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HISTORIC CEMETERIES WORTH VISITING...
In addition to the Blue Plaque trail, there are many gravestones
of interest from an Ulster-American perspective in the older
cemeteries of the borough.
The ruins of a medieval church can be seen just off the Low Road,
Islandmagee, and many of the gravestones inside the cemetery
relate to seafaring families long associated with this peninsula.
ST. JOHNS, ISLANDMAGEE
Situated amidst the tranquil beauty of lslandmagee, many of
the plots of families who trace their roots to the 17th century
settlement of the area can be found here. St. John's Parish
Church, around which the cemetery is sited, dates back over
Legend has it that the first people to be buried here were Danes,
who brought soil from Scandinavia so that they could rest in
their own soil. Whether true or not, locals say that the soil at
Ballypriormore is sandier than elsewhere in Islandmagee. Many
old gravestones are to be found in the cemetery, which is
accessed along a small lane just past Ballypriormore School.
This old cemetery at Ballycarry includes the ruins of Ireland's
first Presbyterian Church within its boundaries, as well as the
grave of the first Presbyterian minister in Ireland, Rev.
Edward Brice, who died in 1636. Some 50 graves of general
historical note are marked as part of the Templecorran
Cemetery Project and guided tours for groups can be
arranged by the Ballycarry Community Association, by
contacting Mrs. Dorothy Irvine, Telephone: (028 93)378868.
ST. JOHN'S, GLYNN
Situated south of the modern village of Glynn, it is said that
the church ruin there dates back to a foundation established
by St. Patrick. There are many old stones, including some
bearing coats of arms.
OLD RALOO CEMETERY
Access to this old cemetery is along a laneway from the
hamlet of Raloo. The ruins of what is believed to be an old
church are within the bounds of the cemetery, where many
armorial stones relating to early Scots families who settled
in the area in the 17th century can be found.
ST. CEDMA'S BURYING GROUND, LARNE
Located around St. Cedma's Parish Church, this is the oldest
of the burying grounds in the town, and among the families
associated with it are the Smiley's, who were prominent in
bygone years. Buried in the Smiley plot is Dr. James McHenry,
a local author who spent some time in the United States.
KILWAUGHTER CASTLE CEMETERY
Located at the now ruined castle of Kilwaughter, this area
has strong connections with the Anglo-Norman Agnew family,
and the cemetery has many stones of early families
associated with the castle and surrounding areas.
ST. PATRICK'S, CAIRNCASTLE
The parish churchyard of St. Patrick's, Cairncastle, is of
considerable historical interest. An old Spanish Chestnut
tree which can be found there is said to have grown from
a seed in the pocket of a sailor drowned off the coast during
the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588; legend has it that
his body was washed ashore and buried at Cairncastle.
Other interesting graves in the cemetery include that of
local clergyman and historian Rev. Classon Porter, who
once lived at nearby Ballygally Castle and whose tombstone
is in the shape of a Celtic Cross. Inside the church is a baptismal
font once used by Dean Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels.
McGAREL CEMETERY, LARNE
Sited off the Old Glenarm Road, this burial ground bears the
name of one of the town's benefactors, Charles McGarel, who
also built the Town Hall at Cross Street in the town. Among
the interesting graves in the cemetery is that of Henry McNeill,
regarded as the founder of the modern tourist industry in Ireland.
In many of these cemeteries can be found the graves of families
whose members emigrated to the United States.