hereditary keepers in the 15th century. Then
the parish and townland were called Ballyscullion. Rivers change course,
and it appears that the River Moyola flowed into Lough Beg at this time.