Thursday, 27 September 2007

Vibrant Villages in Portballintrae

This once delightful seaside village has become something of a ghost town in winter; the small shops have gone and many local residents have departed.

The gloom rises when the second-home owners come to town - and so does the aroma. I understand the sewage discharge into the bay at peak periods has created pollution levels that are twice as bad as, say, Castlerock and Portrush.

Why have our ministers (direct rule and local), public representatives and planners allowed such circumstances to come about? The Planning Appeals Commission has put a brake on the 'concreting over' of the old Salmon Fishery site but much more needs to be done.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

3rd Causeway Coast Masterplan Forum - 28th March 2007

Here are links to slide presentations about the future development of tourism facilities for the Causeway Coast:

Ciaran McGarrity, Chief Executive, Giant's Causeway Visitor Facilities Ltd

Susanna Allen, Environment and Heritage Service

Kathleen, Tourism Forum 07

Don Wilmot, Causeway Coast and Glens Tourism

The 'future' is currently in abeyance!!

Causeway Bomber Story Broadcast

The Bob Huggins interview with Jill Moss is to be broadcast on Down Radio today about 12:30pm. Jill is the niece of Wilson Twentyman, NZAF, who perished in the crash at the Giant's Causeway in July 1942.

Sorry about the very short notice!!


Barbara Woodhouse, niece of the other crash victim, Sgt Vernon Pither RAAF, was only four years old when her uncle died. Like Jill Moss from NZ, she remembers well his photograph in her grandparent's home. They talked a lot about Vernon and were relieved that he was buried on 'home' ground.

Vernon had three brothers. They were all born on the family farm and Barbara's father stayed at home to run it; he was in the Home Guard. Another brother became a Methodist minister. The third brother became an Air Commodore, specialising in radar development.

Vernon was a practising Christian and had thought of becoming a minister himself. He met the Acheson family when he was stationed at Limavady; they lived in the Methodist manse. They laid on tea for the airmen every Sunday; Vernon always turned up and Lorna Acheson still remembers how special his voice was as he sang familiar hymns.

Lorna, now in her eighties, has very fond memories of Vernon; she and her family were devastated when they heard that he had been killed. They went to his funeral service in Christchurch Parish Church and Lorna's future husband, an RAF officer, was one of the pall bearers.

An avenue of eucalyptus trees was planted in Shepparton, Australia, in memory of the young men who had died overseas; there's a plaque at the bottom for each one. Vernon's tree has matured and Barbara and her family often walk along this memorial avenue.

During her visit to Northern Ireland, Barbara and her granddaughter, Alice, visited Aghanloo airfield, Drenagh House, the old billets along the Murderhole Road that Vernon possibly lived in, his grave at Christchurch where she placed a poppy cross and then on to the crash site at the Giant's Causeway. She found the experience very moving and was impressed by the care and attention devoted to the maintenance of her uncle's grave.

She echoed Jill's words in saying that if Vernon had to die on active service then at least his last view on this earth was the Giant's Causeway, not a bombed German city.

Glenda Rodgers

Monday, 17 September 2007

Poem query

My cousin in Leeds recalls part of a song or poem he heard years ago whilst living in Portrush. He asked me to look it out on the internet for him, but I can find no trace of it. It goes :

I have no Mother for she died,
When I was very young,
But still her memories round my heart
Like morning mists have clung.

Does anyone know all the words?


Saturday, 15 September 2007

Andersons of Antrim, Ireland

I am trying to locate Andersons in Antrim, Ireland, in particular, the family of Charles Anderson who emigrated in about 1788 to Canada. It is possible that he was in the USA and then went to Canada.

Charles married Ann Nelles whose father was a captain in the American Revolution. It is also, known that he travelled with a close friend or relative named David Cargill from Antrim, Ireland.

Our belief is the Cargills were from Mallendober/Ballyhemlin, just over one mile south-east of Bushmills; this is based on David Cargills will.

These Andersons could possibly be linked to the Andersons of Clogher Anderson in Billy Cemetery and perhaps the Cuppage family. The Antrim and Canadian Andersons appear to use similar first names in the 19th century.


Ballyallaght Farm Cottages

Does anyone know the meaning of Ballyallaght, or Ballallaght as it is sometimes called locally?

The cottages have been mentioned in the row over the Giant's Causeway Visitor's Centre. They occupy an old farmyard in the V between the main A2 road that passes along the Causeway Coast and the minor Castlenagree Road.

Some years ago, the planners told the then farm owner that only a replacement dwelling for the former thatched farmhouse would be permitted on the site as there were too many exits and the A2 was a busy road. Since then, a developer has been permitted to build more than fifteen apartments on this supposedly single home site.

The seagulls in the gable window of apartment #1 look rather forlorn. Many of these apartments are likely to be second homes so it will be a quiet spot during the winter months as the resident 'birds' will have migrated to other perhaps less beautiful but warmer climes.


Mystery of the Ballyallaght Triangle

Rooms with a view

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre Controversy

The Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre is in the news and is a subject of intense political debate.

Money spent on the winning and other designs may be money down the drain.

The visitor centre that Foster, the Minister of the Environment, is 'minded' to permit - no 5 above - would appear to be located on the Portbraddan fault or incredibly close to it. It seems a strange place to locate a 'bunker'. The line of the fault is shown on "The Causeway Coast" produced by the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland.

The magnetometer survey covers a different but adjacent area to the competition site because its purpose was to try and establish the position of the Portbraddan fault.

An earlier application by the same developer to build at this location was rejected by the Planning Appeals Commission of Northern Ireland in 2002.

UNESCO-IUCN has also commented in 2003:

However, a number of potential threats exist, including development proposals, which could threaten the values and the integrity of the site. None of these proposals have been through the full planning process and have been approved. No approval should be given without reviewing a proposed development within the context of the protection and safeguarding of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the World Heritage site and its management.

2.3 Institutional Framework
Under the World Heritage Convention, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is the government body responsible for all World Heritage sites in the UK. The Environment and Heritage Service (Belfast) is responsible for protected areas in Northern Ireland, including the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast, the only World Heritage property in Northern Ireland. No single World Heritage site manager was identified. [UNESCO 2003 report]
It would appear that Margaret Hodge, DCMS minister, is ultimately responsible for the protection of the status of the World Heritage site, not the Assembly Executive in Belfast.

I understand EHS is also responsible for any part of the Causeway Coast which is an Area of Special Scientific Interest and there appear to be problems with sewage discharge, not just into the bay at Portballintrae but also around the Giant's Causeway headland eg discharge into Portcoon above low water mark from a primary treatment works that serves the current visitor's centre and adjacent properties.

Draft Northern Area Plan 2016: Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site

The Giant’s Causeway WHS is unique, and both an environmental and economic asset to the Plan area and to Northern Ireland as a whole. The Causeway and its immediate environment remain relatively untouched by intrusive human activity, and should remain so. The Department is, however, conscious of its importance to the Northern Ireland economy as a key visitor attraction, and the need to provide appropriate essential facilities in the vicinity to meet visitor needs. The Department considers essential facilities to include a high quality reception and interpretation facility for the understanding and enjoyment of the WHS. Associated facilities may include ancillary catering and retailing for use by visitors. Attractions associated with the site, but not essential for visitor needs will not be acceptable, nor will development generally. Any development will be required to be sited and designed not to cause detriment to the landscape, which is intrinsic to the site’s appreciation, or to scientific interest.

The plan now appears to be in limbo:

Carson McDowell - Litigation Triumph

Carson McDowell Solicitors are today delighted with the outcome of its Judicial Review proceedings against the Department of the Environment regarding the form and contents of the draft Northern Area Plan 2015 on behalf of its client Seaport (NI) Limited.

and there's more:

Carson McDowell sponsors key Planning Conference

Exploring the Future of Planning in Northern Ireland

There has for some time been a consensus that the current planning system in Northern Ireland is not working as effectively as it could to the benefit of all those who depend on it.

The cost of this six hour conference to participants is £229.12. How many Joe And Josie Bloggs can afford this?

Can the future of planning in general and planning for the World Heritage site and its environs in particular be entrusted to cabals of politicians, planners and developers? Planning outcomes would appear to indicate that the current system is not to the benefit of all.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Trainor/Traynor Query

Does anybody know of this Trainor/Traynor family, in Leck 1900>1905 and Prolusk 1905>1920's?

Mrs Jane Trainor, nee Kirkwood, had sons, William and Patrick, and daughters, Sarah Jane and Mary. Mother and daughter Mary both died in 1929 in Ballymoney Route Hospital.

Patrick married Meta McDade/McDaid of Carnsampson, Ballycastle, and died in 1942 on the Burma railway line as a prisoner-of-war. But what happened to William? He is rumoured to have gone to Canada and possibly got killed around 1930. Does anybody know the story?

And also Sarah Jane, what happened to her? She may have been linked to a McSheffrey of Novally, Ballycastle, who walked with a limp after a WWI heel injury. The Trainors may have lived at Coolkenny, Ballycastle, for a time.

Please contact me through the NALIL blog if you know anything.

Sean T Traynor

Monday, 3 September 2007

Bomber Crash at Giant's Causeway - 2

Glenda Rodgers met John Quinn, author of "Wings over the Foyle", last Wednesday, August 30. John gave Glenda a conducted tour of Aghanloo Airfield near Limavady, going into all the existing buildings and explaining their use.

They then had tea with Lorna, daughter of Mrs Acheson who organised social gatherings for the airmen in Limavady during WWII. Lorna clearly remembered Vernon Pither, the RAAF pilot, who perished in the crash.

Jill Moss arrived from New Zealand yesterday. She's a niece of P/O Wilson Twentyman, NZAF, the other pilot who died in the crash. After a quick tour of Belfast Glenda and Jill drove up the Antrim Coast Road, dropping into Murlough Bay on the way.

Today's itinerary begins with a visit to Aghanloo then it's off to Drenagh House, near Limavady, where the airmen were billeted and to the Alexander Arms where they spent their leisure time. The Limavady trip will also include a visit to the graveyard at Christchurch Parish Church, Drumachose, where Jill will lay a New Zealand poppy in memory of her uncle.

Sometime this afternoon they will visit the crash site near the Giant's Causeway. According to Colin Sinclair, the plane flew over the houses on Runkerry Road, just before Runkerry House, and crashed on the high ground overlooking Portcoon. The nose cone of the bomber ended up at the back of the little gorge there and it's possible that the bomber collided with a small eminence that lies between Blackrock Strand and Portcoon. Portcoon is the first inlet on the Ulster Way as you walk west from the Giant's Causeway Hotel.

Update: The Wellington bomber's serial number was DV772. Was it a Mk 1C*? Where was in manufactured?

The photo shows Jill and Glenda being interviewed at the Giant's Causeway by Bob Huggins of Downtown Radio on Wednesday, September 4.

Barbara Woodhouse, niece of Vernon Pither, is planning to visit the North Coast on September 15.

*It was a Mk 1C - the image at the top is a Mk 2