MAGHERA

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

MAGHERA, a parish, in the barony of UPPER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 2 miles (S. W.) from Castlewellan, on the road from Bryansford to Downpatrick; containing 1514 inhabitants, of which number, 167 are in the village. This parish, which is bounded on the east by a branch of the inner bay of Dundrum, comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 3214 ¼ statute acres, of which 2384 are applotted under the tithe act. The soil is various; in some parts extremely fertile, and in others sandy, with detached portions of marsh and bog; the marshy grounds afford good pasture.

The principal seats are Tollymore, that of Mrs. J. Keowen, and Church Hill, of the Misses Montgomery, both handsome residences.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Down, and in the patronage of the Bishop, to whom the rectory is appropriate: the tithes amount to £210, of which £130 is payable to the see, and the remainder to the vicar. The glebe comprises 19 ¼ statute acres, valued at £36 per annum. The church, towards the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits gave £830. 15. 4 ½ ., in 1825, is a small neat edifice, about a quarter of a mile from the village.

In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Bryansford, or Lower Kilcoo. About 40 children are educated in the parochial school, which was founded in 1826, by the late J. Keowen, Esq., who built the school-house on the glebe, and endowed it with £5 per ann.; and at Tolly-more is a neat school-house, built and supported by Mrs. Keowen, in which about 50 children are gratuitously instructed and some of the females clothed. There are also two Sunday schools. Near the church are the ruins of the ancient church, of which the western gable and the south wall remain; the beautiful Norman arch at. the western entrance is in good preservation; the windows in the south wall are narrow and of elegant design.

Near the new church also are the remains of an ancient round tower, the upper part of which, from the height of 20 feet above the base, was thrown down by a storm in 1704, and lay in an unbroken column on the ground; the doorway, in that portion which is still erect, is towards the east and about 7 feet from the ground. About a mile from the church are the remains of a large cromlech, the table stone of which is supported on three upright pillars; in a narrow lane to the west is an upright stone, 13 feet high and having 5 sides; and in an adjoining field is a large block of granite, capped with a conical stone of grauwacke.

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