The parish comprises the two ancient parishes of Ballymechan, or Columbkill, and Craigavad, both rectories, one belonging to Hollywood priory, and the other to the abbey of Bangor, which were united in 1626, under the name of Hollywood. It contains, according to the Ordnance survey, 8064¼ statute acres, principally under an improved system of tillage and in a high state of cultivation. Freestone of excellent quality and coal may be obtained, but the mines are not worked to any extent. The surrounding scenery is finely varied, and embellished with numerous gentlemen's seats; among which are the episcopal palace of the Bishop of Down; Cultra, the seat of H. Kennedy, Esq.; Ballymenock, of T. Gregg; Esq.; Rockport, of I. Turnley, Esq.; Craigavad, of A. Forbes, Esq.; Garnerville, of Capt. Garner; Hollywood House, of J. Macartney, Esq.; Turf Lodge, of J. Kane, Esq.; Knocknagoney, of Mrs. Kennedy; Bloomfield, of J. Agnew, Esq.; Clifton, of Dr. Halliday; Richmond Lodge, of F. Turnley, Esq.; Wellington, of W. Crawford, Esq.; Marino, of T. Ward, Esq.; Greenville, of I Stott, Esq.; Glen Carrig, of Miss Symes; and the Spa, of J. Cordukes, Esq. The living is an impropriate curacy, in the diocese of Down, and in the patronage of Viscount Dungannon, in whom the rectory is impropriate. The tithes belong to the proprietors of the soil, and are included in the rent; the patron pays £40 per ann., to the minister, which is augmented to £100 by the trustees of Primate Boulter's fund; the glebe-house was built in 1812, by a gift of £450 and a loan of £50 from the late Board of First-Fruits: the glebe comprises 12a. 4p. The church, which is at the eastern extremity of the village, is an ancient building, with several antique heads in the outer wall, which are supposed to have been the corbels of a former church. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Belfast, and has a chapel, which was built in 1828. There is a Presbyterian meeting-house in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the second class, and one belonging to the Presbytery of Antrim. About 230 children are educated in five public schools, one of which is supported by Mr. Turnley; and about 60 in two private schools; there are also two Sunday schools. An establishment for the relief of the poor is supported by subscriptions, in which 15 poor persons constantly reside. The church occupies the site of the ancient priory, of which there are no other remains; and of the churches of Ballymechan and Craigavad not a vestige can be traced; the cemeteries of both were used as places of interment till 1765, and in the former were deposited the remains of Con O'Neil, the last of that powerful sept, whose possessions comprised more than one-third of the county of Down, and an extensive district in the county of Antrim, in which was included the now populous town of Belfast. Some carved stones are preserved at Ballymechan, which are supposed to have belonged to his tomb, but the sculpture is of an earlier date; the site of that church is now a garden and the churchyard an orchard, and at Craigavad only one solitary stone remains to mark the site of the churchyard, which is now under cultivation. A new species of rose was discovered in this parish by John Templeton, Esq., which by the Dublin Society was called "Rosa Hibernica," and afterwards "Rosa Templetonia," in honour of the discoverer.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840 by Samuel Lewis