Tuesday, 11 May 2021



BALLYMACARRETT, a town and parish, forming part of the suburbs of Belfast, in the barony of Upper Castlereagh, County Down.

This place, previously to 1825, was simply a townland in the parish of Knockbreda, or Bredagh, and in the history of the county, published in 1744, is described as containing only two buildings, MOUNT POTTINGER and a mill.

It is now become a populous and flourishing town, occupying a site formerly covered by every tide, but which has been reclaimed by an extensive embankment stretching from Connswater westward to the river Lagan, opposite to the quays of Belfast, and thence on the shore of that river to ORMEAU, the splendid residence of the Marquess of Donegall.

Click to Enlarge. 1835 OS Map of Ballymacarrett

The town forms an appendage to Belfast, from which it is separated only by the river Lagan, which here separates the counties of Down and Antrim, and over which is a stone bridge of 21 arches: it is irregularly built, but has been greatly improved by the formation of several new streets; and a handsome bridge of five arches [the Albert Bridge], about 400 yards above the long bridge, and opening a more direct communication with the southern part of Belfast, has been lately erected under an Act obtained in 1831.

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The first manufacture established here was that of glass; and since the first glass-house was built, in 1776, two other extensive establishments have been erected [this site was located approximately where the former Sirocco Works existed].

Remaining kiln of Ballymacarrett Glass Works behind Richardson's Chemical
Manure Company, 19 Short Strand, Belfast, 1930 (Image: Alexander R Hogg)

A pottery upon a very large scale was soon afterwards established; and previously to the removal of the duty on salt, there were two extensive works for the manufacture of that article from rock salt brought from England, for exportation, which are now discontinued.

The Lagan foundry, for the manufacture of steam-engines, and other machinery on the most improved principles, affords employment to 140 persons: and in 1832 the first patent machine for making paper ever introduced into Ireland was made at these works.

A very extensive rope-yard and sail-cloth manufactory, affording employment to 130 persons, are carried on; and two large vitriol works, of which one, established in 1799, was the second erected in the kingdom, are in full operation for supplying the bleachers, dyers, and calico printers in the neighbourhood.

There are also extensive starch manufactories, and meal and flour mills driven by steam and water; and two large mills for spinning linen yarn were erected in 1834, and employ more than 300 persons.

The manufacture of calico and muslin is carried on upon a very extensive scale, affording employment to several hundred persons.

Here is a constabulary police station.

This place was erected into a parish by an Act in the twelfth year of GEORGE III's reign.

The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Down, and in the patronage of the rector of Knockbreda: it is endowed with the tithes of Ballynafeigh, an adjoining townland, augmented from Primate Boulter's fund.

The church, a neat building, was erected in 1826 by aid of a grant from the Board of First Fruits and by subscription.

In the RC divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Belfast, in the diocese of Connor; the chapel was built in 1829.

There are places of worship for Presbyterians, and for Covenanters and Wesleyan Methodists.

There are five schools in which about 298 boys and 182 girls are instructed; also three pay schools, in which are about 90 boys and 50 girls.

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