BALLYCLUG, a parish

BALLYCLUG, a parish, in the barony of LOWER ANTRIM, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER; containing, with part of the post-town of Ballymena, called the village of Henryville, 3692 inhabitants. This place, with a district extending many miles around it, was the property of the ancient and princely sept of the O'Haras, who settled here during the reign of Henry II., and whose ancient mansion still occupies the summit of a gently rising eminence near the village of Crebilly. During the insurrection in 1641, Cromwell wrested from them a considerable portion of the manor of Crebilly, or the "Kearte," which he divided among several of his adherents. Some of the timber about Crebilly is of very ancient growth; and there are several traces of the former splendour, and many traditions of the princely hospitality of the chiefs of the O'Hara sept.

The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 8268 ¾ statute acres, about one-fifth of which is brush-wood and mountain, which is gradually being brought into cultivation; 150 acres are bog, 30 acres are woodland, and the remainder is arable and pasture. The soil is fertile, and the system of agriculture is greatly improved; the cultivation of wheat, for which the land is well adapted, has been recently introduced with success. Fairs are held at Crebilly on the 26th of June and 21st of August, for horses, black cattle, sheep, and pigs; they were formerly the largest in the province, but are now indifferently attended. Courts leet and baron are held annually; and a manorial court for the district of Kearte is held monthly by the seneschal, for the recovery of debts, with jurisdiction over the whole of this parish and parts of the parishes of Connor and Rathcaven. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Connor, formerly belonging to the chancellorship, but episcopally united to the impropriate curacy of Kirkinriola on the death of the late Dr. Trail; the tithes amount to £129. 4. 7 ½.

In the R. C. divisions this parish is united to Ballymena: the chapel, situated at Crebilly, was erected in 1810, near the ancient seat of the O'Haras. A school was built at Caugherty in 1829, one at Ballavaddan in 1800, and a parochial school is now being built under the management and patronage of the rector: there are also two other public schools, and a private and three Sunday schools. Colonel O'Hara, in 1759, bequeathed £20 per annum to the poor of this parish, which is regularly distributed according to the will of the testator. There are some remains of the ancient parish church, also of Dunavaddan chapel; besides numerous remains of forts, intrenchments, and Druidical altars, and several moats and tumuli, scattered over the surface of this parish.

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