Ardmore Townland, Killead

Land for Sale

The following is from the Belfast Newsletter dated Tue 27th June – Fri 30th June 1775 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.

To be sold

Part of the Lands of Ardmore, in the Parifh of Killead and County of Antrim, containing 133 Acres, Plantation Meafure, held by leafe of Lives renewable for ever from the Earl of Maffereene, fubject to a Chief-Rent of 27£. 11s. 3d yearly. Said Lands are pleafantly fituated along the Coaft of Lough Neagh, and highly improved, a great part of faid lands having been limed within thefe two years, and moft remarkable for producing large Crops of wheat, and other kinds of grain. Propofals may be made to William Moore, Efq; or to Mr. Samuel Heron, of Lifburn, Attorney.

Dated this 22d Day of March 1775.

N.B. The Creditors of the faid William Moore are requefted to fend in the feveral Demands, and the fpeedieft Method will be taken to difcharge the fame.

Ordnance Survey Memoirs

The following are extracts from “Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland – Parishes of County Antrim XIII 1833, 1835,1838”. Thanks to The Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen’s University of Belfast for permission to use this extract.


Several querns have been found in this parish, generally about the forts. Portions of 5 different ones were found 2 feet beneath the surface of Ardmore Fort. 3 were of red and 1 of white sandstone.

Catholic Church

The following extract is from "Diocese of Down & Connor Ancient and Modern" by Rev. J. O’Laverty P.P.M.R.I.A.

During the times of persecution, Mass was celebrated at the site of the present church of Glenavy, which is in the town land of Ballymacricket, and at a high bank in the town land of Ardmore, which overhangs Lough Neagh. The Catholics erected, about the period of the Restoration, a Mass House at Ardmore, the walls of which form part of the dwelling house of Mr. Thomson; they afterwards erected a chapel at the Mass Station in Ballymacricket. On Palm Sundays, and at other times when the priest could not conveniently celebrate two Masses, it was customary to celebrate Mass at a place called "The Gulf" on Lough Neagh, below Crumlin, which was nearly central for the two congregations; this custom was given up on account of disturbance caused by Orange mobs. The chapel of Ballymacricket, or Glenavy, was burned in 1796 by the Wreckers, after which Mass was celebrated at the ruins, until another chapel was built by Father Crangle in 1802. A new church, dedicated under the invocation of St. Joseph, was erected on the site of the old chapel by Father Pye. It was consecrated by Dr. Dorrian, September 13th 1868, and the sermon on the occasion was preached by Dr. McCabe, Bishop of Ardagh. The church is built of black stone, relieved by the light colour of the cut stone round the windows and doors. There is an arched ceiling, but the principal timbers of the roof are exposed. A small bell-tower, surmounted by a spire, rises from the south-western angle of the nave, in which is placed a bell, manufactured by Mr. Sheridan, Dublin, weighing ten cwt. The altar window is traceried, the western gable is pierced by five lancets of varying lengths, and the side walls by single lancets. A small gallery for the choir occupies the western end of the church. The building was from designs, and under the superintendence, of Mr. John O’Neill, Architect of the firm of O’Neill & Byrne.

On the opposite side of the road, a commodious and beautiful parochial house has been erected on a farm of eleven acres, held at a yearly rent of £10 10s., under a fee-farm grant dated the 19th of September, 1874, from Sir Richard Wallace, to the Most Rev. Dr. Dorrian and the Rev. George Pye.

The following extract is from "Diocese of Down & Connor Ancient and Modern" by Rev. J. O’Laverty P.P.M.R.I.A.

Aldergrove Church

After the Catholics ceased using the Mass House in the town land of Ardmore, they assembled for Mass at a store-house in Ballyginnif. Father Crangle built a small chapel at Alder grove (town land of Ballyquillan), which was enlarged and altered into the present church, erected by Father MacMullan in 1824. It was dedicated under the invocation of St. James. That good priest is interred in front of the altar; and in front of the church the Rev. John McAreavy is interred. Father McAreavy was born in the parish on the 4th March 1842; after studying in the Diocesan Seminary, he entered the Humanity Class in the college of Maynooth, November 15th, 1860. He was ordained by Dr. Dorrian in St. Peter’s, Belfast, November 1st 1866. He officiated as curate in Ballykinlar for a short time, when he had to retire from the mission through bad health; and he died in his mother’s house. On his tomb is inscribed:-

Of your charity, pray for the soul of The Rev. John McAreavy,
aged 26, who died 8th October 1868.

There is preserved in Aldergrove church a holy-water stoup from the old church of Templepatrick; it was presented to the Rev. Jas. MacMullan.

Henry and Sarah Thompson

The following is from a headstone located at Belfast City Cemetery:

What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.
John XIII.7.

In loving memory of Henry Thompson J.P.,
Crosshill, Windsor, Belfast,
born at Ardmore, Killead, County Antrim 7th March 1827
died 15th June 1895
also his beloved wife Sarah Ann Thompson
who died 5th Jan 1910 aged 77 years.

Nannie Rosamond beloved wife of A. Crawford Johnston
died 9th July 1911.
R. Crawford Johnston born 15th June, 1841
died 5th April 1915
and family burying place of
Rev. R.Crawford Johnston. Methodist Minister.

Philip Moore Johnston 9th Nov 1907 aged 34
Sarah Johnson widow of Alexander Johnson
who died 6th Feb 1919 aged 87 years.
In ever loving memory of Francis Elizabeth
dearly beloved wife of Henry N. Johnson
died 6th June 1930.
Henry M. Johnson born 6th June 1871
died 23rd December 1939.

Headstone of Henry and Sarah Thompson

Headstone of Henry and Sarah Thompson

Annual Ploughing Matches

The following is an extract from The Lisburn Standard Friday 13th February 1925

Ploughing matches at Killead.

The tenth annual ploughing matches under the auspices of the Killead Ploughing Society were held on Saturday last on the farm of the popular secretary, Mr. Thomas McFarlane, Ardmore, from which there is a delightful view of Lough Neagh. The weather was bitterly cold, but rain kept away, and an unusually large crowd was present. There was a record entry and competition in both the open and confined classes, and the judges had no little difficulty in making their awards. The decisions arrives at, we are pleased to note, met with general satisfaction. Two cups were won outright, a most unusual occurrence.

George McGarry – Boat Builder

The following is from The Ulster Star, dated 25th March 1961 and appears with permission of The Ulster Star.

Boat Builders start a New Industry

Mr George McGarry preparing one of his sailing dinghies for painting

Mr George McGarry preparing one of his sailing dinghies for painting

Down at Ardmore near Crumlin on the shores of Lough Neagh, a new industry has sprung up. Jim and George McGarry are building pleasure boats in the yard where for years their family made boats for the Lough Neagh fishermen.

"It’s only within the past three years that we have branched out into this business," Mr. George McGarry told a "Star" reporter.

The new pleasure boats are made from marine plywood, a much lighter material than the Irish Oak which goes into the making of the "working" boats.

"Americans go mad about having Irish oak in the prow of their fishing boats," George as he showed the "Star" reporter a traditional boat in one of the sheds.

Almost alongside the heavy duty craft was the smallest and lightest of the McGarry boats. It is the 7ft 9ins Yachting World "Pram" which they also intend to market, partially completed, in a "Do-it-Yourself" kit for the home boatbuilder.

It was in 1929 that Jim and George’s father, Mr, Henry McGarry, now 78, started work at Ardmore as a moorings and salvage contractor for the Air Ministry although for generations the McGarry family have been building boats and fishing vessels on Lough Neagh.

"Our grandfather was a fisherman, my father’s brothers were fishermen, and my father always kept alive his interest in boatbuilding and fishing," Jim explained.

The McGarrys have built their own jettys and breakwaters beside their yard and they have made their own small dock with its barge for lifting planes from the Lough when necessary.

Busy War Years

"We were kept busy during the war. At one time when we had the barge up at Lough Erne we lifted 15 Sutherland flying boats with it," Jim said with justifiable pride.

Maintaining marker buoys for target practice is another concern of this hard-working family, and all around the yard brilliantly coloured targets tower above the dry land.

When they were not making craft for others to use in their leisure hours, Jim and George McGarry like nothing better than to "take to the air" – but not in planes. They are enthusiastic radio "hams" and their calling sign "G13ECQ" has been picked up as far away as Australia.

They both went to a radio college in Cork, and Jim later did radio work at Shannon Airport, but the call of the Lough proved too strong for him and he is back now working where his family have had a foothold for countless years.

The McGarry brothers are craftsmen in boatmaking, but they are not above making use of mechanical aids to assist in their work.

They have a bandsaw, sanding machine, high speed router and special plane which are electrically driven and which help to give the fine finish to the craft – and save a great deal of time.


The brothers are exhibiting examples of their work at the hobbies and handicrafts exhibition in the King’s hall, Belfast next week.

One to go on show is a mahogany clinker-board boat which will delight the lover of traditional lines and the modern boat owner who is looking primarily, for style.

What do these elegant craft cost? Prices vary, but the 13ft Enterprise runs close on £150 with a set of sails costing an additional £33. This may sound a lot but now many people who ran a car for pleasure in the summer are thinking of having a boat instead! Looked at as a car substitute the price is not high.

"The Bermuda-rigged Enterprise, a 13ft craft, is the most popular in Britain today," George said. "There are more than 6000 of them being sailed off these coasts at the present time."

Boating is becoming increasingly popular as a pastime and more than one enthusiast finds himself quoting the Water Rat’s words from Kenneth grahame’s book "The Wind in the Willows."

"Believe me my young friend, there is nothing- absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

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