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Ballygally or Ballygalley (from Irish Baile Geithligh, meaning 'Geithleach's townland', IPA:[ˈbˠalʲəˈɟɛhlʲiː]) is a village and holiday resort in County Antrim, Northern Ireland which lies on the Antrim coast, approximately 3 miles (5 kilometres) north of Larne. It is also a townland of 769 acres (311 hectares) and is situated in the civil parish of Carncastle and the historic barony of Glenarm Upper.[1] It had a population of 821 in the 2011 census. It is located within the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area.

Ballygally is located in the United Kingdom
Coordinates: 54°53′58″N 5°51′39″W / 54.89944°N 5.86083°W / 54.89944; -5.86083
Looking south at Ballygally beach and Ballygally Head.
Ballygally Head

Archaeology edit

Archaeological excavations undertaken in the area in the 1990s, identified the remains of several Neolithic houses approximately 500m from the shore of Ballygally Bay. The site contained a number of finds, including worked flints, pottery and stone axes.[2]

Places of interest edit

Notable features include the headland of Ballygally Head, O'Haloran's Castle, The White Bear Rock, a sandy beach, Ballygally Castle and Ballygally Hall, which opened in 2011.

Ballygally beach is a destination for locals and for tourists, especially during the summer months.

Ballygally Castle, reputed to be the oldest occupied building in Ireland, has a reputation for being haunted. It sits in the middle of the village at the junction with the road to Cairncastle and contains a 4-star hotel with a bar and restaurant. The castle was built around 1625 for James Shaw of Greenock and is one of Ireland's best-preserved Scottish baronial style plantation houses.[citation needed]

Ballygally Castle Hotel incorporates a 17th-century tower house

The bawn and walled garden are registered as Scheduled Historic Monuments at grid ref: D3725 0781.[3]

Ballygally Hall is a two-storey building (funded by the Big Lottery, Larne Borough Council and NER) which opened in 2011 and includes a Spar shop with some Post Office facilities at ground level and a Community Hall on the first floor. The shop and restaurant, which previously existed on this site, were demolished in 2008. The Community Hall has weekly events and social activities throughout the year.[citation needed]

Cairndhu Golf Course, on top of Ballygally Head, overlooks the village and Carnfunnock Country Park (which offers a cafe, walled garden, caravan park and campsite, maze, children's playground, bouncy castle, mini-train rides, bungee runs, mini-golf, and nature walks) is nearby.[citation needed]

In 2014, Outdoor Recreation NI produced a report called 'Options to enhance access with the creation of a natural heritage trail between Ballygally Village and Carnfunnock Country Park' highlighting Ballygally's close links to the park.[4]

Demography edit

Ballygally is classified as a small village or hamlet by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with a population between 500 and 1,000 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 714 people living in Ballygally. Of these:

  • 21.6% were aged under 16 and 22.1% were aged 60 and over
  • 49.0% of the population were male and 51.0% were female;
  • 27.9% were from a Catholic background and 70.5% were from a Protestant background
  • 2.3% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.
In the far distance, on the right, is the small peak of Scawt Hill. Six new minerals were discovered for the first time here, including scawtite and larnite.

Biology edit

Ballygally Head was (in 1983) the only recorded location of Gelidiella calcicola from Northern Ireland.[5]

Geology edit

Ballygally Head is a volcanic plug, the ancient cooled remains of the pipe of a volcano.[6]

Wedges of agglomerate have been found around Ballygally Head, showing that there were several stages of eruption, allowing tuff to form before the vent was blown out and once more filled with magma.[6] There are tall columns in places around Ballygally Head, similar to the basalt columns found at the Giant's Causeway, but these are dolerite, a rock similar to basalt but which cooled more slowly, held inside the volcano vent, and so had time to grow larger crystals.[7]

Scawt Hill, another volcanic plug 5 km west north west of Ballygally, is an internationally important site for geology due to the rare minerals found there. It is a protected Area of Special Scientific Interest.

References edit

  1. ^ "Ballygalley". IreAtlas Townlands Database. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  2. ^ O'Sullivan, Aidan & Breen, Colin (2007). Maritime Ireland. An Archaeology of Coastal Communities. Stroud: Tempus. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-7524-2509-2.
  3. ^ "Ballygalley" (PDF). Scheduled Historic Monuments (2015). Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Report on Access links between Ballygally and Carnfunnock" (PDF). Outdoor Recreation NI. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  5. ^ Maggs, C.A. and Guiry, M.D. 1987. Gelidiella calcicola sp. nov. (Rhodophyta) from the British Isles and Northern France. Br. phycol. J. 22: 417 - 434. (Ref. Maggs, C.A. and Guiry, M.D. 1987)
  6. ^ a b Wilson, H E et al (1986) Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, HMSO
  7. ^ Geography in Action, Dolerite, Northern Ireland