FAUGHART

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

FAUGHART, or FAUGHER, a parish, in the barony of UPPER DUNDALK, county of LOUTH, and province of LEINSTER, 1 ½ mile (N. N. E.) from Dundalk, on the road, through Forkhill, to Armagh; containing 1640 inhabitants. This place, which is also called Foghard, probably takes its name from a very ancient fort of singular construction, which occupies an elevated situation in the neighbourhood. In 638 St. Monenna founded a nunnery here for 150 sisters, over whom she presided for some years, but subsequently resigned her charge to Orbila and Servila, and erected a convent for herself at Kilslieve, in the county of Armagh. A monastery for Canons Regular was also founded at an early period and dedicated to St. Bridget; but there are no remains of either of the buildings, and the only vestiges are two small pillars or crosses, called respectively the stone and pillar of St. Bridget, one having the figure of a horse-shoe sculptured in high relief, and the other a square pillar raised on two circular steps.

The ancient fort of Faughart consists of an artificial mount 60 feet high, surrounded by a deep trench with a counterscarp; the whole area of the summit is circumscribed by the foundations of an octagonal building, but whether a tower or only a parapet is uncertain. It is situated near the ancient frontier of the English pale, and in 1596, the Archbishop of Cashel and the Earl of Ormonde, on the part of the English government, held a conference here with the Irish chieftains O'Nial and McDonnel, to negotiate a treaty of peace, which was rejected by the latter.

During the insurrection of the Earl of Tyrone, Lord Mountjoy frequently encamped at this place and in the neighbourhood, and in 1600 remained here from the 15th of October till the 9th of November, while the Earl held the pass of Moira, about a mile distant.

The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 2480 ½ statute acres, three-fourths of which are arable and the remainder pasture; there is neither waste land nor bog; the soil is fertile and the system of agriculture improved. Limestone of good quality abounds, and there are several limekilns. The principal gentlemen's seats are Faughart House, the residence of Neale McNeale, Esq., pleasantly situated in a well-planted demesne; Fort Hill, of the Rev. G. Tinley, beautifully situated on an eminence commanding a fine view of the town and bay of Dundalk, and having in the demesne a Danish fort, from which it takes its name; and Mount Bayly, the residence of D. Courtenay, Esq. A constabulary police force has been established here.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate: the tithes amount to £250: there is neither glebe-house nor glebe. The church, a very neat modern edifice, was erected by aid of a gift of £800 and a loan of £800 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1815; it is situated on the townland of Kilcurry, which is a detached portion of the parish of Ballymascanlon.

In the R. C. divisions this is the head of the union or district of Faughart and Jonesborough, comprising those parishes and part of Ballymascanlon, and containing two chapels, one in this parish and one in Jonesborough; the former is on the townland of Kilcurry. About 80 children are taught in the parochial school which is aided by the rector; and a school is held in the R. C. chapel. There are some remains of the ancient church of Urney, and also of the old castle of Dungooley, on the townland of that name; the latter is said to have been one of the seats of the Earl of Tyrone. St. Bridget is said to have been born in this parish.

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