HOLMPATRICK

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

HOLMPATRICK, a parish, in the barony of BALROTHERY, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER, 3 ½ miles (S. E.) from Balbriggan; containing, with the town of Skerries, 3109 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the eastern coast, derives its name from the island of Innis Patrick, about a mile from the shore, on which a monastery was founded by Sitric Mac Murchard towards the close of the 9th century. Moel Finian, Prince of the Bregii, became a monk in this establishment, of which he was made abbot; and in 1148 a great synod was held here by Gelasius, Archbishop of Armagh, assisted by Malachy O'Morgair, apostolic legate. Between the years 1213 and 1228 the establishment was removed from the island to the mainland, and a building erected on the coast at a short distance from the town of Skerries, where it continued to flourish till the dissolution, after which the site and possessions were granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam.

The mountain portions of the parish present an interesting variety of transition rocks, chiefly of green-stone (in some parts much mixed with calcareous matter), fine grauwacke, clay-slate, grauwacke slate, calcareous tufa, and limestone. The limestone rocks near Lough Shinny are worn into singular form by the action of the sea, which has broken the surface into bold undulations. Two small rocky islands, Colt and Shenex, form a group with Innis Patrick; and beyond these is the islet of Rockabill, or Cow and Calf. Innis Patrick consists of fine grauwacke alternating with grauwacke-slate and clay-slate, with thin layers of limestone from half an inch to several feet in width, uniformly dipping southward; and on its western side is a horizontal section of the same material. The islands of Colt and Shenex are of similar composition, but Rockabill is of granite. At Milverton is a quarry of very fine building stone, frequently imbedded with fossils, which, when polished, is equal to marble and is often used for mantel-pieces. On Shenex and Red islands are martello towers, and at Skerries is a coast-guard station.

There are nearly fifty wherries, of from 30 to 50 tons' burden each, belonging to Skerries: they are engaged in the fishery, and have the benefit of a commodious harbour and pier, where coal brigs from the English side of the channel can unload, with an excellent roadstead and anchorage, where large vessels frequently take shelter in unfavourable weather. The manufacture of worked muslins is carried on in this town extensively, and gives employment to a great number of females. Milverton, the seat of G. Woods, Esq., is beautifully situated in a richly wooded demesne of 180 acres, commanding a fine view of the sea, with the town of Skerries in the foreground; within the demesne are the cemetery and some of the foundation of the church of St. Mavee, with a well dedicated to that saint. The only other seat is Hacketstown, the property of J. H. Hamilton, Esq., proprietor of the parish, and now the residence of his agent. There are two windmills and a water-mill for grinding corn; and fairs are held at Skerries on April 28th, and Aug. 10th, for cattle and pigs.

The living is an impropriate curacy, in the diocese of Dublin, and in the patronage of J. H. Hamilton, Esq., in whom the rectory is impropriate, and who has endowed the curacy with £60 per ann., which is augmented with £40 per ann. from Primate Boulter's fund. The church is a neat edifice, adjoining the town. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Skerries; there are chapels in the town and at Milverton. A school-house was built in 1834, at the expense of J. H. Hamilton, Esq.; and in the same year another was erected by a grant from the Commissioners of Education. There are some remains of a church on Innis Patrick, dedicated to St. Patrick.

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