Just inside of Aran lies Burton Port; & just off Burton Port is Rutland Island, where, in 1785, under the Duke of Rutland's Viceroyalty, €40,000 were expended in making quays for the herring fishery, a military station, & general emporium for this part of the country. The sand & storm had their will of this enterprise."
- Stephen Gwynne, Highways & Byways of Donegal & Antrim (1903), p. 83 (M.L.)
This island, anciently called Innismacdurn, received its present name from its proprietor, an ancestor of the Marquess of Conyngham, in compliment to Charles, Duke of Rutland, who was at that time the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. At the time of Pynnar's survey (when was that?) here was a small, old castle with a bawn (the fortified outwork of a castle) where a few English families had settled... It contains about 180 a[cres], chiefly rocky & mountain land, with a considerable quantity of bog. The harbor is narrow & fit only for small vessels.
The inhabitants in each of the years 1784 & 1785 realized €40,000 ($200,000) from the herring fishery of the coast and the great abundance of herring at that time induced Col. Conyngham to expend €50,000 ($250,000) in building houses & stores, forming a town here and constructing roads through the mountains to the champaign country in the interior. From that period the fisheries began to decline, & in 1793 it failed entirely, & although afterwards it began to revive, it never attained its former prosperity.
The females are employed knitting coarse yarn stockings.
On the 16 th of Sept., 1798, James Napper Tandy landed here from the French Brig Anacreon, from Brest, with three boats full of officers and men, accompanied by Gen. Rey & Col. Blackwell, but after remaining for a day & a night, hearing that the French, who had landed at Kilcummin, had surrendered & been made prisoners, they re-embarked.
On the island is a coast guard station; a dispensary is maintained in the usual way.
(from the general article on Donegal) There is an artillery fort at Rutland Island. It is garrisoned by a single gunner.
Population returned with the parish.
- Top. Dict. under "Rutland"