Ballyclare

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Ballyclare
Scots: Bellyclare[1]
Irish: Bealach Cláir
Ballyclare.jpg
Ballyclare is located in Northern Ireland
Ballyclare
Ballyclare
 Ballyclare shown within Northern Ireland
Population8,770 (2001 Census)
Irish grid referenceJ312903
   – Belfast 13 miles (21 km) 
DistrictNewtownabbey
CountyCounty Antrim
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBALLYCLARE
Postcode districtBT39
Dialling code028
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
EU ParliamentNorthern Ireland
NI AssemblySouth Antrim
List of places
UK
Northern Ireland
Antrim
 
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Ballyclare
Scots: Bellyclare[1]
Irish: Bealach Cláir
Ballyclare.jpg
Ballyclare is located in Northern Ireland
Ballyclare
Ballyclare
 Ballyclare shown within Northern Ireland
Population8,770 (2001 Census)
Irish grid referenceJ312903
   – Belfast 13 miles (21 km) 
DistrictNewtownabbey
CountyCounty Antrim
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBALLYCLARE
Postcode districtBT39
Dialling code028
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
EU ParliamentNorthern Ireland
NI AssemblySouth Antrim
List of places
UK
Northern Ireland
Antrim

Coordinates: 54°45′04″N 5°59′56″W / 54.751°N 5.999°W / 54.751; -5.999

Ballyclare (historically Bellaclare; from Irish Bealach Cláir, meaning "pass of the plain")[2] is a small town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 8,770 people in the 2001 Census. Under the reorganisation of Northern Ireland local government in 1973, Ballyclare lost its urban district status and became part of Newtownabbey Borough.

It sits on the river Six Mile Water with Craig Hill providing a wooded backdrop to the east. Its medieval origins can still be seen in Ballyclare Motte, which is to the south of the town. The broad main street dates from the 18th century. A clock tower is a central focus within the town and the old mill marks the industrial district on the south east developed along the Six Mile Water. It is a local service centre with a significant dormitory role in relation to Belfast. It is the main focus within the rural area for housing, shopping and commerce, industry and employment, education and recreation.[3]

History[edit]

People have lived in Ballyclare for five thousand years. Invaders included Vikings and Normans. The earliest evidence of people in this area is a hoard of flint arrow heads found when houses were being built north of the river in November 1968. There were a total of thirty-nine flints discovered – some perfectly finished and others are blank indicating an 'industry' and trading here near the river crossing over four thousand years ago.

When the Normans built the castle at Carrickfergus they placed a line of outposts along the river which was then called the "Ollar" – River of the Rushes. In time the soldiers making the journey from Carrickfergus to Antrim reached the river at this spot when they had travelled six miles so began to call the Ollar the Six Mile Water. One of these mottes is close by the river in the War Memorial Park in Ballyclare. There are two on opposite sides of the river at Doagh and one at Antrim. The village grew after the Plantation of Ulster and was granted permission by King George II in 1756 to hold two fairs each year making it an important market centre.

At the same time as the Pilgrim Fathers landed in America, Ballyclare was settled by Scots planters. Jonathan Swift preached here and it was from here the families of Mark Twain, Sam Houston and General Alexander Macomb left for America. The people of Ballyclare and the surrounding villages played a part in the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and fought in the Battle of Antrim. At the beginning of the twentieth century Ballyclare was a growing industrial town with an urban district council and became the largest paper producer in Ireland.

Demography[edit]

Ballyclare is classified as a small town by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)[4] (i.e. with population between 4,500 and 10,000 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 8,770 people living in Ballyclare. Of these:

For more details see: Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service[5]

There is also another Ballyclare in County Offaly in the Republic of Ireland, a townland adjacent to Ferbane town.

Buildings of note[edit]

It includes three stages: the 1880 school house, the 1923s extension, the 1950s extension, the 2006 mobile classrooms addition.

Business[edit]

Culture[edit]

Literature[edit]

Archibald McIlroy's novel "When Lint Was in the Bell" is a light-hearted, lightly fictionalised chronicle of life in 19th century Ballyclare. A Ballyclare native, born c. 1860, Mr. McIlroy was lost in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915.

Music[edit]

Two award-winning musical ensembles frequently represent the town on the regional, national and international stage: the Ballyclare Male Choir[7] since 1933, and the Ballyclare Victoria Flute Band[8] since 1919. The current guest conductor of the Flute Band is Glen Houston. The Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band is also based in the town and is regular in parades and RSPBA competitions. Ballyclare is also birthplace to Andy Cairns, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist from the critically acclaimed alternative rock band Therapy? who have achieved worldwide success.

The May Fair[edit]

The Ballyclare May Fair occurs on a Tuesday in May every year, and is part of a week of festivities.[9] It is also known as the Chav Fair.[citation needed] The tradition stems from a grant by King George II to hold two yearly fairs, although only the May Fair now survives. The event began as a local horse fair, but representatives of cavalry regiments came from all over Europe to buy there as the reputation of the fair spread. The fair's heyday ended with the First World War, but it is still a well-loved event in the town.[10]

The May Fair is one of the few horse fairs now left in the country.[citation needed] The Main Street is sanded down and given over to horse selling for the day. There is, however, now a variety of modern amusements in the square. Other events include the Mayor's parade, followed by sports, street events, concerts and exhibitions. Local shops compete for the best dressed window, and children take part in fancy dress competitions and the duck race. A May Fair queen is chosen to represent the town over the next year.

A recent attempt by local traders to uproot the traditional fair from the town's Market Square has sparked outcry and protest amongst the local residents.[citation needed]

Natives and residents[edit]

Transport[edit]

Road[edit]

The road network in Ballyclare is centred on Main Street, North End and Market Square in the Town Centre. A number of roads lead into the Town Centre including the Hillhead Road from the south, the Doagh Road from the west and the Rashee, Ballyeaston and Ballycorr Roads from the north and north east. Car parking available in the town centre ranges from surface-level parking to free and paid on-street parking.[3]

Rail[edit]

Ballyclare had a narrow gauge rail link to Larne and a broad gauge connection to Belfast. Neither of these have been in use since the 1950s. Ballyclare railway station on the narrow gauge Ballymena and Larne Railway opened on 24 August 1878, closed to passenger traffic on 1 October 1930, closed to goods traffic on 3 June 1940 and finally closed altogether on 3 July 1950. The station on the broad gauge Northern Counties Committee railway line opened on 3 November 1884, closed for passenger traffic on 1 January 1938, closed for goods traffic on 2 May 1938 and finally closed altogether on the same date as its narrow gauge counterpart in 1950.[11] The building was demolished altogether in 2004 and was replaced with a similarly shaped and styled building. The old engine shed, however, remains and is now a carpet sales room.

Education[edit]

Sport[edit]

Ballyclare Colts Football Club was founded in 2003 and has teams ranging from U11 through to U15, plus a mini soccer programme for boys and girls aged 10 and under.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kallen, Jeffrey L. Focus on Ireland. p. 190. 
  2. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland
  3. ^ a b c "Ballyclare". Draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2007. 
  4. ^ Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency website.
  5. ^ Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information website.
  6. ^ "Open Coffee Ballyclare". Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Ballyclare Male Choir website.
  8. ^ Ballyclare Victoria Flute Band website.
  9. ^ http://www.ballyclaremayfair.com/
  10. ^ http://www.ballyclaremayfair.com/about-the-may-fair/
  11. ^ "Ballyclare station". Railscot – Irish Railways. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 10 September 2007. 

External links[edit]