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THE TOWN

  
The Marina walk House of MacDonnell Fair Head 

Hugh Boyd died in 1765 and  was described as typifying a good landlord and employer - it is worth noting that during the famine period when many of the wealthy had fled to comforts abroad, he imported corn, oatmeal and flour to combat the starvation. He is interred in the Holy Trinity Church in the diamond which he had built in 1756 using locally quarried sandstone. Beside the church were the ruins of a castle built in 1609 by the Earl of Antrim, who had been instructed by King James 1st to build four well placed castles on his lands - it is from this castle that the town derives its present day name (town of the Castle). The area  around Ballycastle is closely associated  with several of  the legends of Ireland,  the waters of Moyle  are featured in two of the 'Three Most Sorrowful of the Tales of Erin' - ' Deidre' or 'The Lamentable Fate of the Sons of Uishneach' which tells the story of Deidre fleeing with the sons of Uishneach  from Conovar, the King of Ulster, who wanted to marry her against her will, it is reputed that she came ashore on a causeway of basalt known as Carrig-Uishneach, which extends out into the sea between Ballycastle and Fair Head. Another famous legend 'The Children of Lir' tells of the four children of Lir being turned into swans by their stepmother and exiled to spend 900 years roaming three different parts of Ireland, part of this time was spent on the ' Cold Seas of Moyle', local tradition  tells of them sheltering in the Margie river from winter storms,  their release from this exile coming with the arrival of Christianity to Ireland.  Ballycastle is also famed far and wide for the  Oul Lammas Fair which takes place on the last Monday and Tuesday in August and brings thousands of people from  all over the world. 

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