KILWAUAGHTER & LARNE Between 1600 and 1640 a large number of English and Lowland Scots came to Ulster and especially to counties Antrim and Down Land was fairly cheap and accessible. Sir Randal MacDonnell, Earl of Antrim, Ireland,parcelled out small estates to some of these Scots families. Records indicate many families at this time who were given or leased land in the Cairncastle, KILWAUGHTER and Inver (Larne) areas. These included those by the name of Stewart, Shaw, AGNEW, Dunne, Fenton, Mitchell, Montgomery, Crawford, Duncan, Sayers, Robinson, Baird, Harper, Curl, Hunter and McKay.
O’GNIMHS AND AGNEWS One of the families who acquired land were the Agnews of LOCHNAW in Wigtownshire who purchased property from the Earl of Antrim. Some time between 1620 and 1622 Sir Patrick AGNEW came into property in KILWAUGHTER, including Ballykeel, property which had previously belonged to the O’Gnimhs. They acquired other property in the same area and by 1636 were the principal land owners in the parish of Kilwaughter. They owned Ballykeel, Lealies, Drumahoe, Two quarters of Killoghter (Castle Demense), Drumnadonagh and Dallderahonie (?) Alexander and Gilbert AGNEW received in 1637 a 41 years lease of Ballenbollyrath (Ballyboley), a townland between Ballyhampton and Ballycraigy.
The O’Gnihms were granted lands by the first Earl. Records for about 1625 show that the Earl of Antrim granted the lands of Ballycrinlaw (Greenland) and Ballynacreage (Ballycraigy) to John O’Gneeve (O’Gnimh) of Ballyhampton and the area known as Mullaghboy (Ballymullock) and Tobbermore (Ballytober) to Fardorragh McMulmorro O’Gneeve and Danile O’Gneeve. The O’Gnimh’s, as hereditary bards to the MacDonnell and the Glanneboy O’Neill clans, enjoyed a prestigious position in earlier days. A rath within Kilwaughter in 1641 called ‘Lisdrumbard’, in the townland of Lowtown, indicates an area owned at one time by the bardic O’Gnimhs. At some stage it seems the name O’Gnimh died out and was replaced by AGNEW.
CAIRNCASTLE The old stone castle at the sea beyond Ballygally Head, sometimes referred to as ‘O’Halloran’s Castle’, was said by Dobbs, writing in 1863, to be the residence in olden times of a bard called O’Gneeve (O’Gnimh) or AGNEW. It is said to have been erected by Anglo-Norman, Duncan Fitzgilbert, who owned lands in the area in the early 13th Century. The local Parish of Cairncastle is named after this castle on the rocks, the ruins of which can be seen close to the Coast Road today.
AGNEW’S HILL Agnew's Hill which overlooks the town of LARNE, co. Antrim, Ireland,is named after the O’Gnimh or AGNEW family.
In the summer of 1826 Agnew's Hill caught fire. As the boggy land was covered with heather the flames spread rapidly. The fire continued to burn throughout the summer months for 13 weeks and deep trenches were dug to overcome the fire but they jumped over the trenches and continued unabated. The fire spread to Shane's Hill and at one time the people of LARNE were fearful that the fire would work its way down the plains to their town.
Seeking information on Adair / Agnews of Ballyclare c.1600-1700s.Thankyou.