Hannahstown and Around the Lough

In the ancient graveyard of Tiulyrusk there is a very interesting grave  it is  the grave of Patrick Magee aged 52 who shot dead by marauding yeomen following the 1798 Rebellion. On the 29th June 1798 Patrick was standing at the door of his home smoking his pipe when he was murdered, he fell in the door and lay bleeding on the floor. It is said the blood splattered floor slab was used to make his headstone. For many years after his burial people spoke of seeing the headstone weep blood, His wife Jane later joined him in the grave. Just along the wall behind Patrick’s grave it is said four United Irishmen are buried. The ruins of the ancient Chapel can be seen at Tullyrush Graveyeard to this very day.

There is much folklore and magic in those hills overlooking Belfast, the Magnetic Hill, the Head of The Water, The Giant’s Grave, The Standing Stones, The Holy Well, the Fairy Arrow Heads, The enchanted Trout, the Cures, The Green Lady, The Haunted Cottage, The Cursed Cow, I could go on forever. This is our precious heritage, the stuff that made us what we are.

Conan Boyle served first in Hannastown and then went to St. Teresa’s Chapel which became the mother chapel of the local chapels. As a younger man Canon Boyle was to be seen riding horseback around the parish at Hannahstown.

During the war years the parish swelled massively due to many Belfast people evacuating out to little huts all round Hannahstown to escape from the bombing which when you consider that in one night May 1941 1,000 people were killed in an air raid it was very severe. I can not for the world of me understand why Hannahstown and surrounding countryside have not their own Historical Society, that is a must for the area if the heritage and history is to be preserved for later generations, and yes I would love to lend a hand in the formation and help with whatever material I have .

Some Old Hannahstown Records

marriages 1845 to 1848 for Derriaghy, Hannahstown and Rockwilliam.

Order: date, participants, residence, witnesses.

1847 Apr. 4, James McQuillan and Catherine McQuillan, Hannahstown.

Wit. William Hamill and Jane McQuillan.

1848 Jan. 8, Hugh McQuillan and Catherine Rice, Rock.

Wit. Michael Magee and Mary McConnell.

1848 Mar. 5, Francis McConnell and Eliza McQuillan, White Rock.

Wit. Edward Neelson and Mary Gilmore.

1848 Apr. 13, Edward McQuillan and Mary Ann Dean, Divis Mtn.

Wit. Hercules Dean and Philip Dean.


Source:Hannahstown Church Records.

Order: date, participants, residence if given, witnesses.

1852 Feb. 7, James Hamill and Anne McQuillan.

Wit. John Chrysty and Ellen Brown.

1863 Apr. 20, Benjamin McQuillan and Eliza Anne Toland.

Wit. John Dean and Rose McGain.

1963 Sep. 20, George McQuillan and Margaret Quinn.

Wit. Owen Mullan and Mary Mc?

1864 Jun. 7, Hugh McQuillan and Eleanor McAliece.

Wit. James McAliece and Elizabeth Bo?

1865 Nov. 4, William McQuillan and Margaret Hamill.

Wit. John Hamill and Hannah McQuillan.

1867 Jul. 4, Edward McQuillan and Ann Jane Stewart.

Wit. John O'Hare and Bridget Starkey.

1870 Sep. 17, Philipp McQuillan and Mary Connolly, nr. the Hamills, Trench.

Wit. John Finley and Mary Connolly, Edward Dornan and Anne Cooke.

1872 Feb. 2, James Morgan and Margaret McQuillan, Dunmurray.

Wit. Daniel Brown and Bessie McQuillan.

1872 May 23, William McQuillan and Rachel McFarland, Glenside.

Wit. Charles McKenna and Elizabeth Lynch.

1873 Dec, 3, Hugh Hall, Head of Water, and Isabella McQuillan, Hannahstown.

Wit. John Dearey and Rose McQuillan.

1875 Oct. 14, Wm. Joseph McQuillan and Margaret Deane, Glenside and Fairview. Wit. John McQuillan and Hannah Gilmore.

1878 Jul. 20, Patrick Cushnahan and Ann Jane McQuillan (alias Stewart), Black Mtn. Wit. John Canmore and Mary J. Rice.

1882 Apr. 13, John McQuillan and Mary Mullan, Ballycullo and Hannahstown.

Wit. Richard Mullan and Isabella Mullan.

1887 Dec. 29, Hugh McMullan and Elizabeth McQuillan, Ballycollin, Tornagrough.

Wit. Jenkin McQuillan and Lizzie McMullan.

1899 Jan. 18, Alexander Ferris and Mary McQuillan, Hannahstown.

Wit. Hugh Nelson and Sarah Magee.


Source: Marr. record St. Paul's Church, Belfast.

1889 Oct. 4, Owen Mullan and Elizabeth McQuillan, Hannahstown, and Belfast.

Wit. Denis Close and Mary K. Laughley.


Source: Civil records, GRO, Belfast.

1899 Sep. 12, Jenkin McQuillan and Sarah Hughes, Hannahstown and Belfast.

Wit. Patrick Hughes and Mary Hughes.


Source: Rosaleen McQuillan Crilly, A Family History, Shanway Press, Belfast, 1999.

1917 Sep. 25, John Alexander McQuillan and Mary J. Hamill, Colinwell House, Dunmurry and Budore.

Wit. John Hamill and Elizabeth McQuillan.

1940 Apr. 24, John Hamill McQuillan and Jane Josephine (Sheena) Magill, Hannahstown.

Wit. Tony McQuillan and Stella Walsh.

Gravestone Inscriptions from the graveyard of St. Joseph's Church, Hannahstown

Erected by Hugh McQuillan in memory of his daughter Mary McQuillan who died 12th August 1867, aged 15yrs also his son James McQuillan who died 19th May 1890, aged 24yrs, also the above named Hugh McQuillan who died 26th December 1893, aged 66yrs. Also his grandson James McQuillan who died 30th March 1901, aged 2yrs, also his son Philip McQuillan who died 25th November 1937, aged 66yrs. Also Elizabeth McQuillan wife of the above Philip McQuillan who died 21st October 1944, aged 70yrs.

In memory of William McQuillin of Hannahstown who departed this life 7th May 1858, aged 55 years. Also his son John who departed this life 15th Feb. 1854, aged 22 years. Also his son Edward who departed this life 28th July 1850, aged 12 years. Also his son Bernard who departed this life 10th March 1868, aged 24

years. Also his son William who departed this life 12th December 1868, aged 34 years. Also his beloved wife Hannah who departed this life September 22nd 1869, aged 66 years. Also his daughter-in-law Margaret who departed this life January 24th 1870, aged 28 years.

Erected by James McQuillan who departed this life June 1st 1870, aged 44 years. May they rest in peace, Amen.

Erected by Philip Dean in memory of his father-in-law Patrick McQuillan of Hannahstown who departed this life 20th Dec. 1858, aged 88 years. Also his brother-in-law Benjamin McQuillan who departed this life 1st Jan. 1864, aged 45 years and his mother-in-law Mary McQuillan who departed this life 30th April 1864, aged 88years. May they rest in peace, Amen

Erected to the memory of John McQuillan, died 28th February 1848, his wife Margaret, died 20th March 1860. Their daughter Mary, died 22nd June 1865, their sons John, died 2nd August 1882, Hugh, died 4th March 1889. Their daughter Margaret, died 4th May 1893 also Ellen, wife of the last named John, died 5th April 1897, their son William, died 28th February 1910 and his wife Rachel, died 28th July 1913. William, son of John and Ellen, died 1st June 1931, Phillip, son of above William, died 26th June 1951 and John J., died 27th April 1955. (Descending lineage of this family is fairly well known.)

The family burying ground of Bernard McQuillan. The above named Bernard McQuillan who died June 1845, his wife Catherine, who died in April 1847, his son Patrick who died in January 1875, his daughter Mary who died in July 1876, his son Charles who died in September 1877, his daughter Catherine who died in March 1880, his son John who died in August 1883, his son Edward who died in May 1894, his niece Mary Ann McQuillan who died in November 1895. Rest in Peace.

The family burying place of

James McQuillan



There is no grave marker in Hannahstown for this last family but I include it as it was contemporary with the others.

Jenkin McQuillan of Slavenagravery, died 25th April 1867. Sons William, Edward and Hugh McQuillan and daughters Rose (McQuillan) McCormick and Ann (McQuillan) Hamill

(Source of information Griffith's Valuation and will.)

Chapel at Carmavy, Co. Antrim, attacked by English army, inside women and children huddled in fear, the chapel was burned and toppled in on the unfortunate people. No memorial marks this historic spot. The stones of the church were later used to built huge tombs for planter families on the same spot.

1697 Catholic Priests outlawed in Belfast.

1704 Popish Clergy Act passed. Presbyterians are included alongside Catholics to be discriminated under the "Penal Laws".

1707 Fr. Phelomy O’Hamill described as “the Popish Priest of Belfast and Derryaghy and Drum”, arrested under An Drocht Shaol (The Penal Laws) , having been conned by George Macartney, Town Sovereign, to come in and discuss the new laws. he was immediately lodged in the Old Belfast prison. Fr. O'Hamill died there in that prison, despite protestations, many from protestant citizens, for his release, he was later buried at Lambeg Cemetery with his relations.

1708, George Macartney, Sovereign of Belfast, wrote, “We have not amongst us within the town above seven Papists, and by the return made by the High Constable there is not above 150 Papists in the whole Barony.1

1745. The Mass House is forced to close at Castle Street, (was just opposite Fountain Lane) following a denouncement from government declaring the house, “ An assembly place for Papists”(Irish). perhaps here is an opportunity to look at the old District of Smithfield which could possibly be called the original “Falls” since it was around that old market that the first Catholic community of the town of Belfast grew.

1753, This was the year of “The Hatchet Field Murders”, on 13th February at his home near where we today call “The Hatchet Field” on the Black Mountain… *A cattle drover, William Cole, his daughter and a woman visitor to the house were all found brutally murdered, apparently they had been slain with an axe, or hatchet, as we say locally. Who ever carried out the brutal murders never stole any valuables and on their way out set fire to the house. No one was ever brought to task for the murders and locals put it down to a jealousy crime, or scorned love. The newspapers made no reference whatsoever to Cole’s wife, and so it has remained a mystery from that day, so much so that it spawned a local expression, if a thing perplexed someone they’d retort, “It’s as secret as Cole’s Murder”, as for how the Field took on the shape of a Hatchet. that too is a mystery!. I mention this in context of Hannahstown History.

The Legend of Naoise O’Haughan

IF Sherwood Forest has given Nottingham its Robin Hood so too has the Antrim Hills and the Divis Mountains given Belfast, the bold Naoise O’Haughan, our own Robin Hood, an old ballad of his time declares....

“ ‘Tis of a famous highwayman a story I will tell,

His name was Naoise O’Haughan, in Ireland he did dwell.

And on the Antrim Mountains he commenced his wild career,

Where many a wealthy gentleman before him shook with fear.”

Naoise O’Haughan, or Nessy O'Haughan, was born in 1691, a fearful time for Irish people for this was the period immediately following the victory of the Dutchman, King William of Orange over the English Catholic King James, who had fought a battle at the River Boyne a year earlier. Hordes of William’s followers roamed the land killing and looting those they felt were not sympathetic to the Protestant principles of William.

Shane O’Haughan, Naoise’s father and his mother reared their family near Braid, at the foot of Slemish Mountain, they lived as tenants in a small holding belonging to O’Hara, a local wealthy landlord, who owned land throughout the parishes.

In the early 1700’s O’Hara’s men came to evict the O’Haughan family, a terrible part of the persecution visited on many a family in those times. The sight of their mother and father being roughly manhandled by the bailiffs was just to much to bear by the O’Haughan sons, Shane Og, Naoise, Robert, Denis and an adopted son Philomy. A fight broke out in which Shane Og killed one of the bailiffs and from that instance the O’Haughan boys became outlaws, ‘Raparees’.

Moving their parents to safety among sympathetic Presbyterian families, like the Graham’s of Glenwherry, who provided ‘Clachan’ dwellings built on their own land, ruins of one exists to this day at Kerny Hill on the land of David Graham. These Graham’s. My fathers family were supportive in sheltering Naoise and indeed Henry Joy McCracken after he went on the run following the Battle of Antrim in 1798. Naoise and his brothers took to the hills and reeked havoc on the desolate homesteads of those who they felt ‘lackeyed’ to the wishes of the landlords. It would appear that Denis, the adopted son, went off on his own, for soon after he was captured in Carrickfergus when he was spotted wearing the coat of a man he had robbed there just hours before, He was hanged at the nearby gallows.

It was in Glenwherry that Naoise and his band of brothers carried out their ‘Robin Hood’ activities for many stories exist of how they robbed local rich landlords and gave the money to the poor tenants to help pay their ever increasing rents.

It was one of the o’Haughan’s own kinsmen, a James McKinstry from Glenhead, although he is mentioned in the ballad as having taken part in the raids, who ultimately betrayed Naosie‘s brother, Shane Og. The ballad relates of a raid when Naoise and his band, hopelessly outnumbered were being pursued by Redcoats and local lackeys, among whom are mentioned, Beggs and Craig, two families still linked to the area to this day. The Beggs are related ‘Beggs The Glenwherry Poet’ whilst the Craigs built one of the first schoolhouses in the area. When Naoise got to the hills they turned and fired point blank at their pursuers causing them to panic and flee back down the mountain, the old ballad describes well the event....The bold Naoise O’Haughan, and Shane Og, the tory;

Little Owen Murphy and his younger brother Rory;

Randal Dhu Agnew, McKinstry and Maginnis,

Though half the Braid pursue, Make good the upper Tennies.

The last man in the rear had barely cleared the clachan

When a bullet grazed his hair, ‘Twas the burly Naoise O’Haughan.

“Stand comrades now.” he cried “Why flee ye in such a hurry?”

“Let’s tame the Begg’s pride, and cowe the Craigs of Skerry.”

“Range round your chief, my men, they are but shabby fellows;

We’ll fight them one to ten, ere we swing upon the gallows.”With that whizzed through the air, a bullet fue the ca , Which carried off the ear O’ singing Robin Allen.

Naoise and his band of wild raparees continued to torment and rob the rich but being so hopelessly outnumbered, and by the betrayal of lackeys and paid informers one by one they were captured. John McCrea, of Ballynure, received £5 for the capture of the brave Randal Dhu Agnew in 1717. Randal was taken to the Gallows Green at Carrickfergus and hanged, as was the noble Shane O’Haughan who had been ‘sold ’ for £10 by his brother-in-law ‘White James’ McKinstry

The rest of Naoise’s men had to keep their heads down, Toal, Magennis and Rory Murphy left the country to escape capture but Naoise alone carried on and there are any stories of his brave escapes from capture by the redcoats, one goes...

‘a troop of o mounted Recoats were sent out from Carrickfergus Castle to capture Naoise, They eventually espied him near his hiding place at Knockagh Mountain and made chase. His only chance to escape now lay in his speed of foot, So he gave his pursuers a smart race across the moors at Straid and reached Ballyboley Hill. There by coincidence he came across his brother Denis, also on the run. Seeing his brother was exhausted Denis sized the situation up quickly, He whistled to Naoise who fell flat into thick bracken and heather. Denis then waited for a few moments on the horsemen who came over the hill and made off as if he was the original fugitive. A fresh O’Haughan was more than equal to the tired horsemen and thus both escaped capture by the Redcoats‘.

On another occasion near Ballyeaston, again being pursued by the Redcoats, Naoise came round a sharp corner, out of sight of his tormentors, and seen a gang of farm workers carrying bags of grain. He picked up a bag and walked with the workers, the Redcoats came on and rode straight by. They never realised that one of the workers was the fugitive they were chasing and so Naoise escaped again.

Soon after this Naoise moved to the Divis Mountain range, and stopped around Ballyutoag where he took regular shelter. He continued to roam and raid around Ballymagarry, Ballymurphy, Ballyhill, Hightown Hill and Craigarogan. No doubt he would have been offered shelter among the good folk at Springhill Clachan, at the head of the Mountain Loney. A Clachan, by the way, was a nestling of a few houses built closely together. The present day Springhill housing estate was named from this old community.

Before long Naoise O’Haughan brushes and close escapes were becoming more regular as the Redcoats closed in on him. Nessy often hid out at the caves below the Hatchet Field on the Black Mountain. His last recorded chase occurred one day along the Belfast Hills with the enemy close behind him. They thought they had him cornered when he came on the banks of the River Lagan at a spot to wide to jump and too rough to swim, but Naoise took one wild leap and managed to clear the river landing safely on the other bank, leaving his pursuers stranded behind him.

Nothing more was heard of Naoise, it was as if he had vanished of the face of the earth. Then one day, on a military Barracks Square, where some soldiers were betting on who could jump clear over two horses, the bet was won by an English soldier. The wage was increased and a challenge went out to any one present to attempt to jump over three horses. No one came forward, there were mutterings that it would be an impossible task. Suddenly another soldier, an Irishman, stepped forward and said he could jump over three horses. To everyone’s amazement he took a running jump and cleared the horses easily and to much applause he collected his bets. But not everyone was applauding, an officer stepped forward and pointing at the victor he said, “Arrest that man, I have only ever seen one man capable of such a jump, and he was an Irishman too, that man has to be Naoise O’Haughan ”. The officer had been the officer in charge of the Recoats in the pursuit of Naosie when he escaped by making his daring jump over the River Lagan. And so our bold rebel lad was finally captured and brought to Carrickfergus Castle where he was sentenced to die. Naoise was hanged at the infamous Gallows Green, his head cut off and placed on a spike near that of his brother’s Shane Og, who had been hanged two years earlier in 1718. Folklore has it that a wren built a nest in the skull of Shane, it also claims that Naoise and his party had secretly buried their loot, gold and jewellery, along the Belfast Hills and it has never been uncovered

1760 Mass is being celebrated at the Castle Street Belfast home of John Kennedy, a cutler and at the sand pit at Friars Bush.

1769 Crawford obtained a lease (31 years) on behalf of Fr. O’Donnell as Mass House for Catholics, this was an old building close to Crooked Lane and Marquis Street.

1783 St, Mary’s Chapel erected in Chapel Lane, cost £1,200 . Fr, Hugh O'Donnell, P.P takes up lodgings in Hercules lane.

1797 Fr. Cassidy from old St. Mary’s attended the four soldiers from the Monaghan Miltia who were executed at Blaris, near Lisburn as being members of the United Irishmen, they became known as The Blaris Martyr’s. No memorial marks their resting place. I would also like to point out a mistake historians keep repeating, they say William Orr was the first United Irishman to be executed, in fact, the Blaris Four were executed before him

1798. Derriaghy Chapel attacked by Yeomen.

1811 St Patrick’s Chapel built, protestant subscriptions £1711 ; total £2,811.

1813 Catholic funerals attacked en route to Friars Bush Cemetery

1831 * Population 53,737, houses 8,710, St. Matthews Chapel opened 13th March, at Ballymacarrett, and at the Shore Road St Mary’s Catholic Chapel erected.

1833 . St Malachy’s College founded.

1844 Saint Malachy’s Chapel consecrated., this was first intended to be a Cathedral. There is a very interesting story I heard about the Bells the chapel once had and how they had to be removed due to complaint from Dunville’s the whiskey people who had a distillery nearby, they claimed the noise of the bells were interfering with the fermenting of their whiskey distilling and so the bells were removed!

1866 . St Peter’s Chapel Built on land secured by Barney Hughes the Baker who passed It onto the church at “peppercorn rent” Barney Hughes was the first Catholic elected to Belfast Council.

1900 Population 350,000 . Clonard Monastery completed.

1902. The new Holy Cross Chapel opens, 18th May, The Pope sends a message of congratulations.

1905 St Colman’s School built in Eliza Street, cost £1,632.

This has been a short record of the ups and downs of Irish people establishing their right to practise their faith