Another intriguing legend is that of the Rath Varna Celtic Gold
On the way to the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 King William's men encamped
at Garanbane (now Carnbane). One morning a couple of soldiers wandered
through the woods and heard cries coming from the Ravarnette River.
Investigating further they saw a damsel in distress in the water. She
cried out for help and the soldiers rescued her from the angry torrent. On
the river bank she thanked them profoundly. She told them her name was
Maeve the blue eyed, the tinker's wife and if they would return to the
same spot later in the evening she would reward them. She told them she
would make them rich beyond all imagination but they were to tell no-one.
At eventide she kept her promise and presented them with a collection
of Gold Wristlets, Bracelets, Armlets and fine jewellery. It was a
treasure fit for a King. She explained that some of the items originally
belonged to Rory MacDonlevy O'Heachaidh the last King of Uladh or Ulster.
The treasure was reputed to have been hidden from John De Courcy in the
early 13th Century. Before they had time to realize and in the twinkling
of an eye Maeve had disappeared.
The two soldiers were left standing in utter amazement holding a King's
ransom. They decided as they could not bring the treasure with them they
would hide it nearby and return later.
The story goes that they buried it between two tall trees, at a river bend
in a nearby glen, very probably Currie's Glen.
No-one knows if the soldiers returned. Some say they both perished in
the Boyne Water. Rumour has it that the owner of Rory's ill gotten
treasure would perish in water. Perhaps that's why Maeve gave hers away so
It is said that "In the summer heat and at a certain time of the day
Rory MacDonlevy's sword can be seen moving slowly in the water near the
bend in the Glen by the Fort in the Gap, as a warning to the fate of all
Undiscovered by tourists it remains without doubt one of the most
magnificent spots of natural and breath taking scenery around Ravarnette.
Its great secret is its past history and undisturbed serenity. On any
chosen sunny day in Summer its natural charm and beauty excels even
Many strange legends are told about Currie's Glen. Perhaps none are so
bizarre than the tale originating from the many battles between the Kinel
Owen and the Ulidians. Currie's Glen was defended by the notorious Knights
of the Red Branch-The Curadh. Enemies attempting to cross the Glen by
night met a terrible fate from the hands of the Curadh. The Knights
disposed of their victims by binding them to a stout branch dipped in
blood. A stone was tied to their feet and were floated down stream as a
warning to any other would be invaders.
One may deduct the origin of the ancient name from Glanna Curadh -The
Glen of the Champions.The Spirits, as the legend goes, are supposed to
still haunt the woods near the river in the Glen after midnight seeking
revenge on any poor unfortunate who may pass inadvertantly that way. Even
on the annivers aries of some of the great battles they may even venture
out of the Glen to the neighbouring districts to seek recompense for the
evil and wickedness apportioned to them by the Knights of the Red Branch.
However, Pagans as they were, no-one who ever believed in the living
God came to any harm from them.
THE BATTLES OF DUNEIGHT AND RAVARNETTE
The ancient fort at Duneight was known as Dun-Eathach. A great battle
in 1003 and 1010 took place between the Ulidians and the Kinel Owen. The
Four Masters relate, "An army was led by Flathbheartach O'Neill to Dun-Eathach,
and he burned the fortress, and demolished the town, and carried off
pledges from Niall, son of Dubhthunine". Duneight was the residence of
Eochaidh or Eoghy one of the many kings of Ulidia.
In the year 941 Muircheartach, King of the Kinel Owen stopped for the
night at the great rath of Duneight to collect hostages, en route to
Magh-Rath (Moira). His poet wrote:
|"We were a night at Dun-Eachdach,
With the white-handed warlike band;
We carried the King of Uladh with us
In the great circuit we made of all Ireland."
DUNEIGHT MOTTE AND BAILEY
This consists of two mounds of earth with a deep gulley separating them
from yet another mound which was used for grazing animals, when this was
used as a settlement in the 14th and 15th Centuries. The lower level was
used as living quarters while the higher level was used as a fortress in
case of attack. The lower mound was completely surrounded by trees until
1948 and these trees also served as protection for the settlement. At one
time there was a moat which ran right round these two mounds; this also
was for protection. This moat was formed by part of the river which runs
past the village of Ravarnette.
In 1958 and 1959 the lower mound was excavated and some pottery and
ancient weapons were found. These are now in the Ulster Museum. This
Monument is fenced off now and there is a path which runs from the road to
SIR ROBERT HART
Sir Robert Hart, B.T., for many years Inspector-General of Chinese
Customs in Shanghai was educated at Hillsborough, Taunton, Wesley College
(Dublin), and Queens College Belfast, where he took the Bachelor of Arts
degree in 1853. In the following year he left for China to take up an
appointment in the British Consular service, from which he resigned five
years latter to join the Chinese Maratime Customs Service. His promotion
was very rapid and when only 28 years of age he became InspectorGeneral of
Chinese Customs, a position which he filled until 1908. A panel erected to
his memory in the Bund at Shanghai indicates that he was, "Grand Guardian
of the Heir-Apparent. of China, founder of the Chinese Maratime Service
and organiser and administrator of the National Post Office."
Among his honours are "Ancestral Rank" of First Class of First Order
for three generations. He was also a Red Button of the First Class, a
Double Dragon of the Second Division, and a First Class Peacocks Feather.
These and many more followed by a list of European honours are on the
memorial panel. Nearer home a less exotic memorial was erected to him by
his nephew Sir Frederick Maze in Blaris Old Cemetery.
T. NEILL (Lisburn Historical Society)
In the second half of the 18th Century Ravarnette House belonged to one
James Henderson, who worked as a linen draper and was probably a bleacher.
James Henderson was also known locally as a poet.
In the latter part of the 19th Century Duneight Mill was in full use as
a Scutch Mill and provided a lot of employment to the local people. As did
the other local mills known as Thompson's Mill at Lisnoe and Ravar nette
Mill. As the flax dndustry in the province decreased and the work fell
away it was decided to sell Duneight Mill to a Mr. Thompson who was no
relation to the owner of Lisnoe Mill. It was turned into a mushroom
growing factory but when the war years came it was run down and put to use
as a store for Harland & Wolff. After the war years the mill lay idle
until Mr. Thompson who had previously grown mushrooms returned and started
a File and Coalbrick business. Then it was sold again and is at present
used for Broiler Chick Rearing.
In 1834 there was a corn and flax mill at Ravarnette, owned by John
SOME OF THE FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO WENT TO
RAVARNETTE PRIMARY SCHOOL
|became a chemist and emigrated to a small
village in Canada called Rocky Mountain House. Later he became famous
when oil was discovered there.
|born in what is now George Long's house,
became the Rev. Todd of Ballynahinch Congregational Church and later
emigrated to Canada.
|Mr. Ivor Thompson
| became a director of J. D. Martin
the estate agents in Lisburn.
|became the Chief Inspector in the Ministy
of Agriculture and also wrote some one act plays as a hobby.
|his brother became a Doctor and moved to
|became a Baptist Minister of a church
|son of the proprietor of the
Perserverance Bar became a doctor at the age of 22. He used to walk
every morning to the Railway Station in Lisburn and married one of the
Wills Tobacco people. He emigrated to England and one evening whilst
in evening dress he was called down a coal mine where he performed a
difficult and dangerous operation. He was awarded the D.S.O.
|became the Chief Flying Instructor of the
Ulster Flying Club at Newtownards Airport.
|became a Director of Phillips Ltd., the
sole agents in Northern Ireland for Datsun Cars.
|became .the sales representative for
Short Bros. & Harland in Canada and North America and played a major
role in selling the "Skyvan" freight aircraft to airlines in North
RAVARNETTE PRIMARY SCHOOL
Quotes from the past by pupils from the past
|The two Miss Reids who
taught in the school were fetched regularly from the Dublin Road
near Sprucefield by Mr. McLorn of the Green Road, Ravarnette and
arrived at school in a pony and trap.
|The pupils of Ravarnette
Primary School got a treat one day in 1915 when they saw for the
first time in the district a motor plough on its way past the school
to Curries Glen.
|Those were the days when
the school was lit by oil lamps, and a packet of Five Woodbine
Cigarettes cost 1½d
|During the First World
War (1914-1918) the pupils of Ravarnette Primary School brought eggs
to school and wrote their name on the shells. These eggs were sent
by Miss Reid, the Principal, to the soldiers in Europe to help the
war effort. Many of the soldiers in the trenches wrote to the
children from the front lines thanking them for their efforts.
|Mrs. Sinton, the Factory
Owner's wife, made an annual presentation to the school pupils of
silver medals with a gold heart in the centre. She examined the
pupils herself and awarded one each for the best reading, needlework
|Pupils worked 3 days in
the factory from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and then attended school for the
other 3 days. It was a 6 day week then.
|The school formerly met in
Mr. Sinton's farm loft with Miss Seaton as the teacher. Since then
it has been converted into a dwelling house and is now occupied by
Mr. & Mrs. Fyffe-McFadden and family.
|Great concerts in the
past have been held in Ravarnette Primary School. It was at one of
these that Mr. Andy Rooney a former pupil of the school, recalls the
first cinematograph ever seen in Ravarnette, at the school in 1903.
4d was the admission price and one can just imagine the excitement
and amazement at the new invention as over 200 people sitting on the
desks watched the moving picture showing what a horse can do after
it eats a bag of oats.
|At the turn of the century
there was a wee boy called John McKibben who went into the shop
beside the school and sez he, to the shopkeeper, "Abun, abig 'un,
gimme two" but he did not notice Miss Reid coming in behind him.
Well, as the story goes, he spent the next day in school writing
those famous words out a hundred times.
|Many of those who went to
the school in the late 19th or early 20th Century will remember the
Three term Readers by Blackie & Co. price 6d. The reader was very
comprehensive and was compiled to suit the Senior Group in one - or
two - teacher schools.
|Miss Minnie Reid,
assistant teacher, married Mr. John Turkington who worked in the
factory at Ravarnette as a yarn dresser.
|THE HEDGE SCHOOLS
Although one could trace the beginnings of the Hedge Schools back to the
17th Century it was in the 18th Century when these proliferated the South
Lisburn area. Strict laws forbade teachers to teach and pupils to be
taught. Even householders harbouring a schoolmaster could receive strict
So in some sunny spot near the hedge sheltered from the
wind the schoolmaster taught his little class. He would sit on a stone
with his class on the grass. One or two of the class took it in turns to
keep a look out from a piece of high ground and warn the master and class
of any law officer approaching.
It was a kind of guerilla warfare in education.
BALLYMAGARRICK HEDGE SCHOOL
Many of the first schools in the rural area south of Lisburn were like the
Hedge School in the Ballymagarrick district of Carryduff. The school was
built about 140 years ago. It was built of grass sods and roofed with
thatch. The children sat on forms and wrote on slates. They each brought a
turf each day for the fire and a penny a week for the master to buy his
food. One of the first masters was believed to be an unfrocked priest.
There was no compulsory attendance. The pupils came of they wanted to and
their ages were from 6 to 12 or .13 years. Mr. William Cumming of that
district can remember his great-grandfather talking about the school in
the field which is still called by the older people `Schoolhouse Field'.
FORMER BLARIS PRIMARY SCHOOL
There was formerly an old schoolhouse near Palmer's Service Station on the
Hillsborough Road off the Sprucefield Roundabout. Owing to its dilapidated
condition, the committee of the school and other friends held
a meeting, at which the Marquis of Downshire took the chair. This was in
February 1828. It was resolved at this meeting to build a new and more
commodious schoolhouse, not on the old site, that being considered too low
and damp, but on a portion of a field offered by Lieutenant Clarke for the
purpose. The funds for the building were to be raised by public
subscription. The old building was to be pulled down, and any part of the
materials which could not be used for the new school was to be sold, and
the money added to the school funds. This plan was carried out, and the
school was placed under the Church Education Society, and remained so
until it was transferred to the National Board by the Rev. A. J. Moore, in
the year 1887. For a short time after there was a male principal, who was
succeeded by Miss McBride and later Mrs. Maginnis.
LOCAL NEWSPAPERS NEARLY 100 YEARS AGO
About 100 years ago the rural area of South Lisburn had three local
newspapers. `The "Lisburn Standard" began in 1875 and was published every
Friday, costing one penny. It consisted of 8 pages with 56 columns. It was
advertised as "circulating among the Leading Gentry and Farmers in the
North of Ireland, executed in an up-to-date style, with the latests
designs of type, equal to the best houses in the trade in the Kingdom, at
prices which compare most favourably with any".
A few years later Mr. Robert McMullan began publishing the "Lisburn
Herald". Then the third paper began some years later and was originally
called the "Weekly Mail", later changing its name to the "Ulster Guardian
and Weekly Mail".
One cannot but be filled with a sense of awe and wonder when, as I did the
other day talking to Mr. Brownlee, discover that the very first Veal Farm
in Northern Ireland started in the quiet, unassuming and unpretentious
surroundings of Mr. Brownlee's Farm at Ravarnette, at the top of the hill,
on past Mr. Bittle's Shop. It started around 1960 on the Dutch System.
Good management, cleanliness and the right contacts played a major role in
the success of the Glenallen Veal Company as it later became known as.
Agents in Enniskillen who were Cooneyites and wore strange hats like the
Pilgrim Fathers procured 7 to 10-day old calves mainly Friesians from all
over Ireland, even as far afield as Limerick, and arranged for them to be
sent to the Veal Farm at Ravarnette. There they were started off with a
special diet of glucose and water with milk powder added later, After 16
weeks they were killed at the Abbatoir on a Friday morning, collected on
Friday night, sent across to England in a special refrigerated container
lorry and arrived in London on Sunday morning. The very first batch were
sent to Holland where they were examined by experts and classed as
'excellent' and sent on to Milan ,in Italy for retail sale. The average
weight of the calves was 250 lbs.
Mr. Rooney who used to work in the Ravarnette Weaving Factory and
received his education in Ravarnette Primary School put Mr. Brownlee in
contact with their best agents in London, namely G. & A. Webb. These
agents arranged for the bulk of the veal to be sold to London's most
famous store Harrods.
Sad to say, The Ravarnette Veal Farm had to close in 1970 due to what
has become a worldwide disease, affecting us all, inflation. However, not
far away Mr. Roy Allen carries on a similar Veal Farm in the Maze.
Mrs. M. BELL
"When time who stole our years away
Shall steal our pleasures too,
The memory of the past shall stay
And help our joys renew."
(from one of Moore's lesser known poems)
FORMER CLOGHER PRIMARY SCHOOL
The school was opened under the auspices of the Church Education Society
on the 1st January 1833. The Rev. M. Cordner, agent for the Hunter Estate
on which the school was built and the Rev. Mr. Scott, Drumbeg, both took
an active part in raising the necessary funds, ably assisted by the
farmers of the district. Mr. Scott became the first manager. William
Dales, who for some time before this had been conducting a school in a
neighbouring barn, became the first teacher. He slept for a considerable
time in a "settlebed" in a corner of the school, and got the principal
part of his food by going around the homes of the pupils in :turn. Fuel
for the winter's fire was obtained by the pupil's each bringing a quota of
turf. The school was taken into connection with the National Board on the
1st January 1845.
A very large number of teachers have taught for varying periods in the
school. William Dales was followed by James Donald (who became a Methodist
Minister); R. Foreman, J. Young, W. Peel, S. McCullough T. Dodds, R.
Arnott, M. Fowler (emigrated to Canada); T. Entwhistle (went to Muckamore
School); P. Diamond (went into business in Belfast); S. Spence (drowned at
Belfast); R. Shaw (went to Mealough School); T. Allen (went to Drumbo
School). In 1883 while the late Rev. Adam Montgomery was manager, Mr. T.
McGowan took charge. Since then many improvements were carried out. A new
school was erected in 1892, and supplied with modern furniture and
appliances. The late Rev. W. J. Warnock, B.D., Drumbo, who was at that
time manager, took a very lively interest in the work and helped very
considerably in getting the debt paid off. In 1910 Mr. Magowan was the
Principal and continued so for forty years. During that time the school
residence was built by voluntary labour. The preliminary arrangements were
carried out by the Manager who was the late Rev. James Irwin, M.A., Drumbo.
Mr. Magowan, the Principal, held concerts to raise money and wheeled sand,
bricks and stones to the site himself. Mr. George Wilson of Rowantree
House, Lisnastrean remembers his father carting stones and sand to build
Mr. Magowan was followed after his death by his daughter, Miss Magowan,
who came from Belfast and stayed thirty years. Miss Dornan followed and
stayed for two years. Mr. William McIlhinney came next staying for six
years before going on to Whitehead. During his time many further
improvements were made. A new wing was added to the back of the existing
school, incorporating inside toilets, a bookstore and caretaker's store.
The existing cloakroom was made into a servery with a hatch door into the
cloakroom. For many years water for the school was obtained from a pump
and it was not until 1968 that mains water was piped in. A large
playground was added, partly gravel and the remainder grass. Intermediate
schools came into being and one third of the pupils who were over eleven
were transferred to school in Lisburn. Miss Black came to Clougher
fourteen years ago with Mrs. Woods as her assistant. The school had
twenty,three pupils then and this was gradually built up to forty. Seven
years ago the school was scheduled for closure because the classrooms were
considered too small by modern standards but the Down County Education
Committee allowed the school to remain open until the Principal retired in
June 1974. The pupils were transferred to the neighbouring primary schools
of Largymore and Hillhall.
The children came to Clogher from a wide area because their mothers
preferred the family atmosphere and the fact that it was a country school
that most of them in their time had gone to. Few schools command such
a panoramic view as Clogher P.S. being built on a hill and overlooking
Hillsborough and Lisburn with the Antrim Hills in the background. The
disposal of the school rests with the trustees. There are the
possibilities of it being used as a hall, community centre or perhaps
being converted into a bungalow.
Whatever happens to it, many people owe their success today to the
dedicated teaching that went on within its walls during the 141 years of
BRIEF HISTORICAL GLIMPSES
about a selection of churches in our area compiled by the P7 Project Group
of Ravarnette Primary School with the help of local ministers whose
encouragement was greatly appreciated.
Originally named St. Thomas' Church. The foundation stone was laid in
1622. The church was burnt in 1641 and 1707. The burning of church and
town caused the name to be changed from Lisnagarvey to Lisburn. It became
the church of the founders of the Ulster Linen Industry.
SLOAN STREET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
This church had its origin as a result of the 1859 Revival. "A carpenter's
shop has played its part in the history of the Christian Gospel and
nothing has caught the imagination of men more than the fact that Jesus
Christ was a Carpenter's Son"-1955 Reopening Souvenir Book.
FIRST LISBURN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
This is one of the oldest Presbyterian Congregations in Ireland. It
existed in 1687. It is said that King William of Orange worshipped in it
while his troops were encamped at Blaris, on their way to the Boyne.
RAILWAY STREET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
This church was formed in 1860 and built in 1863.
SAINTFIELD ROAD CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Owes its origin to the Moorehead family who moved to Lisburn in 1870 from
Donegall Street, Belfast.
LISBURN METHODIST CHURCH
John Wesley visited Lisburn in 1756 and in 1774 the first Methodist Church
in Lisburn was built in Market Street.
LISBURN BAPTIST CHURCH
This congregation was formed in 1926 and the church was built in 1930.
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
There has been a Catholic community in Lisburn since A.D. 500 and the
present church was built in 1794.
ST. PAUL'S PARISH CHURCH
This is a very new, modern and beautiful church, only 11 years old. It is
very well attended. The Sunday before we visited it there were nearly 600
people at one service.
LEGACURRY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
This congregation began in 1841 when the Rev. Phineas Whiteside was
ordained as the first minister. The service was held in a field near the
present church and a farm cart was used as a pulpit and platform. The Rev.
Henry Cooke the famous Ulster preacher and leader preached at that
service. The church was built in 1843.
ALL SAINTS CHURCH EGLANTINE
The foundation stone was laid on the 27th June 1874 and was consecrated on
the 15th July 1875. This church will be celebrating its hundredth year or
Centenary this year. It was originally built by Miss Mulholland who lived
in Eglantine House.
HILLSBOROUGH PARISH CHURCH
This is the most historical of all the churches our group visited. There
is a stone near the main door which dates back to the 7th Century, a
beautiful Bible printed in 1685 and a famous travelling clock which has
travelled for over a hundred years all over Ireland.
HILLSBOROUGH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The church was opened for worship on the 29th December 1833 and a National
School was built beside it in 1856. In 1974 a new church hall costing
£32,000, a memorial to Mr. Orr, was opened by Miss Annie Johnston who is
93, and is the oldest member.
All these churches have a great and exciting history but neither time
nor space permits us to give them a full historical appreciation which
they deserve, we will leave that to the professionals.
by Effie Kinkead, Lorraine Fowler, Mandy Wilson,
Vanessa Penney, Howard Walker, Mervyn McVeigh,
George Long and Jonathan Hall.