Islandmagee (from Irish: Oileán MhicAodha, meaning "MacAodha's island") is a peninsula and civil parish on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, located between the towns of Larne and Carrickfergus. It is part of the Larne Borough Council area and is a sparsely populated rural community with a long history since the mesolithic period.
As part of an agricultural crop rotation programme of old beans were grown to supply nitrogen to the soil. "Bean Eaters" became a nickname for the people of Islandmagee.
Anciently the area of Islandmagee was known as Rinn Seimhne or Inis Seimhne. The Bissett family held the tenancy of the peninsula in Elizabeth I's reign, their rent being an annual offering of goshawks, birds which bred on the rugged white chalk cliffs nearby. It was the site of a witch trial in 1710 where eight women were convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to a year's imprisonment.
- Islandmagee is the home of the Ballylumford Dolmen. Known locally as the "Druid's Altar", this megalithic monument could be 4000 years old, or be the remains of an earlier Neolithic simple passage tomb. It consists of four upright stones, with a heavy capstone and a fallenstone within the structure. This may have been put there to block the entrance to the tomb.
- Neolithic houses have been excavated at Ballyharry, on the Islandmagee peninsula. Finds included Neolithic pottery, flint arrowheads, javelin heads, polished stone axe fragments and quernstones.
Settlements and townlands
The peninsula is part of the parish of Islandmagee. The boundaries of the parish and the peninsula match. Like the rest of Ireland, this parish is split into a number of townlands (bailte fearainn), whose names are derived from the Irish language. There are 25 townlands on Islandmagee and two small settlements.
The following is a list of these townlands, with the settlements bolded:
- Ballylumford (Irish: Baile an Longfoirt)
- Ballystrudder (Irish: Baile Strudair)
- Ballycronan Beg
- Ballycronan More
- Ballyprior Beg
- Ballyprior More
- Kilcoan Beg
- Kilcoan More
- Mullaghboy (Irish: an Mullach Buí)
- Portmuck (Irish: Port Muc)
- Islandmagee F.C. plays in the Northern Amateur Football League.
- Two golf clubs, Whitehead Golf Club (18 holes) and Larne Golf Club (9 holes) lie on the peninsula, as do two horseriding centres - Rocklyn stables and Islandmagee Riding Centre.
- Fishing continues to be the most common sport practiced in the region.
- "Ballylumford Dolmen". Discover Northern Ireland. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
- O'Sullivan, Aidan & Breen, Colin (2007). Maritime Ireland. An Archaeology of Coastal Communities. Stroud: Tempus. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-7524-2509-2.
- "Investigations at Ballyharry Farm, Ballyharry, County Antrim�". Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- Islandmagee Community website
- Islandmagee Community Facebook Page
- Page with Islandmagee Townland Map