MASSEREENE, a village, in the grange of MUCKAMORE, barony of LOWER MASSEREENE, county of ANTRIM, and province of ULSTER, contiguous to the town of Antrim; containing 319 inhabitants. This place is situated on the Six-Mile-water, by which it is separated from Antrim; and though now only a small village, forming a suburb to that town, it is the head of, and gives name to, one of the largest and most fertile baronies in the county. In 1426, a priory for Franciscan friars was founded here by one of the O'Nial family, which, in 1621, was granted by James I. to Sir Arthur Chichester, Baron of Belfast.

The village contains 70 houses, and commands a fine view of the castle of Antrim, on the opposite side of the river. The whole western extremity of this district is washed by the waters of Lough Neagh, and comprises a large tract of fertile land in a very high state of cultivation, together with Massereene deer-park, which is enclosed with a stone wall five miles in circumference.

Near the village, on the shore of the river, is a very copious chalybeate spring, strongly impregnated with iron, sulphur, muriate of soda, and fixed air, which has been found highly beneficial in chronic diseases; and on the shore of Lough Neagh is a lofty cliff, called Martin's bank, from which issue several saline springs, so powerfully impregnated as to deposite crystallised salt in large quantities, by the natural evaporation caused by the heat of the sun; no attempt has hitherto been made to establish any salt-works at this place, which does not appear to have attracted an adequate degree of attention. Massereene gives the title of Viscount to the family of Foster, of Antrim Castle.

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »