RAMELTON, a market and post-town, in the parish of AUGHNISH, barony of KILMACRENAN, county of DONEGAL, and province of ULSTER, 19 miles (N. N. W.) from Lifford, and 123 ½ (N. W. by N.) from Dublin; containing 1783 inhabitants. Sir William Stewart, Knt., who was much in favour with James I., became an undertaker for the plantation of escheated lands, of which he obtained a grant or patent of 1000 acres in this vicinity, and was created a baronet of Ireland in 1623. At the time of Pynnar's Survey he had built a strong bawn here, 80 feet square and 16 feet high, with four flankers and a strong and handsome castle; and contiguous to these he had built the town, then containing 45 houses, inhabited by 57 British families; he had also nearly completed the erection of a church: the place was then considered well situated for military defence. The town stands on the river Lenon, which here empties itself into Lough Swilly, and is navigable for small vessels: it consists of three streets, containing 341 houses, and is admirably adapted for manufactures of every description. Here are extensive corn-mills, a brewery, bleach-green, and linen manufactory, and a considerable quantity of linen is made by hand in the vicinity.

A market for provisions is held on Tuesday, and on Thursday and Saturday for com; and fairs are held on the Tuesday next after May 20th, Nov. 15th, and on the Tuesday after Dec. 11th. A chief constabulary police force is stationed in the town, and petty sessions are held on alternate Thursdays. There is a small salmon fishery, producing about £500 annually; the fish are considered to be in season throughout the year, and are mostly exported to England. In the town are the parochial church, meeting-houses for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster (of the first class) and for Methodists, a small fever hospital, and a dispensary. A loan fund has been established; also a ladies' society and a shop for the sale of clothes at reduced prices to the poor. The parochial and Presbyterian schools, noticed in the article on Aughnish, are also in the town. On the shore of Lough Swilly is Fort Stewart, the residence of Sir James Stewart, Bart., surrounded by an extensive and well planted demesne; and at a short distance to the north-east is Fort Stewart Castle, erected by Sir William Stewart. the original patentee of the surrounding lands. Pearls of considerable value are occasionally found in the river Lenon.

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »