Sunday, 30 June 2013

Bushmills Dunes - Ballytaylor & Dooey - Lovers' Lane & Purgatory

The Clay Field

Heading north out of Bushmills, 'up the plantin', towards the Giants Causeway you pass the Clay Field. It's been used for generations as a communal gathering place but plans for the Bushmills Dunes golf resort show that this open expanse will be replaced by 75 town-houses and a golf academy complex, sheltering behind a row of tall trees planted along the roadside.

Dan's Lane/Lovers' Lane

Dan's Lane/Lovers'Lane is opposite the main entrance to the Macnaghten estate and stiles show the track of this lane through to the River Bush close-by the railway bridge. Dan was Dan McKinley, a former leaseholder of this part of the townland of Ballytaylor. Some locals continue to walk this route although no longer in the numbers that once used it.

Griffith's Valuation map
Ballytaylor and Dooey circa 1860

This amended 19th century map shows three red arrows pointing towards Dan's Lane and the top red arrow is in the field known as Big Ballytaylor. The track has been ploughed up but at the entrance to this field there were two pillars and a style on the left-hand side until recent times. The field to the left of the middle red arrow is known as Purgatory. The track continued on over a stream into Dooey, past a lime kiln [blue arrow] and on to the style beside the Iron Bridge.

The gate in the fence marks the point where the track continued north, over a stream, from the townland of Ballytaylor into the townland of Dooey.

Circular embankment in Dooey

This embankment is immediately north of the gate in the fence and it overlooks a fine lime-kiln.


"Throughout the whole parish there are numbers of basalt quarries worked for build­ing and other purposes. In the townland of Dooey, on the River Bush and very near the mouth of that river, there is a very valuable chalk quarry." .. Ordnance Survey Memoirs, Parish of Billy, 1830

There might be something of interest in the 1734 maps held by PRONI;

"Ref: T1703/1

Year: 1734

First of two volumes of photostat copies of maps of the Earl of Antrim's estate, in the Barony of Cary, Co. Antrim.

Includes the following: 

Page 57 is a map of the townlands of: Ballymoy, Lower Carnkirk, Ballyalarty* (sic.), Carnside, Ballylynee** (sic.) and Dooey, in the parish of Billy, Co. Antrim"

[*Ballyallaght and **Ballylinny]

The Iron Bridge

This style, close-by the Iron Bridge, marks another point on the path used by local people for generations. Does the path feature in the plans for the Bushmills Dunes resort or is it just another victim in the struggle between public and private space?