SKERRIES

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

SKERRIES, a sea-port and fishing town, in the parish of HOLMPATRICK, barony of BALROTHERY, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER, 3 ¼ miles (S. E.) from Balbriggan; containing 2556 inhabitants. The town is situated on the eastern coast, and was the place at which Sir Henry Sydney landed, in 1575, when sent by Queen Elizabeth as Lord-Deputy of Ireland: it contains 528 houses, chiefly inhabited by persons employed in the fishery; and in the neighbourhood are several handsome villas. Previously to the withdrawing of the fishery bounties, the trade of this place was very considerable; at present only 46 boats of 40 tons, and carrying 7 men each, are employed in the fishery. Off the coast are the islands called the Skerries, within which is a broad beach of sand, dry at low water, extending from Shenex island, the most southern, to Red island, the most northern, and connected with the mainland by a causeway which, with a small pier on the north side, forms the harbour of Skerries. This harbour is the best on this part of the coast, having a good roadstead which is safe in southerly winds; the channel between Red island and Colt island is only fit for boats; but within St. Patrick's isle are from 3 to 4 fathoms of water.

Tambour-work is carried on to a very considerable extent, affording employment to more than 700 persons. Fairs for cattle and pigs are held on April 28th and Aug. 10th, a constabulary police force is stationed in the town, and it is also a coast-guard station, being one of the nine that constitute the district of Swords. The parish church, a neat edifice, to which an embattled tower crowned with pinnacles was added, in 1819, by Hans Hamilton, Esq., adjoins the town; and there is also a R. C. chapel, erected in 1823, a spacious and handsome edifice. There are circulating libraries in connection with both. The parochial school-house, with apartments for the master and mistress, was erected at the expense of J. H. Hamilton, Esq., and is near the church, and the national schools are situated in the town, in which there is also a dispensary. On the Red island and on that of Shenex are martello towers; and on St. Patrick's isle are some remains of an ancient church.

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