MEIGH

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

MEIGH, an ecclesiastical district, in the barony of UPPER ORIOR, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 4 miles (S. W.) from Newry, on the road from Dublin to Belfast; containing 7164 inhabitants. This district was formed in 1830, by separating some townlands from the parish of Killevey. Agriculture is improving, and the waste land consists of bog or mountain, which is well adapted for the growth of trees. A great part of the mountain was planted by Jos. Foxall, Esq., who was the first to commence the improvements on Slieve Gullion, which are still being carried on to a great extent by Powell Foxall, Esq., who has formed a road halfway up the mountain, on an inclination of one in twenty feet. There are some quarries of a fine description of granite, also one of a hard flag-stone, which is used for building; and from the existence of very strong chalybeate springs it is supposed that iron might be found. There are two corn-mills, and some linen, diaper, frieze, and drugget are manufactured. Petty sessions are held on alternate Mondays.

The principal seats are Killevey Castle, the residence of Powell Foxall, Esq.; Heath Hall, of J. Seaver, Esq.; Carrickbrede, of A. Johnston, Esq.; and Hawthorn Hill, of Hunt Walsh Chambre, Esq.

The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Armagh, and in the patronage of the Rector of Killevey, who receives the tithes of Meigh, which are included with those of Killevey: the curate's income is £75 per annum, paid by the rector. The church is a neat edifice, built of granite in the castellated style: it has a handsome porch, ornamented with minarets, and the battlements are coped with hewn stone; it was erected in 1831, at an expense of £1200, of which £900 was a gift from the late Board of First Fruits, and the rest was defrayed by subscriptions of the landed proprietors.

In the R. C. divisions this district forms part of the two unions or districts of Meigh and Killevey, and has chapels at Cloghog, Drominter, and Ballinless. There are two schools under the Board of Education, a private school, and a dispensary. At the foot of Slieve Gullion are the extensive ruins of a nunnery, which is said to have been founded by St. Dareria, or Monenna, sister of St. Patrick, and abbess of Kilsleve, who died in 517; her festival is celebrated on the 6th of July. At the dissolution, it and the twelve surrounding townlands were granted to Sir Marmaduke Whitchurch, ancestor of the Seaver, Foxall, and Chambre families, who are now in possession of the lands of the manor of Kilsleve or Killevey. Near it is a cave, or subterraneous passage, communicating with the abbey.

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