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Ireland Gazeteer

Donaghadee in 1837  

DONAGHADEE, a mail-packet station, in the barony of Ards and county of Down, in Ireland: distant 94 Irish or 119 English miles from Dublin, seventeen English miles from Belfast; and twenty-one English miles from Portpatrick, on the opposite coast of Great Britain.

Donaghadee owes its rise to being the most convenient point of communication between the latest colonists of Ards, and their countrymen in Scotland, with whom they carried on a sufficient traffic to induce the proprietor, the Lord Montgomery, about A. D. 1650, to erect a quay 128 yards in length, and from 21 to 22 feet broad, which continued during the last century to afford pretty good shelter to all the craft employed.

The Scottish mails have landed here since before 1744, at which time Donaghadee enjoyed a large share of the imports and exports of this part of the country.

The accommodation of the old quay being latterly found insufficient for the better class of steam-packets, as well as for merchantmen, which frequently experienced the want of an asylum harbour on this coast, a new pier was commenced at the expense of government, which is now completed, enclosing a basin of seven acres, and calculated to hold sixty vessels of the larger class. The expense has been upwards of £150,000, and the work is executed in the best manner; but the benefits so far derived from it are not considered commensurate with so great a cost.

The town, which consists of two principal streets, is well built and airy: it has at present a considerable export trade in cattle and grain, and a large import of coal.

There are a handsome church, two Presbyterian meeting-houses, two Seceders' meeting-houses, and one Wesleyan Methodist meeting-house.

On the north-east side of the town stands a remarkable artificial mount or rath, surrounded by a dry fosse from 27 to 32 feet broad. The circumference of the mount at the bottom is 480 feet, at the top 219 feet, and its greatest conical height 140 feet. A powder magazine has been built on the summit, from which Scotland and the Isle of Man are visible in fair weather.

In 1834 there were in the parish 15 schools, educating 703 young persons: of these schools three were in connexion with the Board of National Education. Population of town in 1821, 2,795: in 1831, 2,986.