BILLY CHURCH

The present church at Billy was built in 1815 with the chancel added in 1890, Billy though is a much older site, the name derives from an Irish word Bile meaning 'special or tree', some believe that the site dates to Druid times when the oak tree was looked upon as sacred. There are records of a church existing here in 1305 and some remains of that church still exist in the old graveyard.  If you enjoy looking around ancient grave sites then Billy Church is well worth a visit, the oldest identifiable stone dates to 1620. The graveyard is typical of burial sites that have been used over many centuries, where layers of burials would have been placed over the centuries, it is very atmospheric with yew trees, fuchsia and elderberry bushes. Like at Ballintoy Church and Bonamargie Friary, Ballycastle,  there are also sailors buried here from HMS Racoon - the bodies of Able Seaman  W.G. Farrow and S. Smith where washed ashore at the Giants Causeway after the tragedy. The church also contains three beautiful examples of work by the Artist Michael Healy who was a pioneer in Irish stained glass work. To get to Billy - take the Ballycastle (inland) road out of Bushmills, after a quarter of a mile you will see a Citroen Garage on the right. Take the next road on the right and follow it for about two miles, the church is on the left and the old cemetery adjacent to it.

Click here for collected gravestone inscriptions from the old burial ground at Billy Church.

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