St Patrick’s is Historical

The site of St Patrick’s has a long and storied history. Gemma Reid, a local historian and curator with Daisy Chain, was commissioned to archive this history. This what she found:

As Gemma points out, it is key to know that the site once served as a British Army barracks and was a staple in the community for generations. Here’s a bit of the historical timeline of the land and some events archived over the years:

  • The land was owned by the Scottish Adair family who were largely responsible for building Ballymena into what it is today
  • The Adair’s maintained the land for centuries dating back to the Ulster Plantations
  • The military site was purchased and built in the 1930s as a response to rising tensions in Europe
  • After the Second World War, it became a retraining ground for ex-prisoners of war returning from the continent to build their skills and trades
  • It then became an infantry training grounds and was subsequently home to:
    • The Royal Ulster Rifles
    • The Royal Irish Rangers
    • The Royal Irish Regiment
  • Operations slowly ceased after the Good Friday / Belfast Agreement

The barracks were important to many in Ballymena town and brought people together from a range of backgrounds. Many people spent their upbringings in this community, learned trades and valuable skills, setting out in the world accomplishing a great many things. No doubt, there is a sense of loss, especially from those who worked and served in the barracks. But there is also a sense of solace in the fact that a new, thriving community is being built in its stead.

Additionally, The Radius Housing Communities Officer and Development team have been working with the Services and Veteran’s Clubs in Ballymena on projects to mark the history of the site. Young people residing in the new development will be able to set off in that same manner as generations past, making their own mark on the world.

We look seeing where the St Patrick’s story goes next. Follow articles posted on this website for more upcoming information.