county belfast lough carrickfergus neagh north larne lower castle considerable
ANTRIM, a maritime county in the north-east corner of Ireland, in the province of Ulster, situated between 54° 26' and 55° 12' 16" N. lat., and 5° 47' and 6° 52' W. long. It comprises, without including the 50,803 acres under water, an area of 711,275 statute acres, of which 16,702 belong to the incorporated county of the town of Carrickfergus. There were, in 1871, 257,211 acres under tillage, 373,839 in pasture, 6717 in plantation, and 72,065 waste. The county presents a considerable line of coast to the Atlantic Ocean on the north, and to the Irish Channel on the east ; while Belfast Lough and the river Lagan divide it from the county of Down on the south ; and Lough Neagh and Lough Beg, together with the river • Bann, form its boundaries on the west, except towards the mouth of the river, where a small portion of the county of Londonderry lies on the eastern bank.
In area Antrim is exceeded by eight other counties in Ireland, but in population by Cork and Dublin alone. A large proportion of the surface, especially towards the east, consists of mountains and bogs ; and it is computed that about 120,000 acres are irreclaimable. The mountains, occupying about one-third of the county, stretch from south to north, and terminate on the northern shore in abrupt and almost perpendicular declivities. Among the principal heights may be mentioned Trostan, 1810 feet ; Knocklayd, 1685 ; Divis, 1567; Agnew's Hill, 1558; and Blemish, 1457. They attain their greatest elevation near the coast, and have a gradual descent inland, so that many of the streams, with their sources near the sea, flow south and west into Lough Neagh. The mountainous region has a gentler inclination as it approaches the Bann, and is occupied by turf-bogs susceptible of improvement. Some of the valleys, especially that of the Lagan, extend to a considerable width, and are of great fertility. The most extensive level tracts of rich and well-cultivated laud lie along the shores of Lough Neagh, and from Belfast to Carrickfergus, and thence to Larne, between the mountain range and the sea. The most remarkable cliffs are those of perpendicular basaltic columns, which extend for many miles along the northern shore, and are most strikingly displayed in Fair Head and the Giant's Causeway.
Lough Neagh, the largest lake in Europe, with the exception of Lake Ladoga, Lake Wener, and the Lake of Geneva, is principally in Antrim. It is about 20 miles in length, 12 in breadth, Sand SO in circumference, with an area of 98,2551 statute acres, of which 50,025 belong to Antrim ; its greatest depth is from 45 to 48 feet, and its surface is 48 feet above the level of the sea. The lower Bann, obstructed by weirs and rocks, being the only outlet for the waters of the lake, which is fed by the Maine, the Six-mile Water, and a number of smaller streams, the surrounding country is in winter liable to be damaged by floods. The waters of the Lough, or at least of the Crumlin, one of the streams flowing into it, have petrifying powers ; and some of the petrifactions are very beautiful, take a good polish, and rival those of Antigua. North of Lough Neagh, and connected with it by the river Bann, is Lough Beg, or the " small lake," containing 3145 acres, partly in Antrim. It is generally 15 feet lower than the larger lake, which it excels in the diversified and pleasing scenery of its banks. The Bann and Lagan, both of which rise in- the county of Down, are the only rivers of importance. Of those strictly belonging to Antrim, none are navigable. They are generally rapid streams, of great value for turning machinery. The chief indentations of the coast are Red Bay, Carnlough, Glenarm, and Lough Larne. About 7 miles from the north coast, opposite Ballycastle, surrounded by a wild and troubled sea, lies the island of Rathlin, 61,- miles in length and 11- in breadth, of similar basaltic and limestone formation with the neighbouring mainland. About a fourth of its 3399 acres are arable, and it supports a population of 453. There is a lighthouse on it with a fixed light.
The climate of Antrim is very temperate. The average annual rain-fall at Belfast is about 33 inches.
The geology of Antrim is of considerable interest, both on account of its peculiar character, and because the arrangement and alternations of strata are laid bare with more than usual distinctness. In all its more important features it coincides with the adjoining county of Londonderry:. The greater portion of the surface is covered with trap. Along the coast, from a little way to the north of Carrickfergus, and up the valley of the Lagan, there is a considerable line of New Red Sandstone. All along from the south of Lisburn to Red Bay there is a chalk formation coming to the surface in narrow lines. It is quarried in many places, and varies in thickness from a few feet to 170, as at Glenarm. The south side of Red Bay and a part of the north are formed of New Red Sandstone, which gives place to porphyry near Cushenda11, and is succeeded by Devonian grit northwards. There is a considerable circle of porphyry about five or six miles north-east of the town of Antrim. The lias (except at Larne) is very insignificant, and the greensand still more so. The coal measures are remarkable for their association with the basaltic formation, and differ from all the other coal districts in Ireland in wanting the underlying limestone, and resting directly on mica slate. The workings at the Ballycastle collieries are probably the oldest in the kingdom. In 1770 the miners accidentally discovered a complete gallery, which had been driven many hundred yards into the bed of coal, branching into thirty-six chambers dressed quite square, and in a workman-like manner. No tradition of the mine having been formerly worked remained in tho neighbourhood. The coal of some of the beds is bituminous, and of others anthracite. The quantity available was calculated by the commissioners in 1871 to be 16,000,000 tons, at depths not exceeding 4000 feet. Lignite occurs in great abundance round about Lough Neagh, as at Ballintoy, Limincogh, Killymorris. In most places it is covered with columns of basalt; and in spite of the compressed state in which it is found, the bark and knots are often quite distinct, and the rings of growth may be counted. Basaltic pillars are found in many places besides the famous Giant's Causeway, as round about Coleraine, near Dunluce, at Ballintoy, Ballycastle, Ballygally Head (near Larne), in the neighbourhood of Carrickfergus, at Shane's Castle, and the mouth of the Glenavy. Iron ore is obtained at Ardshins, Belfast, Ballycastle, Glenrava, Kilwaughter, and Shane's Castle - the produce in 1871 being 157,874 tons, of the value of X61,T10. Among the other minerals to be met with in Antrim, chalcedony (at Lough Neagh, and known as Lough Neagh pebbles), chrysolite, dolomite, jasper, onyx, opal, and talc may be mentioned. Very fine rock-salt is got at Duncrue, two miles north-west of Carrickfergus, and at one or two places in the same'district. The Belfast Salt Mining Company raised during 1871 18,260 tons, and in 1870, 19,450. The mineral (clialybeate) waters of the county are in the neighbourhood of Antrim, Bally-castle, Belfast, Carrickfergus, and Lame.
The chief bathing-places are Ballycastle, Cushendad I , Cushendun, Glenarm, Port Ballintrae, and Portrush. They aro exposed to the easterly winds prevalent in spring, but are desirable summer residences. There is much variety of scenery in the county, from the low and somewhat monotonous shores of Lough Neagh, and the dreary bog and mountain land of the interior, to the wild romantic scenery of the northern coast, and the fantastically beautiful shores about Glenarm.
The soil varies greatly according to the district, being in some eases a rich loam, in others a chalky marl, and elsewhere a coating of peat. The chief feature in the tillage of a considerable portion of the county is the potato-fallow. The quantity of potato-land is commonly regulated by the amount of manure that can be collected ; and since the use of lime was introduced it has been greatly increased. After potatoes, wheat or oats are sown ; if the latter, two or three crops are successively taken. When the ground is exhausted potatoes are again planted, or the land is suffered to rest for a year or two until it is covered with natural grass. The sowing of wheat is chiefly confined to the baronies of Massareene, Belfast, Toome, and Antrim. Flax is also sown after potatoes, except in the lower or northern part of the county. The total area under tillage extended in 1871 to 257,211 acres. =. The crops are wheat, oats, barley, beans and pease, potatoes, turnips, vetches, rape, &c. Considerable quantities of flax are also grown, as well as grasses and clover. The cattle of Antrim do not belong to any particular stock, but they have been greatly improved by crossing with Dutch, Ayrshire, and other breeds. Pigs are reared in considerable numbers, the small farmers and cottars depending chiefly upon them for making up their rent. Comparing recent with previous years, we find an increase in all kinds of domestic animals, especially in sheep and goats - the former having more than doubled, and the latter increased more than fourfold. The farms are usually small. Extensive woodlands have in great measure been cleared, and there is now but little natural wood in the county. Many thriving plantations of trees have, however, been planted near noblemen and gentlemen's seats; and orchards have been formed on the Ilertford estate, near Lough Neagh.
Cod, ling, pollock, ray, and turbot are caught off the coast in considerable quantities by the fishermen of Ballycastle, Larne, Carrickfergus, Belfast, are., most of the fish thus taken being sent to Glasgow and Liverpool. Mackerel also appear in periodical shoals off Larne. Oysters of good quality are taken all over Belfast Lough, of the value of £400 or £500 per annum. Besides the fish usually found in freshwater lakes, the char, a species of trout called dollagher, and the pullan (or fresh-water herring) are found in Lough Neagh. There are extensive salmon fisheries at Carrick-aRedo near Ballintoy, along the coast north of Glenarm, and in the rivers Bann and Bush; and salmon are found in all the rivers in the county, except the Lagan. All the rivers abound with eels, which are chiefly taken at weirs in the Bann. • Antrim has long been distinguished for its linen manufacture, which is still the most important in the county. It was formerly carried on by hand-loom weavers, but the introduction of machinery has completely changed the character of the occupation. In 1841 there were about 240,000 spindles in operation, and now there are upwards of 580,000. There were 64 flax factories in 1870, with 0140 power-looms, employing 32,487. Cotton-spinning by jennies was first introduced in 1777 by Robert Joy and Thomas M`Cabe of Belfast; and twenty-three years after upwards of 27,000 people were employed in the cotton manufacture directly or indirectly, within 10 miles of Belfast. For many years great part of the yarn was imported from Manchester or Scotland, but now cotton-yarn has long been an article of exportation. In 1870 there were six cotton factories, with 73,000 spinning-spindles, in Belfast, and employing 814 persons. There is one hemp, and one jute factory in the county. A great source of employment for females is the working of patterns on muslin with the needle. Belfast is the centre of this trade, but about 300,000 persons, chiefly women, are employed in various parts of Ireland, and the gross value of the manufactured goods amounts to about X1,400,000. There are also extensive paper-mills in the county, and various manufactures in connection with the trade of the district. The exports are linen, linen yarn, all kinds of grain, pork, bacon, hams, beef, butter, eggs, lard, potatoes, soap, and candles.
The communication by means of roads is good, and there are several important railway lines. About 20 miles of the Ulster Railway, which runs from Belfast to Clones in Monaghan, are in the county. Another line joins Belfast with Carrickfergus and Larne ; and the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway - using a portion of the Carrickfergus line - unites Belfast with Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, and Coleraine in Londonderry, tte. A junction, 18/ miles long, from Antrim to Knockmore, joins this line with the Ulster Railway. There are regular steam-ship lines between Belfast and Glasgow, and Belfast and London. A canal - the Lagan - connects Lough Neagh with Belfast Lough.
The earliest known inhabitants were of Celtic origin, and the names of the townlands or subdivisions, supposed to have been made in the 13th century, are pure Celtic. Antrim was exposed to the inroads of the Danes, and also of the northern Scots, who ultimately effected permanent settlements. The antiquities of the county consist of cairns, mounts or forts, remains of ecclesiastical and military structures, and round towers. The principal cairns are - one on Colin mountain, near Lisburn; one on Slieve True, near Carrickfergus; and two on Colin ward. The crom- lechs most worthy of notice arc - one near Cairngrainey to the north-east of the old road from Belfast to Templepatrick ; the large cromlech at Mount Druid, near Ballintoy ; and one at the northern extremity of Island Magee. The mounts, forts, and intrenchments are very numerous. There are four round towers: one at Antrim, one at Annoy, one on Ram island in Lough Neagh, and a fragment of one between Lisburn and Moira. Of the ecclesiastical establishments enumerated by Archdall, there are some remains of those of Bonamargy, where the earls of Antrim are buried, Kells, Glenarm, Glynn, Muckamore, and White Abbey. The noble castle of Carrickfergus is the only one in perfect preservation. There are, however, remains of other ancient castles, as Olderfleet, Cam's, Shane's, Glenarm, Gammon Tower, Redbay, &e., but the most interesting of all is the castle of Dunluce, remarkable for its great extent and romantic situation.
In 1584 the county was divided by the lord-deputy, Sir John Pcrrot, into eight baronies ; but, by the subdivision of six of these into upper and lower, the number has been increased to fourteen, viz., Antrim, Lower and Upper; Belfast, Lower and Upper ; Cary; Dunluce, Lower and Upper; Glenarm, Lower and Upper; Kilconway; Massareene, Lower and Upper; Toome, Lower and Upper. The number of parishes and parts of parishes is seventy-five, all, except Aghalee, in the diocese of Connor. There are seven poor-law unions in the county, - Antrim, Ballyeastle, Ballymena, Ballymoney (partly in Londonderry county), Lisburn (partly in Down county), and Larne. The constabulary force has its headquarters at Ballymena, the county being divided into six districts. Antrim is in the Belfast military district, which has its headquarters, as has also the county militia, at Belfast. The valuation of rateable property in 1872 was £1,039,598. The county sends six members to the imperial parliament: two for the shire, - constituency, in 1873, 10,563; two for Belfast, one for Carrickfergus, and one for Lisburn, - constitu encies, 15,000, 1166, and 568. Among the nobility and gentry who have estates in this county we may mention the earl of Antrim, (Glenarm Castle); the marquis of Donegal' (Orrneau Park and Carrickfergus); Viscount Templetown (Castle Upton); Lord O'Neill (Shane's Castle); Lord Wavency (Ballymena Castle); Sir Richard Wallace (Antrim Castle); Macnaughten of Dundarave; Adair of Loughanmore, The assizes, formerly held at Carrickfergus, are now held at Belfast, the county town. Quarter-sessions are held at Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, and Belfast.
The principal towns are - Belfast, population (1871), 174,394; Carrickfergus' 9452; Lisburn, 7794; Ballymena, 7628; and Larne, 3343. Antrim, Ballycastle, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Belfast, Bushmills, Carrickfergus, Crumlin, Larne, Lisburn, Portglenone, and Randalstown are market-towns, and fairs are held at forty-eight places in the county.
Antrim is one of the most decidedly Protestant counties in Ireland, and of the Protestants a very great proportion are Presbyterians. The greater part of these are in connection with the General Synod of Ulster, and the others are Remonstrants, who separated from the synod in 1829, or United Presbyterians. By the returns of 1871 there were 108,835 Roman Catholics, 88,934 Episcopalians, and 184,144 Presbyterians. The number of children attending school in 1871 was 142,297, of whom 34,637 were Roman Catholics.
In 1813 there were in the county 42,258 dwelling-houses and 231,548 inhabitants. The returns since that year have shown a gradual increase, notwithstanding extensive emigration, and in 1871 the population was 404,015, inhabiting 71,327 houses.
See for geology, Proceedings of Royal Irish Academy, vol. x., article, with map, by John Kelly, C.E., and article by R. Tate, in the 21st vol. of the Quarterly Journal of Geol. Soc. of London, 1868; and for archmology, The Ulster Journal of Archceology; vols. iii. and iv., and Keane's Towers and Temples of Ireland.