Carrickfergus (description town, ca 1824)

The Antrim Towns from this interesting work plus Clergy,Gentry,Merchants, Tradesmen etc.

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Carrickfergus (description town, ca 1824)

Post by irishgen » 15 Jul 2004, 09:07

(extracted from Pigot Directory 1824)
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CARRICKFERGUS.

A very ancient and populous town in the county of Antrim, is 88 miles
north of Dublin, and eight north by east of Belfast. It is the shire and
assize town of the county, conveniently situated on a bay of the same
name, with a good harbour; it was anciently walled,and,fortified, and
had four gates, one of which (the north-gate) only remains. This town
with its extensive liberties, which extend four miles in all directions
from the castle, though within the precincts of the barony of Belfast,
constitutes a county distinct from Antrim, and holds separate assizes.
The main street is narrow, as was formerly the case with all fortified
places but the more modern streets are spacious and commodious. It was
once a place of considerable trade , and possessed the privilege of
importing merchandize at one third of the duties payable in other parts
of this kingdom. This privilege was purchased of the corporation, its
trade languished, and was rapidly transferred to Belfast where it
appears to be irrecoverably fixed. There is, however, still a
considerable share of business carried on here, there being in the town
and neighbourhood several large cotton manufactories; two distilleries,
two tanneries, and several calico printing establishments, besides an
extensive retail trade. The castle, sup. posed to have been built by
Hugh de Lacy in 1178, is a noble structure, boldly situated on a rock
projecting into the sea; the inner yard, containing the barrack and
different stores, is large and extensive, the walls are of an immense
thickness, and the platform is furnished with a battery of twenty-two
long twelve pounders; the magazine in the main building is bomb proof,
and the different apartments upwards are occupied as stores for arms and
other implements of war. The view from the top is singularly extensive and beautiful. This castle has been the scene of many conflicts, and has been alternately occupied by different contending parties. In the year 1760, being weakly garrisoned by about two hundred recruits, it was taken, after a brave resistance, by the French under the command of Mons. Thurot, who was afterwards killed, and whose squadron was taken
Commodore Elliott off Ramsey Bay in the Isle Man. This place was
rendered memorable by the landing of King William in June 1690, previous
to the battle of the Boyne. The civil government the town is vested in a
mayor, annually elected, a recorder, sheriffs, aldermen and burgesses,
and it returns one member to parliament. The church, an ancient building
dedicated to St. Nicholas, contains several old monuments, particularly
of the noble family of Chichester. The dissenting places of worship,
three in number, are handsome and commodious. The county of Antrim
court-house is a large elegant structure in a good situation at the
bottom off High-street; the goal is in a lane close adjoining. The
neighbourhood of Carrickfergus is very pleasant as it abounds with
gentlemen's seats in a finely improved and fertile country ; the whole
line of road to Belfast along the shore is extremely interesting. There
is a good a weekly market on Saturday. and two fairs are held in the
year, viz. the 12th of May and 1st of November.

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