James Orr Plaque
Location: Ballycarry Village Green
James Orr, known as the Bard of Ballycarry, was the foremost of the Ulster Weaver Poets, and was writing contemporaneously with Robert Burns. The plaque commemorates the fact that he was one of many Ulster Presbyterians who fled to America after taking part in the ill-fated United Irish Rising in 1798. The Rising had as its impetus the Presbyterians of Belfast, who formed the United Irish Society in 1791.
Orr was to write of the preparations in the local area in June 1798 when pikes were brought out of concealment, wives made food for their husbands and sons to take to battle, but others hid away "like hens in byre neuks". The United Army of Ulster, of which he was a part, was defeated at the Battle of Antrim and after a time hiding from the authorities, Orr was fortunate enough to obtain passage on a ship to America. He remained there for a short time, earning a living by working in a newspaper, but returning to Ballycarry under an amnesty. He died in the village in 1816, an example of a homesick poet who had to return to the land of his birth.
An imposing monument to Orr, erected by local Freemasons, is sited in the adjacent Templecorran cemetery, and is one of the graves marked as part of the historical trail in the cemetery.