INCH

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

INCH, an island, and an ecclesiastical district, in the barony of ENNISHOWEN, county of DONEGAL, and province of ULSTER, 9 miles (N. W.) from Londonderry; containing 1135 inhabitants. This island, which is situated in Lough Swilly, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 6357 ¾ statute acres, of which 3258 ¾ are in Mintiaghs, or the Bar of Inch, and 60 are under water. Sir Cahir O'Dogherty, in the 15th century, built a castle near the southern extremity of the island, in which he confined O'Donell, one of the rival chieftains of Tyrconnell, who had been treacherously made prisoner in his own house. But O'Donell having prevailed upon his keeper to release him from his irons, made himself master of the castle, in which he was besieged by his rival Rory, whom he killed on the spot, by throwing down upon him a large stone from the battlements. After the flight, of the Earl of Tyrone, the castle and the island, being part of the barony of Ennishowen, were granted to Sir Arthur Chichester, whose descendant, Lord Templemore, is the present proprietor.

In the war of 1641, the island was in the possession of the insurgents, from whom it was taken and garrisoned for the king; and in 1689, General Kirk, with two ships from England laden with supplies for the Protestants besieged in Londonderry, unable to pass the enemy's lines at Culmore, sailed into Lough Swilly and encamped on the island, where he remained from the 13th till the 28th of July, when again entering Lough Foyle he relieved the distressed citizens. The island is about a mile distant from the main land of Burt, Fahan Point, and Rathmullen, from each of which are ferries. The surface is very uneven towards the north, where are some mountainous elevations called the Gullions, or Gollans; towards the south it is more level, and the land is in a moderately good state of cultivation. The mountainous portions afford good pasturage, and the inhabitants are employed in agricultural pursuits and in the fishery.

Inch House, the residence of J. Kennedy, Esq., is the only seat on the island. Near the north point, opposite Rathmullen, is a battery, erected in 1813 on the threatened invasion; and on the Rathmullen shore is another, which completely commands the lough, under the management of a master-gunner and five artillerymen. There are also barracks for one officer and 27 non-commissioned officers and privates of the artillery.

The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Dean; it was erected in 1809, when seven townlands were separated from the parish of Templemore. The stipend is £100, of which £74 is paid by the patron and £26 from Primate Boulter's fund. The church, for the repair of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £279, is a small neat edifice on the eastern side of the island. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union of Iskahan, Burt, and Inch; the chapel is a small building in the centre of the island. About 40 children are taught in the parochial school; and there are three private schools, in which are about 120 children, and a Sunday school.

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