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The original name of the parish was known to be Templederry. Templemore meaning "great church". This name was extended to the whole diocese. The people that founded this placename were said to be a group called Milesius. Modern scholars believe this group are a myth. Back in the 1600s there is house-hold names like O'Murry, O'Kennedy, O'Quin and O'Dugan. Many of those crossed the riverfoyle to take over the lands in that period of time.
TEMPLEMORE, a parish, in the North-west liberties of the city of LONDONDERRY, containing, with the city of Londonderry, 19,620 inhabitants, of which number, 10,130 are in the city. This parish, also called Templederry, and more anciently Derry, or Derry Columbkille, derives its name Ternplemore, "the Great Church," from the cathedral of Derry, to which that name had been applied, in a popular acceptation, to distinguish it from the smaller churches in its immediate vicinity, and, after the cathedral had been used as the parish church, the name was extended to the parish. The most ancient name of the district in which it was situated was Moy-Iha, "the Plain of Ith," uncle of Milesius, whose sons led into Ireland the celebrated colony that bore his name.
This district extends as far south as the river Fin, was afterwards divided between Owen and Enda, the two sons of Nial of the Nine Hostages, under the names of Inis-Owen, "Owen's Island," and Tir-Enda, "Enda's Territory." Previously to the 12th century, Moy-Iha was occupied by a branch of the Kinel-Owen, called Clan-Conor, of which the most distinguished families were those of O'Cathan, O'Cairellan, O'Murry, O'Kennedy, O'Corran, O'Quin, and O'Dugan, most of whom having crossed the Foyle into Derry, their places here were occupied by the Kinel-Moen, another branch of the Kinel-Owen, of whom the O'Gormlys and O'Loonys were chiefs: these in turn were driven across the Foyle by the Kinel-Connell in the l5th century.
From inquisitions taken in the reign of James I. it appears that about half the parish was then considered to belong to Inishowen, or O'Dogherty's country; that Sir John O'Dogherty had several townlands now in Templemore, which were included in a regrant of Inishowen made to him on a surrender in the 30th of Elizabeth: he forfeited this property in 1599 by rebellion, but it was re-granted to his son, with the exception of some townlands reserved for the fort of Culmore.
A wide valley, extending from the Foyle at Pennyburn, separates the hills into two groups. Of these the southern is the most prominent, rising at its southern extremity into Holywell hill, 860 feet above the sea; the highest point of the northern group, in Elaghmore, is not more than 354 feet. The lake of Ballyarnet, occupying portions of the three townlands of Ballyarnet, Ballynashallog, and Ballynagard. Except the Foyle, which is navigable for small craft to Castlefin, there is 110 other body of water entitled to the name of river; the numerous small streams which irrigate the parish, flow eastward into the main river or lough, with the exception of one, which, passing by Coshquin, terminates in Lough Swilly. Springs are numerous; not fewer than eight occur within a tract of about 20 acres, in Springhill and Creggan; several of them are slightly chalybeate.
The coast of Lough Foyle, where it borders the parish, is low, and destitute of any striking characteristic features. It is the general opinion of the intelligent farmers here that a marked amelioration has taken place in the climate; the seasons both of seed time and harvest have advanced considerably: the extended cultivation of wheat, and the increasing number of quails are further proofs of it. The soil in the higher grounds is occasionally, though rarely, stony, sandy, and meagre; but in by far the greater portion of the parish it is a light productive clay or loam, which in the very low grounds becomes stiffer, though never to an injurious extent. The subsoil is more generally a coating of gravel resting on the rock than the rock itself, and is often in a very indurated state, owing to the abundance of iron proceeding from the decomposition of the schistose rocks: it is then called "till," and more generally "red till," from its prevailing colour, and is considered to be injurious to vegetation.
Limestone is found only in small quantities at its southern extremity, where the quarries have been abandoned; and greenstone, of a dense, close-grained and homogeneous character, at Conn's Hill, where the opening of the quarry is, strictly speaking, without the bounds. The schistose rocks are in the harder varieties too coarse, and in the softer not sufficiently cohesive, for being used as roofing slates; but they are much employed in building: plenty of clay for bricks is to be had; but the manufacture has been relinquished on account of the scarcity of fuel.
The bogs are of great local importance, though they are now nearly exhausted by continued use: portions are occasionally reclaimed, and when the peat has been entirely cut away, the subsoil is easily brought into cultivation: large trunks and roots of trees have been raised from them. The natural meadows are extensive, particularly on the sides of some of the bogs: the mountain pasture is generally poor.
Wheat, which formerly was considered unsuitable to the climate and soil, is now in much estimation: green crops are occasionally adopted. Forced or sown meadows are by no means general; when prepared for cutting the first year, they are sown with perennial rye-grass and red clover; when for grazing, white grass and white clover are sown. There are several nurseries. Most of the timber in the parish appears to have been planted more for ornament than profit: the most common trees along the Foyle are beech, elm, sycamore, and ash: a small patch of natural wood is to be seen at Ballynagalliagh.
The manufactures carried on in the rural parts of the parish are chiefly those arising directly from agricultural produce. The mill at Pennyburn ground 1,513,200 lbs. of wheat, and 1,164,800 of oats, in the year 1834; three others ground an aggregate of 543,000 lbs. of oatmeal: seven flax-mills worked up 4250 cwt. of flax and 1059 cwt. of tow: a brewery made 5200 barrels of beer, and two distilleries 208,800 gallons of spirits: two tanneries converted 5300 hides into leather: there were two limekilns, 1 brick-kiln, 2 rope-walks, 80 linen looms, 28 cotton looms, and 1 woollen loom at work: all these totals are the results of returns collected in that year, and are exclusive of the manufactures of the city, to which the commerce of the district is wholly confined: the salmon fishery gives employment to 232 persons.
The principal seats are The Farm, the property of Sir R. A. Ferguson, Bart.; Boom Hall, the property of the Earl of Caledon, and the residence of the Bishop of Derry; Brook Hall, remarkable for the beauty of its grounds.
The living is a rectory, united by patent of James I. to the rectories of Faughanvale and Clondermott, forming together the corps of the deanery of Derry, in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes amount to ?1607. 0. 1. The deanery-house was rebuilt in 1834, at an expense of ?3,330, provided out of the funds of the present incumbent, the whole of which will be chargeable on his successor: the glebe, containing 3 acres, is valued at ?9. per ann.; the gross value of the benefice, tithe and glebe inclusive, amounts to ?3224. 7. 11 ?. The cathedral of Londonderry is used as the parish church, and there are two other churches in the parish, the particulars of all which are given in the account of that city, which see. The old church was situated in the northern part of the parish, near Culmore fort.
The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; it is also the head of the diocese and the mensal of the Bishop. Besides the schools described in the article on the city, there is one at Ballougry, to which the Irish Society gives an annual grant of ?30.; also four private schools, in all of which, including the city schools, there are about 500 boys and 450 girls; there are also 9 Sunday schools. In Ballinagard demesne, on the western bank of the Foyle, is a rath measuring 73 yards by 60; it is surrounded by a fosse and parapet, and is now covered with trees.
The castle of Aileagh or Elagh, now a small ruin, stands on a commanding eminence on the verge of the parish, about two miles from the more ancient fortress of the same name in the county of Donegal, formerly a royal castle. The forts of Culmore and Donnalong were erected by the English in the reign of Elizabeth or James I., to secure their newly acquired possession of Derry: the former, situated on a projecting point on the western bank of the Foyle, where it opens into the lough, was a small triangular fort with a bastion at each corner, and a square tower at the point next the river: though not occupied as a military station for upwards of a hundred years, a governor is still appointed to it. General Hart, the late governor, substantially repaired the tower, but the outworks are now nearly obliterated.
Donnalong, or Donolonge, which was a place of more importance, was built on the eastern bank of the Foyle, in the parish of Donagheady; there are no remains. Templemore gives the title of an English baron to a branch of the Chichester family.
The 1821 ? 1851 census returns were almost all destroyed in a fire, the 1861 ? 1891 census returns were destroyed by the government. The 1901 ? 1911 census returns are available on line free of charge on line on the National Archives of Ireland website.
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