Castles and Estates of Ballymoney

Lissanoure-Castle-Near-Ballymoney-1

Castles 

Motte and bailey castles were built by Anglo-Norman settlers in the period after they invaded Ulster in 1177.  Many of them survive throughout the east of Ireland. While Earls lived in large stone castles, such as at Carrickfergus, their chief tenants, the Barons, lived in these smaller fortified dwellings.

The ‘motte’ was a large mound of earth with a flat platform on which a wooden tower was erected. A wooden palisade protected the forum. The ‘bailey’, or courtyard, was an embanked enclosure at the foot of the mound where most of the inhabitants would live.

The bailey would probably have contained buildings, e.g. a hall, large chamber, and barns. Few Irish mottes were built with a bailey, unlike those found in England or Europe. Those with baileys tend to be situated in regions where the inhabitants were at risk from attack and thought they may have had a military function.

In the Ballymoney area, examples of a typical motte can be found at Carrowcrin, near Loughguile, and Drumart, near Ballymoney. Knockahollet, also near Loughguile, is a well-preserved motte with a bailey.

Leslie Hill

Leslie Hill House Near Ballymoney

Leslie Hill has remained in the Leslie family since it was built in 1756 and is one of the grandest buildings in Northern Ireland.

The front of the house overlooks a park and lake excavated in the 19th century. The house originally had two wings. These were demolished in 1955, although one has been rebuilt. The estate buildings include the Bell Barn, famously described by Arthur Young in 1776 during his ‘Tour of Ireland.

Successive generations of the Leslie family have served in public office, including high sheriffs, bishops, a Lord Lieutenant, privy Councillor and a Senator.

Leslie Hill now has a popular open farm, which attracts thousands of tourists and school children.

OPENING HOURS FOR OPEN FARM:

Saturday 11th April-13th April 11am-5.30pm

July and August:

Monday-Friday 11am-5.30pm

Saturday and Sunday 1 pm-5.30 pm

Benvarden House

Benvardin House Near Ballymoney

Benvarden House is an attractive house with an intriguing history, beautifully situated on the River Bush.

The land was initially leased to Daniel Macnaghten by Lord Antrim in 1636. His descendant, John Macnaghten, was hanged in 1761 for shooting wealthy heiress Mary Anne Knox of Prehen while trying to abduct her. At his execution, the rope broke and in a vain attempt to avoid being forever remembered as ‘Half-hanged Macnaghten’, he climbed the scaffold for a second attempt. Despite his efforts, the nickname stuck.

In 1797, Benvarden was bought by Hugh Montgomery, who was one of the founding partners of the Northern Bank. He extended the house considerably, adding twelve bed chambers and a ballroom.

Benvarden is probably best remembered for its lion park, which enthralled many visitors from the 1970s to 1996.

The estate is well-known for its extensive beautiful gardens, which were cultivated in the early 19th century and continue to be maintained with dedication by the present owners.

OPENING HOURS FOR GARDENS:

June – August 12 noon – 5 pm

Closed Mondays, except Bank Holidays.

O’Harabrook

OHarabrook House Near Ballmoney

O’Harabrook is a long, low house of two storeys, built in the late 18th century. It is named after the O’Hara family, who first built it.

It is thought that O’Harabrook may once have been a coaching inn because of the many small rooms it contains. In 1889, The O’Hara Family sold the estate for £6,300 to Captain J.S Cramsie, whose ancestors had settled in Ballymoney around 1709. The Cramsie family continue to live there.

In the estate is the graveyard of the Ballynacree Quaker settlement known as ‘The Lambs’ Fold’.

The estate is Now a Bed & Breakfast so not open to the public.

Lissanoure Castle

Lissanoure Castle

Sir Philip Savage built the first castle at Lissanoure in the reign of King John (1199-1216 AD).

The Macartney family purchased the estate in 1733, and it was the birthplace of George Macartney, who became the first British Ambassador to China in 1782. The Macartney family rebuilt and extended the castle using a mixture of gothic and classical architectural styles. Very little of this remains as the castle was destroyed in 1847 by a massive explosion. Caskets of gun powder, stored since the 1798 United Irish Rebellion, were accidentally ignited, and the building was left in ruins. Tragically, Mrs Macartney was instantly killed.

The Government used the estate to billet American troops during World War II, and a prisoner of war camp was built to detain German U-boat crews on their surrender in 1945.

The estate contains the ruined church of St. Mary by the Lake, the graveyard of which includes the Macartney tombs. The offices, and farm buildings dating from the 1780s, have been restored for private functions.

The grounds of Lissanoure Castle are strictly private and are not open to the public.

Fleming Hall, Anticur Dunloy

Fleming Hall is an attractive early Georgian house situated on a hillside. The Fleming family first came to the area in the 17th century when Colonel Christopher Fleming settled there. He was a Jacobite who fought for King James II in the Battles of Aughrim and the Boyne. Following the defeat of James II, Fleming had to forfeit his peerage, and he was forced into exile.

Fleming’s great nephew, also Christopher, obtained a lease for Fleming Hall in 1747. The property later passed to Sarah Fleming, who in 1789 became the second wife of James Leslie, of Leslie Hill. In the 19th century, the house was bought by the Wallace family, who retained much of the original character.

Fleming Hall is a private residence and is not open to the public.

Gracehill House, Stranocum

James Stuart built Gracehill House in c.1775 and named it after his wife, Grace Lynd. The house was initially surrounded by a large estate recently developed into a golf course and popular restaurant. The former entrance to the estate is now a public road lined with beech trees and is a popular tourist attraction known as ‘the Dark Hedges’.

The estate has a royal heritage dating back to the early 17th century. James VI & I granted the land to a cousin who drowned on his way to Ireland before he could take possession of his new home. The estate then passed to his grandson, William Stuart, and remained in the Stuart family for many.

Stranocum Hall, Stranocum

The Stranocum estate was initially owned by the Hutchinson family, who came from Scotland in the 17th century. It is built in the classic Georgian style and has recently been carefully restored as a private residence.

The Hutchinson family were actively crushing the United Irish Rebellion of 1798. Ironically, while the Hutchinsons were chasing rebels throughout the North Antrim countryside, a gang arrived at the house and stole valuables, firearms, wine and food.

During World War II, the building and outhouses were converted to accommodate child evacuees who fled from the British colony in Malta.

Close to the house are two Early Medieval ringforts and a souterrain.

Honorary Freemen of Ballymoney

Honorary Freemen

The title ‘Honorary Freeman’ is the highest award a council can grant to an organisation or individual to record its appreciation of outstanding achievement. Ballymoney Borough Council has conferred the title only eight times since 1973, which demonstrates the importance of the title. Four individuals and four organisations are closely associated with the borough. The conferral ceremony is formal to reflect the dignity of the title.

Mr Joey Dunlop, OBE

The Freedom of the Borough was conferred on Mr Joey Dunlop on 29th September 1993 in recognition of the great honour brought to the Borough through the outstanding skill and courage by which he gained, as a racing motorcyclist of world renown, five Formula One Championships, and a record of fifteen wins in the Isle of Man T.T. races.

Background and History

In a career that brought him success on most of the motorcycling world’s outstanding circuits, Joey Dunlop remained the quiet, cheerful, unaffected man from Ballymoney. He made no boasts, issued no threat, avoided the headlines and concentrated on getting on with the job. Joey, ‘The King of the Roads, became the most successful rider of all time through courage and ambition.

In addition to winning five Formula One World Championships, he made sporting history by setting a new world record of fifteen wins in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Races. His feats were suitably recognised at the highest level by the award to him in 1986 by Her Majesty The Queen of the M.B.E.

Ballymoney Borough Council, in the conferment of the greatest honour available to it, sought to mark the achievements of someone who possibly became its best-known citizen in the 20th century.

Joey Dunlop was killed on Sunday, 2 July 2000, while racing in Estonia.

Dr Robert Dunlop

The Freedom of the Borough was conferred on Dr Robert Dunlop on Monday, 23rd April 2007, in recognition of the great honour he brought to the borough through the exceptional ability, determination and sportsmanship by which he achieved over 100 national and international motorcycle road racing victories, with a historic 15 wins on the North West 200 Circuit.

Background

Robert Dunlop did everything in a meteoric road-racing career, which saw him become the most successful rider at the North West 200 and impact the Isle of Man TT and the Ulster Grand Prix.

In 1994 he suffered a horrendous crash while riding for Honda in the Isle of Man TT, and it looked as though it was curtains on a career which had seemed destined for great things at one time.

Robert broke his right arm and leg and was lucky to be alive. The crash could have finished his career, but Robert had other ideas, and, after intensive surgery and physiotherapy, he was determined to get back on wheels. By 1996, he looked to be as good as ever. He was no longer riding the big machines, which had made him famous, especially the John Player Norton and, of course, the Honda, but concentrated on the 125cc class. Incredible as it may seem, Dunlop regained his form and was soon among the best in the business.

Other TTs followed, as well as wins at the Ulster Grand Prix, but his most significant moment since his crash came last year when he won his beloved North West 200. This win, his first at the race since the 1994 crash on the Island, gave Robert 15 successes on this world-famous course and established that he was still very much in his element when it came to winning big races.

In the view of many, but for his crash in 1994, he could have gone on to win a world title as he won the British 125cc Championship in 1991 at a time when he also won European Championship races at Kirkistown and Holland.

Robert conquered all adversity for a rider who has had a bike specially made for him with the brake on the left-hand side, operated by a thumb grip.

He loved the adrenaline rush that gave him. He loved the limelight. He loved the people and loved racing. No one deserved this award and recognition more than Robert Dunlop. The game won’t be the same without him.

Robert was killed on Thursday 15th May 2008, racing during a practice session for the North West 200

Mrs Mary J Holmes OBE JP

The Freedom of the Borough of Ballymoney was conferred on Mrs Mary J. Holmes, lately the Mayor of the said Borough, on 30th April 1986, having filled the position of chief citizen faithfully, honourably and distinctively for eight successive years.

Background and History

The Council now records its appreciation of a unique record, covering thirty years of public service to the Borough of Ballymoney and the broader community of Northern Ireland, a record marked at all times by an unfailing concern for and interest in persons of all ages, classes and creeds.

Mrs Mary J. (Mollie) Holmes spent her youth at Colebrene farm, a short distance from the boundary of the present Borough and much of her adult life within the town of Ballymoney. This Council has, then, a particular pleasure in conferring the highest honour in its gift on one whose life has been so closely identified with the historic district of Dalriada.

Mrs Holmes entered local government in May 1955 as the first female Ballymoney Urban District Council member. She was elected and remained an independent member, obtaining by her impartiality, energies and great personal charm the respect and affection of her fellow Councillors and the general public, whatever political stance or opinion. She continued to enjoy the confidence of the electorate until, in May 1985, after thirty years of continuous service in local government, she stepped down from the office of Mayor, which she had held honourably and capably for eight successive years.

As might be expected, her many gifts became known to a broader public beyond the Borough, and she was called upon to serve as a member of several public and voluntary bodies. She thus served, to name but a few at random, the Antrim County Welfare Committee, the Northern Health and Social Services Board, the Association of Local Authorities of Northern Ireland, the Ulster Tourist Development Association, the Northern Group Public Health Committee, the Court of the New University of Ulster, the Northern Ireland Probation Board. Her philanthropic benevolence was and continues to be shown in her work with the Robinson Hospital Committee, the Ballymoney Evergreen Club, the Road Safety Committee and the Royal British Legion.

The contribution made by Mrs Holmes to the public and private life of Northern Ireland in general, and this Borough in particular, was recognised as long ago as 1978 when Her Majesty The Queen was graciously pleased to confer upon the Order of the British Empire. She has been for many years and remains a Justice of the Peace for County Antrim.

Dr Ian R K Paisley, MP, MEP, MLA

The Freedom of the Borough of Ballymoney was conferred on Dr Ian R K Paisley, MP, MEP, MLA, on 21st October 2000. Dr Paisley has served the community for thirty years as a Member of Parliament for the constituency of North Antrim and twenty-one years as a member of the European Parliament for Northern Ireland.

This Council hereby records its appreciation of this unique electoral record, reorganising the will of the citizens of the borough and further afield; congratulates him on his success; and thanks him for tireless efforts to represent his constituents, without fear or favour, being the voice of the voiceless, serving their interest in all institutions. His unique sense of humour has marked this service, a spirit of generosity and deep concern for the welfare of all his constituents, regardless of class, age or creed.

Background and History

Ian Richard Kyle Paisley was born in the City of Armagh on 6th April 1926, the second son of Rev. James Kyle and Mrs Isabella Paisley. His father was Armagh Baptist Church’s pastor, and a church built mainly through the gospel campaigns he conducted in Armagh and the surrounding towns and villages.

When Ian was just over two years of age, his father received a call to Ballymena Baptist Church, so the family moved from the City of Armagh to the market town of Ballymena, also known as The City of the Seven Towers. In due course, he and his older brother attended the Ballymena Model School, where they received a good grounding in the “three r’s – reading, writing and arithmetic”.

Another event, which significantly impacted Ian’s life, occurred when he was just six years of age. After a children’s meeting conducted by his mother, he received Christ as his Saviour.

His father held evangelistic meetings around County Antrim, and on many occasions, Ian travelled with him and so got to know and love the people he met and early learned to enter into their joys and sorrows. These experiences were to stand him in good stead as life opened up before him.

After attending Ballymena technical college, he intended to enter Agricultural College, so he went to live and work on a farm in County Tyrone. During his time there, he experienced the call of God to enter the Christian ministry and to prepare himself for this call, and he went to the South Wales Bible College in Barry, Glamorgan. After completing his studies there, he entered the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Hall in Belfast and was highly commended for his knowledge of the Word of god. He received a call to be a minister of Ravenhill Evangelical Mission Church, a small independent work on Ravenhill Road.

After labouring there for some years, the building became too small and, eventually, after enlarging the accommodation and for a time hiring the Ulster hall for the Sunday services, a new church had to be erected.

While all this work was going on, the political situation in Ulster was deteriorating. Many people from various parts of Northern Ireland who were greatly concerned visited him and pleaded with him to enter the political arena and champion their cause. To the fore in these pleadings were the people of North Antrim, and after much prayer and soul-searching as well as lengthy discussions with his church elders who gave him their blessing and support, he entered the political fray.

The rest of the story – so far – is history. After winning the seat for Bannside in the Stormont Parliament, a few months later, he also won the North Antrim seat in the Westminster Parliament, a seat he has held successfully and successively since 1970, with a political turnover which is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. In 1979 he contested the first election for the European Parliament, topping the poll, which he has done on all five occasions.

Ian Paisley has never asked anyone to do anything he was unprepared to do. He has been imprisoned on three occasions without thought for himself but because of his dearly held Christian principles and Protestant convictions.

It can truthfully be said of him that he has served all his constituents in North Antrim and throughout Ulster, with fairness and diligence and without fear or favour, in every forum to which he has been elected. In all his endeavours, he has had the full support of his wife and family.

The Northern Ireland Fire Brigade

The Freedom of the Borough of Ballymoney was conferred on the Northern Ireland Fire Brigade on 4th May 2002 in recognition of its outstanding public service and the devotion to duty of its officers in protecting life and property, often in situations of great personal danger.

Background and History

The present Northern Ireland Fire Brigade came into existence on 1 April 1974. The Fire Brigade serves the whole community. It has its headquarters in Lisburn with area command headquarters in Ballymena, Belfast, Portadown and Londonderry.

The Fire Brigade in Ballymoney

In April 1936, Ballymoney Council, to provide fire services for the town, purchased a trailer pump, essentially a fire pump on a two-wheel chassis pulled by hand, car or lorry to the scene of the fire. The pump served the town until 1942, when the town’s fire services were incorporated into the National Fire Service to provide fire services for the whole of Northern Ireland. Fire services expanded, and by 1943 sixteen personnel were serving at Ballymoney. After the war, fire services were returned to council control, initially the Northern Fire Authority in 1948, then the Northern Ireland Fire Authority in 1950. At this time, Ballymoney station was situated in Townhead Street, using an Austin tender with a Harland trailer pump. In 1954 a new station was opened in Market Street and was equipped with a Dennis F8 Ulster fire engine. In 1989 following a review of fire cover, Ballymoney station was provided with a second fire engine, and firefighting personnel increased to twenty.

Ballymoney firefighters have always served their community with dedication and professionalism, facing many dangers in various operational incidents. Those dangers were graphically brought home with the tragic death of Leading Firefighter Robin Neill at a rescue incident on 9 September 1995. His name is recorded on the memorial statue at Brigade headquarters, where commemorations are regularly held to mark the sacrifices made by Robin and other Northern Ireland firefighters.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary and The Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve

The Freedom of the Borough of Ballymoney was conferred on the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve on 1st June 1983 in recognition of their Officers’ devotion to duty and service to the people of Northern Ireland.

Background and History

The Royal Ulster Constabulary came into being on 1st June 1922 and was granted the right to bear the “Royal” prefix by King George V.

Until 1970 the strength of the RUC was just under three thousand. In the following decade, there was an intensive recruitment programme. In 1990, the force strength had reached a peak of seven thousand, eight hundred male and female officers, supported in their work by almost five thousand full and part-time members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve.

Throughout its history, the Royal Ulster Constabulary had to contend with periods of serious violence, but none more than during the three decades to 2001. The RUC, like the community, had to pay an appalling price in lives lost and members injured. During this period, three hundred officers were killed, including over one hundred members of the RUC Reserve.

The work of the RUC in the face of continuing violence was reflected in the high number of officers who received awards. From 1969 – 2001, over three hundred members were decorated for gallantry and brave conduct. The list included eleven George Medals, twenty-four British Empire Medals, one hundred and twenty-eight Queen’s Gallantry Medals and fifty-six Queen’s Commendations.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary was awarded the George Cross by Her Majesty the Queen in April 2000 in recognition of its men and women’s collective courage and sacrifice over the years. On 4 November 2001, the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross became the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The Royal British Legion Northern Ireland

The Freedom of the Borough of Ballymoney was conferred on the Royal British Legion on 22nd February 1997 in recognition of the support given to ex-servicemen and women, their families and their dependents since its establishment in 1921.

Background and History

The Royal British Legion was formed in 1921. Amongst its many objectives, it aims to promote the welfare of ex-servicemen and women and their dependents, relieve hardship among them where it exists, raise and distribute money for these purposes, assist serving men and women in their return to civilian life and promote the interests of their dependents while they are still serving. Under its Royal Charter, the Legion’s help is available to all the categories above, regardless of whether they are its members. This represents some 18 million people, or one-third of the population.

The Legion provides seven residential homes and three convalescent homes; training to NVQ standard in a range of skills and disciplines; advice on setting up small businesses and start-up loans; pilgrimages to war graves worldwide; free advisory service on War and War Widows’ Pension and much more, mainly funded by the Poppy Appeal. The Legion, through its related companies, employs over 2,270 ex-servicemen and women and their dependents, 31 per cent of whom are registered disabled, making the Legion, with its 750,000 members, 3,217 branches and 951 clubs, also act as a social focus for the ex-service community.

The Royal Irish Regiment

The Freedom of the Borough of Ballymoney was conferred on the Royal Irish Regiment on 12th May 2012 as acknowledgement and thanks to those who have served and continue to serve their country with great distinction at home and abroad.

Background and History

The Royal Irish Regiment (27th Inniskilling, 83rd, 87th and The Ulster Defence Regiment)

Three Centuries of Tradition

In December 1688, the threat of a Jacobite attack on Enniskillen led to the raising of volunteer defence units, some of which were accepted into the Army in 1689. These included an infantry regiment commanded by Zachariah Tiffin. Tiffin’s Inniskillingers fought throughout the campaign in Ireland and survived the postwar reductions to become a permanent unit.

Over the next century, the Inniskillingers saw action across the world. Designated the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment in 1751, they fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars alongside several new Irish regiments, including the 83rd, 86th, 87th and 89th Regiments. At Barrosa in March 1811, the 2nd/87th captured the first Napoleonic Eagle ever taken in battle by a British regiment. Their war cry (Fag a Bealach or Clear the Way!), modified to Faugh A Ballagh, became the 87th’s motto.

At Waterloo on 18 June 1815, the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment held the centre of the Allied line against Napoleon, prompting a French general to comment that he had never seen such bravery before. Marking their service in the Peninsular War, the 87th became a Fusilier regiment in 1827 as the 87th (Royal Irish Fusiliers).  

The first Victoria Crosses were earned during the Indian Mutiny in the assault on Jhansi on 3 April 1858, when four members of the 86th (Royal County Down) Regiment were decorated for their bravery.

In 1872, regiments were brigaded in pairs and assigned training depots in their recruiting areas in a process that, in 1881, led to the creation of new two-battalion regiments. The 27th (Inniskilling) and 108th (Madras Infantry) Regiment became the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers; the 83rd (County of Dublin) and 86th (Royal County Down) the Royal Irish Rifles and the 87th (The Royal Irish Fusiliers) and 89th (Princess Victoria’s) Regiment the Princess Victoria’s (The Royal Irish Fusiliers).

To mark the gallantry of these and other Irish units in the Boer War, Queen Victoria ordered the creation of the Irish Guards and that all Irish regiments wear a shamrock on St Patrick’s Day.

During the Great War, many additional battalions were formed and fought in Gallipoli, Salonika and the Middle East, as well as on the Western Front. Battalions of Inniskillings, Rifles and Irish Fusiliers served in the 10th (Irish), 16th (Irish), 36th (Ulster) and many other divisions. Thirteen Victoria Crosses were earned, including four on one day on 1 July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme.

Since there were Leinster, Connaught and Munster regiments, the War Office decided that there should also be an Ulster regiment. The Royal Irish Rifles became the Royal Ulster Rifles on 1 January 1921. In 1937 the London Irish Rifles became a Territorial Army battalion of the Rifles and the only TA battalion of an Irish regiment.

During the Second World War, all three regiments served with distinction on many fronts, from Europe to the Far East. Battalions from each regiment formed 38 (Irish) Brigade, created at the suggestion of Winston Churchill, which fought in the Tunisian, Sicilian and Italian campaigns with particular distinction at Centuripe in Sicily and the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy. Both regular battalions of the Royal Ulster Rifles landed in Normandy on 6 June 1944 – D Day – one by air, one over the beaches, a unique distinction.

With Indian independence and the withdrawal from the empire, the Army was reduced considerably after the war, with most regiments losing their second battalions. Further reductions brought about the amalgamation of the three regiments on 1 July 1968 to form The Royal Irish Rangers (27th Inniskilling, 83rd and 87th), a two-battalion regiment.

Over the following 22 years, the Rangers continued the tradition of service. Both battalions served in Northern Ireland on Operation BANNER, where they worked alongside soldiers of the Ulster Defence Regiment, which had been formed in 1970 to protect the province from terrorist activity.  When the end of the Cold War brought further defence reductions, both regiments amalgamated on 1 July 1992 to form The Royal Irish Regiment, with the former UDR battalions becoming Home Service battalions.

The unique service and sacrifice of the UDR and Royal Irish (Home Service) was marked by Her Majesty the Queen’s award of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross to the Royal Irish Regiment on 6th October 2006, before the Home Service battalions disbanded in 2007.

With one General Service and one Territorial Army battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment continues to serve wherever it is needed. In recent years, it has served in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan with the same élan shown by many generations of Irish soldiers over three centuries.  After the Regiment’s 2008 deployment to Afghanistan, the courage of soldiers of the Regiment was recognised with the award of three Conspicuous Gallantry Crosses and three Military Crosses.  It is now acknowledged as one of the most effective units in the 16 (Air Assault) Brigade.

The Regiment has just returned from its third Afghanistan deployment, perhaps its most successful to date.  Notably, during this most recent tour, the 1 R IRISH Battle Group was engaged in the largest Air Assault operation conducted by the Regiment since its antecedent regiment, the Royal Ulster Rifles, were involved in Operation Varsity to capture the Rhine Crossings in the Spring of 1945.

152 (Ulster) Transport Regiment RLC (V)

The Freedom of the Borough of Ballymoney was conferred on the 152 (Ulster) Transport Regiment RLC (V) on 1st September 2012 as acknowledgement and thanks to those who have served and continue to serve their country with great distinction at home and abroad.

The volunteer spirit of the Ulsterman first manifests itself in service with the antecedents of the 152 (Ulster) Transport Regiment during the First World War. The 36th (Ulster) Division Army Service Corps (ASC) was stationed at Annandale Barracks in 1915 and recruited over 4000 men from the local community. The volunteers of the ‘36 Divisional Train,’ as it was affectionately called, supported many battles during World War 1, the most notable being the Battle of Albert in July 1916. 

On 25 November 1918, the ASC was recognised for its contributions during the Great War and awarded the title ‘Royal’, becoming the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC). Some reorganisation took place, and the Territorial Force Companies of the Divisional Train were subsumed elsewhere in the United Kingdom or disbanded. Besides the ‘ask-aka role in Northern Ireland, volunteers saw action in France, Belgium and India. At the end of World War 2, there was further rationalisation, and 601 and 931 (Ulster) Companies RASC (TA) were formed at Victoria Barracks and Girdwood Barracks, respectively, providing logistic support to 107 (Ulster) Infantry Brigade (TA). 

The next major turn in the Regiment’s history was the formation of the Northern Ireland Column RASC (TA) during the reorganisation of the TA in 1961. The unit comprised 931 (Ulster) Company RASC (TA) and a new sub-unit, 538 (Ulster) Company RASC (TA), both based at Sunnyside Street. 540 (Ulster) Company RASC (TA) (complete with Pipes & Drums) was formed in Londonderry from a platoon of 931 Company and a disbanded troop of artillery. 540 Company soon became the recruiting hub for the entire North West. Under the logistic services re-organisation of 1965, the Northern Ireland Column became 68 (Northern Ireland) Regiment Royal Corps of Transport (RCT) (TA), the Companies becoming Squadrons of the new Regiment.

On 01 April 1967, 68 (NI) Regiment RCT (TA) was re-roled as 152 (Ulster) Ambulance Regiment RCT (V). 538 and 931 Squadrons combined to form 220 (Ulster) Ambulance Squadron RCT (V) and 540 Squadron in Londonderry became 211 (Ulster) Ambulance Squadron RCT (V) (with a small detachment at Enniskillen). 601 Company was disbanded to form 400 (Ulster) Heavy Troop RCT (TA). In 1976 400 (Ulster) Heavy Troop RCT (V) was dissolved, and personnel was absorbed mainly into 220 Squadron.

The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) was formed on 1st April 1993. The Regiment was renamed and re-badged to 152 (Ulster) Ambulance Regiment RLC (V). In 1999, and as part of the Strategic Defence Review, 580 (Cardiff) Ambulance Squadron was amalgamated into the Regiment, the Regiment comprising Headquarters, 211 Transport Squadron, 220 Transport Squadron, 227 HQ Squadron, 580 Transport Squadron and REME Workshops.

Just when we thought the music had stopped, the Army was re-organised to meet Future Army Structures (FAS) and support current operations. 152 (Ulster) Ambulance Regiment was directed to re-role to ‘Heavy Lift’ by no later than 01 April 2008. The Regiment’s title was formally changed to 152 (Ulster) Transport Regiment RLC (V) on 7 July 2007, and the ambulances were exchanged for DROPS vehicles. To receive this vast new fleet, the RHQ, 220 and 227 Squadrons were relocated from Sunnyside Street to Palace Barracks on 01 November 2007 – a heart rendering move after 47 years of successful recruiting at Sunnyside Street. 400 Transport Squadron was reformed at Palace Barracks on 01 November 2007, and 580 Squadron was handed back to The Welsh Transport Regiment on 10 January 2008. We now comprise Headquarters, 211 Transport Squadron, 220 Transport Squadron, 227 HQ Squadron, 400 Transport Squadron, REME LAD and most excellent Pipes & Drums. 

Throughout the timeline of volunteer service in Northern Ireland, the Regiment has received over 20,000 volunteers through its doors. We have remained exceptionally well recruited, and it is nice to see that old soldiers and Regiments never really die – we are now a Regiment named after 152 company of the Divisional Train and comprising Squadrons that supported 36 (Ulster) and 16 (Irish) Divisions at the Somme – we have come full circle.

Soldiers and officers from the Regiment have participated in every significant land operation in various theatres worldwide. These include Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, the Falklands, the Gulf, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout our timeline, 514 volunteers have been injured or killed for the freedom that we and other nations enjoy or would wish to enjoy. The Regiment currently has soldiers deployed with 4 Logistic Support Regiment RLC in Afghanistan. It is very much down to the motivation of the Regiment’s personnel, the support of spouses, employers, the local community and the chain of command that we have been able to generate such worthwhile military capability, and we are most grateful.

The Regiment continues to flourish and will continue to support our Regular counterparts wherever we are needed. As Defence transforms, we will in-turn transform; 152 (Ulster) Transport Regiment embraces the volunteer ethos in Northern Ireland and demonstrates why we, as one Army, are so successful.

Famous Faces of Ballymoney

60._Joey_Dunlop_750cc_Honda_1990 (1)

Joey Dunlop – Motorcycling Legend

William Joseph Dunlop was born at Culduff, near Ballymoney, on 25 February 1952. His career as a motorcycle road racer is unrivalled and earned him an MBE in 1986. He inspired loyalty from a legion of fans spread over every continent. Exhaustive humanitarian work set him apart from any sportsman of his day, and for this, he was awarded an OBE in 1996. The ‘King of the Roads’ was one of the most remarkable men of his generation.

Joey began racing in 1969 and, within a few years, had established a reputation as an exciting and talented rider. With his colleagues in the Armoy Armada, he began to win trophies at circuits and road races throughout the British Isles. When his life was tragically cut short in Estonia in 2000, he had amassed a staggering 26 TT wins at the Isle of Man and 13 at the NW200. Joey may never surpass his achievements with five World Championships and over 160 other victories.

Robert Dunlop – The Mighty Macro

At 17 years old, Robert Dunlop followed his older brother, Joey, into motorcycle racing. While Joey was becoming a world champion, Robert gathered valuable experience racing on the road circuits of Ireland.

His first win was at Fore, Co. Westmeath, in 1980. Two years later, he won the 125cc race at the Mid-Antrim 150. His local success attracted the attention of significant teams, and in 1990, he signed for JPS Norton. 

Robert was outstanding on a 125cc bike. At the peak of his career, he dominated this class for two consecutive years, beating all challengers at the North West 200, Ulster Grand Prix and Isle of Man TT in 1990 & 1991.

In 1994, Robert suffered the crash that would end his chance of fulfilling his potential as a world champion. It was two years before he raced again.

Overcoming terrible injuries, Robert showed the determination that made him a hero to many. He was back on the podium by the end of the season.

Robert’s last major win was at the North West 200 in 2006. This was his 15th victory at the circuit, and he remains the most successful rider at the Triangle. Tragically, it was also here that Robert was killed during practice on Thursday, 15 May 2008.

Robert was named Enkalon Motorcyclist of the Year twice, first in 1987 and again in 1991. He was awarded Freedom of the Borough of Ballymoney in 2007.

Archibald Hutchinson – Politician & Attorney General from Stranocum

The only son of Archibald and Christian Hutchinson of Stranocum, Archibald led a colourful life building a successful career and a sizable fortune. As a young man, he established himself as a meticulous lawyer in England. By the age of 29, he was fortunate to be offered the position of Attorney General of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Ocean.

He is most renowned for investigating the South Seas Company financial scandal of 1720, which caused the first collapse of the British financial markets and nearly bankrupted England. Hutchinson is credited with approaching the crisis with calmness and reason.

Archibald Hutchinson is also remembered for the confusion that followed his death. In his Will, he left £17,000 to his ‘poor relatives in Ireland’. Despite his legal experience, using such broad terminology meant that his legacy was not settled for nearly 60 years. The disorder surrounding the ‘Hutchinson Bequest’ even led to a particular Act of Parliament. He is buried in St James’ Church in Westminster.

George McCartney – The first British Ambassador to China

Born at Lissanoure Castle, Loughguile, on 14 May 1737, George Macartney was one of the most celebrated diplomats of his time.

Throughout his life, he held high-profile diplomatic positions before securing his most prominent position as the first British Ambassador to China. These included: British Ambassador to Russia, where he was a friend of Catherine the Great; Chief Secretary of Ireland; Governor of Grenada, the Grenadines and Tobago; Governor of Madras, India.

Despite his success, he encountered a few setbacks. In 1779, he was captured by the French, who took over the colonies. He was later exchanged for a French prisoner held in British hands. This episode caused Macartney to lose almost all his possessions, leaving him penniless.

He returned to live at Lissanoure on several occasions throughout his life, where he lived with his wife, Lady Jane Stuart, daughter of the British Prime Minister. In 1798, weary of travelling and suffering ill health in his advancing years, Macartney returned home a final time. He died in Chiswick, London, on 31 March 1806, where he is buried. 

Rev. James Armour – Champion of Home Rule

As a clergyman, it is perhaps a surprise that ‘Armour of Ballymoney’ was one of the most prominent political figures to emerge from North Antrim at the turn of the twentieth century.

James Brown Armour was born at Lisboy, near the town of Ballymoney, on 20 January 1841. In 1869 Armour was appointed minister at Second Ballymoney (known as Trinity) Presbyterian Church, where he served until his retirement in 1925. 

Armour was an enthusiastic supporter of the Tenant Rights Campaign, which, when granted by the Government in 1881, allowed tenants to become owner-occupiers of the land they worked.

He is renowned for his support of Home Rule in Ireland. Although initially opposed to the idea, he later believed that Home Rule was the best solution for Ireland. It would boost the Irish economy and bring reconciliation between Protestants and Roman Catholics. He organised a public meeting in Ballymoney in 1913 to build support amongst the local Protestant population but had little success.

Armour was married to Jennie Stavely Hamilton, a widow who already had two sons; with her, he had three sons of his own. He died of pneumonia on 25 January 1928.

George Shiels – Popular playwright

George Shiels was one of the most popular Irish playwrights of the early twentieth century. In the days before, people had televisions, and many homes didn’t even have a radio, a play by Shiels could pack the stalls and galleries of any theatre in Ireland.

Shiels was born on 24 June 1881 at Ballybrakes, Ballymoney. He spent some years in America before returning to Ballymoney in 1908, where he opened a travel and shipping company.

He began writing poems and short stories published in local newspapers and magazines. Soon he was writing plays for the Ulster Literary Theatre. His work appealed to local audiences as it was set in Co. Antrim, with plenty of Ulster humour. 

His best-known plays include ‘The Passing Day’ and ‘The New Gossoon’. In 1940, at the height of his fame, his play “The Rugged Path” was seen by 40,000 people over three months at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

Ironically, for a long time, the one place where you could not see a Shiels play was in Ballymoney! After one drama group decided to spice up a script with swear words, causing much offence, Shiels banned productions of his plays here.

Jame Young – Comedian

James Young will be known to the people of Ulster by many names, including Derek, the window cleaner & Wee Sammy. Thirty years ago, he was one of Northern Ireland’s best-loved comedians and actors.  

James Young was born in Union Street, Ballymoney, in 1918. When he was only six months old, his family moved to Belfast. A plaque can be seen outside the house where he briefly lived.

At the age of 15, he began his stage career. He joined a theatre company and moved to England. By 1949, he was back home and had a big hit as Derek, the window cleaner, in a BBC radio show called ‘The McCooeys’. This launched Jimmy as a local star, and he was soon writing his comedy shows and filling theatres across the country.

Jimmy was offered his radio show, ‘The Young Idea’. He invented new characters, such as Wee Ernie, from the Belfast Shipyard, Mrs O’Condriac, who was always ill, and Wee Sammy, the naughty boy.

He toured theatres all over Ireland, Canada and America, sold thousands of records and had his television show. Sadly, Jimmy Young died of a heart attack on 5 July 1974.

Kennedy McArthur – Olympic Gold Medalist

On Sunday, 14 July 1912, the name of K.K. McArthur was added to Olympic history when he triumphed in South African colours in Stockholm, Sweden. However, nowhere was McArthur’s marathon victory celebrated with more pride than in his birthplace, the village of Dervock.

Kennedy Kane McArthur was born in Dervock on 10 February 1881. It wasn’t until after he emigrated to Johannesburg, South Africa, that he began to pursue a career in athletics.

The Stockholm Olympic marathon took place in the sweltering heat. As he reached the finish line, McArthur was suffering badly from fatigue. Almost collapsing, he heard a voice from the crowd urging him on in a familiar accent:

“Come on, Antrim, come on, ye boy ye!”

It was enough to give McArthur the boost he needed to win first place. McArthur was welcomed home by a considerable crowd and brought to the Town Hall, where a large bronze plaque was unveiled in his honour.

He was forced to retire due to injury. He made many return visits to Dervock and settled there. He died in South Africa aged 79. His trophies and memorabilia can be seen today at the Potchefstroom Museum.

 Robert Hannah – New Zealand business tycoon

Although not a name is well known around Ballymoney, everyone has heard of Robert Hannah’s shoes in his adopted home of New Zealand.

Robert was born on 10 September 1845 on the Hannah family farm near Ballymoney. In his early years, he was apprenticed to a cobbler in Kilrea before emigrating to Australia in 1863.

In 1868, he opened his first boot shop in the town of Charleston, where the gold rush had enticed many prospectors. He later moved to Wellington, where his business rapidly expanded and by 1897, he had ten branches of his store on the North Island. 

At one time, he commanded half the shoe trade in New Zealand. He gained the reputation of a ‘shrewd, hard businessman’, although he was greatly respected by his staff, who were well paid. 

In 1904, he built a new home for his family, a luxurious Edwardian mansion named ‘Antrim House’. Robert Hannah died in 1930, aged 85, and his business continues today. Some of his descendants still live in the Ballymoney area. In 1978, ‘Antrim House’ was presented to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, which uses it today as its national administrative headquarters.

William McKinley – 25th President of the USA

William McKinley was the President of the United States of America from 1897-1901. He led his country into the twentieth century, overcoming war and economic crisis, before his assassination on 14 September 1901.

His great grandfather, James McKinley, emigrated from the townland of Conagher, near Dervock, in 1743. He settled in Niles, Ohio, where William McKinley was born on 29 January 1843. In 1877, McKinley began his political career in Washington as a Republican Congressman and later became Ohio State Governor. 

In 1897, a comfortable majority elected William McKinley to the presidential office. Under his presidency, America asserted itself in the global arena. In 1900, American troops were sent to China to help quell the “Boxer Rebellion”, fighting alongside European and Japanese armies. McKinley also opened economic negotiations with China and established an ‘Open Door Policy under which American trade prospered.

Shortly after being re-elected for a second Presidential term, William McKinley was assassinated at Buffalo, Ohio, on 6 September 1901. McKinley was the last Civil War veteran to become President. He is considered a decisive statesman who helped the United States become a significant player on the world stage.

Samuel Robinson – Chainstore millionaire

Samuel Robinson was born on 9 June 1865 at Culcrum, near Cloughmills. He served an apprenticeship with his uncle, William James Megaw (Chairman of Ballymoney Urban District Council 1888-1920), who was a grocer and coal merchant in Ballymoney. 

In 1888, Robinson emigrated to Philadelphia. He formed a partnership with Robert H. Crawford and went into the grocery business there. In 1917, he established the American Stores Company and revolutionised how people shopped. Many of his ideas are things which today we take for granted. For example, he displayed all the goods on shelves for the customer to browse through; he bought the land surrounding his shops to give customers free parking spaces and provided trolleys for shoppers to carry their goods.

The American Stores Company (or ACME) had shops across the continent, and Robinson was soon a very wealthy man. Back home in Ballymoney, in 1933, he paid for the Robinson Memorial Hospital to be built in memory of his late parents.

Samuel Robinson always remembered and loved his home in Co. Antrim and retained strong connections throughout his life.

Samuel McClure – American publisher

Samuel S. McClure was born at his grandfather’s house at the Frosses, near the familiar rows of fir trees. In 1866, the McClure family emigrated to Quebec, Canada, where Samuel spent his teenage years working on the family farm. 

He was educated at Knox College, Illinois, and then worked for a time at a cycle firm, where he was asked to edit a newly launched cycle magazine called The Wheelman. While working for Century Magazine in New York, he quickly developed a new concept of syndicating fiction, an idea that would make him his fortune. McClure realised he could sell new pieces of serialised fiction to the newspapers.

McClure set up America’s first newspaper syndicate in 1884 and quickly introduced millions of American readers to the early works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling. In 1889, McClure bought the first twelve Sherlock Holmes stories for £12 each. He is also credited with discovering Rudyard Kipling when he purchased the rights to serialise The Jungle Book.

McClure never forgot his Co, Antrim roots, returning on at least two occasions to visit family and friend

Historic Sites Around Ballymoney

Ballymoney Town Hall

In 1863, the people of Ballymoney began planning a new civic building. It was to be known as the new Assembly Rooms and would include a library or reading room, chambers for the Town Commissioners, a public function room and a display area for the town’s museum.

To pay for the construction, £1,300 was raised by public subscription, and a substantial amount was collected through a fundraising Bazaar.

The building has provided an invaluable service to this community since it opened in August 1866.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Assembly Rooms had become known as the Town Hall. By 1932, the Town hall needed urgent restoration and repairs, and work began on £6,000 worth of renovations. The Town Hall was re-opened by the Honourable Mr Justice Megaw on Friday, 16 February 1934.

The Town Hall was now fortunate to have a magnificent stage in the main hall, which the local town guide book later described as “perhaps the best small theatre in the Province”. This became the venue for the still famous Ballymoney Drama Festival, launched within a fortnight of the Town Hall’s official re-opening.

In 2005, the Town Hall was restored, with a new museum and tourist information centre added to the rear of the building. It continues to be an essential amenity for the entire community.

Chi-Rho Stone

Chi Rhon Stone Near Ballymoney

This ancient standing stone is carved on two faces with the symbols ‘Chi’ and ‘Rho’, the first two letters of the name ‘Christ’ in Greek.

Chi-Rho stones are rare in Ireland and are more commonly seen in parts of Europe. To find this design carved in a local stone demonstrates that followers of the early church in this region had links with Christian communities overseas and knew Greek.

Another quality that makes this stone unique is that the Chi-Rho symbol on its opposite face has been reversed.

The stone is believed to have originally stood on a ridge in a nearby townland before being moved to its present site.  It is known locally as ‘Old Patrick’.  Local tradition states that it commemorates a visit by Saint Patrick, who inscribed the symbol on the stone with the tip of his finger.

The Chi-Rho Stone is on private land and cannot be accessed without the owner’s permission.

Megalithic Tombs

During the Neolithic Period (4,500-2,500BC), people began ritualising death and building large stone tombs.  It is believed that the tombs were used to bury essential people from their communities, and approximately 1600 have been recorded in Ireland.

These tombs are remarkable for many reasons.  Of particular interest are the vast stones (or megaliths) used to construct them.  The megaliths were often carried a considerable distance to the site of the tomb. They were probably transported along rivers and then drawn to the site by rolling them over logs – it would be hundreds of years until the wheel would be used in Ireland.

Archaeological excavations have revealed a variety of artefacts at megalithic tombs.  These have included axe heads, flint arrows, stone beads and pottery. It is thought that these artefacts were associated with death rituals. They may have been buried to help the deceased in the afterlife, or they may have reflected how important the individual was in the community. They may have been tokens chosen by the community to show their cultural or family bond with the individual.

Dooeys Cairn

Dooeys Cairn Near Ballymoney

A Neolithic tomb dating from c.4000-2000 BC.   This is the best-preserved court tomb in the Causeway Coast area.  It is named after Andrew Dooey, who owned the land. His family granted it to the government in 1975.

It was excavated twice, in 1935 and 1975. It consists of a U-shaped forecourt that leads into a small chamber. Behind the chamber is a cremation passage containing three pits, one of which held the remains of five or six individuals. This form of cremation passage is the only one of its type found in Ireland.

During the excavations, archaeologists discovered various artefacts, e.g. polished axe heads, flint arrows and decorated pottery. Evidence of cereal seeds was also found, implying that early forms of agriculture had been introduced into this region at the time of the burials.

Dooey’s Cairn is maintained by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and is accessible to the public.

The Broad Stone – Nr Long Mountain

The Broad Stone Near Long Mountain Ballymoney

The Broad Stone is a three-chambered court tomb with a shallow semi-circular forecourt. It is situated on the west side of Long Mountain, near Rasharkin. In the past, it was widely believed that precious artefacts had been buried in the tomb and treasure hunters disturbed much of the ground surrounding the megalithic stones. As a result, in 1883, the tomb collapsed, and locals had to rebuild it and reposition the capstone – the reconstructed tomb now resembles a ‘dolmen’ or portal tomb.

During penal times, Roman Catholics celebrated Mass here. The site was also popular for public gatherings, picnics and games.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency maintains the Broad Stone. It is on private land and cannot be visited without the landowner’s permission

Craigs Dolmen

Craigs Dolmen has situated a short distance from the Broad Stone, on the eastern slopes of the Bann Valley. It is a passage tomb consisting of a single oval chamber formed by upright stones which support a capstone.

The tomb was previously almost covered with earth, with only the capstone exposed. A cinerary urn was discovered in the burial chamber when the soil was removed to expose the tomb.

By 1940, one of the upright stones had fallen.  In 1985, this stone was restored, the tomb was reconstructed, and an archaeological excavation discovered cremated bone and more pottery.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency maintains Craigs Dolmen. It is on private land and cannot be visited without the landowner’s permission

Ringforts

Moneycannon Rath Ringfort Near Ballymoney

A ringfort is a circular enclosure surrounded by a raised earthen embankment and a ditch or moat. It is estimated that there are over 45,000 ringforts in Ireland, making them the most common ancient monument on the Island.

The majority were occupied between 600–900AD.  The earliest ringforts date from the 5th century, while others were occupied until as late as the 13th century. Their function was to protect small settlements consisting of a family, workers, and livestock against raids.  They would have been effective at repelling the lightning cattle raids that were common during the Early Christian period in Ireland (c.400-1200AD).

Several well-preserved examples of ringforts in the Ballymoney area include Benvarden, Moneycannon and Stranocum.

Excavations at Irish ringforts have uncovered a range of finds, including wheel-made pottery, glass beads, bronze & iron pins and bone, antler & metalwork.

Traditionally, ringforts were believed to be ritual sites or associated with supernatural forces, such as fairies or ‘wee folk’.

Castles 

Knockahollet Hill Fort Near Ballymoney

Motte and bailey castles were built by Anglo-Norman settlers in the period after they invaded Ulster in 1177.  Many of them survive throughout the east of Ireland. While Earls lived in large stone castles, such as at Carrickfergus, their chief tenants, the Barons, lived in these smaller fortified dwellings.

The ‘motte’ was a large mound of earth with a flat platform on which a wooden tower was erected. A wooden palisade protected the forum. The ‘bailey’, or courtyard, was an embanked enclosure at the foot of the mound where most of the inhabitants would live.

The bailey would probably have contained buildings, e.g. a hall, large chamber, and barns. Few Irish mottes were built with a bailey, unlike those found in England or Europe. Those with baileys tend to be situated in regions where the inhabitants were at risk from attack and thought they may have had a military function.

In the Ballymoney area, examples of a typical motte can be found at Carrowcrin, near Loughguile, and Drumart, near Ballymoney. Knockahollet, also near Loughguile, is a well-preserved motte with a bailey.

Ballymoney Workhouse

Ballymoney Workhouse

The Irish Poor Law of 1838 introduced a relief system for poor, sick and needy people.  Ireland was divided into 130 Poor Law Unions, with a workhouse established in each. The Ballymoney Workhouse was completed in 1843 and was managed by a Board of Guardians, elected by local rate-payers.

Families were separated and given a cold bath to de-louse them. Men, women and children were confined to their dormitories. During the day, they followed a strict regime and were expected to perform manual labour. Tasks included breaking stones, working in the laundry, digging trenches, picking oakum, cooking, and scrubbing floors. Their daily diet consisted of small quantities of oatmeal, soup, bread, potatoes and buttermilk.

The children were educated and taught a trade. Boys learned shoe making and tailoring, while girls were taught embroidery and cooking.

At the height of the famine in 1847, entire families were admitted to the Ballymoney Workhouse.  At one point, it became vastly overcrowded with 870 inmates.

By the early 20th century, the number of people seeking relief had declined, and the workhouse closed in 1918. It later became the site of the Route Hospital.

Balnamore Mill

Balnamore Mill

In the early 19th Century, Balnamore was one of the largest spinning mills outside Belfast. In its prime, it employed more than 400 people. Despite the harsh conditions, locals who worked there recall it as an excellent place to work, with a strong sense of community.

In 1764, John Caldwell bought a corn mill and 40 acres of land at Harmony Hill, later named Balnamore. Caldwell added bleach works and a small beetling mill and soon ran a profitable business.

The mill later came under the control of Joseph Bryan. He installed 400 water-powered spindles and began making strong yarn for sail cloth and canvas.

A village began to develop around the mill, with houses for employees, a shop and a school. In later years, there was even a football team.

The mill was sold to Braidwater Spinning Company Ltd., of Ballymena, who extended it and introduced new water-powered turbines. In the 1920s, Braidwater Spinning Company Ltd sold it again to Hale, Martin & Co. Ltd.

In the 1930s, when the linen industry declined, the mill could not survive. The mill horn sounded for the last time on 27th February 1959.

Churches In Ballymoney

Derrykeigan Parish Church (1)

Churches in Ballymoney

Church of Ireland

St Patrick’s COI Ballymoney
Rev Andrew Sweeney & Rev Brian Moore Howe
The Rectory
4 Queen Street
Ballymoney
BT53 6HY
Tel: 028 2766 2149
Website: www.stpatricksballymoney.com

Killagan COI
Richard Willans
95 Hillmount Road
Cullybackey
BT42 1NZ
Tel: 028 2588 0248

Derrykeighan COI (St Colman’s)
Rev John Robert Anderson
231 Castlecat Road
Dervock
BT53 8BP
Tel: 028 2074 1241

All Saints’ COI
Loughguile
Rev Derek James
106 Mountsandel Road
Coleraine
BT53 8RJ
Tel:

Finvoy COI
Rev Andrew Sweeney, Rev Brian Moore Howe (curate)
The Rectory
4 Queen Street
Ballymoney
BT53 6HY
Tel: 028 2766 2149

St Andrew’s COI Rasharkin
Rev Andrew Sweeney, Rev Brian Moore Howe (curate)
The Rectory
4 Queen Street
Ballymoney
BT53 6HY
Tel: 028 2766 2149

Presbyterian

Ballymoney First Presbyterian
Rev Gareth John Maclean
The Manse
87 Charlotte Street
Ballymoney
BT53 6AZ
Tel: 028 2766 2292

Garryduff Presbyterian
Rev Rodney Moody
83 Garryduff Road
Ballymoney
BT53 7DF
028 2766 7497
Email: rmoody@presbyterianireland.org

Ballyweaney Presbyterian
Rev Kenneth Henderson
29 Mount Hamilton Road
Cloughmills
BT44 9NQ

Kilraughts Presbyterian
Rev Noel McClean
24 Topp Road
Ballymoney
BT53 8LT
Tel: 028 2766 7618

Bushvale Presbyterian
Rev Kenneth Crowe
Bushvale
10 Livery Road
Stranocum
BT53 8PL
Tel: 028 2074 1156

Rasharkin Presbyterian
Rev James Craig Simms
27 Moneyleck Road
Rasharkin
BT44 8QB
Tel: 028 2957 1665

Dervock Presbyterian
Rev Scott Moore
32 Carncullagh Road
Dervock, Ballymoney
BT53 8BT

Roseyards Presbyterian
Rev Mark Jones
Roseyards Manse
101 Kirk Road
Ballymoney
BT53 8HN
Tel: 028 2074 2599
http://old.roseyards.org/

Drumreagh Presbyterian
Rev Hugh W Mullan BA BD
Drumreagh Manse
99 Bann Road
Ballymoney
BT53 7NA
Tel: 028 2766 3210
Email: info@drumreagh.org
Website: www.drumreagh.org

St. James’s Presbyterian
Rev Hugh Cubitt
St James Manse
6 Coleraine Road
Ballymoney
BT53 6BP
Tel: 028 2766 3217

Dunloy Presbyterian
Rev Rodney Moody
83 Garryduff Road
Ballymoney
BT53 7DF
Tel: 028 2766 7497
Email: rmoody@presbyterianireland.org

Trinity Presbyterian
Rev D Ian J McNie
The Manse
Rodeing Foot
Ballymoney
BT53 6JJ
Tel: 028 2766 3184

Finvoy Presbyterian
Rev Robert (Roy) William Gaston
Finvoy Manse
5 Tullaghans Road
Ballymoney
BT53 7JW
Tel: 028 2957 1953

Roman Catholic

Ballymoney (Church of Our Lady & St Patrick)
Rev Francis O’Brien PP
81 Castle Street
Ballymoney
BT53 6JT
Tel: 028 2766 2003
E:office@ballymoneyparish.com
W: www.ballymoneyparish.com

Loughguile (St Patrick’s RC Church)
Rev Sean Connolly
7 Tullyview
Loughguile
BT44 9JY
Tel: 028 2564 1515

Cloughmills (Sacred Heart RC Church)
Rev Fr Liam Blayney
Parochial House
7 Culcrum Road
Cloughmills
BT44 9NH
Tel: 028 2763 8267

Magherahoney (St Mac Nissi’s RC Church)
Very Rev Canon George O’Hanlon
62 Coolkeeran Road
Armoy
Ballymoney
BT53 8XN
Tel: 028 2075 1121

Dervock (Our Lady & St John The Evangelist RC Church)
Rev Francis O’Brien PP
Canon Dominic Patrick
81 Castle Street
Ballymoney
BT53 6JT
Tel: 028 2766 2003

Plains (St Columba’s/Columban/Columbus RC Church)
Canon Malachy Murphy, Rev John J Murray
9 Gortahar Road
Rasharkin
BT44 8SB
Tel: 028 2957 1212

Dunloy (St Joseph’s RC Church)
Rev Fr Liam Blayney
14 Presbytery Lane
Dunloy
Ballymena
BT44 9DZ
Tel: 028 2765 7223

Rasharkin (St Mary’s RC Church)
Canon Malachy Murphy, Rev John J Murray
9 Gortahar Road
Rasharkin
BT44 8SB
Tel: 028 2957 1212

Reformed Presbyterian

Ballymoney Ref Presbyterian
Rev Edward McCollum
15 Millgrange
Finvoy Road
Ballymoney
BT53 7QB
Tel: 028 2764 9252

Dervock Ref Presbyterian
Rev John Hawthorne
60 Benvarden Road
Ballybogey
Ballymoney
BT53 6WN
Tel: 07845 198 328

Cloughmills Ref Presbyterian
Tel 028 2763 8901
Kilraughts Ref Presbyterian
Rev David Fallows
8 Beckett Avenue
Seacon Road
Ballymoney
BT53 6TX
Tel: 028 2766 5386

Free Presbyterian

Hebron Free Presbyterian
Rev David Park
55 Market Street
Ballymoney
BT53 6ED
Tel: 028 2766 2039

Rasharkin Free Presbyterian
Rev Kevin McLeod
29 Moneyleck Road
Rasharkin
BT44 8QB
Tel: 028 2957 1133
Cloughmills Free Presbyterian
028 2764 1971

Other Places of Worship

Ballymoney Baptist
Pastor Colin Adams
2 Parklands
Ballymoney
Co. Antrim
BT53 7QU
Tel: 028 2766 6452
Email: ballymoneypastor@gmail.com
www.ballymoneybaptistchurch.org

Ballymoney Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses
Ballybrakes
Ballymoney
Ballymoney Church of God
Pastor EG Taylor
74 Semicock Road
Ballymoney
BT53 6PY
Tel: 028 2766 3089

Mount Carmel Revival Centre
Pastor Gordon Gillespie
Meeting in Ballymoney Orange Hall (High St)
Ballymoney Methodist
Rev Greg Alexander
33 Grange Road
Coleraine
BT52 1NG
Tel: 028 7034 3158

Registrar’s Office
Janet McCaughey
Riada House
14 Charles Street
Ballymoney
BT53 6DZ
Tel: 028 2766 0200

Elim Pentecostal
Pastor Graham Adams
5 Ballymacormick Park
Ballymoney
BT53 6QE
Tel:

The Barn Fellowship
Currysiskan House
Dr John Matthews
Currysiskan House
56 Macfin Road
Ballymoney
BT53 6QY
Tel: 028 2766 3273

Salvation Army
Captain Joan Archibald
Salvation Army Quarters 154 Mount Eden Limavady BT49 0TS
Tel: 028 7772 2613

Ballymoney Natural Environment

Ballymoney Natural Environment (1)

The Natural Environment of Ballymoney

Ballymoney Borough covers approximately 161 square miles and is predominately rural in character.

The equable climate, which the Borough enjoys, is attributable to the fact, that Ireland lies in an area of mild south-westerly winds and comes under the influence of the Gulf Stream. The average air temperature in January and February (the coldest months) is between 4C – 7C and in July and August (the warmest months) is between 15C – 18C.

The town itself is straddled to the west by the River Bann and to the north by the River Bush. Other rivers within the Borough also include the Ballymoney River, a tributary of the River Bann. Many of these rivers and their tributaries have now been designated as important salmon spawning areas due to the substrate of mainly sand and gravel. The presence of fish within these rivers is a good indication of the health of the natural environment.

Part of the Borough lies within the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However, a number of different environments have been identified within the Borough. A view of these environments can be obtained by clicking below.

Overall the Borough of Ballymoney contains a rich and diverse landscape of great natural beauty and wildlife interest which can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

Lower Bann Valley

The Lower Bann Valley, located in the very southern part of the Borough, extends from Ballymoney to Castledawson. Ecological features identified in this area include peat bogs and wet woodlands comprising of birch, willow and alder. However other features of mixed woodland and conifer plantations have been identified. Dry point sites dominate the locality of settlements, however linear patterns have also been identified.

Lower Bann Floodplain

The Lower Bann Floodplain refers to the lower course of the River Bann. It is predominantly flat being drained by a number of tributaries and smaller streams such as the Macosquin River, Aghadowey River, Agivey River and the Ballymoney River. Like the Bann Valley, pockets of wet woodland have been identified. Settlement pattern can be identified as being dispersed.

The Long Mountain Ridge

The Long Mountain Ridge is along ridge of land that runs from Ballymoney in the north to Randalstown in the south. It was created by the erosion of weaker bands of basalt located on either side of the feature. Due to this action, Long Mountain now forms quite a unique feature in comparison to the surrounding landscape. The land is quite fertile due to the weathering of Antrim Lavas.

A variation in slope, especially on the sides of the feature, greatly influences the size of field. However on top of the feature where the land is much flatter, field size is much bigger. There also is a mixture of hedges, shelterbelts, moorland scrub and Craigs Wood Conifer Plantation as well as the presence of archaeological features.

Cullybackey and Cloughmills Drumlins

The Borough also contains the Cullybackey and Cloughmills Drumlins. This area is located east of Long Mountain.

Drumlins are hills with characteristic steep sides which, when you pass its summit, becomes more gentle. There has been considerable debate about the formation of these drumlins but what seems to be the most commonly accepted argument is that they formed from glaciers that became laden with eroded material. When the glacier became overladen, this slowed down its progress and as a result material or till was deposited. Apart from the deposition of material, the sheer presence of glaciers may have helped redefine the shape of the landscape. The valleys between these drumlins, all be it quite small, are poorly drained, often producing quite a marshy area with distinct rush vegetation. When looking at an Ordnance Survey map of the area, it is clear that these hills or drumlins are a common sight.

The area also contains quite a few archaeological remains including raths and mottes but also contains the remains of our industrial heritage of yesteryear in the form of Red Brick Mills and their chimneys along the River Main. The patterns of roads in this area is also reflected in the presence of these drumlins because they have to wind their way around these features.

The Moyle Moorlands and Forests

The Moyle Moorlands and Forests comprise part of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This designation is a major indication of the sensitivity and environmental importance of this area. The area is also rich in archaeology containing features such as chambered graves, standing stones and old-field patterns. Due to the openness and fragility of this upland landscape, it will be very sensitive to change.

Garry Bog

The Borough also contains many areas of ecological importance mainly the Garry Bog, a raised bog, located to the north of Ballymoney town and to the west of the River Bush. Unfortunately due to the pressures of agriculture and peat extraction, many of our lowland raised bogs are disappearing. In fact in Northern Ireland, we only have approximately 10% of our raised bogs left – (for further information click on www.ipcc.ie).

Peat bogs contain some very unique plants and animals ranging from insect eating plants such as the Sundew plant to smooth newts, which are specially protected. In fact Garry Bog was found to have a rare species of moss called Sphagnum pulchrum. Peat bogs are also important breeding grounds for Damsel and Dragonflies and are an important habitat for Irish Hares and Curlews – two distinct species whose numbers have declined to dangerously low levels. However the Environment and Heritage Service have recently developed Species Action Plans to help preserve existing numbers of both species – (for further information click on www.ehsni.gov.uk)

Garry Bog has been identified as an area of ecological importance by being designated as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), Ramsar Site, Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and as an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). These various designations again reflect the environmental importance and sensitive nature of this area. Other ASSi’s, SAC’s and NNR’s located within the Borough include Caldanagh Bog, Dunloy Bog and Breen Wood. Important animal species have also been identified such as the Hen Harrier, Badger, Otter, Atlantic Salmon, Kingfisher, Irish Hare, Lapwing and various species of bat, many of which are protected by law, principally under the European Habitats Directive and 1985 (Northern Ireland) Wildlife Order.

Agriculture

Agriculture is very important to the area where some 800 farms exist. The land has therefore been intensively farmed so a lot of biodiversity (i.e. the variety of life found on earth from microbes to great whales) no doubt has been lost. However, according to the Agricultural Land Classification most of the agricultural land within the Borough has been given a Grade 2 status which indicates a very good quality soil. The soil is well drained, being brown in colour, having formed on basaltic till. Grade 2 land is in fact very valuable for farming and surprisingly a very small percentage of this land exists in our province.

Some of the hedges, which are not intensively managed, that surround many of the farmsteads are quite species rich in terms of flora and fauna. Apart from hawthorn and the occasional ash tree dominating these hedges, other flora present includes bramble, dog rose, lesser celandine and common dog violet. Other more mature trees like Scots Pine, Beech and Sycamore have also been identified in the vicinity of farmyards that are important for nesting birds. Such a resource is vital for providing a source of food for birds, small mammals and invertebrates. The presence of hedges also acts as a wildlife corridor allowing animals to freely move between semi-natural areas.

Two such agricultural areas have been identified within the Borough area:

Coleraine Farmland

The Coleraine Farmland contains most of the spectacular sites of the North Coast. It contains a rugged coastline made up of headlands and bays where the weaker basalts of the Antrim Plateau have been eroded by the onslaught of the Atlantic Ocean. The lower reaches of the River Bann flow through this area. In fact the estuarine habitat that occurs at the point where the River Bann meets the Atlantic Ocean, is a vitally important habitat for sustaining populations of visiting winter waterfowl and waders. The area also contains the famous Portstewart Strand (ASSI/ candidate SAC), which is managed by the National Trust. The vast majority of farmsteads in this area are relatively small despite the fact that the landscape is quite open. Mature beech and conifer plantations have also been identified in this area, especially along the River Bann.

Dervock Farmland

The Dervock Farmland lies just north of Ballymoney Town. This area has been identified as being a mixture of natural habitats ranging from broadleaved woodland to areas of raised bog, riverine habitats and conifer forests. Many of the farmsteads located in this area are still in keeping with the old traditional style having white painted stone farmsteads with red roofs and round stone gateposts.

Cultural & Historical Societies of Ballymoney

Cultural & Historical Society

Cloughmills Cultural & Historical Society

Edgar Aitcheson

22 Strand Park, Cloughmills, Ballymena BT44 9LL

028 2763 8437

Meeting at Cloughmills Memorial Orange Hall

Last Thursday of each month at 8:00 pm

Dance

Ballymoney Irish Dancing Festival

Joan McClean

9 Mill Cottage Way, Stranocum BT53 8AX

028 207 42960

Irish Dancing Competition

Last week in April each year.

Comhaltas Ceoltoin Eireann

The Secretary

38 Bridge Road, Dunloy, BT44 9AN

028 2765 7048

Traditional music classes, workshops and session

Weekly during term time.

JML School of Irish Dancing

Julianna McLester

5 Heatherlea Place, Ballymoney BT53 7BH

028 2766 6641

Irish Dancing

Meeting at Castle Street Community Centre, Ballymoney

Every Monday, Tuesday & Saturday

Drama

Ballymoney Literary & Debating Society

Barbara J Cooke

“Dunlis” 10 Seaport Avenue, Portbalintrae BT57 8SB, Tel: 028 2073 2708

Three Act Plays, Summer Theatre, One Act Plays, Theatre Outings and Play Readings

Meeting at the Magherabuoy House Hotel, Portrush

First Monday of the month.

Barazina Drama Club (Speech, Drama & Music Theatre)

p1-p3  2.30-3.30 Ballymoney Parish Hall

p.3-p.6 3.30-4.30 Ballymoney Parish Hall

EVERY THURSDAY during term time

Contact: Denise Rosborough

Barazina Performing Arts

Tel:07545 244 482

Email: denise@barazina.org.uk

Language & Literature

Ballymoney Creative Writers

Anne McCusker

32 Lisheegan Lane, Ballymoney BT53 7JZ

028 2766 5804

Writing short stories and poetry. Occasional public readings and social evenings

Meeting at the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre

Tuesday 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Conaadh Na Gaeilge C.A.M.D

  An Rúnaí

38 Br. An Droichid, Dún Lathaí BT44 9AN

028 2765 7048

Irish Language Classes

Tuesdays 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Music

Ballymoney & District Male Voice Choir

Dr John Johnston

6 Tullaghgore Road

Ballymoney, BT53 6QF

028 2766 3512

Email: j.e.johnston@fsmail.net

Performing at concerts & church praise services

Meeting at Dalriada School

Mondays 7:30 pm September – March

Barazina Youth Choir

High-energy choir for 7-14-year-olds

Singing songs from Disney, Broadway and Gospel

EVERY TUESDAY evening  during term time 5.45-6.45 pm

Social Centre – Edward Street

Contact: Denise Rosborough

Tel: 07545 244 482

Email: denise@barazina.org.uk

Comhaltas Ceoltoin Eireann

The Secretary

38 Bridge Road, Dunloy, BT44 9AN

028 2765 7048

Traditional music classes, workshops and session

Weekly during term time.

Comhaltas Rasharkin

Jeannie McGrath

25 Gortahar Road, Rasharkin, BT44 8SB

028 2957 1310

Traditional music classes for all ages.

Meeting at Rasharkin Primary School

Tuesday 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Dunaghy Accordion Band

Jim Chestnutt

3 Donegore Drive, Antrim, BT41 1DT

028 9446 6754

Meeting at Dunaghy Accordion Band Hall

Monday 8:00pm – 9:30pm

Dunaghy Flute Band

David McAuley

26 Parklands, Ballymoney, BT53 7QU

077 3060 9282

The tuition of fluting, drumming and drill practice.

Meeting at Donaghy Orange Hall

Wednesday 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Dunloy Accordion Orchestra

Mark McIntyre

17 Charlotte Street, Ballymoney, BT53 6AY

028 2766 3587

Attending concerts, contests and parades.

Meeting at Dunloy Orange Hall

Twice weekly 8:00pm – 10:00pm

Girona Orchestra

Stacey Graham

35 Apollo Avenue Portrush, BT56 8HH

028 7082 9593

Concerts, competitions and other public events.

Meeting at Trinity Presbyterian Church Hall

Thursdays during term time.

Riada Concert Group

Roberta Murray

7 Grange Drive. Ballymoney BT53 7BW

028 2766 3905

Teaching accordion, keyboard and drumming skills. Giving public performances.

Meeting at St James Church Hall

Saturday 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Route Singers

Noel Linton

9 Mill Cottages, Portstewart BT55 7GB

028 7083 4159

Choral Singing.

Meeting at Dalriada School

Thursday at 7:30 pm from September – April

Vow Accordion Band

Julie Ann Taggart

20 Bravellen Road, Ballymoney BT53 7DS

028 2766 3319

Teach drum and accordion. Annual Carol Service

Meeting at Vow Orange Hall

Every Wednesday 8:00pm – 10:00pm

Barazina Youth Choir

4 Esdale Terrace

Green door

Balnamore

BT53 7QH

Visual Arts

Ballymoney Amateur Photographic Club

Zilah McCaughan

43 Kilmoyle Road, Ballymoney BT53 6NR

028 2074 1233

Photographic tuition and competitions.

Meeting at Ballymoney Town Hall

Second and fourth Monday each month 8:00pm -10:00pm

Dunloy Art Club

Sharon Lerwill

1 The Meadows, Ballymoney BT53 6AX

028 2766 3587

Art Classes.

Meeting at Conihaltas Centre Dunloy

Weekly

Loughguile Art Club

Rose Henry

10 Gruig Lane, Cloughmills BT44 9JD

028 2763 8608

Painting classes for all ages.

Meeting at The Millenium Centre, Loughguile

Mondays 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Adapt NI

ADAPT is the only voluntary organisation in Northern Ireland solely committed to “Building Equality and Inclusion through Accessibility”.

Web: www.adaptni.org