Thursday, 14 November 2013


~ Celebrating Ballintoy’s Hidden History ~
 Ballintoy Archaeological and Historical Society launched an exhibition and website ( at a very well-attended community event held in the Carrick-a-Rede Hotel in Ballintoy on Thursday 24 October 2013 to celebrate the achievements of Ballintoy’s Hidden History project. We were delighted that so many people came along and that our project attracted many favourable comments.

Members of the local community celebrating the achievements of Ballintoy's Hidden History Project.

Maurice McHenry, chairman of the Society, welcomed everyone to the event, particularly Mr Martin McDonald MBE from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and representatives from the University of Ulster at Coleraine. He explained that the project, funded by HLF’s All Our Stories programme, was established to explore and tell the stories of Templastragh Church, Ballintoy Castle and an eighteenth-century school at White Park Bay. Very little was known about these three important local sites, but the Society, with the assistance of archaeologists from the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast, was determined to rescue them from obscurity and ensure they were given their rightful place in the story of the local community.  Mr McHenry thanked the HLF for the funding which had enabled the Society to undertake the project, the professional archaeologists for providing invaluable support and expertise and the Society’s members for all their hard work.  
Maurice Mc Henry, Chairman of the Society welcoming everyone. 
The co-ordinator of Ballintoy’s Hidden History project, Robert Corbett, then described how the members of the Society had trawled through historic documents, surveyed the surviving archaeology and collected the stories and memories of local people to uncover the hidden history of the three sites. He commended them for their hard work, boundless enthusiasm and commitment to the project.   
Project co-ordinator, Robert Corbett, Outlining the scope of the project.
Speaking at the event, Gemma Reid, University of Ulster, praised the Society for having the vision to initiate the project and congratulated them on their achievements.  She added: ‘I hope the Society will continue to undertake such imaginative projects to give the local community an opportunity to explore, share and tell their stories.’
Gemma Reid University of Ulster, shares a joke with the audience whilst praising the Society for undertaking the project.

Martin McDonald, member of Heritage Lottery Fund NI Committee, added their congratulations to Ballintoy Archaeological and Historical Society on their achievements. He said: ‘We were pleased to support this local heritage project and are delighted with its success. The All Our Stories pilot programme proved very popular throughout the UK and we have now established an on-going programme called Sharing Heritage. We would encourage communities to follow Ballintoy Archaeological and Historical Society’s example and have a go at their own local heritage projects. Who knows what they will uncover about their heritage.’
Martin McDonald MBE, Heritage Lottery Fund, NI Committee, congratulating
 the Society on its achievements.
The exhibition will be displayed at various local venues during the next few months. We will provide details on where the exhibition can be viewed on the ‘News’ section of our website.  Some of the information about, and images of, Templastragh Church, Ballintoy Castle and the school at White Park House displayed in the exhibition can be viewed on the ‘Hidden History’ section of our website. More information about these sites will be presented on our website in due course.
We have now completed this stage of our project. We wish to thank everyone who has assisted us and followed our progress. However, we will continue to explore, share, tell and celebrate the hidden history of Ballintoy and the surrounding area.  We will use this blog to keep you up to date with our activities and we hope you will continue to follow our progress.   
Gemma Reid, University of Ulster, Maurice McHenry and Robert Corbett,
Ballintoy Archaeological and Historical Society  and Martin McDonald HLF. 

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