Website Ballycastle County Antrim

THE TOWN 

The Boyd Arms  The new Marina Diamond chat

 St. Patrick is said to have founded Rathmudhain (Ramoan) here in the 6th century -  the graveyard still stands on the original site but the ruins are that of a later building. He is also attributed with the founding of another church in the townland of Drumeeny, Glenshesk. The town itself originated from a small hamlet and slipway at the mouth of the river Margie known as Margietown, there are also references to it being know as Market Town and  Port Brittas or British port. The oldest surviving remains are that of  Bonamargie Friary founded in the thirteenth century by Rory MacQuillen. A castle, though nothing remains today, once stood on the cliffs overlooking the present day ferry terminal and was known as Dunineeny or Dunaneanie (Fort of the fair or games). It was here that  Sorley Boy MacDonnell was born in 1505, he also died there in 1590 and is interred in the vaults of Bonamargie Friary along with other Earls of Antrim. The town flourished during the sixteenth century under the guidance of a Colonel Hugh Boyd who brought  an economic base and prosperity to the area -  investing in the natural resources of the locality he progressed coal mines, a tan yard, brewery, salt works and a glass works. The latter produced bottles, window and plate glass and was situated on Glass Island -  between the harbour and the Margie river. A  pier and safe anchorage was also built here (where the tennis courts are now situated) in 1748, framed together with oak piles the harbour was said to have been one of the strongest and best finished in the north.  Ironically, four years later in 1752, Colonel Boyd had to petition the House of Commons for funds to repair the harbour after the piles had been  attacked and weakened by insects and  damaged by three hurricane force storms. Eventually in 1763, after much lobbying he was reimbursed for his own work in replacing the damaged piles with cut stone. 

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