FORKHILL

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

FORKHILL, a post-town and parish, partly in the barony of LOWER ORIOR, but chiefly in that of UPPER ORIOR, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 4 ½ miles (N. N. W.) from Dundalk, and 44 ½ (N. by W.) from Dublin, on the road from Dundalk to Armagh; containing 7063 inhabitants, of which number, 152 are in the town. This was constituted a parish by act of council in 1771. by separating 12 townlands from the parish of Loughgilly, and 11 from Killevy. It comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 12,590 statute acres, of which 11,910 are applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £5184 per annum; 8380 acres are arable, and 3519 bog and mountain; the state of agriculture has much improved.

Among the many mountains is Slieve Gullion, on the eastern boundary, rising 1895 feet above the level of the sea; they all afford pasture, and some have been lately planted. There are quarries of excellent stone, used for building. The town consists of 36 houses and is a constabulary police station. Fairs are held on May 1st, Aug. 1st, Sept. 29th, and Dec. 8th. The linen and cotton manufacture are carried on to a limited extent, and within the parish are four corn-mills, from which a considerable quantity of meal is exported through the port of Dundalk to Liverpool.

The principal seats are Forkhill House, the residence of J. Foxall, Esq.; Forkhill Lodge, of Mrs. Dawson; Longfield, of Major Bernard; Bellmont, of the Rev. Mr. Smith, and of S. E. Walker, Esq.; and the Glebe-house, of the Rev. J. Campbell, L.L.D.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate: the tithes amount to £650; the glebe comprises 164 statute acres. The church is a plain structure, erected in 1767. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also a portion of that of Killevy, or Meigh, in which union are two chapels; the chapel at Mullaban, in this parish, is a plain commodious building. There is a Wesleyan Methodist meeting-house in the town.

Seven schools were founded and are supported by the trustees of the late Richard Jackson, Esq., of Forkhill Lodge; another is aided by an annual donation from the same source, and one by the rector. In these schools about 600 children are instructed; and there are two private schools, in which are about 90 boys and 60 girls.

A dispensary in the parish is also maintained by the trustees of Mr. Jackson, who by will dated July 20th, 1776, left a great portion of his extensive property to pious and charitable uses: in consequence of some litigation as to its division, it was determined by act of parliament that a portion of the rents of the estate of Forkhill, immediately from the decease of the testator, should be applied to the use of the poor children of his tenants, as directed in the will; the lands then assigned for this purpose yielding £375 per annum. After deducting £200 per annum for agency, &c., one-half of the residue of the net revenue was appropriated to the propagation of the Christian religion in the east, and the other half to his sister and her heirs: he made also many minor charitable bequests. Mrs. Barton, by deed in 1803, gave £40 per annum, to be equally divided among 20 poor women of this parish; and Mrs. Jackson bequeathed £10 per ann., payable out of the Killesandra estate, in Cavan, to the rector, for the benefit of the poor.

On the top of the mountain of Slieve Gullion there is a large heap of stones near a cave, supposed to have been the burial-place of some Druid, or ancient chieftain; near which is a deep lake. Near this was formerly Rosskugh, or the fort of Carrick-Brand, a considerable military station, with extensive outworks.

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