POYNTZ-PASS

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

POYNTZ-PASS, or FENWICK'S PASS, a small town, partly in the parish of AGHADERG, barony of UPPER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, but chiefly in the parish of BALLYMORE, barony of LOWER ORIOR, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 2 ¾ miles (S. W.) from Loughbrickland, to which it has a penny post; containing 660 inhabitants, of which number, 88 are in the county of Down. This place was formerly an encumbered pass through bogs and woods, from the county of Down into that of Armagh, and from the O'Hanlons' to the Magennises' country: it derives its present name from this important military position having been forced, after a desperate action, by Lieutenant Poyntz, of the English army, with a few troops, against a numerous body of Tyrone's soldiers, for which service he was rewarded with a grant of 500 acres in this barony: there are some remains of the castle which formerly commanded the pass. At Drumbanagher are vestiges of the intrenchment surrounding the principal strong hold of the Earl of Tyrone, during his wars with Queen Elizabeth, called Tyrone's Ditches.

Poyntz-Pass is now one of the most fertile and beautiful spots in this part of the country. To the south is Drumbanagher Castle, the handsome residence of Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell Close, built in the Italian style, with a large portico in front; on an eminence above the town is Acton House, the elegant residence of C. R. Dobbs, Esq.; not far from which is Union Lodge, that of W. Fivey, Esq., in a beautiful demesne, bounded by the extensive waters of Lough Shark. That portion of the town which is in the county of Armagh was built about 1790, by Mr. Stewart, then proprietor, who procured for it a grant of a market and fairs; the former was never established, but the latter, held on the first Saturday in every month, are large and well attended, great numbers of cattle and sheep being sold. The town comprises 116 houses in one principal street, intersected by a shorter one. It contains the church for the district of Acton, a small neat edifice in the early English style, with a tower at the east front, built in 1789, and considerably enlarged and improved in 1829; a R. C. chapel, a school, and a constabulary police station.

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