Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

A stunning stroll here is bang on the money

Take a self-guided walking tour round Ballymoney for a fascinating insight into hundreds of years of history.

From almost any position on Main Street, for example, it is possible to see the Old Clock Tower, which dominates the townscape and gives the town a pleasant focal point.

Erected in the Diamond around 1775 by the Sixth Earl of Antrim, the Masonic building has been a Market House, Court House, town hall, place of worship and school.

Directions

Ballymoney is located just off the A26 between Coleraine and Ballymena. The trail begins in Townhead Street. From the A26 follow the signs for Ballymoney Town Centre, TIC and Museum. Park in the free Townhead Street Car Park.

Pick up a Heritage Guide from the TIC opposite and follow the 16 points of interest highlighted on the guide map. The first point of interest is Ballymoney Town Hall, from here proceed along Townhead Street, crossing North Road and into St James's Road to view St James's Presbyterian Church.

Retrace your steps to the Town Hall and continue down High Street to its junction with Charlotte Street, where you will see the Northern Bank Building.

Turn right into Charlotte Street and walk along to view Ballymoney Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Old Court House.

Retrace your steps back to High Street and the Diamond. Proceed straight ahead along Church Street, passing The Old Bankhouse on the right.

At the end of Church Street on the right is the Old Church Tower and ahead on the left is St Patrick's Parish Church.

Now on Queen Street continue along to the roundabout at Rodeing Foot. On the other side of the road is Trinity Presbyterian Church.

At Mathewson's Chemist make a right turn into Meeting House Street and continue along this road passing Ballymoney First Presbyterian Church on the left. At the traffic lights turn left into Seymour Street to view Ballymoney Methodist Church and Railway Station Building.

Retrace your steps to the traffic lights, taking the opportunity to visit the Joey Dunlop Memorial garden en route. Crossing over, continue left along Castle Street to the Church of Our Lady & St Patrick and the Kirgan Monument located in the adjacent graveyard. This completes the heritage trail.

The Backdrop

The oldest surviving building in the town is the Tower in Ballymoney Old Church Graveyard, with a datestone inscribed 1637.

Near the Old Clock Tower is the site of the current Ballymoney Town Hall, originally erected through public subscription back in 1866.

The interior rooms commemorate some of Ballymoney’s most celebrated historical figures, including the famous playwright George Shiels, Olympic gold medallist K K McArthur and James Cramsie, who established the town’s first museum.

Ballymoney First Presbyterian on Meeting House Street is the oldest church and is still in use with a large congregation.

On High Street, the Northern Bank Building was once a ballroom built by the fifth Earl of Antrim.

Completed around 1760, it was visited by local aristocrats and their guests attending the Earl’s splendid Antrim Hunt Balls and was later used as barracks for government troops during the 1798 Rebellion and the Napoleonic Wars.

Towards the end of the trail is the fascinating Kirgan Monument in the graveyard of the Church of Our Lady & St Patrick.

Close by is the Joey Dunlop Memorial Garden, officially opened in May 2001 by Ballymoney Borough Council to commemorate Joey Dunlop MBE OBE (1952-2000), one of the most successful motorcycle riders of all time.

Further information

For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, please contact Countryside Access and Activities Network, tel: 028 9030 3930 or walkni.com.

WalkNI.com, in association with the Belfast Telegraph, have provided this information. Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. WalkNI.com and Belfast Telegraph, however, cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions but where such are brought to our attention, the information for future publications will be amended accordingly.Walk Name: Ballymoney Heritage Trail.

Area: Historical urban walk through Ballymoney, Co Antrim.

Nearest big town to start point: Ballymoney.

Distance: 2.5 miles.

Terrain: Town centre footpaths.

Publications: Ballymoney Tourist Information Centre, tel: 028 2766 0230, and Countryside Access & Activities Network, tel: 028 9030 3930.

Refreshments: Ballymoney offers restaurants to suit all tastes, from |traditional home cooking to excellent mouth-watering cuisine.

There are plenty of cosy pubs to sit and relax with a pint of Guinness before, during or after your walk.

Walk Developed By: Countryside Access and Activities Network and Ballymoney Borough Council. Design by Tandem Design.

Map: Sheet 8 of Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland Map (1:50,000) covers the Ballymoney Heritage Trail and is available from the OSNI Map Shop, Colby House, Stranmillis, Belfast.

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