Sligo Cottage

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Home History The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland (1846)

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland (1846)

RAGHLEY, or Raughley, a peninsula, and a fishing-village and harbour, in the parish of Dromcliffe, barony of Carbery, co. Sligo, Connaught. The termination of the peninsula is the most westerly land in the barony, and lies 7 1/4 miles north-west of Sligo, in a straight line, but 10 miles by the nearest practicable road. The peninsula commences in the vicinity of Lissadill-house

, and measures 3 3/4 miles in length, and about 2 3/4 in breadth ; and its coasts, though not picturesque or attractive, possess much curious interest, from exhibiting the effects of the long and powerful action of the tides, both upon limestone rock and upon a permeable and comparatively flat shore.


"Near the small fishing-village of Raughley, and on the western side of the small peninsula which also bears that name," says Mr. Fraser, in "the naturally caverned limestone rock has aided the formation of that remarkable feature called here the Pigeon Holes. At high incoming tides, particularly when impelled by the westerly winds, the sea rushes by various narrow subterraneous channels into a large, deep, open basin, at a considerable distance from the shore, where the agitated waters roar, boil, and foam, to an extent which is often terrific; at all times the hoarse murmuring of the retiring waves through the low vaulted caverns is sublime.
Adjoining the island of Raghley, as it is here called, the devastating effects of the drifting sea-sand along the flat shore are seen to a fearful extent. The process has long been going on, but within the last 20 years it has greatly increased, and during that period, hundreds of fertile acres have been ruined. Instead of endeavouring to check the progress of the sand, as has been successfully done in many parts of the British coasts, and in this very neighbourhood, by Lord Palmerstown, both landlord and tenant here retreat as it advances, --the latter, however, clinging to their wretched hovels so long as the roofs sustain the superincumbent mass in which they are imbedded. There are few more desolate scenes in our island than that which the once fertile plains of Raghley now presents. It requires no stretch of the imagination, as at Bannow, to describe what may have been the appearances of this place; the remains of many houses can still be traced, and at least a hundred yet inhabited huts, nearly overwhelmed, presenting more the appearance of the dens of wild animals than the habitations of human beings. The fragments of the ancient church, with the taller of the rude tombs, are still seen peeping over the accumulating sand; and the ruins of Artarmon-castle, the former seat of the ancestors of Sir Robert Gore Booth, Bart., the present possessor, still preside over the desolate scene.
At the western point of this district, the small but beautifully verdant Knock Lane rises to a height of several hundred feet from the water's edge; from it the whole of the adjoining tract can be distinctly traced, as also the mouth of Sligo bay and the subjacent coast. Along the latter, from the numerous scattered rocks, the broken waves dash and foam with inconceivable fury against the low beetling headlands."

Raghley is a fishing and a coast-guard station; and, in 1836, there were employed in the fisheries within its district 99 row-boats and 495 fishermen. An artificial harbour has been constructed, at the cost of £1,606 8s., partly contributed by Sir Gore Booth and the Dublin Committee, but chiefly advanced by government. The work consists of a very neat stone pier, extending nearly 200 feet from the top of the beach to low water, with a kant or return of 40 feet at the head, all substantially built in hammered limestone, paved on the seaward side and end, with a cordon course and parapet of sound masonry; an inner harbour or dock, excavated within the land, a statute acre in area, lined with stone, and provided with a small groin pier, of 75 feet in length, on the side of the entrance, opposite the main pier; and a small reservoir, provided with a stone dam and sluice, to retain backwater for scouring the harbour.

"The quay wall is in hammered limestone, of good scantling, 14 feet high, and 40 feet long along the head or kant; thence 300 feet along the pier and dock, with two stairs, the exterior one accessible by small boats at low water neap-tides; this quay proceeds 200 feet further, in a more sloping form, to the dam of the reservoir, making the whole extent of quay 540 feet. The opposite side of the entrance is also quayed for 75 feet along the groin, and 160 feet more along the entrance. The dock is of a triangular form, 142 feet on either side, lined with a sloping stone pavement, and with a slip for hauling up boats on the land at the northern vertical angle. The beach on the north side of the groin has also been cleared and levelled for the purpose of hauling up boats. The whole of the piers and quays are substantially and neatly executed, and provided with stone mooring-posts.
Raghley Head affords the most advantageous site for a fishing station in the bay of Sligo. It may be approached on one side or the other in all winds, and is in the immediate vicinity of the fishing grounds outside of Carriganean. At a quarter of a mile from the head, is the winter turbot ground. At half-a-mile, all round the Wheaten Rock, the Seal Rocks, and at the west end of the Black Rock, there is abundance of rock cod, &c. Two miles off, along the south shore of the bay, are the turbot bank of Portevad, Ruarybraddogh bank, for haddock and cod, and the whiting bank of Tubberpatrick. The out-shore of Sligo ledge abounds still more in cod, ling, &c., but there are no boats fit for proceeding thither except in fine weather, as the shore has no place for protecting large craft.
The village is built at the isthmus, which is only 50 fathoms across, and the yawls are launched on either side, according to the wind. The inside is a broad shallow strand, and only accessible at high water; the outside is a small cove, opening to the north-west, and in winds from that quarter, which are the most severe on this coast, tremendous sea sets into it, so as to wash over the isthmus, and wreck all boats which are not removed high up on the land." [Nimmo's Coast Survey.]

Area of the village, 9 acres. Pop., in 1831, 122; in 1841, 170. Houses 32.

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