Ballycastle County Antrim Guide and Directory 1888

George Henry Bassett
The Book of Antrim

Population 1,446 in 1881. Trout and Salmon Fishing.

FEW places in the County can rival Ballycastle either in beauty, variety of scenery, or in the number of interesting places within easy reach. The name originated through the erection of a castle here by the Earl of Antrim, 1609, in response to the command of James I. The site is now occupied by an Episcopal Church, and a dwelling belonging to Mr. John O'Hara. In 1856 the last gable was removed. The town is situated at the foot of Knocklayd, and rises gradually from a broad and splendid bay to a commanding height. Around the bay is a sandy beach of considerable extent. At the western side there is a street known as the Quay, in which are several handsome lodges for summer visitors. The Quay is connected with the principal part of the town by a continuation of Anne Street. This is sheltered by rows of stately trees, and. forms a delightful promenade. At one side is a well-cultivated valley, from which a small stream, the Tow Water, falls into the sea. The upper and more important part of Ballycastle consists of a square and a few well-built streets with many good business houses and several handsome church edifices. In the immediate district are coal measures four miles long and a mile and a-half wide. One mine only is worked, and that by thirteen men in the interest of the landlord, Sir Frederick Boyd, Bart. Early in the last century the coal exports annually were from 10,000 to 15,000 tons. Now the amount mined requires to be largely supplemented by imports from England and Scotland. There is also an excellent sandstone quarry and plenty of iron ore. In 1730 Ballycastle was a place of much importance. It had glass works, salt factories, and breweries. Over £130,000 was expended upon harbor improvements, and £30,000 upon the erection of a pier and quay. An effort was made to induce the Irish Parliament to recognize it as a place of import and export, but failed owing to the strenuous opposition of Londonderry. The harbor afforded safe anchorage for the largest vessels then in existence. After the death of Hugh Boyd, owner of the town in those days, the industries began to decline until not one remained. The harbor is now filled with sand, and the quay, all but a very small portion, has been washed away by the sea. The old Custom House, bearing the royal arms, survives the cruel changes of fortune, and is in part used for the sale of groceries on a modest scale. A salmon fishery in the bay is worked by the representatives of the late Mr. John McGildowny, D.L., under lease from Sir Frederick Boyd. Some years it is very productive. About 3 1/2 miles from Ballycastle, at Kenbann, another salmon fishery is worked for the owner of the district, Mr. Robert Woodside. The Cary River, for about half a mile from the bay, is good for trout. It is preserved for the landlord, but higher up it is open to the public.

There are evidences that Ballycastle must soon enter upon the second era of prosperity. A railway 16 1/4 miles long, opened for traffic in October, 1880, connects it with the Belfast and Northern Counties main line at Ballymoney, and, considering the number of enterprising men in the county, it does not seem possible that the coal and iron mines and quarries of this district will be permitted to remain much longer in the present state of development.

Ballycastle is distant from Belfast by road 65 miles, and by rail 69 1/2 miles. It is in the barony of Cary, parish of Ramoan, east of the Giant's Causeway, and west of Fair Head. The town has been lighted by gas since 1873, is supplied with pure water, and has a good sewerage system. A market is held on the second Tuesday of every month for general produce. During the pork season it is held every Tuesday. Mr. John Byrne is clerk. Fairs are held on the second Tuesday of each month, on Easter Tuesday, the last Tuesday in May, 26th July, and last Tuesday in August, October, and November. The great fair is held annually in August, and lasts for two days. It is made the occasion of a reunion between the people of the surrounding country. The first day is devoted to the sale of cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs, and the second to the enjoyment of a carefully prepared programme, which includes a regatta and athletic sports. Since the railway was opened there has been a marked increase in the popularity of the place as a summer resort for families. There is excellent bathing accommodation, and innumerable opportunities for sightseeing.

Within a short distance of the lower part of the town are the ruins of the Abbey of Bona Margy, founded in 1509 for Franciscan friars by Charles MacDonnell. An oratory, with slated roof, united to the main building, covers the burial vault of the MacDonnells, Earls of Antrim. In the yard are many monuments of curious interest. About 2 1/2 miles to the south-west, the old cemetery of Rathmoan, or Ramoan, marks the site of a religious house, founded by St. Patrick, and given in charge to St. Ereclasius. To the east, at a higher elevation, are the remains of Gobban Saer's Castle and caves. They are situated in the townland of Drumeeny, about 2 1/2 miles from the town. Gobban Saer was the most celebrated Irish builder of the 7th century. The peasants of the south, down to the present day, frequently mention him in connection with singular stories. Tradition attributes to him the erection of the principal round towers. Gobban Saer's Castle was once the residence of O'Cahon, a chieftain of great note in his day. On the summit of Knocklayd there is a tumulus said to contain the remains of three Danish princesses.

Glenshesk is three miles from town, on the way to Armoy. It has a beautiful road and several attractive features, including "John Henry's step," the cascade and pool. Doonaninney Castle is within a mile of the town, to the north-west. It stands on a cliff about 300 feet high, facing Rathlin Island. A small piece of the outer wall fell a few years ago. The castle is on the M'Gildowney estate, and is approached from the road by a narrow path. It was one of the first residences of the MacDonnell's in Ulster, and the birth-place of Sorley Boy.

Kenbann Castle, on the property of Mr. Rt. Woodside, is about a mile and a half west of Doonaninney. It stands on a promontory formed of white limestone, which has been cut through by the action of the sea. The ruins are among the most interesting in the County. At the back of the castle the cliffs are more than 250 feet high. Caves and fissures are numerous in the vicinity. There is a charming pic-nic ground between the cliffs and the castle, and for those who intend to make the descent, it will be no harm to bear this fact in mind.

Carrick-a-Rede is about five miles north-west of Ballycastle. It is separated from the mainland by a chasm 60 feet wide. A rope bridge is fastened to the rocks at both sides by iron hooks bedded in lead. This is maintained in repair for use by the men employed in a salmon fishery, carried on here for a great many years. The bridge is stored in winter, and renewed once in three years. In stormy weather the wind rushing through the chasm, makes the bridge dangerous for strangers. At such times lives have been sacrificed in attempts to cross. At a short distance west of Carrick-a-Rede is Sheep Island, a picturesque grass-covered rock capable of providing food for about a dozen sheep.

At the north-eastern side of Ballycastle are the coal and iron mines, near the wonderful cliff known as Benmore, or Fair Head, the face of which is composed of basalt. The sail round the head richly repays the tourist, bringing into view "the Grey Man," and Murlough Bay. Here the scenery is lovely, at many points suggesting favourable comparison with the Dargle, and other celebrated tourist resorts. After seeing Murlough Bay, the return to Ballycastle should be made by road, about five miles. In this way the view from the top of Fair Head can be enjoyed, and agreeable acquaintance formed with Lake-na-Crannoge, in which there is an artificial island used as a place of refuge by a Dalriadian chief.

The finest view of Ballycastle is obtained from Fair Hill, in the ascent to Knocklayd.

Ballycastle being a railway sub post office, distributes the mails, sent hither from Belfast, to Ballyvoy, Ballintoy, Maghry Castle, Moyarget, and Rathlin Island.

Auctioneers: Wm. B. Black, H. A. McAlister, E. F. M'Cambridge
Bakers: Hh. Boyd, Alex M'Collam, Dl. Thompson
Banks: Northern, H. C. Kirkpatrick, mgr.; Ulster, weekly
Church of I.—Rev. Thos. Cox, Ramoan, Rev. I. P. Barnes, Ballycastle.
Coal merchs.: E. F. McCambridge, A. McVicker, Sharp and McKinley
Colliery owner: Sir F. Boyd
Coast Guard Offr,: A. M. Causton
Delf dlrs. (see also grocers)—P. Foley, Mrs. J. McMichael
Dispensary Dr.—G .M. O'Connor
Drapers (see also grocers)—B. Boyle, Mrs. R. McAuley, Mrs. M. J. McCahan, Miss M. McGill, Miss M. McNeill, Miss M. A. McPeak, J. P. O'Kane, M. & M. Woodside
Estate Agt.: R. M. Douglas, J. P.
Gas Company: Rt. Woodside, Chairman; Wm. B. Black, secy.; Hh. Hickey, mgr. 6/8 per 1000 ft.
Grocers marked thus * sell spirits, thus † hardware, thus ‡ drapery goods: Mrs. A. Black, Wm. B. Black, Hh. Boyd, M. Brannigan*, Hy. Butler*‡, A. Curry, Mrs. M. Ewing‡, Mrs. M. Johnston, Miss M. A. Jolly,‡ Miss M. Kennedy‡, G. Kinney*, A. McAlister†, Rt. McAuley*, E. F. McCambridge†, Miss E. McCambridge, N. McCaughan‡, A. McCollam, Tas. McCurdy†, A. McKinley †, N. McLoughlin*, Mrs. M. A. McQuigg, Jas. Neely, J. O'Hara, Mrs. M. Russell, Sharp & McKinley†, D. Thompson, Miss E. Wilson
Hotel Keepers: Rt. Hunter, Jas. McHenry, Jas. McMichael
Lime Wks.: A. McCloskey and Sons.
Medical Halls: Sl. J. Camac, Jas. H. Stewart
Methodist: Rev. D. B. Hewitt
Miller: Robt. McAlister
Pawnbroker: A. McAlister
Petty Sessions, last Monday of month—Alex. McAlister, clk.
Post Mrs.—Mrs. Hester Black
Presbn. Ch.—Rev.
R.I.C.—Jas. McNally, sergt
R.C.—Rev. Jno. Conway, P.P.; Rev. Wm. Murphy, C.C.
Saddlers: P. McMichael, Wm. Moore, Wm. Simpson
Saw Mill—Jno. Nichol
Schools, Natl.: Wm. Taylor, J. Clarke, Miss M. Archer, private.
Spirit retailers: Jno. Harrigan, Miss A. McCambridge, Jas. McGill, Wm. McHenry, Wm. McVicker, Ptk. O'Hara, Mrs. J. Verdon
Stamp distr.—-Alex. McAlister
Station mstr.—W. Fitzsimons
Timber merchants — Alex. McAlister, E. F. McCambridge, J. Nicholl, Sharp & McKinley
Union, Guardians meet Saturday at 12 noon. Jno. Casement, J.F., chairman; Alex. McKennon, V.C.; Jno. Devlin,. D.V.C.; Chas. McCaughan, clerk; Wm. Mack, master; Mrs. McHenry, matron; G. M. O'Connor, Dr.
Victuallers—A. Coyle, Mrs. E. Kenny, J. McAuley
Watchmakers: W. B. Black, W. J. Craig

Farmers & Residents

The following are sub-post offices to Ballycastle:—
B'voy—Ballyvoy; M. C.—Magry Castle; Moy—Moyarget.
Baird, Robt., M'nahar, M. C.
Barragh, Jas., Drumadoon, B'voy
Black, Edm., Bighouse, B'voy
Black, Hy. S., Castle st
Black, Miss, The Quay
Brown, Chas., Cloughcorr, M. C.
Brown, Miss M. A. (P.M.) Magry Castle
Bouchier, Mrs., The Quay
Boyd, Andrew, Capecastle
Boyd, Mrs., Quay House
Boyd, Rev. Sir F. (J.P.), Mansion
Boyd, Rev. W. G., Moyarget
Boyd, Wm. J., Ballycastle
Butler, Patk., Cross, B'voy
Butler, Wm., B'venaght, B'voy
Byrne, John, Quay
Campbell, Jas., M'more, Moy
Campbell, Rt., Ballyverdah N.
Casement, Jno. (J.P.), Magherint
Casement, Roger, Broughanlea
Clarke, A., B'vennaght, B'voy
Connor, John, Ardaghmore
Cunningham, D., Lagavara, M. C.
Duncan, H., C'gopag, B'voy
Duncan, Jno., Goodland, B'voy
Dunlop, A. (J.P.), Glenbank
Gage, Gen. E. (J.P.), Ballycastle
Glass, Wm., C'murry, Moy
Gilbert, Rev. J., Mount
Gilbert Gillan, Ptk., Farranmacarter
Graham, Miss M. (P.M.), Moyarget
Hayes, Wm., Drumawilliam
Hill, Edward, Corvally
Hill, Sl., Moyarget Up.
Hill, Wm., Broughgammon
Hopkins, J. B., Moyarget Lr
Hunter, Alex., Cross, B'voy
Hunter, Jas., Goodland, B'voy
Hunter, Jno., Turaloskin, Moy
Jamison, Jno., Turaloskin, Moy
Jamison, Wm., Coolaveely
Jolly, Chas., Drumakeel, B'voy
Kane, Fr, Moyarget Lr
Keenan, Berd., Clare Mountain
Kyle, Robt., Broughanlea
Laverty, Jno., B'naght, B'voy
Lawrence, Moore, Gortconney
M'Alister, Dl., Bonamargy
M'Alister, Denis, B'beridagh S.
M'Alister, R, Carrow'han, Moy
M'Bride, John, Greenan
M'Bride, J., Carnsampson, M. C.
M'Bride, Ml., Duncarbit
M'Bride, Patk., Greenans
M'Bride, Ptk., Cross, B'voy
M'Call, Thos., B'patrick, B'voy
M'Cambridge, P., K'garvan, M.C.
M'Cann, Patk., Acervelly
M'Carry, H., Murlough, B'voy
M'Carry, P., Murlough, B'voy
Macartney, Robt., Magheracastle
M'Caughan, Alex., Brackney
M'Caughan, Arch., Drumeeney
M'Caughan, C., Kilmogue, Moy
M'Caughan, C., jr., K'mogue, Moy
M'Caughan, Fr., Duncarbitt
M'Caughan, Jno., Drumacullin
M'Caughan, N. C., Islandboy
M'Closkey, Alex., Gortconney
M'Conaghy, Jno., Carnduff
M'Collam, J., B'patrick, B'voy
M'Conaghy, W., K'nagarvin, M. C.
M'Cook, Saml., Gortconney
M'Cormick, C., Islandboy, Moy
M'Cormick, Js., G'keeran, B'voy
M'Cormack, John, Eglish
M'Dowell, Geo., Kilcraig
M'Elheron, Rt., Kilrobert
M'Gildowney, Hh., J. E. & W. Clare Park
M'Gill, Arch., Carrow'han, Moy
M'Gowan, Dl., Toberbilly, Moy
M'Gowan, Rt., Magh'more, Moy
M'Intyre, J., Carnately, Moy
M'Kay, Jas., Cloughcorr, M. C.
M'Kennan, A., Cloughcorr, M.C.
M'Kendry, Mrs. (P.M.) Ballyvoy
M'Kinley, Ds., G'keeran, B'voy
M'Kinley, Js., Carneatly, Moy
M'Kinley, Wm., Carneatly, Moy
M'Laughlin, Jno. Drumaroan
M'Lean, Alex., Castle st.
M'Lees, Mrs., The Quay
M'Michael, Jno., Drumavoley
M'Millan, D., Corn mills, Carneatly
M'Mullan, Hh., C'gopage, B'voy
M'Mullan, Jas., Tavon'boy
M'Mullan, Patk., Clare
M'Neill, J., B'venagh, B'voy
M'Pherson, John, Carneatly
M'Vey, Patrick, Craiganboy
Mogill, J., G'keeran, B'voy
Miller, Alex., Brackney
Miller, Miss J., Ann st
Mitchell, Rt., Gortconney
Moore, Hugh, Ballyvoy
Mulcahey, Rev. D. B., Moyarget
Murphy, A., B'nagar, B'voy
O'Connor, Miss F., The Quay
O'Donnell, Mrs., The Quay
O'Hara, John, Ballycastle
O'Neill, Jno., B'patrick, B'voy
Price, A , Craiga'pin, M.C.
Robinson, Jno., Carnmoon
Scally, Denis, Tornaroan
Scally, Mrs., Maghrycastle
Scarlett, Geo., Castle st
Scott, John, Drumawillen
Sharp, James, Drumahit
Sharpe, J. M., (J.P.) Moyarget Up
Sharpe, Thos., Toberbilly, Moy
Sheppard, Edm., Quay rd
Simms, Geo., Ann st
Simpson, Arch., Ballinlea lr., Moy
Smith, Wm., Gortconey
Smyth, J., Clo'murry, Moy
Taylor, Jas., Main st
Taylor, Rev. Hy. R., Culfeightrin
Thompson, Dl., Drumeeny
Thompson, Jno., Drumghamon
Thompson, Miss M., Castle st
Todd, James, Coolkenny
Todd, Jno., M'amore, Moy
Watson, Thos., M'amore, Moy
White, Charles, Hillhead
White, John, Leland
White, John, Drumawillin
White, Thomas, Corvally
White, Thos., Carnsampson
Woodside. Jas., Clare
Woodside, Miss A., Anne st
Woodside, Rt., Carnsampson