Church members on Ahoghill tour

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

Wednesday 6 July 2022 8:57

Ballymena Church Members’ Forum recently took part in a guided walking tour of Ahoghill.

This followed an equally enjoyable tour of Broughshane last year.

This year’s tour was facilitated by the Ahoghill in Bloom group and proved very informative and encouraging.

The tour started in the Diamond where Jim Perry, who has been deeply involved in the regeneration of the village, gave an outline of the history of the village and spoke of all the good work that has been undertaken over these last years.

This has resulted in Ahoghill being an award winning village with many trophies having been obtained.

Jim emphasised the hard work of certain individuals continuing to this day and how traders, schools and other groups had been drawn into the regenerative work.

It was all very impressive and encouraging to hear.

The tour continued out the Portglenone Road to St Mary’s Chapel.

Along the way the walkers were able to appreciate some of the environmental works recently undertaken.

At the chapel there was a welcome from Father O’Hagan before David Johnston spoke of two local families – the O’Rourke and Drummond families, connected by marriage, and the association with the stained glass window.

It is of note that the ladies in the family attended the chapel while the men attended the local Church of Ireland church. To facilitate this arrangement a lane was built between the churches!

The group then walked this lane to St Colmanell’s Church where they were able to see plaques commemorating the O’Rourke family. This church’s predecessor was then visited further down the road in the old church graveyard where the walls of the old church have been uncovered. Here also James Dempsey spoke of the regenerative work undertaken in the graveyard, pointing out many gravestones of note.

The tour finished in the former Ist Presbyterian Church, now a health centre.

It could be appreciated how the old architecture had been maintained along with displays of some of the history of the place including the 1859 revival.

A supper provided by the local Traders’ Association was then enjoyed and all deemed it an excellent evening.

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