From Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland (1900)

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Description of County Antrim | Carrick-A-Rede | Antrim Round Tower | Giant's Causeway | Glenarm Castle | Dunluce Castle | Shane's Castle | Carrickfergus Castle | Portrush | Albert Memorial, Belfast | St. Patrick's Cathedral, Belfast | Antrim Map

NAME.—The old form was Aentruibh, or Aentrebh, which probably means either "one tribe" or "one habitation:" but this is not quite certain. Antrim town gave name to the county.

SIZE AND POPULATION.—Length, from "The New Bridge" over the Lagan, near Lisburn, to the Giant's Causeway, 54 ½ miles: breadth, from Island Magee to Toome on the Bann, 30 miles: area, 1191 square miles: population, 421,943.

SURFACE.—An almost uninterrupted succession of hills and uplands, a kind of irregular plateau, long and narrow, extends along the coast from Belfast Lough to Fair Head, with a narrow belt of well cultivated land between it and the sea. Near Larne the mountains run down to the sea, forming magnificent scenery. From this plateau the land slopes inland, so that many of the main streams have their source near the sea, and flow west and southwest to Lough Neagh and the Bann.

MOUNTAINS AND HILLS.—The chief mountain summits are—Slemish (1,437), near the center point of the county, memorable as the scene of St. Patrick's early life: Trostan (1,811), Slieveanee (1,782), Slieveanorra (1,676), and Slievenahanaghan (1,325), all four near Cushendall: a little north of these, and west of Cushendun, Agangarrive (1,225), and Crockaneel (1,321): Knocklayd (1,695), a fine detached mountain mass near Ballycastle: Collin Top (1,426), Carncormick (1,431), and Soarns Hill (1,326), west of Glenarm: Divis (1,561), Black Mountain, (1,272), Squires Hill (1,230), and Cave Hill (1,188), all near Belfast: Carn Hill (1,025) and Toppin (928) near Carrickfergus.

COAST-LINE.—The coast, nearly the whole way round from Carrickfergus to Portrush, is broken into a succession of fine cliffs, pierced by many ravines, through which mountain streams, short and rapid, tumble into the sea. Cliffs formed of basaltic columns extend for many miles along the north coast, and attain their most striking development in Fair Head and the Giant's Causeway. A most picturesque road runs along the whole coast from Carrickfergus to Ballycastle.

HEADLANDS.—The chief headlands (going regularly round the coast) are—Bengore Head (367), of which the Giant's Causeway forms a part: Kinbane or White Head, topped by a castle ruin: Benmore or Fair Head (636), with its great ranges of basaltic columns: Torr Head, a spur from Carranmore Hill (1,254), 1 ½ miles inland: Garron Point, a grand cliff, near which is the singular detached tower-like sea rock—Cloghastucan: Ballygalley Head: the Gobbins, a series of lofty basaltic sea cliffs on the east side of Island Magee: Black Head and White Head, as you come toward Carrickfergus.

ISLANDS.—Rathlin, or Raghery Island, off the north coast: area, 5 ¼ square miles: shores abrupt and steep: highest point Slieveacarn (447), on the west end: in the northeast extremity are the ruins of Bruce's Castle, where Robert Bruce took refuge in the winter of 1306. The other islands are mere sea rocks, viz., the little group of the Skerries, near Portrush: Maidens, near Larne, with two lighthouses; and Muck Island, near the coast of Island Magee.

BAYS AND HARBORS.—Belfast Lough lies between Antrim and Down: Larne Lough, a shallow inlet 5 miles long, confined on the east by the long, narrow peninsula of Island Magee: Ballygalley Bay: the sheltered little Bay of Glenarm; and near it, on the north, Carnlough Bay: Red Bay, at the mouth of the Glenariff River, with its remarkable caves: Murlough Bay, near Fair Head: Ballycastle Bay: White Park Bay, east of Bengore Head.

RIVERS.—The Bann forms the western boundary from where it issues out of Lough Neagh to the point where it enters Londonderry, a distance of about 27 miles: the Lagan runs on the southern boundary from near Moira to its mouth—about 22 miles. The Six-mile Water, flowing by Ballyclare into the northeast corner of Lough Neagh, near the town of Antrim: the Larne Water, having its source near that of the Six-mile Water, but flowing in an opposite direction, falls into the sea at Larne: the Main, running southward by Cullybacky, Galgorm, and Randalstown, into the northeast corner of Lough Neagh: the Glenwhirry River and the Kells River, which form one stream, flowing west by Kells into the Main: the Braid flows west, by Broughshane and Ballymena, into the Main: the Glenravel Water and the Clogh River, forming one stream, flow southwest into the Main, near Clogh Mills: the Bush flows north, by Armoy and Bushmills, into the sea near the Giant's Causeway: the Carey and the Glenshesk, two mountain streams run into the sea at Ballycastle: the Glendun, which falls into the sea at Cushendun; and near it on the south, the Glenaan, running by Cushendall: the Glenariff, flowing through a beautiful glen into Red Bay, near Cushendall: the Glenarm River flowing by Glenarm.

LAKES.—A large portion of Lough Neagh belongs to this county. Lough Beg, an expansion of the Bann, a little below Lough Neagh, about 3 miles long and ¾ mile wide, contains several islands. Lough Guile, a small lake 7 miles east of Ballymoney, gives name to the surrounding parish: Portmore Lake, between the southeast shore of Lough Neagh and the village of Ballinderry, circular, and about a square mile in area: Lough Mourne, 3 miles north of Carrickfergus.

TOWNS.—Belfast (208,122, of whom 23,917 belong to Ballymacarrett, that part of Belfast lying in county Down), the assize town, at the mouth of the Lagan, the greatest manufacturing and trading town in Ireland—chief seat of the linen trade. Carrickfergus (4,792), on the shore of Belfast Lough, with its fine old castle perched on a rocky peninsula: halfway between Belfast and Carrickfergus lies Whiteabbey (1,452), with its fax-spinning mills: and nearer Belfast, still on the shore, is Whitehouse (975).

Following the coast, we come to Larne (4,716), in a beautiful spot near the mouth of Larne Lough, with the old castle of Olderfleet opposite it, on the Curran peninsula: Glenarm (1,276) stands in a lovely valley, nearly surrounded by mountains, and is noted for its beautiful scenes: Ballycastle (1,446), in a fine valley on the north coast, with Knocklayd towering over it: Portrush (1,322), on a sharp projecting point in the northwest corner, much frequented as a watering-place; 3 miles east from which is the ancient castle of Dunluce, perched on a rock high over the sea.

Lisburn (10,755—of whom 2,446 are in that part of the town belonging to county Down), stands on the Lagan (flax-spinning, weaving, bleaching): Ballymena (8,883), on the river Braid (manufactures, trade in linen and yarn): Legoniel (3,497), 3 miles northwest from Belfast: Ballymoney (3,049), within 3 miles of the Bann (linen, brewing, tanning). Antrim (1,647), on the Six-mile Water, where it enters Lough Neagh, gives name to the county; near it stands a round tower; and 2 miles west, on the shore of the lake, are the fine ruins of Shane's Castle. Ballyclare (1,475), on the Six-mile Water: Bushmills (1,103), on the river Bush, near Portrush—noted for its distillery.

MINERALS.—On the north coast at Fair Head, coal is found; the coal mines were worked there in very ancient times, as is shown by the remains of old coal pits and antique mining tools. There are salt mines at Carrickfergus; and excellent iron ore is raised in the valley of the Glenravel River.

ANCIENT DIVISIONS AND DESIGNATIONS.—The northern part of Antrim, north from the Glenravel River, was the ancient territory of Dalriada, commonly called Ruta, or the Route; all from that south was part of the old territory of Dalaradia. This latter part of Antrim (from the Glenravel to the Lagan, and west to Lough Neagh and the Bann) was, in later ages, called North or Lower Clannaboy (or Clandeboye), to distinguish it from South Clannaboy, in county Down—both Clannaboys being the territory of the O'Neills. Clannaboy (the whole, or the greater part) was more anciently called Trian Congaill. The plain between the rivers Bann and Bush was the ancient Elne or Ele. The district extending from the barony of Lower Massareene to the barony of Lower Toome (inclusive) was anciently called Hy Tuirtre; and the old territory of Moylinny lay between the rivers Six-Mile Water and Glenwhirry.

The rugged district from Larne to Ballycastle —the territory of the MacDonnells—was, and is still, known as the Glens or Glynns of Antrim; so called from eight of those ravines mentioned.

The following are the Glens: 1—Glenshesk, through which runs the river Shesk into Ballycastle Bay; 2—Glendun, through which the Glendun River runs, by Cushendun; 3—Glencorp, a little valley at the northeast of the parish of Layd, near Glendun; 4—Glenaan, traversed by the Glenaan River; 5—Glenballymon, through which runs the Ballymon River, joining the Glenaan, near Cushendall; 6—Glenariff; 7—Glencloy, the valley running from Carnlough up toward Collin Top; 8—Glenarm, the valley traversed by the Glenarm River.

Description of County Antrim | Carrick-A-Rede | Antrim Round Tower | Giant's Causeway | Glenarm Castle | Dunluce Castle | Shane's Castle | Carrickfergus Castle | Portrush | Albert Memorial, Belfast | St. Patrick's Cathedral, Belfast | Antrim Map

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