KEADY

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

KEADY, a market and post-town, and a parish, partly in the barony of TURANEY, but chiefly in that of ARMAGH, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 6 miles (S. S. W.) from Armagh, and 61 ½ (N, N. W.) from Dublin, on the road from Armagh to Dublin; containing 9082 inhabitants, of which number 896 are in the town. It is advantageously situated on the river Keady, which issues from Clay Lake, about a mile and a half distant, and which, from its numerous falls, attracted the attention of some enterprising Englishmen, who formed a large bleaching establishment here about the year 1750, and laid the foundation of the linen trade, previously to which the whole of the surrounding country was little better than an uncultivated heath.

The town contained, in 1831, 249 houses, of which many are very well built; but after the retirement of the parties who originally introduced the trade, it began to decline. In 1826, the Messrs. Sadler, of Leeds, erected a very extensive establishment at Dundrum, and were the first who attempted to make linen from mill-spun yarn, and who introduced the manufacture of fine linen into this neighbourhood. Since that period, the increase of the trade has been very rapid. There are some very large mills for spinning flax at New Holland and Darkley, in which 780 persons (principally young females) are constantly employed; an extensive manufactory for fine linen has been established at Ballier, affording employment to 2500 persons; another for sheeting at Dundrum, and bleach-greens at Anvale, Greenmount, Dundrum, Ballier, Millview; Darkley, and Linenvale, where about 235,000 pieces of linen are annually finished, principally for the English market.

There are three lakes in the parish, called Clay, Tullynavad, and Aughnagurgan, the waters of which are dammed up at a great expense by the proprietors, and an abundant supply is secured throughout the year. The market is on Friday, for linen yarn and general provisions; and fairs for live stock are held on the second Friday of every month. Here is a constabulary police station; a manor court is held monthly for the recovery of debts under £2, and petty sessions in the court-house every Friday. The court-house and the market-place are commodiously arranged.

The parish, including part of Armagh-Breague, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 15,351 ¾ statute acres, of which 208 are under water; the soil is generally light and stony, but in some parts loamy and rich; the system of agriculture is improving, and there is a considerable quantity of bog, affording a valuable supply of fuel; nearly the whole of the waste land has been enclosed and brought into a good state of cultivation. There are several quarries of good building stone. A lead mine was opened here and wrought, a few years since, by the Mining Company of Ireland, but has been discontinued: it is, however, about to be re-opened, preparations for working it having been made at a great expense, and are nearly completed. The surrounding scenery is in many places highly picturesque: in the vicinity of the town, and on the road from Armagh, more than 100,000 trees of different kinds have been planted within the last five years.

The principal seats are Violet Hill, the residence of A. Irwin, Esq.; Annvale, of W. Kirk, Esq.; Greenmount, of J. A. Kidd, Esq.; Dundrum, of S. Kidd, Esq.; Ballier, of J. B. Boyd, Esq.; Millview, of Jos. McKee, Esq.; Linenvale, of the Rev. S. Simpson; Tassagh, of F. Stringer, Esq.; Roan, of W. Girven, Esq.; Mountain Lodge, of H. Garmany, Esq.; New Holland, of Lieut. McKean, R.N.; the Lodge, of the Rev. P. Coleman; and Darkley, of H. McKean, Esq.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Lord-Primate; the tithes amount to £323. 1. 6 ½. The church, a neat plain edifice, was erected in 1776, by Primate Robinson, and was enlarged and a tower added to it by aid of a loan of £200 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1822. The glebe-house was built in 1779, by aid of a gift of £100 from the same Board; the glebe comprises 40 acres.

In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also Derrynoose, and containing three chapels, situated at Keady (a plain cruciform edifice), Derrynoose, and Madden. There are places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, and the Seceding Synod, of the third class, and for Wesleyan Methodists. About 320 children are taught in the four public schools in this parish, and there are nine private schools, in which are about 240 children. There is a dispensary, with an infirmary attached to it. At Tessagh is the cemetery of the ancient Culdean priory of Armagh, in which was found, in 1824, an antique ring containing a large emerald richly set.

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