Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
© Rosalind Davies 2001
Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only
|Church ruins & Church of Ireland||Old Lisbane Post Office||Mahee Island||Nendrum Castle||Sketrick Castle|
in Strangford Lough
3km W of Ardmillan
|View today||Aerial reconstruction of monastic site||Ancient monastic sundial|
Mahee is a large island, 3 km NE of Killinchy on the western shore of Strangford Lough.
As well as farms, and a ruined Norman Mahee Castle (see photo below) there is the ruins of an early Christian monastic site on the island It was built in 5th century by St. Mochaoi (St. Mahee).
References to the monastery begin
in the 7th century and continue until a fire in 976, perhaps a Viking
raid, when the abbot was burned in his house. In the late 12th century
a small Benedictine monastic cell was founded on the site, but by 1306
the parish church was here, abandoned in favour of Tullynakill church
on the mainland in the 15th century.
There is an article in Lecale Miscellany 2002 about an iron axe head & bronze ringed pin.
|References; V7 p 124 OSM : HMNI p105 ; O'L V1 p 349, 353 & B p 154; TOOC p20; LM 1996 p19|
Sketrick Castle is situated on the western extremity of Sketrick Island which is in Strangford Lough and is now joined to the mainland by a causeway. It is off Ballydorn townland in Killinchy parish but was aligned to Ardkeen parish in the old days for taxation purposes.
There is a raised footpath from the mainland
and the strait of water separating the two is nearly dry at low tide.
Mentioned in written sources of 1470 as having been involved in warfare.
A great army was lead by the O'Neill into Clannaboy to assist MacQuillan.
They took Sketrick Castle and was given to MacQuillan for safe keeping.
In 1833 is was described as a plain, stone building about 40 feet high, oblong in form and did not appear to have any flanking towers or outworks attached to it. The entrance faces west, being opposite the ford across the strait. The castle was not habitable then, being unroofed and open from the top to the ground. It stood complete until wrecked by a storm in 1896. The locals say that the Danes (Vikings) built it but it looks more like an Anglo- Norman construction.
The Montgomery Manuscripts states;" Other
ancient family of the Savages is that of Archin (Ardquin ) Castle. It
is of good account and hath another as they called Sketrick, the oldest
of them all..." In the 1901 Census only one family called
Montgomery lived here.
|This lovely old postcard was kindly sent by Michael Taggart|
|Sketrick Castle in 2000||References;V7 p 3, 89 OSM; HMNI p 108; O'L V1 p 346; PNNI V2 p 25; Inv 2003 p51; POD|
by Ros Davies