Ballycastle, County Antrim
||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (February 2014)|
Bellykessel or Bellycaissle
|Irish: Baile an Chaistil|
Ballycastle shown within Northern Ireland
|Population||5,089 (2001 Census)|
|Irish grid reference|
|– Belfast||55 miles (89 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
|UK Parliament||North Antrim|
|NI Assembly||North Antrim|
The town is located on the northernmost coastal tip of Northern Ireland Rathlin Island and the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland can be viewed from the coastline. The town is at the northern mainland limit of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Lammas Fair is held each year on the last Monday and Tuesday of August. Ballycastle is the home of the Corrymeela Community. The town forms part of the North Antrim constituency and the elected MP is Ian Paisley Jr.
- 25.3% were aged under 16 years and 18.7% were aged 60 and over
- 46.8% of the population were male and 53.2% were female
- 77.7% were from a Catholic background and 20.5% were from a Protestant background
- 6.5% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed
Places of interest
- Fair Head is Ballycastle's rises 196 metres (643 ft) out of the bay. Goats can be seen roaming among the rocks beneath the cliff tops, where a walkway called 'The Gray Man's Path' winds around the rugged coastline. From the road, a man-made Iron Age island or crannog can be seen in the middle of a large lake.
- Knocklayde, a heather-covered mountain (1695 ft) crowned by Carn na Truagh (the cairn of sorrow), which gives extensive views over Ballycastle, Rathlin Island, Fair Head and Scotland.
- Glentaisie, the most northerly of the Nine Glens of Antrim, lies at the foot of Knocklayde mountain. Named after the Princess Taisie, the daughter of King Dorm of Rathlin Island. According to legend, Taisie, renowned for her great beauty, was betrothed to Congal, heir to the Kingdom of Ireland. The king of Norway also sought her hand in marriage, and when he arrived to claim his bride, her wedding celebrations to Congal had begun. The King of Norway and his army tried to capture Taisie, but in the subsequent battle he was killed and his army fled leaderless and empty-handed.
- Carey, Glenshesk and Tow Rivers flow down from the glens, then eventually join together into the Margy River. It then flows into the Moyle Sea at the start of the Strand.
- The Strand (Ballycastle Beach), which has a Blue Flag beach.
- Pans Rocks, which are the remains of an iron salt pan lying at the far end of Ballycastle Beach, jut out to the sea and is a popular location for fishing.
- The Devils Churn, lying just beyond Pans Rocks, which has steps carved into the stone leading to an underwater tunnel.
- Clare Park on Clare Road, was an estate owned by the then-local landed gentry, the McGildownys. The 17th-century house has been pulled down but it was set in a site high up on the Antrim coast.
- A cycling route runs from Ballycastle to Cushendun, by way of Torr Head, offering spectacular views and scenery. From the road above Torr Head, the whole of Moyle (the North Channel) can be seen. A popular spot for inshore sea fishing, Torr Head also boasts a coastguard station, which is notable in that it was built on and out of the remains of Dunvarragh, the fort of Barach.
- The Corrymeela Community (a Christian organisation promoting peace and reconciliation, founded in 1965) is based at Corrymeela, just outside Ballycastle.
- Overlooking the harbour there is a monument to Guglielmo Marconi whose employees made the world's first commercial wireless telegraph transmission between Ballycastle and the East Lighthouse on Rathlin Island.
Buildings of note
- Holy Trinity, Church of Ireland, is situated in the Diamond, i.e., the main square. Like the rest of the Diamond, the church is grade 'A' listed. The church was completed in 1756, being built by Colonel Hugh Boyd, who bore the total cost. It was built in Graeco-Italian style with an apse-shaped chancel and an octagonal spire about 100 feet high. It was effectively a chapel for the Boyd family & estate for many years - the remains of many Boyd descendants are in the vaults below - although it was always subject to Episcopal jurisdiction. It was given to the Church of Ireland in about 1950. This church is open every day from 9am-5pm.
- Bonamargy Friary is off the Cushendall Road on the approach to Ballycastle and is a late Franciscan foundation established in 1485 by Rory MacQuillan. Locked vaults hold the remains of the celebrated chieftain, Sorley Boy MacDonnell, and several of the earls of Antrim. The Friary's most famous resident is the 17th century prophet and recluse Julia MacQuillan. Known as "The Black Nun", she wished to be buried at the entrance of the chapel so that she might be trodden under the feet of those who entered. A round holed cross marks her grave.
- Kinbane Castle is situated on a headland projecting into the sea, about 3 miles (5 km) from Ballycastle on the road to Ballintoy. Originally a two story building, it was built in 1547 by Colla MacDonnell, who died within its walls in 1558.
- There are several churches in Ballycastle. Ballycastle's Presbyterian Church (in Castle Street) has a distinctive round tower.
- Sir Roger Casement, Irish writer and revolutionary
- Michael Dallat, former Titular Bishop of Thala
- Michelle Fairley, actress
- Conleth Hill, actor
- Donal Lamont, Emeritus Bishop of Mutare, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978
- C. S. Lewis, author
- David McWilliams, folksinger and musician
- John Samuel Bewley Monsell, clergyman and hymnwriter
- Lauryn Faloona
- Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, Cardinal and Primate of Scotland
- Robert Quigg, soldier and recipient of the Victoria Cross
Bus services in Ballycastle are operated by Translink.
A ferry currently operated by the Rathlin Island Ferry Company runs between the town and Rathlin Island, as part of a lifeline service. The ferry service to the island was formerly operated by Caledonian MacBrayne. Ferries formerly sailed between Ballycastle and Campbeltown in Scotland, but the service was suspended in June 2002. A passenger ferry service to Campbeltown now runs Friday to Monday during summer months and on Mondays & Fridays during winter months, and is operated by Kintyre Express.
Ballycastle railway station opened on 18 October 1880, but was closed on 3 July 1950. It was on the Ballycastle Railway, a narrow gauge railway which ran 17 miles connecting Ballycastle to Ballymoney station, on the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway (BNCR), later Northern Counties Committee (NCC) and now part of Northern Ireland Railways.
The Troubles in Ballycastle
- 1973, 26 August - Loyalist car bomb left outside Catholic church in the town, timed to explode as massgoers left the church, detonated before people left due a late service avoiding large-scale loss of life.
- 1979, 3 August - William Whitten (65), a Protestant bystander died six weeks after being injured in an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb attack on Marine Hotel, Ballycastle, County Antrim.
- 1991, 6 April - Spence McGarry (46), a Protestant off duty member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was killed in a Provisional Irish Republican Army booby trap bomb attached to his car, Castle Street, Ballycastle.
- 2001 - An attempt at mass murder by the Ulster Volunteer Force when a car bomb was left in Castle Street during the annual Lammas Fair.
In the past, there has been unrest regarding Orange Order parades in the town. In 2001, there was serious public disorder at the 12 July Orange Order parade. As a result of this the Silver Plains flute band from nearby Moyarget were banned from marching in the town due to allegations of sectarian conduct and paramilitary trappings. The North Antrim Orange Order held their annual parade in the town in 2006. Following discussions between residents, the Orange Order, business owners and Sinn Féin the parade passed off without incident.
As with the rest of the British Isles, Ballycastle experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest official Met Office weather station for which online records are available is at Ballypatrick Forest, about 4 miles East South East of Ballypatrick.
|Climate data for Ballypatrick Forest 155m asl 1971–2000, Sunshine 1971–1990, Rainfall 1989–2000 (Weather station 4 miles (6 km) ESE of Ballycastle)|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.5
|Average low °C (°F)||1.5
|Precipitation mm (inches)||119.16
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||42.2||67.0||92.8||158.5||194.7||166.0||145.4||138.5||109.2||86.0||54.4||31.1||1,285.8|
- Sports of local interest include tennis, bowling (Mary Street), hurling, gaelic football (Whitehall/Leyland Road), and skateboarding.
- The McQuillan GAC Ballycastle club has won 17 Antrim Senior Hurling Championships, the second-most of any club. The club has won 6 Ulster Senior Club Hurling Championships and were finalists in the 1980 All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship final.
- The club has a range of teams from U8 to Senior in both Hurling and Gaelic Football.
- The town is also the location of Páirc Mac Uílín, the current Antrim Hurling County ground due to the unavailability of Casement Park.
- Ballycastle Golf Club offers an 18-hole championship course open to both members and non-members year round. The course is one of the four courses played each June in the world renowned Causeway Coast Golf Tournament.
- During the Summer, the town hosts two tennis tournaments, one of which is run by the Moyle District Council.
- Ballycastle United Football Club combined with Moyle FC in 2011, and the team now competes in the Coleraine and District morning league.
- Ballycastle Bowling Club is located outdoors at the sea-front.
- North-South Ministerial Council: 2002 Annual Report in Ulster Scots
- Bonamargy Friary guide – Department of the Environment
- Guide to Dunluce Castle in Ulster-Scots DOE.
- Placenames Database of Ireland
- Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency website
- Ballycastle Presbyterian Church
- Robert Pigott (3 March 2013). "Cardinal Keith O'Brien sorry for sexual misconduct". BBC. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "Kintyre Express - ferry services and private charters". kintyreexpress.com. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "UVF tried to bomb Oul' Lammas Fair, court is told". Europe Intelligence Wire. 19 February 2004.
- The Guardian
- "Station Locations". MetOffice.
- "Ballypatrick Long Term Data". Met Office. Retrieved 21 Sep 2011.
- "Bally Castle Golf Club". http://www.ballycastlegolfclub.com/. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- Moyle Council
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ballycastle, County Antrim.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ballycastle.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Ballycastle.|