The Church of the Dwarf
1868 - 1968

Rev. Patrick J. McKavanagh


The Castle built by Lord Conway around 1664 and of which very little trace now remains lay in the townland of Portmore and in Aghagallon parish. On the other side of Lough Beg was the deer-park which as late as 1770 was stored with deers, hares, rabbits, pheasants, etc.

About 1740 Arthur Dobbs who was Lord Conway's agent erected a windmill to try to drain Lough Beg. Dobbs was the uncle of Counsellor Dobbs, M.P. for Carrickfergus and later the governor of North Carolina. The vain attempt to empty the "wee lough" was commemorated in a characteristic ballad of the period which is still known and sung in Glenavy even to-day. The windmill was erected where the isthmus between the lakes is narrowest, where the Tunny bridge now stands, and buckets were used to throw the water over. In this way the lake was emptied but as the ballad tells, it later refilled either by springs or subterraneously and the scheme was abandoned.


Bonnie Portmore, you shine where you stand;
The more I think on you, the more I think long.
If I had you now as I had you before,
All the lords in Europe could not purchase Portmore.

There are no lords in Europe such rights can afford
As the Tunny, Ram's Island and Bonnie Portmore;
There are two lakes, also, for fishing again,
And the deer-park for hunting the head of all game.

Bonny Portmore. I'm sorry to see
Such a woeful downfall on your ornament tree;
It stood on your shores for many a long day,
Till the long boats of Antrim did float it away.

When "Diana" was launched from the dry land,
Both nobles and lords they stood looking on;
They sailed around the deer-park and around Feemore,
And came back to the landing at Bonnie Portmore.

Squire Dobbs was ingenious: he framed a windmill
To drain the lough dry, but the lough is there still;
His windmill and engine, it all was in vain�
The lough of Portmore he never could drain.

Your heart would have sorrowed for the cry of the swan,
When the water was doomed from the lough to be drawn;
They gathered together and went off in flocks,
And have taken abode in Magilligan's rocks.

'T would have been a great pity to have drawn it dry,
For Bonnie Portmore, you need no supply.
'Tis a harbour for shipping, the bogs doth endure,
A pleasure for strangers, and food for the poor.

Dobbs cut a canal from under the dam
To drain the wee lough into arable land;
There was ninety-five acres, I daresay and more
Destroyed from the Tunny along to Portmore.

The first who lived in it was Carter. I'm sure;
The next was Sir Thomas, and wonderful more,
They were Christians, I know, but still they got worse,
And their bones they lie rotting now in the old church.

The canal it did tremble when the flood it came down,
And when the wind blew the mill it went round;
When the wind it did blow the mill she went right�
What she threw off all day crept under at night.

Then why, Ram's Island, should you still lament?
Or why should you yield to their saucy intent?
These two lakes united in friendship are bound;
It's the opinion of many they went underground.

The labouring men, they wrought by the yard,
They wrought by the day, when the work it grew hard;
And when the men thought their wages were won,
They were farther in debt than when they begun.

When Dobbs' intention it would not prevail,
They gathered more workmen and cut through the soil
And when he had done, and could do no more.
He then bid farewell to Bonnie Portmore.

In the Tunny Island there'll be a great fall,
And through Brankins' Park a stone and lime wall;
And through Derryola an open highway
Before Bonnie Portmore goes all to decay.

Bonnie Portmore, you're fairly undone!
Where once your fine buildings�their equal was none;
With your ivory tables and windows of ash,
Where lords used to dine, but where people now thresh.

The birds of the forest, they now cry and weep,
Saying where will we harbour, and where will we sleep?
Since Portmore's fine buildings are gone to decay
And George's fair Island it is cut away.

Now Bonnie Portmore, fare you well, fare you well!
Of your far famed beauty I ever shall tell;
When my last days shall come. I'll lie by your shore,
And sweet will my dreams be in Bonnie Portmore.

A neat lodge for Conway was built on the park, and later this was owned by Mr. Jebb and Mr. Mairs. In 1771 the landlord paid a visit to Lisburn and being pleased with improvements there he allowed tenants both there and in his estate to have leases "filled for three lives renewable for ever at sixpence per foot." In this way much of the park was cleared, but the rest. forming a peninsula with the lough was enclosed by a wall. This was called the Hogg, or Little Deer-park and parts of the wall are still visible. This park too was cultivated and leased to tenants from about 1804.

Thomas Johnston was a Park-keeper here. His son, J. Moore Johnston, was the author of a book called "Heterogenea or Medley" published in 1803 which contains many anecdotes about the area. William Smyth of Laurel-Lodge in Ballinderry was agent to the Marquis of Hertford and related some very unusual facts about the famous oak trees of the Hogg park.
Here grew a huge oak, called the Royal Oak. It was 42 feet in circumference. Its principal arm was sold for the axis of a mill, and the other branches built a vessel of 50 tons�the Royal Oak. The bark was sold for 40 guineas, trunk at 1/6 per foot, and the whole tree produced �121-10-0. The ground in which it grew was stiff clay and on a windy Saturday in 1742 it blew down. It was said to be 1.400 years old and is mentioned in Evelyn's. Silva.

Near it was another huge tree�the Broad Oak. Its trunk was 16 ft. high and 12 ft. in circumference. It was however hollow as the trunk was chipped by a turf spade, and having absorbed a lot of moisture, it rotted and fell and was found to be of little value. During the summer of 1763 the timber of the Deer-park, oak, alder, ash and birch was sold for "ready money" on every Monday and Wednesday. On the Thursdays and Saturdays the timber of the Portmore stables, all old oak, was sold.

In certain parts of Co. Antrim. cultivated oases which were created out of bogs were called "islands." In this area we have Nanney's Island, Brankin's Island, Holy Island, George's Island, Derryola Island and Tunny Island mentioned on the survey map of 1933, but some of these names have disappeared.


In O'Laverty's history of the parish of Cushendall, it is told that a young priest named Bernard O'Doran was appointed there in 1771. In 1773 he was suspended and though he appealed against this sentence and promised to do penance, he apostasised. The records of the County of Antrim, preserved in the Office of the Secretary of the Grand Jury show that O'Doran as a "Conformist Priest," received �40 per annum from 1778 until 1800. Finn's Leinster Journal (Arch. Hib. vol. XVII) has this entry: "2 Feby 1774: On Sunday (30) last, the Rev. Bernard O'Doran late priest of the parish of Laid and Ardclinis, in the diocese of Connor, renounced the Popish communion and embraced the Protestant religion before the Rev. William Preston in the parish of Belfast." An entry in the Freeman's Journal shows that in July 1774, "John Karr, Templepatrick, read his recantation . . . . and embraced the Protestant religion before the Rev. Bernard O'Doran in the parish church of Dunigmore."

The only reason for mentioning this sad story is that he was appointed Vicar of Killead by the Earl of Massareene in 1801 and so was a resident in the parish for around 14 years, and a continual and scandalous reminder to the Catholics of the area of human weakness. Monsignor O'Laverty is almost certainly incorrect in stating that O'Doran was born in Lower Mourne. There is a local tradition that he was a native of Ballinderry, or perhaps from near Trummery which borders on Aghagallon parish. Among the names of the subscribers to Crawford's "History of Ireland" (published 1783) there appears `Rev. Bernard Doran, Trummery.' Between his departure from Cushendall and his appointment to Killead he was probably living with relatives around his native place. The fact that he is buried at Laloo and not at Killead would further confirm the place of his origin. Another tradition has it that the lady who called herself his wife was a Miss Hunter of Antrim, "a lady of means."

Some years ago the large tombstone towards the west wall of the old church of Laloo fell and was cracked. It now lies against the ruined gable, and reads "Sacred to the memory of the Revd. Bernard O'Doran late Vicar of Killead who departed this life on the 16th October 1815. This stone is erected as a small tribute of affection by his son James Doran, also Susanna relict of the above, aged 81 years, obiit 2nd Feby 1837; also James Doran, son of the above, late Captain in the 59th Regt. Aged 51 years. Obiit 17 Jany, 1842."

Laloo graveyard is one of the most peaceful places in Ireland. On a spring day it echoes with bird song and smells of primrose and white-thorn. I never stand by O'Doran's grave but I recall the old Irish verses:

Fill, fill, a r�n 6,
Fill, a r�n �, is n� himigh uaim
Fill orm, a chuisle is a st�r.
Agus chifidh t� an ghl�r m� fhilleann t�.
(Come back, come back, my dear one Come back, my dear one
And don't go from me.
Come back to me, my pulse, my treasure, And the glory will be yours on returning).

Fr. McLogan was succeeded in Glenavy by Fr. James Killen, a native of Cluntagh, Tyrella. He was ordained by Dr. MacCartan at Seaforde about 1761 and became P.P. of Kilmore in 1768. He was appointed to Lower Ards in 1780 and to Glenavy in 1783. He resigned this parish about 1786 and died 13 years later in Kilmore, being buried at Bright. After he left Glenavy, Fr. O'Hanlon was there for about a year, but whether as P.P. or administrator we cannot tell.


Prior to his journey to America, Wolfe Tone paid a visit to Belfast, staying there almost a month. His autobiography records, "Another day we had the tent of the first regiment pitched in the Deer-park, and a company of 30 of us, including the family of Simms, Neilsons, McCrackens, and my own, dined and spent the day together deliciously. But the most agreeable of our lives, was an excursion we made with the Simmses, Neilson, and Russell, to Ram's Island. a beautiful and romantic spot in Lough Neagh. Nothing can be imagined more delightful, and we agreed, in whatever quarter we might find ourselves, respectively, to commemorate the anniversary of that day, the 11th of June." The year was 1795.

On the morning of Thursday, 7 June 1798, Henry Joy McCracken marched on the town of Antrim from Roughfort. Among the contingents which joined them on the way were those from Killead and Crumlin. The Killead men were led by Big William Camp-bell who was killed in the attack on Antrim, and when James Hope and his "Spartan band" left Antrim to join their leader at the rallying point on Donegore Hill, among the numbers were men from Killead. A reward of �50 was ordered for the apprehension of John Montgomery, the brother of the famous Dr. Henry Montgomery who later fought Cooke in the split in the Presbyterian church. John was a member of the Co. Committee of the United Irishmen, and his other brother, William, also fought at Antrim. Their father's home, Boltnaconnell House, Killead, was looted and burned by the yeomen.

Among the men of Co. Antrim who suffered death following court-martial arising out of the '98 rebellion were James Dickey and George Dickson of Crumlin. After the battle Dickey hid "on the run" in a house on Crumlin Rd., Belfast, which was in ruins. About 60 or 70 years ago the walls were still standing and known as McEwan's Walls. This is where he was betrayed and arrested. Among Canon McEvoy's notes I find the following interesting item: "James Dickey, rebel general of United Irishmen, was an attorney and lived in Crumlin. His shroud was made in the corner house in the main street and the street leading to Antrim�as you come from the Lough�by his fiancee. There is a field now in possession of Rev. Mr. Canning still known as Dickey's field. Dickey was tried and hanged in Belfast in June 1798."


During the dark days of the early eighteenth century Mass was also celebrated on a hill in Ballymacrickett where, just as in the Largy there was a good view. Sometime around the 1760's probably, this too was elevated into a "Mass-house." It stood there until 1798 when seven or eight locals who called themselves "The Wreckers" lived up to their name. There seems to have been an organised plan of destruction as around the same time the old churches or "Mass-houses" of the Rock, Derryaghy, Aghagallon and Ballinderry were also destroyed.

The poverty of the priests and people during the nineteenth century is almost impossible to believe in our more affluent days. Fr. Crangle was Parish Priest at the time of "the wrecking." and he is the first of the priests of the parish who emerges from the records as a person of flesh and blood, and not just as a name on a tombstone. He was a native of Sheepland in Dunsford and was ordained at home before going abroad, as was the custom, and studied at the College of Vadastus in Douai getting the degree of B. Philos. at the University there. In 1783 he returned to Ireland and worked in Belfast, and on May 25. 1787, came to Glenavy. He had a brother who lived at Darachrean�indeed this is still known as "Crangle's Hill"�and the priest lodged with his brother. On Aug. 20, 1802. he got 13 guineas compensation for the damage caused to the church, and Fr. Devlin of Derryaghy got 12 guineas. It was Fr. Crangle who re-erected the church at Chapel Hill. Ballymacrickett, which is described as "a neat modern building measuring 60 feet by 30 feet." It was used until the erection of the present building. There is another story that Fr. Crangle lived in a house which formed part of the church, but whether this was an interim measure while the new church was being built or not it is now impossible to say. It is possible that he feared "the Wreckers" might one day return. The old chapel was of stone, roofed with thatch, and probably had an earthen floor. Fr. Crangle died in 1813 or 1814 and was buried beside it. The position of his grave is roughly about the position of the sacristy door in the present building.

On Palm Sunday, and at other times when the priest could not conveniently celebrate two Masses, it was customary to say Mass at a place called "The Gulf," on the bank of Lough Neagh, which was nearly central for the two congregations, but this custom had to be stopped because of disturbance by Orange mobs. When the Catholics ceased using the Mass-house at Thompson's they used to assemble for Mass at a store-house in Ballyginniff. This was a long building with thick walls covered with ivy and surrounded by trees. Mr. McClure who later owned this property found human bones in the vicinity. Fr. Crangle as well as building the church in Ballymacrickett, built a small chapel in the townland of Ballyquillin which was later enlarged into the present church.

The date of the erection of this old chapel is not known. The building in Ballymacrickett was completed by Fr. Crangle in 1802. From the time of the "wrecking" Mass had been said among its ruins.


(Old Ballad to the air of "The Banks o' Doon.")

Glenavy dear, my native soil,
Where I have spent my early days,
Though distant from you many a mile,
I'm still inclined to sing your praise,
Your fine green hills and meadows broad,
Your walks and groves and streamlets clear,
Where many a pleasant hour I play'd,
Unknown to cares, Glenavy dear!

In Ballymote, that friendly spot,
My eyes did first behold the light;
Imagination paints the cot,
Where I partook of pure delight,
'Twos from yon hill I went to school,
To Ingram's Mount, or very near,
And never yet did dream at all
To part with you, Glenavy dear!

'Twos there my principles were formed,
'Twos there I learned to use the quill;
To write and cypher there I learned,
And these, thank God, befriend me still,
Some hundred times on Sunday morn,
Our Reverend Prelate there to hear,
With heart elate and free from harm,
I passed through thee, Glenavy dear!

The silver lake below the town,
Where boats do scud before the gale,
Where fish in plenty do abound,
With speckled trout and curling eel;
At sweet sixteen I've often been
Along your fine, delightful shore:
Reflecting on those early scenes
Reminds me of Glenavy dear!

But twenty years have nearly run
Since I those groves and glens surveyed,
My comrades are dispersed and gone,
And of my friends great numbers dead.
My father and my mother now
In death's embrace do moulder there,
Which soon may be my fortune too:
So fare you well Glenavy dear!

The author of these verses was Hugh McWilliams, who lived at Dillon's Hill in the townland of Ballymote. If you stand at Hendron's Corner and face towards Glenavy village, Dillon's Hill is on your right; the farm belongs to Mr. Hendron. The house was among the trees at the summit of this little hill, but now only traces of the garden remain. It is said that he was a schoolteacher and taught where Mr. Troland now lives in Ballymote, and that he emigrated to America. It is also said that he was a brother of Fr. Bernard McWilliams, whose grave is in the Protestant cemetery, Glenavy village. It is certain that the present Church of Ireland building occupies a site used in Catholic times. The old holy water stoup, a basin hollowed out of black stone, is still preserved in the cemetery. A broken slate headstone marks the grave of Fr. McWilliams who had been ordained by Dr. Patrick McMullan and worked for a period around 1797 in Ballymena. The headstone reads:

. . . fossa
. . . resbiteri ossa
. . . emains of the Revd.
. . . McWilliam, who departed
. . . life, 24th January, 1798

Aged 32.
Captus est ne malitia mutaret
intellectum ejus.

O'Laverty adds in an appendix that this inscription seems to be an imitation of one in Durham Cathedral.

Hac sunt in fossa
Bedae venerabilis ossa.

"Ingram's Mount" was at Ballycessy, on the Glenavy side of the present entrance to Mr. Acheson's. It was removed during the time of the Seftons and used to fill a pond in the lawn. The school was on Sefton's land. It would seem from the verses that Hugh McWilliams went to Mass through Glenavy and we conclude he was going either to Thompson's Mass-house or Ballyginniff. He had some verses published in 1759 which makes him more or less a contemporary of Robert Burns.

Fr. Patrick Blaney was P.P. of Glenavy from 1814 until 1819 lodging in the house of the Marshall family in Ballyvanen between the bridge over the Crew Burn and Colbert's corner. He became very unpopular with his parishioners and a committee of them organised a petition for his resignation. He did so in 1819 and later worked in Lecale, dying on October 14, 1832, in Saul with cholera which claimed him while he was there. His remains were interred in the old graveyard which surrounds the Protestant church of Dunsford.


In 1816 the second volume of Shaw Mason's "Survey of Ireland" was published in Dublin. He was Secretary to the Board of Public Records and his survey was drawn up "from the communications of the clergy." The report on Glenavy was written by the vicar, Rev. Edward Cupples, and it is a very detailed one. It has been a collector's piece of course for many years and I here give a summary of the relevant parts of the text so that the reader may get a fair picture of life in the area around 150 years ago.

The map shows that one of the main roads began at Gawley's Gate�the old gate into the Deer-park, and bending left at Glenconway, went to Crumlin. The road from Aghadolgan cross-roads towards the Lough was made later. A good road led from Crumlin to Langford Lodge and also to Glenavy while another good road ran from Ballycessy up through Gobrana and Ballydonaghy. Two roads went from Glenavy to Lisburn, one through Tullynewbank and Ballypitmave and the other through Ballymote and Crew. The modern roads all follow the old roads of 1815. The one exception is the road from Glenavy to Upper Ballinderry�the "Moira road." It is not marked on Cupples' map, and the road to Moira from Glenavy came past Ringsend, over Chapel Hill and on south. These roads were nothing like our modern highways, being merely broken field stones covered with gravel. They were traversed by coaches and made or repaired by the county while the by-roads were the responsibility of the "court Leet of the manor." The main road from Crumlin to Glenavy and Lurgan had been under the direction of a turnpike board but about the beginning of the century the turnpike gates were removed and tolls gave way to public subscription by the wealthy landowners.

The following list of important houses and occupants is given.

Goremount. Wm. Gore Esq.
Messrs. Forsythe and Co.'s Cotton Manufactory.
Ballyminimore. Messrs. Oakmans.
Ballypitmave. Mr. John Murray.
Glenconway. Stafford Whittle Esq.
Pigeontown. Messrs. McNeice, Oakman and Sloan.
Thistleborough. Stafford Whittle Esq.
Cherryvalley. John Armstrong Esq.
Gobrana. Messrs. Whitlas.
Lakefield. Robert Hyndman Esq.
Ballydonaghy. Mr. John Oakman.

Stafford Whittle who lived at Thistleborough was the local resident magistrate, while John Armstrong of Cherryvalley acted likewise. Whittle was captain of the local corps of yeomanry called the Glenavy Infantry, consisting of 148 rank and file. He had a bleach-green at Glenconway cottage as well as a very up-to-date farm at Thistle-borough where he introduced "a scythe for cutting grain, similar to the common scythe but with splinters of wood fastened to the handle and running in the same direction as the blade to lay the heads of the grain one way." He was also one of the first owners of a threshing machine, and in leisure hours hunted with his own pack of harriers. Indeed when Lough Neagh froze in January, 1814, Lieut. Col. Heyland rode his horse from Crumlin Waterfoot to Ram's Island and there was a drag-chase on the ice around the island with Whittle's harriers.

South of the Crumlin river the average farm was 20 acres while north the average was 30. Whittle held over 300 acres, Wm. Gregg of Knockcairn had 267, Mr. John Murray of Ballypitmave 197, Mr. John Oakman of Ballydonaghy 150, Mr. Wm. Clements of Ballydonaghy 126. Few besides these exceeded 50 acres while most others were down to 15 or 10. In the Deerpark area it became common to make two ditches about a perch apart with the back of one opposite the other. The backs of each and the space between were planted with osiers and faced with quicks. Later on these osiers were utilised in the local handicraft of basket-making.

What about the life of the Catholics in the parish at this time who were, almost without exception. among the people Cupples calls "the lower classes"? Their food consisted of potatoes, meal and milk while sometimes butter, flesh and fish were at hand. The fuel was mostly turf, and now and again bog-timber or coal. Their houses were usually of stone and mortar, roofed with fir, ash or bog timber and thatched with straw�slates were very rare. Their size was 17ft. to 24ft. by 13ft. to 15ft., about 6ft high in side walls. They were divided into two compartments, a kitchen and a bedroom, and the beds were mostly of chaff-filled mattress. The furniture was simple, a couple of stools or chairs, a loom perhaps, and a spinning-wheel, one or two metal pots, small tables, boxes or chests, wooden bowls or dishes, small wooden vessels, e.g., a tub, piggin, can, noggins, knives and horn spoons. The garden seldom exceeded an English rood and the annual rent of house and garden varied from �1-14-1� to �2-16-10�, a few higher. Many of the cottiers were employed yearly in labour by some of the local landowners, and some had a house, a garden and a cow's grass in summer season for which they paid from 4� to 6� guineas a year.

The quotation from Cupples here given sounds as if it had been written at an exalted height and perhaps it should be read as it was probably written�with tongue firmly in cheek.

"The lower classes are intelligent, honest and industrious, temperate habits and orderly in conduct. They are civil and obliging to other, respectful to their superiors but not servile. Their manliness is due to liberal treatment and education, and their contentment with their lot may be inferred from their loyalty to the king, and attach-men to the constitution.

"Their language is exclusively English, the Irish being altogether unknown. It has been noted that an English colony was introduced by Sir Fulke Conway; to this it may be ascribed that the idiom is correct without provincialism and the dialect unadulterated by brogue.

"Their mode of living, clothing, etc., are altogether modern, with nothing to distinguish them from neighbours. Few customs have remained being connected with religious observances�yet not local customs, being found in other parts of the island. At baptism a piece of bread and cheese is wrapped up in the infant's clothes. If several children are at the font, the male is presented first. On 17th March shamrock is worn in honour of St. Patrick. Palm twigs are worn on the Sunday before Easter. Pancakes eaten on Shrove Tuesday; nuts and apples at Hallow-eve and a goose on Christmas Day. Easter Monday is given to festivity, St. Stephen's Day to the pleasures of the field; on Midsummer's eve bonfires are lighted in unconscious observance of the superstition of our heathen ancestors who thus did honour to the sun." (Bonfire Hill lies just a short distance up the road from Glenavy to Lisburn, at the angle between the "Tullynewbank" and "Ballymote" roads.

Cupples mentions that about 20 vessels in his area "plied on shores of Lough Neagh." There was a sloop of 10 tons burden which carried grain to Antrim and a pleasure boat of 2� tons which belonged to wealthy Mr. Whittle. Two boats called "punts" of 30 cwt. each were mainly used to carry turf, and 16 small boats of 12 cwt. fished for trout, pollan, tench and pike. There is also reference to "the most singular fish caught in lake in Sandy Bay�the Gillaroo trout with a stomach like a fowl's gizzard. The fishermen call it `shell-trout' as it lives on tiny shellfish. The flesh when boiled is pale yellow."

The village of Glenavy in the early years of the last century was of an angular form and included the present collection of houses at Ballycessy and part of the present village of Glenavy. These two parts were of course separated by the Glenavy river, one part belonging to the civil parish of Glenavy, the other to Camlin. The village altogether had 68 houses and 309 inhabitants of which 110 were Catholics, 162 Protestants, 37 Dissenters. It was a post-town, being 74 miles from Dublin, 7 from Lisburn and 12 from Belfast. Miss Jane Quigley was Deputy Post Mistress. The trades and professions in the village were: Apothecary 1. Farmers 6. Grocers 5. Shoemakers 2. Taylors (sic) 3. Miller 1. Smiths 2. Carpenter 1. Flax-dresser 1. Publicans 2. Innkeeper 1. Mason 1. Turner 1. Weavers 3. Labourers 14.

At this time the village was in a state of decline since the death of one Dogherty Gorman who "lived and expended a large income in it," but there were hopes that the erection of a cotton manufactory by Dr. Forsythe and others might revive it again. One of the inns was kept at Glenavy at this time by "Mr. John Feris," and was no doubt a popular spot on fair days which were held twice a year, on 14th May and 29th October, where the chief sales were horned cattle.

Crumlin at this period was roughly the shape it is to-day, a long street with a smaller one leading to Antrim. In 1808 there were 89 inhabited houses. 3 uninhabited; 430 inhabitants, 123 Catholics, 127 Protestants and 180 Dissenters. In 1813 the number of inhabitants was 587, with 167 Catholics, 174 Protestants and 246 Dissenters. About the middle of the previous century there were only two houses there, a public-house and a smithy, but Mr. McAuley's flour-mills and an academy run by Rev. Mr. Alexander helped it to grow. The Deputy Post Mistress was Mrs. Sarah Campbell and the town was held immediately under Lieut. Col. Heyland who lived in elegant ease at Glendarragh. The trades etc. in Crumlin were: Apothecaries 2. Bakers 2. Weavers or linen manufacturers 13. Miller 1. Grocers 10. Mason 1. Cloth Shops 2. Smiths 3. Delft Shops 3. Milliner 1. Tanners 2. Butchers 2. Shoemakers 8. Carpenters 4, Tailors 2. Cartmaker 1. Dyer 1. Nailors 3. Flaxdresser 1. Publicans 8. Innkeeper 1. Surveyor 1. Watchmaker 1. Painter and Glazier 1. Labourers 24. Various Dealers 7.

The inn in Crumlin described as a "new and commodious house in a central site" was opened around this time by Mr. Arthur Magill.

Education at this stage was very backward by present standards. Children were sent to school, where there was one, until able to read and write when they left to follow their parents' trade or ventured further afield. Schools were established or temporary. The former were in houses built for the purpose by the inhabitants; the latter were in barns and conducted in the summer season by itinerant teachers. Clements Fitzgerald was the parochial schoolmaster and taught at Ballyvannon where he had 13 Catholics on his roll of 30. Two Catholic teachers are mentioned, Bernard Donnelly at Tullynewbane and Jas. McLoughlin at Aghadolgan. The former had 6 Catholics on a roll of 40, the latter had 19 on a roll of 35. The quarterly salary for tuition was 3/9 spelling and reading, 5/- writing and arithmetic, but this varied with the status of the school.

There was an academy in Crumlin known as a "classical school" under the superintendence of Rev. N. Alexander "assisted by ushers, well conducted." The course comprised Greek, Latin, English, French. Maths. Astronomy, Geography, Logic, History. Christian Morality and Evidences. Writing and Arithmetic. Another such "classical school" was taught in Glenavy by Mr. Daniel McAllister�16/3 a quarter for tuition. This enabled many of those who could afford it to send their sons to college and place them in the professions. Most of the professions, we must add, were still barred to Catholics, even had they been able to afford the education at the "classical schools."

It was not until 1831 that a system of national education was introduced by Chief Secretary Stanley.

THE PARISH 1819-1848

When Father Blaney resigned the parish in 1819 the man appointed to succeed him was Father James McMullan. He was born in 1780 in Ballylough, near Castlewellan, and studied for a time under Dr. Patrick McMullan, then P.P. of Kilmegan and later Bishop. Dr. McMullan writing to Dr. Curtis, President of the College of the Noble Irish in Salamanca, in a letter dated 5th May. 1797. requested him to permit James McMullan to study there. The young McMullan was ordained in 1797 and then sent to Salamanca to complete his studies there. On Feb. 2, 1805, he was appointed P.P. of Glenarm from which he was appointed to Glenavy. When Fr. John Smith, the P.P. of Kilmegan, died in July, 1829, Fr. McMullan was appointed there, but held the post only for a few days when he returned to Glenavy and was P.P. there until his death in 1841.
Fr. McMullan lodged in Aghadolgan with a family called Thompson, who lived in the house now occupied by Mrs. Ellen McCorry. John and Margaret Thompson were in the spirit business and three of their sons, William, Patrick and Thomas, later founded a very successful business in London and America as tea and wine merchants. The parents were often witnesses at marriages celebrated by Fr. McMullan, and baptisms were administered here also. Mr. Charles McCorry of Aghadolgan informs me that his mother was baptised there�in what was later known as "Usher's Row." In 1868 one of the brothers, William, presented to the Church a cope, veil and monstrance for Benediction "in honour of God, and in memory of subscribers deceased relatives who are interred in Glenavy chapel yard." It would seem that Fr. Hegarty was the first curate in Glenavy around 1821. Fr. McMullan also lived at Aldergrove for a while. Canon McEvoy's notes say, "probably he was ailing before he made the change." He was responsible for building the old parochial house at Chapel Hill�where the Heatley family now reside�and he lived there for a time. In 1824 he enlarged and altered the old church of Ballyquillin and dedicated it under the invocation of St. James, preserving in its walls a holy water stoup from the old church of Templepatrick which he had received as a present. The name Aldergrove is, of course, not of Gaelic origin. It dates from the coming of the railways when the new station became Aldergrove. The airfield made the new name widespread.

One of Fr. McMullan's closest friends at the time was Eneas Kerr, a fairly wealthy bachelor who lived where John Christie of British later lived. He owned this farm and other land as well and housed many poor Catholics in his outhouses. He helped a lot with the church in Ballyquillin and often acted as witness at ceremonies. When they were building the church there, a deputation called on the minister (E.C.) at Killead�Rev. W. G. Macartney (1815-1858) for a subscription. He gave them �10 and told them to clear off, for "beggars should not be long together." Eneas Kerr died on Monday. 20th Jan., 1834, "about half past 5 of the clock" and was buried on Jan. 22 inside the church which he served so well. The offering of �9-18-0 shows the extent of the respect in which he was held, as at this time offerings seldom exceeded �1.

In 1841 Fr. McMullan himself died and was interred in front of the altar in Ballyquillin church, and on his tombstone is inscribed.

Beneath this stone is interred the mortal remains of
the Revd. James McMullan; he was priest of this parish
and Glenavy for the period of 22 years;
he died on the 21st of February,
1841, in the 61st year of his age.

In front of this church a young priest of the parish called Fr. John McAreavy is interred. He was born at Ballyginniff on March 4, 1842, studied 2 years at St. Malachy's College and entered the Humanity Class in Maynooth on 15th November, 1860. He was ordained along with Fr. Peter Magorrian in St. Peter's, Belfast, on Nov. 1, 1866, by Dr. Dorrian and officiated as curate in Ballykinlar for a short while. His robust constitution made him neglect his health and it is said that he would often sit for hours in the confessional with wet clothes. On 1st April, 1867, he had a hemorrhage and returned to his native parish where he died. His tombstone reads:

Of your charity, pray
for the soul of
The Rev. John McAreavy,
aged 26, who died 2th Oct.,

The cholera which claimed the life of Fr. Blaney, who preceded Fr. McMullan, was also rampant all over the country at that date, 1832. The house later known as "Dr. Mussen's" was a small hospital at the time, and was called the "Cholera House."

Fr. Richard Hanna was Fr. McMullan's curate and acted as administrator from the death of his pastor until 15th Sept., 1841, when sickness caused him to retire from the mission and live at his father's home in Kilclief where he died after some nine months, aged 29. Between 1841 and 1843 the parish was administered by Father Joseph Canning, a native of Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, who had been ordained in 1841 and sent to Glen-wry.

Fr. James Denvir, P.P., Lower Ards, was appointed the new parish priest of Glenavy on Feb. 9, 1843. He too only remained there for a brief period, being appointed as P.P. of Kilkeel on Oct. 5, 1845, where he died 10 years later and was buried in the graveyard attached to Kilclief Catholic Church, his native place. Once again the parish became the care of the curate, Fr. Michael McCartan, who administered it from Fr. Denvir's removal in 1843 until 1848.


Fr. George. Pye. P.P.. 1848-1890

It must have been noted that between the years 1787 and 1848 only two priests had worked with some continuity in Glenavy. Fathers Crangle and McMullan did so for some 49 years which leaves 12 years between the five others. The time was ripe for some new, able and zealous man to put the parish on a sound footing and wield the scattered parishioners into a community. The new parish priest who was appointed had an unusual surname�Pye, but his name became a legend and will be forever remembered in the parish which he served for 42 years.

George Pye was born in 1818 at the Old Course, Downpatrick, in the house now occupied by his great-nephew, Hugh O'Donnell and family. It is not known whether he got his early education at Bright Protestant school or at a hedge-school which is said to have functioned in the vicinity of Quoniamstown in the parish of Bright at the time. It is, however, certain that he attended a school in Downpatrick in preparation for St. Malachy's College and Maynooth. This was the famous classical school of Dr. James Nelson, a Unitarian clergyman, in Downpatrick where many clergy of the diocese including three of their most outstanding bishops, Dr. Crolly, Dr. Denvir and Dr. Dorrian were educated as young men.

Dr. Crally had noted the qualities of the young lad Pye and marked him as a suitable candidate for the priesthood. From the Downpatrick academy he moved to St. Malachy's College where he was one of its first students�the College had been opened in 1833, and later to Maynooth where he entered the Logic Class on August 25, 1836. He completed the course there before he had reached the canonical age for ordination and was brought back to Belfast where he taught in St. Malachy's College, being ordained in Downpatrick by Dr. Denvir on Oct. 28, 1842.

For six years he taught in the College where his name was held in veneration as a professor of Mathematics and Classics. In 1843 both he and the College President, Fr. Patrick Curoe acted as witnesses in the famous controversy which involved the "General Home Mission of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland" regarding false returns from the "Irish Schools in the Glens of Antrim." This "Glens Mission" had the unhappy effect of destroying the Irish language in that historic region by associating it with Protestantism.

On March 16, 1848, he was promoted to the parish of Glenavy where he lived with his assistant at Chapel Hill. His first assistant was Fr. Patrick Ryan and his last Fr. Patrick A. Mullan. There were seventeen others in between!

In those days following the Famine period Fr. Pye moved among his people with a Christlike simplicity and compassion. He was a constant caller at all homes and even to-day Fr. Pye's "cup" from which he got a cup of tea or his faded photograph on an old wall keeps his memory green. He abhorred personal wealth in a priest even had it been possible to obtain it in Glenavy then. The local tailor, Mr. Heaney, often sewed on a patch on his trousers while he waited in an adjoining room until they were finished and ready. Once his housekeeper wanted money to buy something for the house and he told her there was none. "You've money in there," she said, indicating a press where he had been keeping some money which had been collected for building a hall at Chapel Hill near the stables. "That is parochial money," he said. "We mustn't touch that." Word of this leaked out, and the parishioners insisted that he use the money himself.

It was common practice for Fr. Pye to say Mass on Sunday at Chapel Hill, and then walk to Aldergrove to say a second Mass. Mass was said in various parts in the northern end of the parish, probably monthly. In some notes left by Fr. Pye we read; "Sept 2, 1883. A very wet day�went for first time to new station at Mr. Berryhill's." This was up in the Boltnaconnell district and Mass was generally said there once a month until a year after Mr. Berryhill's death and the farm was sold. After an interval of a year the saying of a monthly Mass was renewed in this district at the instigation of Dr. Henry, and this continued at Magill's of Kilcross until the petrol restrictions during the second world war made it impossible.

Mr. W. McCorry of the Crew told me that when he was a boy at Killultagh school, Fr. Pye used to come to give the Catholic boys their religious instruction. This was done at the gable of the school in the open air, the teacher often bringing out a chair for the aging priest. There is another well-authenticated story that he was invited to the opening of the new hall in Glenavy village and he agreed to be present�provided the hall was called the Protestant Hall, and not the Orange Hall. Whatever the truth of this, the hall was and is known as the Protestant Hall. Fr. Pye was very helpful to the Protestants of the parish in form-filling and advice about the acquiring of land once the land-reform Acts began to appear.

The crowning achievement of Fr. Pye's priesthood was the love of God which he kept burning strongly in his people. From a material point of view he is best remembered by the new church which he had built at Chapel Hill and the fine parochial house nearby. The church was on the site of the old one erected by Father Crangle which had stood for some 60 years but was becoming increasingly inadequate. It was dedicated under the invocation of St. Joseph and consecrated by Dr. Dorrian on Sept. 13, 1868. The sermon on the occasion was preached by Dr. McCabe, Bishop of Ardagh. The sweet-toned bell which rang from the tower was manufactured by Mr. Sheridan of Dublin and weighed 10 cwt. A small gallery for the choir was at the western end of the church. The building was from designs and was superintended by Mr. John O'Neill, Architect, of the firm of O'Neill and Byrne. The stone for the building came from a local quarry in Ballymacrickett and worked by local men Hugh Cushnahan and his son Patrick. These men also helped to build the parochial house along with Wm. John Hamill. The house on a farm of eleven acres was held at a yearly rent of 10 guineas, under a fee-farm grant dated 19th Sept., 1874, from Sir Richard Wallace to Dr. Dorrian and Father Pye. (On May 3, 1898, the property was vested in Fr. O'Malley. P.P., by order of the Irish Land Commission).

There is a tradition that Fr. Pye was loth to leave his old residence and move to the more commodious residence he had erected. While he was away for a few days, perhaps at a retreat or on a holiday, the housekeeper had all the furniture changed across and so the transference was made.

A strong virile sacramental life began to grow during Fr. Pye's time. There is a record that 480 were confirmed in Glenavy by Dr. Denvir in 1840 but episcopal visits began to be more frequent in the next decades and in the autumn of 1861, two bishops, Dr. Denvir and his Coadjutor Dr. Dorrian confirmed 110 in the old church. Dr. Denvir confirmed the girls and Dr. Dorrian the boys, and it is of interest to record that the M.C. was Fr. G. Conway, C.C., St. Patrick's, who was Fr. Pye's successor in Glenavy. On July 22, 1865, Dr Dorrian confirmed another 119. The old "church of the dwarf" was beginning to feel its youthful vigour.

In 1869 the Oblate Fathers gave a Mission in Glenavy and a large mission cross was erected in the cemetery. Some of the dates in the Chapel Hill cemetery go back to around 1820 and it is possible that interment took place here from a much earlier date. The school which adjoins the cemetery bears the date 1856. The old mission cross with its symbols of the Passion remained there until some decades ago. In 1878 the Passionists gave a mission in Glenavy which lasted a week, followed by a week in Aldergrove. An indication of the growth of the parish is the numbers of communicants at this time, 1800 in Glenavy and 500 in Aldergrove. Again in the spring of 1890 Fathers Butler and Hughes, two Jesuit priests, preached a mission. About this time Fr. Pye took very ill and many prayers were offered for his recovery. He died "the death of a saint" on May 19, 1890, and on the Tuesday following Solemn Requiem Mass was offered in the church, with Dr. McAlister presiding. Fr. Pye's grave was under the shadow of the Mission Cross in the churchyard at Chapel Hill. The high-altar in the church also perpetuates his memory, and records the fact that he was Vicar General of the diocese.


In 1892 Rev. Charles Watson. the Vicar of the united parishes of Glenavy, Camlin and Tullyrusk published a pamphlet entitled, "Glenavy: Past and Present." Like Cupples' report from 1816 on which is largely based, it is also a rare book and once again I give a summary of the more relevant parts of the text to give a picture of the area which begins to bear much resemblance to modern times.

The cotton mill which had been erected by Dr. Forsythe some eighty years previous, had passed through many phases and was now a "flock" mill, the property of Mr. Hugh H. Boyd Watson. The Bleach Green at Glenconway had been started by Mr. Stafford Whittle. After him, Mr. Dickson had it for a time and later Mr. Dawson took it and built a flour mill using the water from the river to supply the motor power. During Dawson's time it was burnt and Mr. Hunter rebuilt it and from him it passed to Mr. Kennedy. After the establishment of Free Trade the business declined and the great mill wheels ceased turning. At this time it was the residence of Mr. S. S. Briggs.

Mr. James Lorimer had a corn and beetling engines at his farm in Glenavy. Under the management of his sons Archibald and Andrew this gave some local labour. Lorimer had another farm in Edenturcher where he resided in Edenvale; a pretty thatched house near a large pond on which swans often glided. Nearby he had a sawmill and more beetling engines.

In 1890 there were two public houses, owned by Mr. George Ferris and Mrs. Armstrong. The Post Office was under Miss Maggie Ferris. In the village there were 4 grocers, 2 smiths, 1 miller. 3 carpenters, 1 tailor, 3 masons, 1 saddler, 14 farmers and the physician, who also acted as Dispensary Doctor and Coroner, was Arthur Mussen, M.D., J.P., who lived just outside the village in what had been the old "cholera house." He was the only magistrate residing in the area; the other, Captain Dowglass of Gobrana, had lived since 1888 in London. There had been a police station in the village earlier in the century and the barracks were where Mr. Frank Colburn lived.

Watson gives a list of some of the "big houses" and their owners.

Holly Bank�John Corken. Bell Grove�J. Bell.
Elm Hill�T. J. Lynass. Springfield�Allen Bell.
Bellbrook�Lucas Waring. Landgarve House�Misses Donaldson.
Pigeontown�J. Oakman. Landgarve�J. McClure.
Weir House�J. Johnston.  McAlister. Fir Lodge�Mr.
Crew Mount�H. Ballance. Glenville�R. Higginson.
Hopevale�S. Johnston. Greenmount�Miss Durham.
Ashgrove�J. Ballance.  "The Leap"�Messrs. Johnston.
Janeville�W. Ingram.  

The Prime Minister of New Zealand at this time was Hon. John Ballance, a son of Mr. Samuel Ballance of Ballypitmave. He was educated at Belfast Model School and left Ireland about 30 years previous. He had become editor-in-chief of a newspaper, and later was elected as a member of the legislative assembly. When he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, "Punch" remarked that, "not every country like New Zealand which always has a Ballance in its Exchequer!"

The Goremount property at this time was owned by Mr. M. Armstrong. The name came from an old family called Gore who resided there Through the marriage of Capt. Henry Alsager-Pollock to Miss Gore it passed to the Pollocks from which it was purchased by Mr. T. Johnson-Smith, J.P., on whose death it was sold to Mr. Armstrong.

Thistleborough. which had once been a splendid mansion and the home of Mr. Stafford Whittle, was now almost in ruins, and such was also the condition of Glendona which belonged to the Charters family.

Crumlin village had, at this time, 85 inhabited houses and a population of 344. Its prosperity always depended a lot on the condition of the mills. Rowley Heyland had built flour-mills at Glenoak, later the factory of the Ulster Woollen Co. Ltd., in 1765. These were the first of their kind erected in the north of Ireland. The government erected extensive warehouses and encouraged the growth of wheat. After Mr. Heyland the Messrs. Macauley and Son held Crumlin mills and also started a flax-mill which later passed to Mr. Christie. The mills were held by Mr. Haddock from 1856 until 1860 when James Hunter took over, but he failed in 1870. Mr. Rhodes entered as tenant in 1872 but the premises were burned down in 1884 and in 1886 the Ulster Woollen Co. Ltd., with Mr. T. Scott as Managing Director started a factory for tweeds, serges, etc., and also dyeing, carding, spinning, weaving and finishing.

In 1890 Rev. Arthur H. Pakenham, J.P., had his fine seat at Langford Lodge, the grounds being open for holiday parties during the summer. Police barracks had just before this been built in Crumlin main street and were under the control of Serg. McCourt. There were Petty Sessions held once a month, on the last Monday. The local Station-master was Wm. Beattie. the Post-mistress was Miss Campbell. There was a fair every first Monday. and a market each Wednesday, and on these days the Ulster Banking Co. had an office in the town. Crumlin was the property of Rev. A. H. Pakenham and his agent was Lieut. Col. Charles McClintock, J.P., and sub-agent Mr. Warren. Notable houses in the area were:

Ben Neagh�Jonathan Peel. Beechvale�Mr. Gresham.
Fruitvale�Mr. Nelson. Bellgrove�J. Bullick.
Cherryvalley�Mr. McConnell, Springfield�Mr. Bryans.

Land Commissioner.

Gobrana House�Capt. Dowglass, J.P.
Glenfield�J. White.  
At Cidercourt, Messrs. Rea employed a few in their saw-mill.

Some of the fine residences at this period in the Feumore area where the Conways had their great park are given as, W. Fitzgerald's, Mrs. Gregory's, Mrs. MacDonald's, Mr. Creaney's, Mr. Ed. Johnston's, W. Gregory's and Geo. Patterson's. The railway which runs through Glenavy to Antrim was constructed in the 1860's and opened on 13th November, 1871.

Fr. Michael O'Malley, P.P., 1894-1909.

Fr. Michael O'Malley, P.P., 1894-1909.


The Catholic population of the present parish of Glenavy and Killead. which comprises the whole of the civil parishes of Glenavy. Camlin and Killead along with the larger part of the civil parish of Ballinderry, was 2,500 in the year 1871.

The figures we have are as follows:

Year 1831. Catholic population 1750. Year 1914. Catholic population 1850.
Year 1871. Catholic population 2500. Year 1929. Catholic population 1650.
Year 1881. Catholic population 2150. Year 1931. Catholic population 1700.
Year 1891. Catholic population 1950. Year 1967. Catholic population 2392.

This shows that in the sixty years between 1871 and 1931 the Catholic population decreased by about 800. the result of emigration or transference to other areas in the province, particularly to Belfast.

Fr. Pye's successor at Glenavy was Fr. George Conway who was appointed on Sept. 1, 1890. He was born in Dunsford in 1827 and entered St. Malachy's College in 1845, going to the Irish College in Paris in Sept., 1847. In October, 1852, he was ordained by Cr. Whelan, Bishop of Bombay. in Clarendon St. Chapel, Dublin. He had been a curate in St. Patrick's, Belfast. and administrator in Ballymacarrett before working as P.P. in Derriaghy and Carnlough. He was over sixty when he moved to Glenavy and found the duties of the large parish rather much for him. On March 12, 1894, he retired and passed his latter years at Nazareth House, Ballynafeigh. He and Fr. John Macaulay who had resigned Ballymacarrett and resided nearby, were inseparable friends. Both had been in Glenavy. Fr. Conway celebrated his Golden Jubilee in 1902 and died on Nov. 30, 1909, aged 83.

Fr. Michael O'Malley who was P.P. of Cushendun was appointed to Glenavy on 1st June, 1894. He was born at Towerhill in the parish of Cappamore, Limerick, in 1845 and after studies in Thurles and Waterford was ordained by Dr. Dorrian in St. Malachy's Church, Belfast, on the Sunday within the octave of All Saints, 1870. After his curacies in Lisburn. St. Peter's, Belfast, and Whitehouse he moved as P.P. to Cushendun in 1883. Fr. O'Malley was a great favourite in Glenavy and was widely known as a preacher and a confessor. Indeed he was called on at times to give retreats in some other parishes. He had to pay a sum of money each year to his predecessor who was still living at Ballynafeigh and the story is told that this influenced him to accept the change to become P.P. of Randalstown. The story goes on to say that when going away he bought a newspaper and read in Glenavy station that old Fr. Conway had died!

Fr. Frqncis McBride, 1909-1923,Fr. Francis McBride, the next parish priest, was born in Greenans in the parish of Culfeightrin on May 12, 1857. After his education in St. Malachy's College and Maynooth he was ordained in the Diocesan College Chapel by Dr. Dorrian on February 13, 1881. He had been curate in Randalstown from 1881 until 1884 when he moved to St. Malachy's, Belfast, and St. Peter's. On June 1, 1894. he was made P.P. of Ballygalget and from there he was changed to Glenavy on December 1, 1909.

It was during Fr. McBride's days in Glenavy that application was granted by Dr. Tohill for a second curate for Aldergrove. This meant that daily Mass was now said at two centres in the parish and that the Blessed Sacrament was reserved there. According to the Feumore school register the first pupils were enrolled there on Oct. 2, 1899. This was during Fr. O'Malley's time, and from Fr. McBride's time on, Mass was said here on some Sundays and holidays as it was also said at Kilcross. During these years in Glenavy parish, the new school was built in Crumlin to take the place of the old school in Lakefield Lane, off Crumlin Main St.

During Fr. McBride's time a new parochial house was built in Aldergrove, and the house at Ballymacrickett was enlarged. Mrs. McAreavey of Ballyginniff and Mr. James McLarnon of British both offered ground for the school in Crumlin and the former was chosen as more central. Mr. Daniel Magill of Ballymacilhoyle offered a site for school and parochial-house in Aldergrove but owing to a landlord's objections ground could not be acquired. Fr. McBride also bought a small farm adjoining the church for �575 and the Crumlin Bazaar of October, 1914, was held to defray these expenses.

With the coming of the motor-car, improved roads began to open up the country. The present modern highway from Glenavy village to Upper Ballinderry is a good example. The road on which it was built was only about a hundred years old, as it came with the railways. Maps of Glenavy around the middle of the last century show the main Moira road going up past Chapel Hill as it had done since Patrician times, while the other is just a lane leading up a field. The old world which had changed so slowly was now becoming the one we know so well to-day where every day brings its story of upheaval and restlessness.

Father McBride died on March 20, 1923. and was succeded as Parish Priest by Father Daniel McEvoy, who was a native of Glenarm. Born in 1874 and ordained in St. Patrick's, Belfast, by Dr. Henry, he had been a curate in Glenavy from 1899 until 1902 under Fr. O'Malley. These are the dull statistics we read on headstones and obituary notices however. During his thirty-seven years as pastor of the Church of the Dwarf�he used to joke about the similarity in their names�he was in every sense an exemplary priest, and a father to all men. His memory is quite safe in the keeping of his people, many of whom have their own anecdotes to relate about him.

In 1928 a new baptismal font was erected by O'Neill and Co. in memory of Bernard Armstrong. The cost, which was �100. was paid by his family. In 1930 the first burial took place in the new graveyard and new Stations of the Cross were erected. while in 1937 a new Primary School was opened in Ballymacrickett, but more about the schools later. The old stable at Chapel Hill where horses and traps were left on Sundays gradually outlived its usefulness, and the growing prosperity of the people was seen in the number of cars which took over. Building restrictions during the war hampered any kind of material progress but since then the Secondary Intermediate School was built near Glenavy village and the Parochial Hall opposite the old school in Ballymacrickett. The first sod for the hall was dug on 1st February, 1956, and the hall was officially opened at Easter, 1957. It was used in the previous December for a huge bazaar which had raised about �8.500. Much of the credit for this is due to a very energetic committee working with Father John Sloan. the curate. The architects were McLean and Forte, and contracted work was done by Mr. Martin of Randalstown, Mr. McAlindon of Lurgan (electricity), Mr. McCartney of Belfast (plumbing) and J. P. Curry (roofing). Mr. McCann of Glenavy was general overseer and also responsible for inside ceilings. Voluntary help from the people of the parish made a huge contribution here.

The small grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes erected in 1953 was the bequest of the late Mrs. Owens (nee Devlin) of Ballynahinch. Canon McEvoy�he was elevated to the Diocesan Chapter in 1945, and a new Mass missal was presented to him by "some friends who attend Mass in Feymore" (Oct., 1945)�died on 13th June, 1960, and laid to rest in the shadow of the church he loved. There he rests with those other priests who served, each in his own way, the people of Glenavy.

Father Patrick Kerr, his successor, was appointed in the year 1960. He is a native of Glenravel, Co. Antrim, and after his further education in St. Malachy's College, Queen's University, Belfast, and the Irish College in Rome was ordained in the latter in 1938. He was appointed to St. Malachy's College, where he taught French for many years and became President in 1950. May his life here be long, happy and fruitful.


The majority of those who got any schooling in Ireland in the first third of the nineteenth century got it in what are variously called hedge schools, cabin schools or pay schools. There were no classes as we know them, no textbooks, only individual masters and a handful of pupils. Cupples in 1808 reports that the quarterly salary for tuition was 3/9 for spelling and reading, 5/- for writing and arithmetic. In Glenavy about one person for every four families went to school. The following details are of interest.

Master's Name Station Male Female Prot. Diss. R.C.
Bernard Donnelly (R.C.) Tullynewbane 30 10 34 6
John McQuillen (Prot.) Tullynewbane 3 9 2 10
Jas. McLoughlin (R.C.) Aghadolgan  26   9 16 19
Clem. Fitzgerald (Prot.) Ballyvannon 19  11 17 13


Nathaniel Whyte (Diss.) Glenavy 25 8 24  3 6
Thomas Holmes (Diss.) Crumlin 18 16 14 20
James Lukey (Diss.) Crumlin 26 10 6 7 23

There was an academy or "classical school" in Crumlin for boarders and day-pupils under Rev. N. Alexander. The course comprised Greek, Latin. English, French, Maths, Astronomy, Geography, Logic, History, Christian Morality and Evidences, Writing and Arithmetic. A "classical school" was also held in Glenavy by Mr. Daniel McAllister where tuition was 16/3 per quarter. Only the wealthier people could afford to send their children to such places however.

In 1831 the system of national schools came into being. One of the new principles was that there should be no interference with the religious beliefs of the children, and priests and ministers had access at set times to instruct pupils. The Established Church was unwilling to accept this and in 1838 the Church Education Society was founded to maintain schools of the Established Church independent of the national system. The Presbyterians followed suit and after 1847 primary schooling increased in tempo towards denominationalism.

The school at Ballymacrickett has the date 1856 but it would appear that originally this was a one storied building. This seems obvious from a close inspection of the structure of the interior. There is no sign of this building in the 1834 survey map and it may have been the work of Father Pye, if not a little earlier. Perhaps Fr. McMullan, who built the old parochial house, also built a small school. Some years ago when Mr. Robert Heatley was working in it, he unearthed a flagstone under the floor�an old headstone�with the name James Stringer White, who died 1841. The school was used until 1937 when a new school in Ballymacrickett was opened, but in latter years it has been found necessary to use it again. The date of opening of the other Ballymacrickett school was October 1, 1937.

Charles Watson writing around 1890 mentioned a school at Feumore Sands. There is some evidence that the Catholics of the area contributed to its building, but the teacher at this time was Mr. William Fitzgerald and the Catholics soon had their own school, the present one in Feumore which was opened in October, 1899.

Aldergrove school was opened on 10th October. 1876. This had been the home of John Agnew, known as a traditional fiddler. John Cooley who was over 90 when he died told Father White, a native of Aldergrove, "there was a tree at the door with white stones round it." Renovations were made to Agnew's house during Fr. Pye's time. Previously pupils had gone to other schools in the vicinity, particularly "Cushley's School," an old building further up the road. John Cooley recalled that Mr. Cushley had one arm and taught "with the aid of a walking stick�round your neck sometimes!" Five priests are counted among the past pupils of the old Aldergrove school, where Fiddler Agnew lived. They are Fr. Black, Fr. White, Fr. McKillop. Fr. Connon and Fr. Isadore, C.P. This old school has now completely disappeared and the fine new building was opened on 28th April, 1958.

In Crumlin a Catholic school was opened in Lakefield Lane, off the main street. It had been the property of Mr. Henry Gillen. Later it was removed to the corner house which also belonged to Mr. Gillen. Originally there were 36 children in attendance, sometime around 1880. The foundation stone of a new Catholic school in Crumlin was blessed and laid by Fr. McBride on 15th August, 1914, and the school was opened as St. Joseph's on 22nd February, 1915.

St. Aidan's Secondary Intermediate School was opened on 5th September, 1960, but the official opening and blessing took place on 27th September. It caters for pupils from 4 schools in Aghagallon parish (Derrynaseer, St. Joseph's of Brankinstown, St. Mary's of Derryclone and Tullyballydonald), 4 schools in Glenavy parish (Ballymacrickett, St. Joseph's of Crumlin, St. James' of Aldergrove and Feumore). It also caters for Ballymacward school and St. Joseph's in Hannahstown parish and any children from Glenavy parish attending Ballyelough school in the parish of Lisburn.


He was born in Killead and died P.P. of Duneane in or about 1768. Probably he belonged to some of the Catholic families of this name still in the parish.

(See under the Penal Times).

He was a nephew of Father John. The family was an old and respected one in the area of Portmore. He was born in 1802. entered the Logic Class in Maynooth on August 25, 1830, and was ordained by Dr. Murray in June, 1833. He was C.C. in Downpatrick and Randalstown and was appointed P.P. of Saintfield in September, 1837. The big storm of 6th January, 1839, destroyed the old church at Carrickmannon and he had it re-built and re-consecrated by the end of that year. He died at the early age of 43 from a severe wetting he got in the course of his duties and was buried in Laloo, the old cemetery in the parish of Aghagallon. There are bullet marks on his tombstone which tradition ascribes to the actions of a rather non-ecumenical age!

He was born in Killead in 1802 and entered the Rhetoric Class in Maynooth on August 25, 1826. He was ordained by Dr. Crolly in Belfast in 1830. He was a curate in Larne and later P.P. of Glenarm in July, 1834, P.P. of Aghagallon in November, 1840, and P.P. of Duneane in August, 1847. He died on January 23, 1862, and was buried in front of Cargin Church.

He was a nephew of Father Samuel and also came from Killead. He studied at St. Malachy's College. entered the Humanity Class in Maynooth on 15th January, 1862. and was ordained at Pentecost, 1866. He was a curate in Ballymacarrett, Whitehouse and St. Peter's, Belfast, where he fell victim to the smallpox which was then raging and died on January, 25. 1872. He is buried in Milltown Cemetery beside Father Lenihan. a native of Waterford, who had also died from smallpox in St. Peter's.

He was born in Ballyginniff on March 4. 1842. After two years in St. Malachy's College he joined the Humanity Class in Maynooth on 15th December, 1860, and was ordained by Dr. Dorrian in St. Peter's on 11th November, 1866. He was a curate in the united parishes of Clough, Drumaroad and Ballykinlar. His robust constitution made him neglect his health and he would often sit for hours in the confessional in wet clothes. He suffered a hemorrhage in April, 1867, and he had to retire to his home where he spent many hours with the local fishermen, painting the names on their boats and so on. He died on 8th October. 1868, at the youthful age of 26 and is buried in front of Aldergrove Church.

Like the previously mentioned, he too was the nephew of a priest, Father John McAreavey. He was born at Fairview, Upper Ballinderry, on 24th August, 1877, and entered St. Malachy's College in September, 1894. In August, 1898, he joined the Oblates and became a Doctor of Philosophy in the Gregorian University, Rome, where he was ordained at Easter, 1904. He was first appointed to the Juniorate of the Oblates, Belcamp Hall, Raheny, and later to Leith, then Holy Cross, Liverpool. and Sicklinghall, a retreat-house for priests near Weatherby.

A brother of the above, he was born on 28th May, 1879, and entered St. Malachy's College in September, 1894, and later Maynooth in September, 1900, where he was ordained by Archbishop Walsh on 19th June, 1904. He was appointed to St. Malachy's College in September, 1904. where he taught for many years, becoming President in 1919. During this trying time of the early twenties the College was often in grave danger and Fr. Clenaghan's responsibility was heavy. In 1924 he became P.P. of Carnlough and later in 1934 he was moved back to Belfast as P.P. of St. Malachy's Church. Dr. Mageean appointed him a Canon and also Vicar General of the diocese. He died on 26th November, 1940.

Fr. James was one of Glenavy's noblest sons. He contributed valuable articles to the educational and ecclesiastical journals and was a popular lecturer on aspects of Irish Catholic life. He was a fluent Irish speaker and one of the founder members of the Irish-speaking Priests' Society, Cumann na Sagart Gaelach. One of his pupils in St. Malachy's College. a little boy, wrote an essay in the College magazine remembering him as "a grey-haired man who often smiled." This was a fitting tribute. Ar dheis D go raibh a anam.

Born at Crookedstone in Killead on 21st June, 1885, he entered St. Malachy's College in October, 1899, joined the second year Philosophy class in Maynooth in September, 1905, and was ordained there on 19th June, 1910. He was on temporary mission in Kilmore diocese for a year and then was curate in Ballycastle (1911-1916), Holy Rosary (1916-1920) and St. Patrick's (1920-1931). From 1931 to 1938 he was Administrator in the Holy Family Parish, from where he went as P.P. to Ballymoney and in 1945 he became P.P. of Cushendall, where he later became a Canon of the diocese. Blessed with an old-world charm he was a very gentlemanly figure and was deeply mourned in the Glens when he died on 14th March, 1966.

Happily still with us are the following priests, among whom is the third priest in that remarkable family from Ballinderry, the Clenaghans.


Rev. Bernard Armstrong, P.P., Ballygalget, Co. Down.
Rev. Isadore Campbell, C.P., Mount Argus, Dublin.
Very Rev. George Canon Clenaghan, P.P., Loughguile. Co. Antrim.
Rev. Francis Connon, C.S.S.R., Philippine Islands.
Rev. James Connon, P.P., Portglenone, Co. Antrim.
Rev. Denis Cormican, O.M.I.. recently ordained.
Rev. Neal Hughes. O.M.I., California. U.S.A.
Rev. Francis Morgan, St. Patrick's, Kiltegan.
Rev. Patrick J. McKavanagh, Garron Tower, Co. Antrim.
Rev. Thomas McKillop, C.C., Holy Family, Belfast. Rev.
Patrick White, P.P., Ardglass, Co .Down.

Brother Hugh Cormican. O.M.I., was born in Gortnagallon on July 25, 1852, and joined the Oblates in October, 1873, where he was posted to St. Kevin's Reformatory, Glencree. Co. Wicklow, in 1875. He was there for 52 years and is buried at Inchicore.


Irial O'Hughian 1704.
Father White ?
Father O'Neill ?
Father John McLogan -1783.
Father James Killen. 1783-1786 (resigned).
Father O'Hanlon 1786-7 (Admin.?).
Father William Crangle 1787-1814.
Father Patrick Blaney 1814-1819 (resigned).
Father James McMullan 1819-1841.
Father Joseph Canning 1841-1843 (Admin.?).
Father James Denvir 1843-1845.
Father George Pye 1848-1890.
Father George Conway 1890-1894 (resigned).
Father Michael O'Malley 1894-1909.
Father Francis McBride 1909-1923.
Father Daniel McAvoy 1923-1960.
Became Canon 1945.
Father Patrick Kerr 1960-


It is impossible to know from the records whether some priests on this list were curates or temporary assistants.

Father John O'Heggarty 1821  
Father Thomas Kearney    1826-27
Father Patrick Bradley 1828
Father James Killen 1835
Father John Redmond   1837
Father Richard Hanna 1831-1841 (inc. Adm.)  
Father Michael McCartan 1843-1848 (Adm. from 1845).
Father Patrick Ryan 1851-1854  
Father Patrick Phelan   1854-1855
Father John Aherne    1856-1862
Father John Macaulay    1862-1866
Father William Close    1866-1868
Father William O'Doherty 1868-1870  
Father John McCann   1870
Father William O'Doherty    1870
Father John Canavan    1870-1871
Father Richard Fitzsimons    1871-1872
Father Thomas Jones    1872-1874
Father Robert Russell    1874-1877
Father Bernard MacCartan    1877-1882
Father Daniel Ferris   1882
Father Hugh Hanvey   1882
Father James Greene    1882-1883
Father Eugene Brady    1883-1888
Father Francis Henry    1888-1890
Father Patrick Mullen    1889-1890
Father Patrick Darragh    1890-1893
Father Hugh Heffron    1893-1894
Father P. J. O'Neill    1894-1895
Father James Small   1895
Father Hugh McGrath    1895
Father E. Mollumby   1896
Father J. J. McKinley    1896-1898
Father E. Mollumby    1898-1899
Father John Walsh   1899
Father Daniel McEvoy    1899-1902
Father John Rooney    1902-1907
Father Daniel Mageean 1907 (later Bishop) 
Father Thomas MacGowan    1907-1909
Father Joseph McGlave    1909-1910
Father Patrick O'Kane    1910-1911
Father Patrick McNamara    1911-1916
Father Patrick McCartan    1916-1919
Father William Walsh    1919-1920
Father Michael McLaughlin    1920-1922
Father Neil Convery    1922-1927
Father Daniel Mullaghan    1927-1932
Father Thomas Lynch    1932-1938
Father Peter Kelly    1938-1941
Father Andrew Scott    1941-1942
Father P. J. O'Hare    1942-1946
Father R. O'Connor    1946-1948
Father Maurice McAleese    1948-1951
Father John Sloan    1951-1960
Father Daniel Crilly    1960-1965
Father Brendan Mooney 1965�


Father Pye lived for a while in what was then a thatched cottage a little bit down the Diamond road from Aldergrove corner. The present parochial house was built during Father McLaverty's time though he resided for about six years at McQuillans.

Father John A. McLaverty 1910-1917.
Father Daniel Magennis 1919-1921.
Father Malachy McSorley 1921-1928.
Father Alex Connolly 1928-1933.
Father Charles Donnelly 1933-1938.
Father Hugh O'Neill 1938-1944.
Father Sean McClafferty 1944-1949.
Father Hugh O'Donnell 1949-1956.
Father Thomas Lynch 1956-1959.
Father Hugh O'Boyle 1959-1965.
Father Colm Campbell 1966-


Elizabeth (Cassie) O'Hara (1851-1905) was born at Rosebank, Killead. She was sent to the best schools in Ireland, England and Europe and became a gifted singer and poetess. She entered the Carmelite Convent at Darlington when she was 39 years old and lived an austere life of great holiness there as Sister Teresa Elias.

Sister Mary (Fagan) was born on July 6. 1888, and joined the Sisters of Charity. She died on February 16, 1959, at Our Lady's Central House, Eastwood. Australia.


Sister Magdalena (Brankin) of the Cross and Passion Sisters died in 1943.
Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque (Gillen) died c. 1908. Sacred Heart Order.
Sister Mary Malachy (Reid) died 2nd June, 1953, Mercy Convent. Bessbrook.
Sister M. Gertrude (McAreavey). Order of Mercy. Sheffield.
Sister Ethna (Connon). Good Shepherd Convent, Belfast.
Sister Patrick (Fleeton), S.S.J.. Rochester, New York.
Sister Clare (Falloon), Sisters of Charity. Dublin.
Sister Denise (Avington). S.H.M., Beziers, France.
Sister M. Berchmans (Marsden), Company of Mary, U.S.A.
Sister M. James (McGarry), R.S.M., Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Sister M. Xavier (McGarry). do.
Sister M. Monica (McCartan),
Sisters of Nazareth, Hammersmith, London.
Sister M. Brigid (Donnelly), St. Joseph of Cluny.
Sister M. Leonard (Morgan), Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

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