AGHALURCHER, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

AGHALURCHER, a parish, partly in the barony of CLOGHER, county of TYRONE, but chiefly in that of MAGHERASTEPHENA, county of FERMANAGH, and province of ULSTER, on the mail coach road from Cavan to Enniskillen; containing, with the towns of Maguire's-bridge and Lisnaskea, 15,218 inhabitants. This parish is situated on Lough Erne, and is 17 miles in length (extending from the island of Cordillar, near Crumcastle, to Ballaghlough, within two miles of Clogher), and 5 miles in breadth. It comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 47,015 ¾ statute acres (including 3157 ¼ covered with water), of which 4708 ¼ are in Tyrone, and 42,307 ½ in Fermanagh, and of which also, about one-fourth are pasturable mountain and bog. The system of agriculture is greatly improved, and the crops and stock are generally productive and of good quality; the peasantry, in addition to their agricultural pursuits, are employed in spinning and weaving, and are generally industrious and in comfortable circumstances.

Limestone and limestone gravel abound, and there are some good quarries of freestone and of mill-stone. Slushill quarry is considered one of the best in the North of Ireland, and produces freestone of excellent quality. The only river of note is Maguire's river, which runs nearly the whole length of the parish; it is navigable, and abounds with pike, perch, trout, and eels. There are two bridges over this river, one at Maguire's-bridge (which is a flourishing market-town), and one at Ballindanaford, between that place and Lough Erne, a substantial structure of seven large arches, on the great line of road. Lough Erne, in which are seven islands included within this parish, abounds with salmon, pike, eels, perch, and bream; it is navigable from Belleek, and affords a facility of supplying the barracks of Belturbet with turf from this place.

The principal seats are Cole-Brooke, the residence of Sir A. B. Brooke, Bart.; Drumgoon, of R. Graham, Esq.; Curragh, of Capt. Chartres; Nutfield, of Lady Brooke; Shebrag, of H. Gresson, Esq.; and Holybrook, of H. Leslie, Esq. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Clogher, and in the patronage of the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin: the tithes amount to £831. The church, a plain building at Coletrain, for the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits, in 1762, gave £200, was, by an act of the 7th of Geo. III. (1767), constituted the parish church: the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted £142 for its repair. There is also a chapel of ease at Lisnaskea. The glebe-house, with a glebe comprising 518 statute acres, of which two-thirds are arable land, and one-third moor and bog, is situated within a mile and a half from the church; there is also another glebe, which is from 5 to 6 miles distant from either the church or chapel.

The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; there are two chapels, one at Maguire's-bridge, and the other called the Moate Chapel, near Lisnaskea. There are also places of worship for Presbyterians and Primitive Wesleyan Methodists at Maguire's-bridge; the former is in connection with the Synod of Ulster, and of the third class. There are seven public schools, affording also instruction to about 440 boys and 200 girls; also six Sunday schools, and ten private schools, in which latter are about 300 boys and 160 girls. Within two miles of Lisnaskea are the venerable ruins of the ancient church of Aghalurcher, said to have been built towards the close of the 9th century, and dedicated to St. Ronan. There are some remains of an old castle on the townland of Aheter, within a mile of Five-mile-town, on the Cole-Brooke estate, in which the insurgents are said to have sustained a siege in the last rebellion of the Maguires. There are two old castles in Largy deer-park; and one in the town of Brookboro', in the parish of Aghaveagh, all of which belonged to the Maguire family; and on Naan, an island in Lough Erne, are the remains of a very extensive castle, which in remote times was a formidable strong hold, surrounded on all sides by water of the lake more than a mile in breadth. There are numerous sulphureous and chalybeate springs in the parish.— See MAGUIRE'S-BRIDGE and LISNASKEA.

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