BALBRIGGAN, a sea-port, market, and post-town, and a chapelry

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BALBRIGGAN, a sea-port, market, and post-town, and a chapelry, in the parish and barony of BALROTHERY, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER, 15 miles (N. by E.) from Dublin; containing 3016 inhabitants. According to Ware, a sanguinary conflict took place here on Whitsun-eve, 1329, between John de Bermingham, Earl of Louth, who had been elevated to the palatine dignity of that county, Richard, Lord De Malahide, and several of their kindred, in array against the partisans of the Verduns, Gernons, and Savages, who were opposed to the elevation of the earl to the palatinate of their county; and in which the former, with 60 of their English followers, were killed. After the battle of the Boyne, William III.. encamped at this place on the 3rd of July, 1690.

The town, which is situated on the eastern coast and on the road from Dublin to the North of Ireland, owes its rise, from a small fishing village to a place of manufacturing and commercial importance, to the late Baron Hamilton, who, in 1780, introduced the cotton manufacture, for which he erected factories, and who may justly be regarded as its founder. It contains at present about 600 houses, many of which are well built; hot baths have been constructed for visiters who frequent this place during the bathing season. In the environs are several gentlemen's seats, of which the principal is Hampton Hall, the residence of G. A. Hamilton, Esq. The inhabitants are partly employed in the fishery, but principally in the cotton manufacture; there are two large factories, the machinery of which is worked by steam-engines and water-wheels of the aggregate power of 84 horses, giving motion to 7500 spindles, and spinning upon the average about 7400 lb. of cotton yarn per week. More than 300 persons are employed in these factories, to which are attached blue dye-works; and in the town and neighbourhood are 942 hand-looms employed in the weaving department. The principal articles made at present are checks, jeans, calicoes, and fustians.

The town is also celebrated for the manufacture of the finest cotton stockings, which has been carried on successfully since its first establishment about 40 years since; there are 60 frames employed in this trade, and the average produce is about 60 dozen per week. There are on the quay a large corn store belonging to Messrs. Frost & Co., of Chester, and some extensive salt-works; and in the town is a tanyard. The fishery, since the withdrawing of the bounty, has very much diminished: there are at present only 10 wherries or small fishing boats belonging to the port. The town carries on a tolerably brisk coasting trade: in 1833, 134 coal vessels, of the aggregate burden of 11,566 tons, and 29 coasting vessels of 1795 tons, entered inwards, and 17 coasters of 1034 tons cleared outwards, from and to ports in Great Britain. The harbour is rendered safe for vessels of 150 tons' burden by an excellent pier, completed in 1763, principally by Baron Hamilton, aided by a parliamentary grant, and is a place of refuge for vessels of that burden at ¾ tide.

A jetty or pier, 420 feet long from the N. W. part of the harbour, with a curve of 105 feet in a western direction, forming an inner harbour in which at high tide is 14 feet of water, and affording complete shelter from all winds, was commenced in 1826 and completed in 1829, at an expense of £2912. 7. 9., of which the late Fishery Board gave £1569, the Marquess of Lansdowne £100, and the remainder was subscribed by the late Rev. George Hamilton, proprietor of the town. At the end of the old pier there is a lighthouse. The Drogheda or Grand Northern Trunk railway from Dublin, for which an act has been obtained, is intended to pass along the shore close to the town and to the east of the church. The market is on Monday, and is abundantly supplied with corn, of which great quantities are sent to Dublin and to Liverpool; and there is a market for provisions on Saturday. Fairs are held on the 29th of April and September, chiefly for cattle. A market-house was erected in 1811, partly by subscription and partly at the expense of the Hamilton family. The town is the head-quarters of the constabulary police force of the county; and near it is a martello tower with a coast-guard station, which is one of the nine stations within the district of Swords. Petty sessions for the north-east division of the county are held here every alternate Tuesday.

The chapelry of St. George, Balbriggan, was founded by the late Rev. G. Hamilton, of Hampton Hall, who in 1813 granted some land and settled an endowment, under the 11th and 12th of George III., for the establishment of a perpetual curacy; and an augmentation of £25 per annum has been recently granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners from Primate Boulter's fund. In 1816 a chapel was completed, at an expense of £3018. 2. 2., of which £1400 was given by the late Board of First Fruits, £478. 15. 2. was raised by voluntary subscriptions of the inhabitants, and £1139. 7. was given by the founder and his family. This chapel, which was a handsome edifice with a square embattled tower, and contained monuments to the memory of R. Hamilton, Esq., and the Rev. G. Hamilton, was burned by accident in 1835, and the congregation assemble for divine service in a school-room till it shall be restored, for which purpose the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted £480. The living is in the patronage of G. A. Hamilton, Esq. There is a chapel belonging to the R. C. union or district of Balrothery and Balbriggan, also a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. The parochial school and a dispensary are in the town. —See BALROTHERY.

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