County Fermaagh 


Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, 1844

INNISMACSAINT, or ENNISMACSAINT, a parish, partly in the barony of Tyrhugh, co. Donegal, but chiefly in the barony of Magheraboy, co. Fermanagh, Ulster. The Donegal section contains the villages of Bundoran and Single-Street, and part of the town of BALLYSHANNON; and the Fermanagh section contains the village of DERRYGONNELLY, and a small section of CHURCHILL.

Length of the parish, 20 miles; breadth, 4. Area of the co. Donegal section, 7,126 acres, 3 roods, 30 perches, of which 27 acres, 3 roods, 10 perches are in the river Erne. Area of the Fermanagh section, 45,867 acres, 32 perches, of which 886 acres, 2 roods, 10 perches are in part of Lough Melvin, 587 acres, 2 roods, 11 perches are in the river Erne and in small lakes, and 8,002 acres, 3 roods, 39 perches are in part of Lower Lough Erne. Pop. of the whole, in 1831, 14,874;* in 1841, 14,693. Houses 2,585. Pop. of the Fermanagh section, in 1831, 8,254; in 1841, 9,124. Houses 1,599. Pop. of the rural districts of the Donegal section, in 1841, 3,866. Houses 690.

The surface, with the exception of some insulated ground in Lower Lough Erne, consists of a belt or band of country, extending along the left bank of Lower Lough Erne and the river Erne, from a point 5� miles below Enniskillen, away to Lough Melvin and Donegal bay below the embouch of Ballyshannon Harbour; and, in nearly all its distinctive character, as to contour and scenery, it has already been noticed in the article ERNE: which see. About one-fifth is irreclaimable mountain and bog; about one-fifth is pastoral mountain; and the remainder is good land, partly pastoral and partly arable.

The road from Enniskillen to Ballyshannon passes down the margin of the lake. Mr. Fraser, noticing the most interesting parts of the route along that road and within the parish, says, Churchill is a village on the top of one of the numerous ridges which rise, summit over summit, till they blend with the more elevated and westerly hills of Shean and Glenalong. A little to the south of the village of Churchill are the small but romantically situated loughs of Carrick and Bunnahone, the sources of the Sillies River. From the glebe-house of Churchill to the church of Ruscar, our road continues along the shores of the lake, and discloses at every turn some new and striking combination of wood and water on the one hand, or hill and dale on the other. At two miles from the glebe, we reach the rocky dell of Phoul-a-Phouca, which forms a part of the wild and pictuesquely broken acclivities of Shean-North, the most remarkable for its elevation and shape of the hills along the whole course of the Erne. As the most extensive, if not the best views of the Lower Lough, its shores, and islands, are obtained from the eminences near Phoul-a-Phouca, we would recommend the tourist, anxious to know the topography of the district, to ascend the steeps of Shean. In addition to the views of Lough Erne, its islands and boundaries, &c., the tourist will be gratified with the mountain-scenery and the numerous small glistening tarns which are scattered along the dreary moorlands lying westward between the hills of Shean-North and Glenalong.? The summits of Glenalong and North Shean have altitudes above sea-level of respectively 795 and 1,135 feet.

The island of Innismacsaint, which gives name to the parish, is situated in Lough Erne, about half-a-mile from the shore, and 3 miles east-south-east of Churchill; and was the site of a somewhat famous abbey, which monastic writers allege to have been founded early in the 6th century by St. Nenn or Nernid of the blood royal of Ireland. ?The saint?s bell, ornamented with gold and silver, says Archdale, is yet preserved here as a precious relique, and is holden in so great veneration amongst the lower class of people, that it is often judicially tendered them to swear on. The abbey-church was eventually made parochial; but was superseded, in the reign of Queen Anne, by a church on the mainland; and this, in its turn, was recently superseded, and is now in a state of ruin. This parish is a rectory, and a separate benefice, in the dio. of Clogher.

Tithe composition, �500 ; glebe �321 19s. 8�d. Gross income, �821 19s. 8�d.; nett, �685 13s. 8�d. Patron, the Marquis of Ely. Three curates have each a salary of �60 4s. 7�d., and a small amount of marriage-fees. The parish church was built in 1831, by means of a loan of �1,384 12s. 3�d. from the late Board of First Fruits. Sittings 400; attendance 250. Two chapels-of-ease at Slavan and Finnar can each accommodate 180 persons, and have an attendance of respectively 80 and 25; but the summer attendance at Finnar, in consequence of the vicinity of the bathing-place at Bundoran, rises far beyond 25, which is the winter attendance. Two school-houses connected with the Establishment, in the districts of Churchill and Slavan, have an attendance of respectively 45 and 30. A Methodist meeting-house in Churchill is attended by 50; a Primitive Methodist meeting-house at Cosbystown, by 60; and another Methodist meeting- house, by 70. The Roman Catholic chapels of Rus-car and Knockaraven, have an attendance of respectively 650 and 850; the Roman Catholic chapels of Bundoran and Carrickbeg have each an attendance of 800; and, in the Roman Catholic parochial arrangement, each of these two pairs of chapels are mutually united. In 1834, Protestants amounted to 3,756, and the Roman Catholics to 10,324; 5 Sunday schools at Churchill, Bundoran, Conagher, Blackslieve, and Cosbystown, were attended, on the average, by 194 children ; and 24 daily schools? three of which were in connection with the London Hibernian Society, one with the Kildare Place Society, and one with the Association for Discountenancing Vice ? had on their books 819 boys and 408 girls.

* The Ecclesiastical Authorities state the pop., in 1831, at 13,778.

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