BALLINTOY CHURCH

Entrance Gates The South Window Stewart Coat of Arms

One of the most memorable views along the north coast is Ballintoy Church. It was founded by the Stewart family who settled on the north coast in 1560 after losing their estates on Bute, incidentally and contrary to many assumptions, this was long before the plantation of Ulster took place. The family also built Ballintoy Castle were they resided and of which nothing remains. The Church was rebuilt in the seventeenth century, it originally had a tall steeple which was destroyed by a hurricane in December of 1894,  this was one the most powerful hurricanes to hit the north coast in the 1800's, the other occurred in 1839. The winds lasted for around six hours at hurricane force and damage throughout the district was severe. In Portrush, waves tore a 40 foot breach in the north quay and stones weighing upwards of 10 tons were moved around like pebbles. Ballycastle experienced the sea reaching the Marine Hotel and  the footbridge over the Margie river was swept away. In Ballintoy the steeple came down and part of it descended through the church roof, many  headstones were blown down or broken, houses in the village were reported as being severely damaged and in some cases demolished, stacks in the fields where scattered  and several  thatched cottages in the district caught fire and burned. At the harbour several boats were destroyed and the sea washed around O'Roarke's cottage (now  O'Roarke's Kitchen) to a depth of four feet, due to the onshore winds combining with a high tide.

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