MUFF, a district (ecclesiastical), in the barony of ENNISHOWEN, county of DONEGAL, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (N. N. W.) from Londonderry, on the road to Moville; containing 5915 inhabitants. Aileach castle, now only a noble ruin, stands on the summit of a lofty hill, and appears to have been the residence of the princes of the country for many centuries; in the reign of Elizabeth it was occupied by the O'Dohertys, who, in 1601, were conquered by Sir H. Docwra, who afterwards held their lands from the queen. Sir Cahir O'Doherty, the chieftain of Ennishowen, on May 1st, 1608, invited Capt. Hart, the English Governor of Culmore fort, and his lady, to the castle, under the guise of friendship; when he seized and made them prisoners, exacting such orders from the governor as secured the chieftain's own admittance into Culmore fort; having succeeded in obtaining which he massacred the garrison, took possession of the fort, and, on the same night, captured Derry, putting Sir G. Paulett, the governor, to death. Aileach castle was, shortly afterwards, re-taken by the English, under Lord-Deputy Wingfield, by whose orders it was dismantled, and it has ever since remained in ruins. This district is bounded on the east by Lough Foyle, and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 15,030 statute acres, of which 14,988 are applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £8658 perann.; about four-fifths are good arable land under an excellent system of cultivation; the remainder is mountainous and unproductive. The village has a neat appearance, the houses being clean and well built. Fairs are held on May 4th, Aug. 5th, Oct. 25th, and Dec. 11th. It has a penny post to Londonderry and Moville, a dispensary, and a constabulary police station; petty sessions are held once every fortnight; and a court for the manor of Muff is held on the second Tuesday in every month, for the recovery of debts under 40s. Ballynagarde is the residence of Capt. Hart, and Birdstown, of the Rev.
P. B. Maxwell. The living is a perpetual cure, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Dean; it was erected in 1809, when thirteen townlands were separated from the parish of Templemore. The tithes belong to the Dean: the income of the curate is £100, late currency, arising from £26 paid out of the Augmentation funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and a stipend from the Dean. The church is a small neat edifice, in the Gothic style of architecture, built about a century since by the ancestor of the late Gen.
Hart, of Kilderry; and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted £379 for its repair. In the R. C.
divisions Muff forms part of the union or district of Templemore. About 100 children are educated in a school principally supported by the dean, and a school at Culmore is supported by the Hart family; there are also two private schools, in which are about 90 children; and two Sunday schools. The fort of Culmore is nominally within this district, though usually considered to be extra-parochial.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.