Ballyeaston Co. Antrim
Ballyeaston The Most Bloody Village In Co. Antrim.?
By Joe Graham
A beautiful little village , but oh what a dark and bloody history
Once the home of an ancient Irish Catholic community with links to the great Irish Patron Saint himself, St. Patrick, who had a Holy Well in the village named after him
On the site of this deserted Protestant church once nearby stood the Irish Catholic Chapel which was destroyed during the murderous attack on the Irish in the 1600's, its people were barbarously murdered or send fleeing elsewhere for safety. The English later built the church above but they made the mistake of planting the area with Scottish Presbyterians who would not use the Anglican Church, so later the so called 'Church of Ireland', a name England chose for their churches in occupied Ireland. had the valuable roof removed and used on a church they build at nearby Ballclare. and so the church lies deserted today.
Those Scottish 'planters' were by faith , Presbyterian, a religion almost as hated by the English as Irish Catholics, however the Presbyterians soon had a church or 'meeting house' of their own. Pictured above in the background is the modern day Manse of the Presbyterian Church which during the 1798 rebellion had the infamous Rev.William Holmes as it's Minister. This unholy man declared war on his own people of the village and in that field in the forefront of the picture which is called "The Parade Field' , after the name of the Minister's House "Parade Manse" to this day,
Holmes took to gathering and drilling his own regiment of Yeomanry to attack his Presbyterian brethrern who had joined the ranks of the United Irishmen. The village at the time was staunchily involved in the struggle to establish an Irish Republic, free from England. After the unsuccessful rising the Yeomanry and the English Redcoats burned the village to the ground in their wicked vegeance. Holmes, the informer, continued in his post for many years before leaving to live in the nearby Islandmagee.
The Holy Well was used for a source of water right into the early 1900's but has since disappeared, alas nothing but a tiny sign marks it having ever been there, no sign marks the disappearred irish Catholic church or community.