DONAGH; a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

DONAGH; a parish, in the barony of TROUGH, county of MONAGHAN, and province of ULSTER, containing, with the post-towns of Glasslough and Emyvale (which are separately described), 11,068 inhabitants. This parish is supposed to derive its name from St. Dimpna, the patron saint of the district, who is said to have conferred the virtue of preventing or curing almost all diseases (which many of the peasantry yet believe is retained) on the waters of the celebrated spring, Tubber-Phadric: her silver staff is in the possession of Owen Lamb, of Knockboy, near Monaghan. In March, 1688, about 3000 of the Irish being garrisoned in the fort of Charlemont, and attempting to plunder the Protestants of the neighbourhood of Armagh, Lord Blayney had frequent skirmishes with them, in which he constantly prevailed, until the 13th of the month, when, on being informed that his castle of Monaghan was taken by the Rapparees, and that all the Protestant forces in that quarter had retreated to Glasslough, where they were closely besieged by the enemy; and hearing that Sir Arthur Rawdon had quitted Loughbrickland, of which the Irish army, under General Hamilton, had taken possession, he marched to join his friends at Glasslough, where they were relieved by the valour of Matthew Anketell, Esq., a gentleman of considerable property in the neighbourhood (which is now possessed by his immediate descendant, W. Anketell, Esq., of Anketell Grove), who had collected two troops of horse and three companies of foot. The Irish, commanded by Major McKenna, with a force of 600 men, intrenched themselves in an old Danish fort, called the fort of Drumbanagher, in a commanding situation, and from this eminence kept up a heavy fire on the Protestants who advanced against them: but Mr. Anketell, who was of undaunted courage, burst into the fort, at the head of his troops, routed and pursued the enemy with considerable slaughter, but was himself slain in the hour of victory. Major McKenna and his son were both taken prisoners, and the former was destroyed, in the moment of excitement, in revenge of the death of the spirited leader of the Protestant force. The body of Mr. Anketell was interred in the aisle of Glasslough church with great solemnity, and a plain stone with an inscription has been set up to his memory.

This parish is situated on the roads from Monaghan to Belfast, and from Dublin to Londonderry, on a small river called Scamegeragh, or the " sheep ford river," (from which a small village in the neighbourhood takes its name), which is tributary to that of the Blackwater, which also intersects the parish. According to the Ordnance survey, it comprises 16,202 ¼ statute acres, of which 241 ¾ are under water; the land is principally arable, with a small portion of pasture; there is a considerable tract of bog, with some woodland. Agriculture is much improved, under the auspices of a Farming Society, which holds its meetings at Glasslough. Besides the great lakes of Glasslough and Emy, there are two smaller ones. There are excellent quarries of marble, used for monuments and for the ornamental parts of architecture, which is largely exported to England and to the United States; freestone quarries also abound, whence large quantities, superior to Portland stone, are procured, and the great entrance to Caledon House was constructed of this stone; there is also an extensive quarry of grey basalt. The corn and flax-mills belonging to Mr. Young, called the New Mills, about 1 ½ mile from Glasslough, employ about 20 persons, and at Emyvale are mills belonging to William Murdock, Esq. In addition to agricultural and other pursuits, the linen manufacture is carried on to a considerable extent. Manor courts for Castle Leslie are held on the third Saturday of each month; and petty sessions are held at Emyvale on alternate Thursdays. The seats and demesnes are Glasslough Castle, the beautiful residence of Mrs. Leslie; Anketell Grove, of W. Anketell, Esq.; Fort Johnston, of T. Johnston, Esq.; and Castle Leslie, of C. Powell Leslie, Esq.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Clogher, and in the patronage of the Bishop, to whom the rectory is appropriate: the tithes amount to £465, of which £310 is payable to the bishop, and £155 to the incumbent. There is a glebe-house, with a glebe of about 40 acres. The church is a plain edifice at Glasslough, built about 1775. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and contains chapels at Glennin and Corraghrin. There is a Presbyterian meeting-house, in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the third class; also a small place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. Five schools, supported chiefly by subscription, afford instruction to about 570 children; there are also nine private pay schools and one Sunday school. The only remains of antiquity are the old church of Donagh, and the Danish rath of Drumbanagher, where the battle was fought. Very ancient coins have been found on the estate of Mrs. Leslie; and numerous silver ornaments, helmets of brass, steel swords, druidical relics, and Gothic figures, found in the parish, are now in the possession of the Rev. H. R. Dawson, Dean of St. Patrick's.

« Donagh, Donegal | Index | Donaghadee »


Library Ireland Facebook