LOUGHGUILE, or LOUGHGEEL, a parish, partly in the barony of KILCONWAY, but chiefly in that of UPPER-DUNLUCE, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER, 6½ miles (E. S. E.) from Ballymoney, on the road from Ballymena to Ballycastle; containing 6379 inhabitants. This place is celebrated for a battle which was fought on the Aura mountain, between the Mac Quillans and Mac Donnells, in which the former were defeated; and near the intrenchments that were thrown up on the occasion, and of which there are still some remains, is a large cairn, where the slain on both sides are said to have been interred. The parish is situated on Lough Guile and intersected by the river Bush, which rises in the Cambrick mountain, and after a bold and devious course of 13 miles falls into the sea at Bushmills.
It comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 30,165 statute acres, of which 6466¼ are in the barony of Kilconway, and 23,689¾ are in Upper Dunluce; 59½ are water, and of the land, about one-third is wild and boggy pasture, and the remainder chiefly arable land. The surface is boldly undulating, rising in some parts into lofty eminences, of which Mount Aura has an elevation of 1530 feet. The soil is principally light and gravelly, but in the valleys extremely fertile: the system of agriculture has greatly improved since the decline of the linen manufacture, and excellent crops are raised. There are some extensive tracts of limestone, which is quarried and burnt into lime, in which a considerable trade is carried on; and there is an ample supply of bog turf. Lisanour Castle, situated on the shores of the Lough, was originally built by Sir Philip Savage in the reign of John, and in 1723 was purchased by the ancestors of the Macartney family, of whom George, Earl Macartney, was born and for some time resided here.
The last remains of the ancient building were removed in 1829, on the erection of the present mansion, the seat of George Macartney, Esq., which is beautifully situated in a fertile valley romantically interspersed with woods and lakes, and adorned with extensive and flourishing plantations; near the margin of one of the lakes is an elegant cottage in the later English style, richly embellished, and forming a picturesque feature in the scenery of the vale. Fairs are held here on the 19th of Feb., June, Aug., and Nov., chiefly for horses, cattle, pigs, and linen yarn. A constabulary police force is stationed here, and petty sessions are held on alternate Tuesdays.
On the death of Dr. Trail, the last chancellor of Connor, and under Bishop Mant's act for dissolving the union attached to the chancellorship of that see, the living, previously a vicarage, became a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Connor, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £515. The church, a small plain edifice with a tower surmounted by a spire, was rebuilt in 1733, chiefly at the expense of the late Earl Macartney. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; the chapel is a spacious edifice, built in 1785, near the entrance of Lisanour Castle. At Magheraboy is a place of worship for Seceders.
About 300 children are taught in four public schools, of which a female school and Sunday school are supported by Mrs. Macartney; and there are seven private schools, in which are about 280 children. A dispensary affords medicine and advice to the poor, who are visited afc their own dwellings when unable to attend. There are several Danish forts in the parish.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.
The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.
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