DONAGHMORE, or DOONAMOR, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

DONAGHMORE, or DOONAMOR, a parish, in the barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 2 miles (N. N.W.) from Dungannon; containing 12,144 inhabitants. At this place, anciently called Domnach-mor, "the great fortress," St. Patrick founded an abbey, where he placed St. Columb, which soon acquired extensive grants of land and other valuable possessions, and continued to flourish till after the conquest of Ireland by Henry II. In the taxation of Pope Nicholas, in 1291, it is described as having contained many costly shrines. It appears to have been possessed by the Colidei, or Culdees, of Armagh, as by the inquisition of the 33rd of Henry VIII. we find the Colidei had its rectory and tithes, which, with many townlands in the adjoining parishes, were granted to the Archbishop of Armagh after the Reformation. Though there are no vestiges, it is ascertained that it stood a little north-east of the present village; within its precincts was a large and elegant cross of freestone, on which were inscribed numerous hieroglyphics representing various passages in the Scriptures; having been thrown down and mutilated in the war of 1641, it remained in that condition till 1776, when Richard Vincent, Esq., caused it to be removed and placed where it now stands, at the head of the village; it consists of a plinth, a shaft, and a cross, and is 16 feet in height. Donaghmore was also an important military station, frequent mention being made of it in the successive wars of Ireland, particularly during the rebellions of the O'Nials and the O'Donnels.

The parish is situated on the road from Dungannon to Omagh, and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 18,410 ½ statute acres, of which, 146 are water; there are about 3000 acres of bog and mountain, but the greater part of the remainder is arable land. The present village has been built since the year 1796, under the direction, and by the spirited exertions, of A. Mackenzie, Esq., and is in a very flourishing state, comprising 88 well built and slated houses, mostly in one street. There is an extensive brewery of the celebrated Donaghmore ale, where upwards of 10,500 barrels of ale and beer are annually brewed; also soap and candle manufactories; much business is transacted in the spirit trade; and there are large brick-works adjoining the village. Near Castle-Caulfield is a small green for bleaching linen cloth, much of which is woven by the farmers and cottiers throughout the parish. A fair is held on the first Tuesday in every month, for cattle, sheep, pigs, &c.; and a manor court on the first Monday in every month in the Primate's manor of Donaghmore, for the recovery of debts under £5. There are some small lakes in the parish; in almost all of them are artificial islands, on which were castles, and where ancient implements of warfare, have been found. Among the principal seats are Fort Edward, that of Capt. Lindsay; Annaquinea, of J. Young, Esq.; Springfield, of R. Forster, Esq.; Beech Valley, of J. Wilcox, Esq.; Donaghmore Cottage, of J. King, Esq.; Parkanour, of J. Ynyr Burges, Esq.; Mullaghmore, of the Rev. T. Carpendale; Castle Caulfield, of H. King, Esq.; Tullynure Lodge, of the Rev. R. Fraser; and Mullagruen, of A. Mackenzie, Esq., which was built in 1683 by the celebrated Rev. G. Walker, defender of Londonderry, while he was rector of this parish, as appears by a shield bearing his arms and initials.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate: the tithes amount to £830. 15. 4 ½. There is a glebe-house, with a glebe comprising 459 acres of excellent arable land; and in this parish are also the glebes of Drumglass and Ardtrea. The church is a large plain edifice, situated at Castle-Caulfield: it is in contemplation to erect another church in the village of Donaghmore. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms the head of two unions or districts, being partly united with Pomeroy, and partly with that of Killeshill: there are chapels at Tullyallen and in the village of Donaghmore. There are three meeting-houses for Presbyterians, one in connection with the Synod of Ulster; and a school-house is used as a place of worship by the Independents. The parish school is at Castle-Caulfield: there are seven other schools, in which about 870 children are taught; and Mr. Mackenzie has lately built on his demesne, at the corner of the old churchyard, an infants' school, which is attended daily by more than 70 children, and which he entirely supports, intending to endow it at his death. About 50 boys and girls are educated in two private schools. In 1807, the Rev. George Evans bequeathed £200, two-thirds of the interest to be appropriated to support Sunday schools, of which there are six here, and one-third to the poor of the parish. Thomas Verner, Esq., made a similar bequest for the maintenance of these schools: and there is one supported by the Presbyterian minister. In the burial-ground are an ancient stone font and the plinth of a cross: the ruins of Castle-Caulfield form a beautifully picturesque object. There are several ancient forts in various parts of the parish.—See CASTLE-CAULFIELD.

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