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Glenarm, Antrim

Historical Description

GLENARM, a post-town, in the parish of TICKMACREVAN, barony of UPPER GLENARM, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER, 17½ miles (N. W.) from Carrickfergus, and 105¾ (N. by E.) from Dublin; containing 880 inhabitants. This town, which has a sub-post-office to Larne and Cushendall, is situated in a deep glen, which opens to the sea, and on the Glenarm river, which here empties itself into the bay of that name, and over which are two bridges. It contains 145 houses, and is said to have been incorporated by a charter of King John, in the 4th year of his reign; but since the conquest of Ulster it has not exercised any municipal privileges. Glenarm castle was for many years the residence of the MacDonnels, Earls of Antrim, of whom Randal MacDonnel, Marquess of Antrim, was attainted during the protectorate. It was originally built in 1639, and is now the seat of Edmund McDonnel, Esq., by whom, since his marriage with the Countess of Antrim, the present castle was erected on the site of the former structure, of which very little remains. It is a noble quadrangular pile, flanked at the angles with four large towers embellished with minarets terminating in vanes, and surmounted with stately domes; the entrance is under a large massive gateway; the hall is of large dimensions and noble appearance, and the state apartments are spacious, lofty, and magnificent. The demesne is richly planted and beautifully embellished with myrtles and other delicate shrubs; at a small distance to the south is the great deer-park, formerly enriched with stately timber, and watered by a mountain torrent, which afterwards flows through the lawn, and on the left of the road to Larne is the little park, bounded by a succession of precipitous rocks rising from the shore, and forming a bold headland, round which has been carried the Antrim coast road from Laroe to Ballycastle, cut through the solid rock, and 10 feet above high water mark at spring tides, of which a detailed account is given in the article on the county. The town is much resorted to for sea-bathing; the harbour is small and chiefly frequented by vessels from the opposite coast of Scotland, which bring coal and take back grain, limestone, and other produce. Vessels may ride in safety in the bay within a quarter of a mile from the shore, in five or six fathoms of water. Fairs are held on the 26th of May and October, a chief constabulary police force has been stationed here, and there is also a coast-guard station belonging to the district of Carrickfergus. A court leet and baron for the manor of Glenarm, which is co-extensive with the barony, is held every third week, for the recovery of debts to the amount of £10, in which the proceedings are by attachment and civil bill process. Here is a handsome R. C. chapel, and a good school-house was built in 1829 from the lord-lieutenant's fund. Near the castle are some remains of an ancient Franciscan monastery, founded in 1465 by Sir Robert Bisset, and of which the site and revenues were, after the dissolution, granted to Alexander Mac Donnel, ancestor of the Earls of Antrim. Between Larne and Glenarm are the ruins of Cairn castle, situated on a rock in the sea; and near them are the remains of a castle, built by the family of Shaw in 1625.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840 by Samuel Lewis

Church Records

Findmypast, in association with the National Library of Ireland, have the following Catholic parish records online for Glenarm:

BaptismsBannsMarriagesBurials
1825-1881 1825-19291831-1838

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Glenarm from the following:


Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Antrim is available to browse.