Sunday, 23 April 2017

Old Parish Church, Ballymena

Ballymena lies between NE Liberties and Belfast - it's about a 30 minute drive away.   The name is an Anglicised version of the Irish An Baile Meanach, meaning Middle-town.  Appropriate, since it lies in roughly the middle of County Antrim.

Last time I was able to walk around this old church - this time the gates were locked and I had to be content with poking the rangefinder through them:

8"x10" print, from the rangefinder and a 35mm lens.
Ballymena is known locally as 'City of the Seven Towers' and it's always a source of amusement to people - what towers?  Well folks this old Church of Ireland Parish Church, built in 1707 is one of the original seven towers.  Only 2 others remain now.  I guess once upon a time the towers were clearly visible from the surrounding area - not so the case nowadays.

The last service here was held in 1855, so this building provided for the community for almost 150 years.  Amazingly, it's been derelict now for slightly longer.  I reckon it'll be around for a few years yet - a wonderful testament to the knowledge and skills of those early 18th Century stonemasons from this part of the world.  I'm sure that many of them would have made their way to North America during the great migration of the Ulster-Scots during the18th Century and their skills would have no doubt been in great demand when setting up their new communities in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New England and beyond.

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