The See of Armagh

THE SEE OF ARMAGH, according to the common opinion of native historians, was founded by St. Patrick, who in that city built the cathedral and some other religious edifices, in 445.Arms of the Bishoprick Three years after, he held a synod there, the canons of which are still in existence; and in 454 he resigned the charge of the see to which, on his recommendation, St. Binen was appointed), and spent the remainder of a life protracted to the patriarchal period of 120 years, in visiting and confirming the various churches which he had founded, and in forming others. Prior to the year 799, the bishop of Armagh and his suffragan bishops were obliged to attend the royal army during the military expeditions of the king of Ireland; but on a remonstrance made by Conmach, then archbishop, the custom was discontinued. A tumult which broke out in the city, during the celebration of the feast of Pentecost, in 889, between the septs of Cinel-Eoghain, of Tyrone, and Ulidia, of Down, affords an instance of the great power exercised by the archbishops at this period.

Moelbrigid, having succeeded in quelling the disturbance, mulcted each of the offending parties in a fine of 200 oxen, exacted hostages for their future good con duct, and caused six of the ringleaders, and caused six of the ringleaders on each side to be executed on a gallows. The commencement of the twelfth century was marked by a contest as to the right of the primacy, which had been monopolised during fifteen episcopal successions by a single princely tribe, as an hereditary right. "Eight married men," says St. Bernard, "literate indeed, but not ordained, had been predecessors to Celsus, on whose demise the election of Malachy O'Morgair to the primatial dignity, by the united voice of the clergy and people, put an end to the contest, though not without some struggles." Malachy resigned the primacy in 1137, and in lieu of it accepted the bishoprick of Down, which see he afterwards divided into two, reserving one to himself. His object seems to have resulted from a wish to procure leisure for a journey to Rome, with a view to prevail upon the pope to grant palls to the archbishops of Armagh and Cashel; but in this he was, on his first journey, disappointed, by being informed that so important a measure could only be conceded in pursuance of the suffrage of an Irish council. On making a second journey for the same purpose, he fell sick on the road, and died at the abbey of Clarevall, in the arms of his friend, St. Bernard. Nevertheless, this object was soon after accomplished, even to a greater extent than he had proposed.

In 1152, Cardinal Paparo arrived in Ireland as legate from Pope Eugene III., with four palls for the four archbishops, to whom the other Irish bishops were subjected as suffragans. The following sees, several of which are now unknown even by name, were then placed under the provincial jurisdiction of the archbishop of Armagh; viz., Connor, Dumdaleghlas (now Down), Lugud, Cluainiard or Clonard, Connanas, Ardachad, (now Ardagh), Rathboth (now Raphoe), Rathlurig or Rathlure, Damliag, and Darrick (now Derry). The origin of a dispute between the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, regarding their respective claims to the primatial authority of Ireland, may be traced to this period, in consequence of a papal bull of 1182, which ordained that no archbishop or bishop should hold any assembly or hear ecclesiastical causes in the diocese of Dublin, unless authorised by the pope or his legate: but it was not until the following century that this dispute acquired a character of importance.

The rank of the former of these prelates among the bishops of Christendom was determined at the council of Lyons, where, in the order of subscription to the acts, the name "Albertus Armachanus" preceded those of all the bishops of France, Italy, and Spain. In 1247, Archbishop Reginald or Rayner separated the county of Louth from the diocese of Clogher, and annexed it to Armagh. Indeed, before this act, the inadequacy of the revenue to maintain the dignity of the see occasioned Hen. III. to issue a mandate to the lord justice of Ireland, to cause liberty of seisin to be given to the Archbishop of Armagh of all the lands belonging to the see of Clogher: but this writ was not carried into effect. In 1263, Pope Urban addressed a bull to Archbishop O'Scanlain, confirming him in the dignity of primate of all Ireland; but the authenticity of the document has been disputed. This bull did not put an end to the contest about precedency with the Archbishop of Dublin, which was renewed between Lech, Archbishop of Dublin, and Walter Jorse or Joyce, then primate, whose brother and successor, Rowland, persevering in the claim, was resisted by Bicknor, Archbishop of Dublin, and violently driven out of Leinster, in 1313.

Again, in 1337, Primate David O'Hiraghty was obstructed in his attendance on parliament by Bicknor and his clergy, who would not permit him to have his crosier borne erect before him in the diocese of Dublin, although the king had expressly forbidden Bicknor to offer him any opposition. In 1349 Bicknor once more contested the point with Fitz-Ralph, Archbishop of Armagh; and, notwithstanding the king's confirmation of the right of the latter to erect his crosier in any part of Ireland, the lord justice and the prior of Kilmainham, being bribed, as is supposed, by Bicknor, combined with that prelate in opposing the claims of the primate, who thereupon excommunicated the resisting parties. Shortly after both Bicknor and the prior died; and the latter, on his death-bed, solicited Fitz-Ralph's forgiveness through a special messenger. After his decease, his body was refused Christian burial, until absolved by the primate in consequence of his contrition.

In 1350, the king, through partiality to John de St. Paul, then Archbishop of Dublin, revoked his letter to Fitz-Ralph, and prohibited him from exercising his episcopal functions in the province of Dublin; and, in 1353, Pope Innocent VI. decided that Armagh and Dublin should be both primatial sees; the occupant of the former to be styled Primate of all Ireland, and of the latter, Primate of Ireland. In 1365, the Archbishops Milo Sweetman and Thomas Minot renewed the controversy, which, after that period, was suffered to lie dormant till Richard Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin., prevented Primate Swain from attending his duty in five successive parliaments held in 1429, 1435, and the three following years. Primates Mey and Prene experienced similar opposition; but after the decease of Talbot, in 1449, their successors enjoyed their rights undisturbed till 1533, when John Alen, Archbishop of Dublin, revived the contest with Primate Cromer, but seemingly without success. Edw. VI. divested Archbishop Dowdall of the primacy, in 1551, in order to confer it on George Browne, Archbishop of Dublin, as a reward for his advocacy of the Reformation; but on the same principle the right was restored to Dowdall on the accession of Mary.

In 1623, Launcelot Bulkeley revived the contest with Primate Hampton, and continued it against his successor, the distinguished Ussher, in whose favour it was decided by the Earl of Strafford, then lord-deputy, in 1634. At the commencement of the Reformation, Primate Cromer was inflexible in his determination to oppose its introduction into the Irish church; and on his death, in 1542, his example was followed by his successor, Dowdall, who, after the accession of Edw. VI., maintained a controversy on the disputed points with Staples, Bishop of Meath, in which both parties claimed the victory. The English government, finding him determined in his opposition to the new arrangements, issued a mandate rendering his see subordinate to that of Dublin, which caused Dowdall to quit the country and take refuge on the continent. The king, deeming this act a virtual resignation of the see, appointed Hugh Goodacre his successor; but Dowdall was restored by Queen Mary, and held the see till his death in 1558, the year in which his protectress also died. Notwithstanding the ecclesiastical superiority of the see of Armagh over that of Dublin, the income of the latter wasso much greater, that Adam Loftus, who had been appointed Archbishop of Armagh on the death of Dowdall, was removed a few years after to Dublin, as being more lucrative: he was only 28 years of age on his first elevation, being the youngest primate of all Ireland upon record, "except Celsus.

In 1614-15, a regrant of the episcopal property of Armagh, together with a large additional tract of land, accruing from the forfeited estates of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel, was made to Primate Hampton. His immediate successor was the celebrated James Ussher, during whose primacy Charles I. endowed anew the college of vicars choral in the cathedral, by patent granted in 1635, by which he bestowed on them various tracts of land, the property of the dissolved Culdean priory. Ussher was succeeded by Dr. Bramhall, a man also of great learning and mental powers, who was appointed by Charles II. immediately after the Restoration. Dr. Lindsay, who was enthroned in 1713, endowed the vicars choral and singing boys with £200 per annum out of lands in the county of Down, and also procured for them a new charter, in 1720. Dr. Boulter, who was translated from the see of Bristol to that of Armagh, on the death of Lindsay in 1724, is known only as a political character; a collection of his letters is extant. He was succeeded by Dr. Hoadly, translated from Dublin, who published some sermons and other works; and the latter by Dr. Stone, also an active participator in the political events of the time.

His successor was Dr. Robinson, Bishop of Kildare, and after his translation created Baron Rokeby, of Armagh, whose history may be best learned in the contemplation of the city over which he presided, raised by his continued munificence from extreme decay to a state of opulence and respectability, and embellished with various useful public institutions, worthy of its position among the principal cities of Ireland; and from the pastoral care evinced by him in an eminent degree in, the erection of numerous parochial and district churches for new parishes and incumbencies, to which he annexed glebes and glebe-houses, and in promoting the spiritual concerns of his diocese. Of the R. C. archbishops, since the Reformation, but little connected with the localities of the see is known. Robert Wauchope, a Scotchman, who had been appointed by the pope during the lifetime of Dowdall, may rightly be considered the first; for Dowdall, though a zealous adherent to the doctrines of the Church of Rome, had been appointed solely by the authority of Hen. VIII. Peter Lombard, who was appointed in 1594, is known in the literary and political circles by his commentary on Ireland, for which a prosecution was instituted against him by Lord Strafford, but was terminated by Lombard's death at Rome, in 1625, or the year following. Hugh McCaghwell, his successor, was a man of singular piety and learning, an acute metaphysician, and profoundly skilled in every branch of scholastic philosophy: a monument was erected to his memory by the Earl of Tyrone.

Oliver Plunket, appointed in 1669, obtained distinction by his defence of the primatial rights against Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin; but his prosecution and death for high treason, on a charge of favouring a plot for betraying Ireland to France, have rendered his name still more known. Hugh McMahon, of the Monaghan family of that name, was appointed in 1708: his great work is the defence of the primatial rights, entitled "Jus Primitiale Armacanum," in which he is said to have exhausted the subject. The Archbishoprick, or Ecclesiastical Province of Armagh comprehends the ten dioceses of Armagh, Clogher, Meath, Down, Connor, Derry, Raphoe, Kilmore, Dromore, and Ardagh, which are estimated to contain a superficies of 4,319,250 acres, and comprises within its limits the whole of the civil province of Ulster; the counties of Longford, Louth, Meath, and Westmeath, and parts of the King's and Queen's counties, in the province of Leinster; and parts of the counties of Leitrim, Roscommon, and Sligo, in the province of Connaught. The archbishop, who is primate and metropolitan of all Ireland, presides over the province, and exercises all episcopal jurisdiction within his own diocese; and the see of Down being united to that of Connor, and that of Ardagh to the archiepiscopal see of Tuam, seven bishops preside over the respective dioceses, and are suffragan to the Lord-Primate.

Under the Church Temporalities' Act of the 3rd of William IV., the archiepiscopal jurisdiction of the province of Tuam will become extinct on the death of the present archbishop, and the dioceses now included in it will be suffragan to Armagh. The diocese of Armagh comprehends the greater part of that county, and parts of those of Meath, Louth, Tyrone, and Londonderry: it comprises by computation a superficial area of 468,550 acres, of which 1300 are in Meath, 108,900 in Louth, 162,500 in Tyrone, and 25,000 in Londonderry, It was anciently divided into two parts, the English and the Irish, now known as the Upper and Lower parts: the English or Upper part embraces that portion which extends into the counties of Louth and Meath, and is subdivided into the rural deaneries of Drogheda, Atherdee or Ardee, and Dundalk; and the Irish or Lower part comprehends the remaining portion of the diocese in the counties of Armagh, Tyrone, and Londonderry, and is subdivided into the rural deaneries of Creggan, Aghaloe, Dungannon, and Tullahog.

In all ancient synods and visitations the clergy of the English and Irish parts were congregated separately, which practice is still observed, the clergy of the Upper part assembling for visitation at Drogheda, and those of the Lower at Armagh. The see of Clogher, on the first avoidance by death or translation, will, under the Church Temporalities' Act, become united to that of Armagh, and its temporalities will be vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for Ireland. There are 100,563 statute acres belonging to the see of Armagh, of which 87,809 are profitable land, the remainder being bog or mountain; and the gross amount of its yearly revenue on an average is about £17,670, arising from chief rents, fee farms, and copyhold leases. On the death of the present primate the sum of £4500 is, under the above act, to be paid out of the revenue annually to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The chapter consists of a dean, precentor, chancellor, treasurer, archdeacon, and the four prebendaries of Mullaghbrack, Ballymore, Loughgall, and Tynan, with eight vicars choral, and an organist and choir. The dean and precentor are the only dignitaries for whom houses are provided; five houses are assigned for the vicars choral and organist. Each dignity and prebend has cure of souls annexed, as regards the benefice forming its corps. The economy estate of the cathedral yields an annual rental of £180. 1. 5., which is expended in the payment of salaries to the officers of the cathedral, and in defraying other charges incident to the building.

The diocese comprises 88 benefices, of which, 14 are unions consisting of 45 parishes, and 74 consist of single parishes or portions thereof. Of these, 4 are in the gift of the Crown, 51 in that of the Lord-Primate, 12 are in lay and corporation patronage, and 21 in clerical or alternate patronage. The total number of parishes or districts is 122, of which 91 are rectories or vicarages, 23 perpetual cures, 1 itnpropriate, and 7 parishes or districts without cure of souls; there are 22 lay impropriations. The number of churches is 88, besides 11 other buildings in which divine service is performed, and of glebe-houses, 74. In the R. C. Church the archbishoprick of Armagh, as originally founded, is the head or primacy of all Ireland; and the same bishopricks are suffragan to it as in the Protestant Church. The R. C. diocese comprises 51 parochial benefices or unions, containing 120 places of worship, served by 51 parish priests and 65 coadjutors or curates. The parochial benefice of St. Peter, Drogheda, is held by the archbishop; and the union of Armagh, Eglish, and Grange is annexed to the deanery. There are 68 Presbyterian meeting-houses, and 44 belonging to other Protestant dissenters, making in the whole 331 places of worship in the diocese.

The parish of Armagh comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 4606 ¾ statute acres, of which 1051 ¼ are in the barony of O'Neilland West, and 3555 ½ in that of Armagh. The rural district is only of small extent: the system of agriculture has very much improved of late; the land is excellent, and yields abundant crops. Limestone prevails, and is mostly used in building and in repairing the roads; in some places it is beautifully variegated, and is wrought into chimney-pieces. The principal seats are the Primate's palace; Ballynahone, that of Miss Lodge; Beech Hill, of T. Simpson, Esq.; Tullamore, of J. Oliver, Esq.; and those of J. Simpson, Esq., and J. Mackey, Esq., at Ballyards. The living consists of a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Armagh, consolidated by letters patent of the 11th and 12th of Jas. I., and united, in the reign of Charles I., to the parishes of Eglish, Lisnadell, and Ballymoyer, in the patronage of the Lord-Primate. These parishes, having been so long consolidated, are not specifically set forth in the incumbents' titles, so that Armagh has practically ceased to be, and is no longer designated a union in the instruments of collation.

The deanery is in the gift of the Crown, and is usually held with the rectory, but they are not statutably united, and the former has neither tithes nor cure of souls: it is endowed with five tenements and a small plot of land within the city, the deanery-house and farm of 90 acres, and five townlands in the parish of Lisnadill, comprising in all 1142 statute acres, valued at £274. 13. 7 ½. per annum. The deanery-house, situated about a quarter of a mile from the cathedral, was built in 1774. The rectorial glebe-lands comprise about 380 acres, valued in 1831 at £368. 6. 9. per annum. The tithes of Armagh and Grange amount to £500; and the gross value of the deanery and union of Armagh, tithe and glebe inclusive, amounts to £2462. 1. 2 ½. There are six perpetual cures within the union, namely, Grange, Eglish, Killylea, Lisnadill, Armaghbreague, and Ballymoyer, the endowments of which amount to £440 per annum, paid by the rector out of the tithes. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recommended that the union, on the next avoidance of the benefice, be partially dissolved, and the district of Ballymoyer erected into a new parish; and that the deanery and consolidated rectory and vicarage, now belonging to different patrons, be united and consolidated, the respective patrons presenting and collating alternately, agreeably to the Irish act of the 10th and 11th of Charles I., cap. 2,— or that the advowson of the deanery he vested solely in the patron of the rectory and vicarage, which are of much greater value than the deanery, the patron of which to be compensated by being allowed the right of presentation to the new parish of Ballymoyer.

The cathedral church, originally founded by St. Patrick in 445, was burnt by the Danes of Ulster, under Turgesius, who, in 836, destroyed the city. At what time the present building was erected is not accurately known; the crypt appears to be of the 11th or 12th century, but there are several portions of a much earlier date, which were probably part of a former, or perhaps of the original, structure. It appears from an existing record that the roof, which for 130 years had been only partially repaired, was, in 1125, covered with tiles; and in 1262 the church was repaired by Archbishop O'Scanlain, who is supposed to have built the nave and the elegant western entrance. The cathedral was partially burnt in 1404 and 1566, after which it was repaired by Primate Hampton, who in 1612 rebuilt the tower; it was again burnt in 1642 by Sir Phelim O'Nial, but was restored by Archbishop Margetson, at his own expense, in 1675, and was further repaired in 1729 by the Dean and Chapter, aided by Archbishop Boulter.

Primate Robinson, in 1766, roofed the nave with slate, and fitted it up for divine service; the same prelate commenced the erection of a tower, but when it was raised to the height of 60 feet, one of the piers, with the arch springing from it, yielded to the pressure from above, and it was consequently taken down even with the roof of the building. The tower was again raised to its present height and surmounted by a spire, which, from a fear of overpowering the foundation, was necessarily curtailed in its proportion. Primate Beresford, on his translation to the see, employed Mr. Cottingham, architect of London, and the restorer of the abbey of St. Alban's, to survey the cathedral with a view to its perfect restoration, and the report being favourable, the undertaking, towards which His Grace subscribed £8000, was commenced under that gentleman's superintendence in 1834. The piers of the tower have been removed and replaced by others resting upon a more solid foundation, in the execution of which the whole weight of the tower was sustained without the slightest crack or settlement, till the new work was brought into contact with the old, by a skilful and ingenious contrivance of which a model has been preserved.

The prevailing character of the architecture is the early English style, with portions of the later Norman, and many of the details are rich and elegant, though long obscured and concealed by injudicious management in repairing the building, and, when the present work now in progress is completed, will add much to the beauty of this venerable and interesting structure. The series of elegantly clustered columns separating the aisles from the nave, which had declined from the perpendicular and will be restored to their original position, was concealed by a rude encasement, with a view to strengthen them; and many of the corbels, enriched with emblematical sculpture, were covered with thick coats of plaister. Among other ancient details that had been long hidden is a sculpture of St. Patrick with his crosier, in a compartment surmounted with shamrocks, which is perhaps the earliest existing record of that national emblem; and another of St. Peter, with the keys, surmounted by a cock, discovered in the wall under the rafters of the choir. There are several splendid monuments, of which the principal are those of Dean Drelincourt, by Rysbrach; of Primate Robinson, with a bust, by Bacon; of Lord Charlemont, who died in 1671, and of his father, Baron Caulfield.

The ancient monuments of Brian Boru or Boroimhe, his son Murchard, and his nephew Conard, who were slain in the battle of Clontarf and interred in this cathedral, have long since perished. The church, which was made parochial by act of the 15th and 16th of Geo. III., cap. 17th, occupies a commanding site; it is 183 ½ feet in length, and 119 in breadth along the transepts. To the east of the cathedral and Mall, on an eminence in front of the city, is a new church, dedicated to St. Mark: it is a handsome edifice in the later English style; the interior is elegantly finished; the aisles are separated from the nave by a row of arches resting on clustered columns, from the capitals of which spring numerous ribs supporting a handsome groined roof. This church, which is indebted for much of its decorations to the munificence of the present primate, was built at an expense of £3600, and contains about 1500 sittings, of which 800 are free.

There are also six other churches within the union. In the R. C. divisions this parish is the head of a union or district, which comprises also the parishes of Eglish and Grange, and forms one of the benefices of the primate: the union contains three chapels, situated at Armagh, Annacramp, and Tullysaren. The first was built about the year 1750, on ground held under different titles, the proprietors having successively devised a permanent interest therein to the congregation at a nominal rent; the building has of late been much enlarged and improved, but is still too small for the R. C. population; it is triple-roofed, as if intended for three distinct buildings, yet has a good effect. The places of worship for dissenters are, one built in 1722 with part of the ruins of the church and monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul, and having a substantial manse in front, for a congregation of Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, who settled here about the year 1670, and endowed with a first class grant of royal bounty; one for Seceders, built about the year 1785, and endowed with a second class grant; one for the Evangelical or Independent congregational union; one for Wesleyan Methodists, built in 1786, with a comfortable house for the minister attached, and situated near the spot where Mr. Wesley, in 1767, frequently preached; and one near it for Primitive Wesleyan Methodists.

The free grammar-school, to the south of the observatory, is endowed with seven townlands in the parish of Loughgilly, comprising 1514 acres, and producing a clear rental of £1377, granted in trust to the primate and his successors in 1627, for the support of a grammar school at Mountnorris: part of the income is applied to the maintenance of several exhibitions at Trinity College, Dublin. The buildings occupy the four sides of a quadrangle, the front of which is formed by a covered passage communicating on each side with the apartments of the head-master and pupils; on the fourth side is the school-room, 56 feet long by 28 broad, behind which is a large area enclosed by a wall and serving as a play-ground. They were completed in 1774, at an expense of £5000, defrayed by Primate Robinson, and are capable of conveniently accommodating 100 resident pupils. A school for the instruction of the choir boys has been established by the present primate, the master of which receives a stipend of £75 per annum, and is allowed to take private pupils.

The charter school was founded in 1738, and endowed with £90 per ann. by Mrs. Drelincourt, widow of Dean Drelincourt, for the maintenance and education of 20 boys and 20 girls, who were also to be instructed in the linen manufacture, housewifery, and husbandry. In that year the corporation granted certain commons or waste lands, called the "Irish-Street commons," comprising upwards of 8 statute acres, on which the school premises, including separate residences for the master and mistress, were erected, and to which Primate Boulter annexed 13 statute acres adjoining. The endowment was further augmented with the lands of Legumin, in the county of Tyrone, comprising about 107 acres, and held under a renewable lease granted in trust by Primate Robinson to the dean and chapter: the present annual income is £249. 8. 2.

The primate and rector are trustees, and the officiating curate is superintendent of the school, in which only ten girls are now instructed in the general branches of useful education; the surplus funds have been allowed to accumulate for the erection of premises on a more eligible site, and it is in contemplation to convert the establishment into a day school for boys and girls. In 1819, Primate Stuart built and endowed a large and handsome edifice, in which 105 boys and 84 girls are at present taught on the Lancasterian plan, and about 160 of them are clothed, fifteen by the dean, and the remainder principally by William Stuart, Esq., son of the founder. The income is about £100 per annum; £31. 10. is given annually by the present primate and Mr. Stuart. The building is situated on the east side of the Mall, and consists of a centre and two wings, the former occupied as residences by the master and mistress, and the latter as school-rooms. There is a national school for boys and girls, aided by a grant of £50 per ann. from the National Board of Education and by private subscriptions, for which a handsome building is now in course of erection by subscription, to the east of the Mall, with a portico in front. In Callan-street is a large building erected for a Sunday school by the present primate, who has presented it to the committee of an infants' school established in 1835, and supported by voluntary contributions. At Killurney is a National school for boys and girls, built and supported by the Hon. Mrs. Caulfeild; and there are other schools in the rural part of the parish. The total number of children on the books of these schools is 653, of whom 285 are boys and 368 are girls; and in the different private schools are 270 boys and 200 girls.

The county hospital or infirmary is situated on the north-western declivity of the hill which is crowned by the cathedral, at the top of Abbey-street, Callan-street, and Dawson-street, which branching off in different directions leave an open triangular space in front. It is a fine old building of unhewn limestone, completed in 1774, at an expense of £2150, and consisting of a centre and two wings; one-half is occupied as the surgeon's residence, the other is open for the reception of patients; there are two wards for males and one for females. The domestic offices are commodious and well arranged, and there are separate gardens for the infirmary and for the surgeon. The entire number of patients relieved in 1834 was 3044,of whom 563 were admitted into the hospital, and 71 children were vaccinated: the expenditure in that year amounted to £1145. 8. 8., of which £500 was granted by the grand jury, and the remainder was defrayed by private subscription. Prior to the establishment of the present county infirmary by act of parliament, the inhabitants had erected and maintained by private contributions an hospital called the "Charitable Infirmary," situated in Scotch-street, which they liberally assigned over to the lord primate and governors of the new establishment, and it was used as the county hospital until the erection of the present edifice.

The fever hospital, situated about a furlong from the city, on the Caledon road, was erected in 1825, at an entire cost, including the purchase and laying out of the grounds, &c., of about £3500, defrayed by the present primate, by whose munificence it is solely supported. It is a chaste and handsome building of hewn limestone, 50 feet in length and 30 in width, with a projection rearward containing on the ground floor a physician's room, a warm bath and washing-room, and on the other floors, male and female nurses' rooms and slop-rooms, in the latter of which are shower baths. On the ground floor of the front building are the entrance hall, the matron's sitting and sleeping-rooms, and a kitchen and pantry: the first and second floors are respectively appropriated to the use of male and female patients, each floor containing two wards, a fever and a recovery ward, the former having ten beds and the latter five, making in all thirty beds. The subordinate buildings and offices are well calculated to promote the object of the institution: there is a good garden, with walks in the grounds open to convalescents; and with regard to cleanliness, economy, and suitable accommodation for its suffering inmates, this hospital is entitled to rank among the first in the province.

The Armagh district asylum for lunatic poor of the counties of Armagh, Monaghan, Fermanagh, and Cavan, was erected pursuant to act of parliament by a grant from the consolidated fund, at an expense, including purchase of site, furniture, &c., of £20,900, to be repaid by instalments by the respective counties comprising the district, each of which sends patients in proportion to the amount of its population, but is only charged for the number admitted. It has accommodation for 122 patients, who are admitted on an affidavit of poverty, a medical certificate of insanity, and a certificate from the minister and churchwardens of their respective parishes. The establishment is under the superintendence of a board of directors, a resident manager and matron, and a physician. Thirteen acres of ground are attached to the asylum, and are devoted to gardening and husbandry, The male patients weave all the linen cloth used in the establishment, and the clothing for the females; gymnastic exercises and a tennis-court have been lately established. From the 14th of July; 1825, when the asylum was first opened, to the 1st of Jan., 1835, 710 patients were admitted, of whom 400 were males and 310 females: of this number, 305 recovered and were discharged; 121 were discharged relieved; 70 unrelieved and restored to their relations; 89 died, and 16 were transferred to the asylum at Londonderry; leaving in this asylum 109. The average annual expense for the above period amounted to about £1900, and the average cost of each patient, including clothing and all other charges, was about £17 per annum. Among the voluntary institutions for the improvement of the city the most remarkable is the association for the suppression of mendicity, under the superintendence of a committee, who meet weekly.

For this purpose the city is divided into six districts, and eight resident visiters are appointed to each, one of whom collects the subscriptions of the contributors on Wednesday, and distributes them among the paupers on the ensuing Monday. The paupers are divided into three classes, viz., those wholly incapacitated from industrious exertion; orphans and destitute children; and paupers with large families, who are able in some measure, though not wholly, to provide for their subsistence. The visiters personally inspect the habitations of those whom they relieve, and report to the general committee. The paupers are employed in sweeping the streets and lanes, by which means the public thoroughfares are kept in a state of great cleanliness; and itinerant mendicants are prevented from begging in the streets by two authorised beadles. "The Robinson Loan Fund" consists of an accumulated bequest of £200 by Primate Robinson, in 1794, held in trust by the corporation, and lent free of interest, under an order of the Court of Chancery made in Feb. 1834, in sums of from £10 to £30, to tradesmen and artificers resident or about to settle in the city, and repayable by instalments at or within 12 months; and there is another fund for supplying distressed tradesmen with small loans to be repaid monthly.

A bequest was made by the late Arthur Jacob Macan, who died in India in 1819, to the sovereign and burgesses and other inhabitants of Armagh, for the erection and endowment of an asylum for the blind, on the plan of that at Liverpool, but open indiscriminately to all religious persuasions, and, if the funds should allow of it, for the admission also of deaf and dumb children, with preference to the county of Armagh. The benefits derivable under the will are prospective, and are principally contingent on the death of certain legatees. Basilica Vetus Concionaria, "the old preaching church," was probably used in later times as the parish church: a small fragment still remains contiguous to the cathedral, where the rectors of Armagh were formerly inducted. The priory of the Culdees, who were secular priests serving in the choir of the cathedral, where their president officiated as precentor, was situated in Castle-street, and had been totally forsaken for some time prior to 1625, at which period the rents were received by the archbishop's seneschal, and the whole of its endowment in lands, &c., was granted to the vicars choral. Temple Bridget, built by St. Patrick, stood near the spot now occupied by the R. C. chapel. He also founded Temple-na-Fearta, or "the church of the miracles," without the city, for his sister Lupita, who was interred there, and whose body was discovered at the commencement of the 17th century in an upright posture, deeply buried under the rubbish, with a cross before and behind it.

The site of the monastery of St. Columba was that now occupied by the Provincial Bank, at the north-east corner of Abbey-street; the two Methodist chapels stand on part of its gardens. There are many other vestiges of antiquity in the city and its vicinity. The most ancient and remarkable is Eamhuin Macha or Eamania, the chief residence of the Kings of Ulster, situated two miles to the west, near which several celts, brazen spear heads, and other military weapons have been found. Crieve Roe, adjoining it, is said to have been the seat of the only order of knighthood among the ancient Irish; its members were called "Knights of the Red Branch," and hence the name of the place. In the same neighbourhood is the Navan Fort, where also numerous ornaments, military weapons, horse accoutrements, &c., are frequently found; and on the estate of Mr. John Mackey, in the townland of Kennedy, are the remains of two forts, where petrified wood and other fossils have been found.

In the primate's demesne are extensive and picturesque ruins of an abbey; near the asylum are the walls of Bishop's Court, once the residence of the primates; and on the banks of the Callan are the remains of the tumulus of "Nial of the hundred battles." On a lofty eminence four miles to the south-east is Cairnamnhanaghan, now called the "Vicar's Cairn," commanding an extensive and pleasing prospect over several adjacent counties. It is a vast conical heap of stones in the parish of Mullaghbrack, covering a circular area 44 yards in diameter, and thrown together without any regularity, except the encircling stones, which were placed close to each other, in order to contain the smaller stones of which the cairn is composed. Its size has been much diminished by the peasantry, who have carried away the large stones for building; but the proprietor, the Earl of Charlemont, has prohibited this destruction. Coins of Anlaff the Dane, Athelstan, Alfred, and Edgar have been found in and around the city. Armagh gives the title of Earl to his Royal Highness Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »