On the 8th of April, 1644, a meeting of the Presbyterian clergy and laity was held here, at which several persons entered into "a solemn league and covenant for the defence of the reformed religion, the safety of the king, and the peace, happiness, and security of the three kingdoms, and to secure and hold fast the league and covenant with England;" the original document, signed by 32 gentlemen, is preserved in the museum at Belfast. The village, which is delightfully situated on the eastern shore of Carrickfergus bay, and on the road from Belfast to Bangor, previously to 1800 contained only about 30 dwellings, chiefly poor cabins; but from its proximity to Belfast, and its fine sandy beach, it has since been greatly extended, and is now become a favourite place of resort for sea-bathing. It contains at present 225 houses, mostly well built; bathing-lodges have been erected for the accommodation of visiters, a new road has been made along the shore, and a daily mail has been established. There are several good lodging- houses in the village and its environs; and from the increasing number of visiters, several houses in detached situations, and chiefly in the Elizabethan style of architecture, are now in progress of erection on the Cultra estate, by Thomas Ward, Esq., after designs by Millar.
These houses are sheltered with thriving plantations, and beautifully situated on a gentle eminence commanding a richly diversified and extensive prospect of Carrickfergus bay, the Black mountain, Cave hill, the Carnmoney mountains, and the town and castle of Carrickfergus, terminating with the basaltic columns of Black Head. Close to the shore is an extensive muscle bank; and about a mile to the north-west of the town, in the lough, is a sand bank, called the Hollywood bank, the greater part of which is dry at low water, but which vessels may easily avoid by sailing nearer to the northern shore. It is a constabulary police station, and also a coast-guard station, forming part of the district of Donaghadee. Fairs, principally for cattle and horses, are held on the first Monday in each quarter. A court leet and baron is held every three weeks by the seneschal of the manor, for pleas in civil bill cases to the amount of £10, and pleas of record and attachment of goods and chattels to the amount of £20; its jurisdiction extends over 27 townlands in the parish of Hollywood, Knockbreda, Dundonald, and Ballymacarett; but the prison not being now used for that purpose, defaulters are sent to the county gaol.
The parish comprises the two ancient parishes of Ballymechan, or Columbkill, and Craigavad, both rectories, one belonging to Hollywood priory, and the other to the abbey of Bangor, which were, united in 1626, under the name of Hollywood. It contains, according to the Ordnance survey, 8064¼ statute acres, principally under an improved system of tillage and in a high state of cultivation. Freestone of excellent quality and coal may be obtained, but the mines are not worked to any extent. The surrounding scenery is finely varied, and embellished with numerous gentlemen's Seats; among which are the episcopal palace of the Bishop of Down; Cultra, the seat of H. Kennedy, Esq.; Ballymenock, of T. Gregg, Esq.; Rockport, of I. Turnley, Esq.; Craigavad, of A. Forbes, Esq.; Garnerville, of Capt. Garner; Hollywood House, of J. Macartney, Esq.; Turf Lodge, of J. Kane, Esq.; Knocknagoney, of Mrs. Kennedy; Bloomfield, of J. Agnew, Esq.; Clifton, of Dr. Halliday; Richmond Lodge, of F. Turnley, Esq.; Wellington, of W. Crawford, Esq.; Marino, of T. Ward, Esq.; Greenville, of I Stott, Esq.; Glen Carrig, of Miss Symes; and the Spa, of J. Cordukes, Esq. The living is an impropriate curacy, in the diocese of Down, and in the patronage of Viscount Dungannon, in whom the rectory is impropriate. The tithes belong to the proprietors of the soil, and are included in. the rent; the patron pays £40 per ann., to the minister, which is augmented to £100 by the trustees of Primate Boulter's fund; the glebehouse was built in 1812, by a gift of £450 and a loan of £50 from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe comprises 12a. 4p. The church, which is at the eastern extremity of the village, is an ancient building, with several antique heads in the outer wall, which are supposed to have been the corbels of a former church, In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Belfast, and has a chapel, which was built in 1828. There is a Presbyterian meeting-house in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the second class, and one belonging to the Presbytery of Antrim. About 230 children are educated in five public schools, one of which is supported by Mr. Turnley; and about 60 in two private schools; there are also two Sunday schools. An establishment for the relief of the poor is supported by subscriptions, in which 15 poor persons constantly reside. The church occupies the site of the ancient priory, of which there are no other remains; and of the churches of Ballymechan and Craiguvad not a vestige can be traced; the cemeteries of both were used as places of interment till 1765, and in the former were deposited the remains of Con O'Neil, the last of that powerful sept, whose possessions comprised more than one-third of the county of Down, and an extensive district in the county of Antrim, in which was included the now populous town of Belfast. Some carved stones are preserved at Ballymechan, which are supposed to have belonged to his tomb, but the sculpture is of an earlier date; the site of that church is now a garden and the churchyard an orchard, and at Craigavad only one solitary stone remains to mark the site of the churchyard, which is now under cultivation.
A new species of rose was discovered in this parish by John Templeton, Esq., which by the Dublin Society was called "Rosa Hibernica," and afterwards "Rosa Templetonia," in honour of the discoverer.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.
|Priory Church, Bangor Road, Holywood, Church of Ireland|
|St Philip and St James, Holywood, Church of Ireland|
|Belmont Road, Strandtown, Baptist|
|Bloomfield Baptist, Upper Newtownards Road, Holywood, Baptist|
|Cultra Manor (private family graveyard), Ballycultra, Cemetery|
|Redburn Cemetery, off Old Holywood Road, Knocknagoney, Cemetery|
|Church Road/Church View, Holywood, Methodist|
|Station Road/Palmerston Road, Sydenham, Methodist|
|Site of ancient church, later occupied by The Moat, Ballymaghan, Roman Catholic|
|St Columcille, Holywood, Roman Catholic|
The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.
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