ERRIGAL-KEROGUE

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

ERRIGAL-KEROGUE, a parish, in the barony of CLOGHER, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, on the river Blackwater and on the road from Aughnacloy to Omagh; containing, with the greater part of the district parish and post-town of Ballygawley, 9782 inhabitants. This parish, which is also called Errigal-Kieran, from the supposed dedication of its ancient church to St. Kieran, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 21,139 ¾ statute acres, including 18 townlands, which now form part of the district parish of Ballygawley. The greater portion is rich arable, meadow, and pasture land, with a large extent of profitable mountain, and a considerable tract of waste. The hills towards the south are low and fertile, but towards the north they rise into mountains, the flat summits of which are bog and heath; the mountain of Shantavny rises, according to the Ordnance survey, 1035 feet above the level of the sea.

The valleys are watered by streams which, in their descent from the mountains, form numerous picturesque cascades; and in one of them are found fossils and shells, washed down from the beds of limestone. There are extensive quarries of limestone and freestone, from the latter of which was taken the stone for building several of the churches and gentlemen's seats in the neighbourhood; and thin veins of coal have been found near Lismore, but though lying very near the surface, they have not been worked.

The scenery is strikingly diversified; the glen called "Todd's Leap" abounds with romantic features, and at the southern extremity of the parish is a very handsome bridge of one arch over the Blackwater, which river is also crossed by two other bridges.

The principal gentlemen's seats are Ballygawley House, the residence of Sir H. Stewart, Bart., situated on a rising ground, sheltered in the rear by the conspicuous precipice called the "Craigs;" Cleanally, of G. Spier, Esq.; Bloom Hill, of T. Simpson, Esq.; and Ballygawley Castle, of R. Armstrong, Esq. There are several large corn-mills and a tuck-mill for finishing the woollen cloths made in the various farm-houses. The manors of Donoughmore, Favour Royal, Cecil, and Ballygawley, are in this parish; in the first a court is held monthly, in which debts to any amount may be recovered; and in the three others are held similar courts every three weeks, with jurisdiction limited to £2.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of J. C. Moutray, Esq.: the tithes amount to £380. The glebe-house is at Richmount, near Ballygawley, on a glebe of 266 acres, and there is another glebe of 297 acres, constituting the townland of Gort. The church, a handsome edifice in the later English style, with an embattled tower, was erected in 1831, near the site of the ancient structure at Ballinasaggard, at an expense of £1300, of which £1100 was a loan from the late Board of First Fruits.

The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; the chapel is a small plain edifice, and there are two stations or altars, where service is occasionally performed. There are places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster of the third class, Independents, and two for Wesleyan Methodists. About 700 children are taught in the public schools, of which the parochial school is chiefly supported by the incumbent, one by Miss Montgomery, and another by Mr. Leslie; and there are three private schools, in which are about 180 children.

There are some remains of the old church, in which are several of the carved stones of an ancient friary, founded by Con O'Nial; in the churchyard is a large stone cross, and near it a holy well. The friary was of the third order of Franciscans, and near it was an ancient round tower. There are many conical raths in the parish, of which the most remarkable is that on the steep height called the Craigs; it is supposed that the native chiefs of Eirgal, or Uriel, had their seat in this parish, near which a monastery was founded by St. Macartin. In the townland of Sess-Kilgreen is a carved stone, part of a kistvaen, and in that of Lismore are the ruins of a square bawn, with round towers at the angles.

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