Craigs townland is within the parish of Craigs, and barony of Kilconway. O’Laverty describes the townland as having four sub-denominations of Groogagh, Aughnakeely, Carhunny and Grannagh. This was known locally as the “four towns of Craigs”
The Craigs, derived from the Irish Na Creaga, “the rocks” contains 2,801 acres 2 roods and 21 perches. The greater part is mountain and bog, 16 acres of water, with only a small portion of the townland cultivated. It is situated 2.5km North West of the village of Cullybackey and approximately 8 km from the town of Ballymena, in County Antrim and is known as the townland of many mansions.
Written in the 1830s and often described as the 19th century Doomsday Book especially for the northern part of Ireland, the Ordnance Survey Memoirs helps provide a unique insight into the life of the people in Ireland. They describe the land in the Craigs as fertile, suitable for the growing of potatoes, oats and flax. The complete process, from the sowing of the flax seed, cultivation and harvesting of flax or lint as it was usually called in Ulster was highly labour intensive. Flax growing extracted a lot of nutrients from the soil so it could only be sown once in the crop rotation. Farmers in the Craigs benefitted not only from the ability to grow potatoes, and oats, but also from a climate suitable for growing large quantities of good quality flax. With the close proximity of the fast flowing river Maine this created the ideal surroundings needed for the rapidly expanding linen industry. Historically, this gave families resident in the Craigs an unusual combination of opportunities for employment both in mixed farming and in local industries associated with linen production.
The 1851 census has only survived for thirteen parishes or parts of parishes and we are fortunate that it has survived for the Craigs townland.
Although the 1901 census is available online you can VIEW HERE
In Bassett’s Antrim (1888) Craigs, in the parish of the same name consists of the Church of Ireland, a school-house, post office, and a few other houses, including the handsomely-planted demesne and residence of Mr Edmund McNeill, J.P.
Church of Ireland: Rev A.T. Kirkpatrick Post Mistress: Miss Sarah Stevenson
School Teachers: J. Kerr, S. Stevenson
FARMERS AND RESIDENTS
Buick, Samuel & James – Craigs
Calderwood, Hugh – Craigs
Davison, James – Dunminning
Dunlop, John – Craigs
Hoy, Robert – Craigs
Kerr, Miss – Grouba
Kirkpatrick, Rev. George – Hazelbank
Kirkpatrick, G.S. – Hazelbank
McKee, Stewart – Craigs
McNeill, Edmund J.P. – Craigdun
Manson, William – Craigs
Millar, John – Craigs
Reid, William – Craigs
Steed, John (Jun) – Craigs
Wright, Alexander – Carclunty
Wright, Hugh- Craigs