The Troubles in Ballymena

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The Northern Irish Troubles resulted in 11 deaths in or near the mainly Protestant County Antrim town of Ballymena. Eight people were killed by various loyalist groups, and three by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Two of the IRA victims were members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary; all other victims were civilians. Of the eleven victims, six were Protestant and five Catholic.


Two Catholic brothers Sean and Brendan Byrne, aged 54 and 45 were shot by the UDA at their public house in Tannaghmore outside Ballymena on May 24.The pub had stayed open during the Ulster Workers Council strike.The gunmen had arrived to the pub in a convoy with a busload of other loyalists.All 30 men were detained at a police road block.Two were later jailed for life.[1]


A Protestant woman Yvonne Dunlop, aged 27 was killed as the result of an IRA firebomb in the shop where she worked on Bridge Street on October 9.Among those jailed for the attack was IRA member and Hunger striker Thomas McElwee.[2]

Later that day a 40 year old Catholic man, Sean McCrystal was killed in retaliation by the UVF.The victim's burning body was found on waste ground on North Street close to Bridge Street.[3]

On November 6, 1976 at 8:30pm, the Provisional IRA detonated an explosive device containing 500lb of explosives outside the Raglan Bar (named after Lord Raglan) in Queen Street, Ballymena without providing any warning. 37 people were injured, 10 were kept over in Hospital and 2 were very seriously injured. The Raglan bar in Ballymena has recently closed. However, you can still see from the outside of the bar the distinctive brickwork which was arranged diagonally in such a way to minimise the impact of any future attempts at bombing it.


John Lamont a 21 year old Protestant and RUC reserve member, was shot by the IRA in George Street while he was on duty by himself.An Orangeman, he was the first member of the security forces to be killed in Ballymena.[4]


Norman Kennedy a 41 year old Protestant and RUC officer, was shot at his home in Murob Park by the IRA. A member of an Orange Lodge in his native Limavady he was forced to leave the town by loyalist protestors following the Anglo-Irish agreement.[5]


  1. ^ McKittrick et al Lost Lives pg 454-455
  2. ^ Mc Kittrick et al Lost Lives pg 679
  3. ^ Mc Kittrick et al Lost Lives pg 680
  4. ^ Mc Kittrick et al Lost Lives pg 764
  5. ^ Mc Kittrick et al Lost Lives pg 1087-1088