BALROTHERY, a parish and village

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BALROTHERY, a parish and village, in the barony of BALROTHERY, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER; containing, with the post-town of Balbriggan, 5078 inhabitants, of which number, 375 are in the village. This place, which gives name to the barony, was anciently annexed to that part of the church of Lusk which in the earlier ages belonged to the archdeaconry of Dublin, and was separated from it about the year 1220 by Archbishop Henry. The village is situated on the road from Dublin to Balbriggan, from which latter it is distant about a mile, and in 1831 contained 84 houses. According to tradition, James II. is said to have slept at the White Hart Inn here, before the battle of the Boyne: and the same distinction is claimed by another ancient house in the village, which was formerly an extensive inn. Fairs are held on the 6th of May and 12th of August. The parish comprises 8767 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: about 320 acres are woodland, principally in the demesne of G. A. Hamilton, Esq., and about 80 are bog or waste land; the remainder is arable and pasture, but is principally under tillage, and is very fertile in corn, which is the chief produce.

A small portion of the bog of Ring is within the parish; and near the glebe is a reservoir of 22 acres, called the Knock, which supplies the mills of Balbriggan with water. At Curtlagh is a very fine stone quarry, and good stone for building is also obtained from the cliffs. The coast is composed of strata of transition rocks of grauwacke, grauwacke slate, clay-slate, and greenstone, with spar in small portions. The Drogheda, or Grand Northern Trunk, railway from Dublin to that town will pass through the parish, close to the shore. Hampton Hall, the seat of G. A. Hamilton, Esq., is an elegant mansion situated in a rich demesne of 500 acres, finely wooded and pleasingly diversified with hill and dale: the grounds command extensive sea views alternated with luxuriant woods, with the isles of Skerries in the foreground, and the Mourne mountains in the distance, stretching far into the sea towards the north. Ardgillan Castle, the seat of the Hon. and Rev. E. Taylor, is a handsome building in the castellated style, beautifully situated in a park finely wooded and commanding some interesting views of the sea. The other seats are Lowther Lodge, that of G. Macartney, Esq., in the grounds of which is an ancient rath; Inch House, of J. Madden, Esq., having also a rath within the demesne; Knockingin, of W. O'Reilly, Esq.; and Tankerville, of T. Swan Croker, Esq.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Dublin, and in the patronage of the Rev. Francis Baker, the present incumbent; the rectory is impropriate in the trustees of Wilson's hospital, in the county of Westmeath. The tithes amount to £530, of which £250 is payable to the impropriators, and £280 to the vicar. The church, with the exception of the tower, which is embattled and surmounted at the north-west angle with a circular turret, and at the others with small turrets, was taken down and rebuilt, by aid of a loan of £1000 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1816. The glebe-house was built by aid of a gift of £250 and a loan of £550 from the same Board, in 1815; the glebe comprises 29 ¾ acres. There is a chapel of ease at Balbriggan, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, endowed by the late Rev. George Hamilton.

In the R. C. divisions this parish is the head of a union or district, called the union of Balrothery and Balbriggan, and comprising also the parish of Balscadden: there are three chapels in the union, one at the village of Balrothery, another at Balbriggan, and a third in the parish of Balscadden. There is also at Balbriggan a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. There are three schools, in which about 205 boys and 110 girls receive instruction; also three pay schools, and a dispensary, in the town. Near the church are the remains of Balrothery castle, the date of which is unknown; the roof is covered with flag-stones of great thickness, and the general style of the building refers it to a period of considerable antiquity. Within a quarter of a mile of the town are the ruins of Bremore castle, the ancient seat of a branch of the Barnewall family, consisting of some of the out-buildings and part of a chapel, with a burial-ground, which is still used by some of the inhabitants. The skeletons of four moose deer were dug up on the glebe by the Rev. Mr. Baker. At Curtlagh there is a chalybeate spring.—See BALBRIGGAN.

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