Larne, Northern Ireland
Tonight, I am focusing on Larne, a town with a rich and varied history on the west coast of Northern Ireland. Population is about 20,000.
Today, Larne is an important ferry port with direct links to the West of Scotland. The Cairnryan to Larne crossing takes two hours and (subject to visibility) provides excellent views across the Irish Sea.
In order to allow visitors to connect with Larne’s long commercial and industrial history the local museum has established a Heritage Trail which includes:
- The Promenade with its early sea bathing facilities.
- Waterloo Lime Kiln.
- William Bald Memorial. ( Bald was a talented Scottish engineer from the 19th century.)
- Chaine Tower ( In memory of a local 19th century entrepreneur).
- Princess Victoria Memorial ( A passenger ship which sank with loss of 133 passengers in 1953.).
- Memorial to UVF ( paramilitaries) gunrunning in 1914.
- Larne Harbour, where a quay was first built in the early 1800s.
- Ferris Point Lighthouse. No longer in operation.
- Line of former narrow gauge railway and defunct industries associated therewith.
- Ballylumford Power Station, still in operation.
- Site of former shipbuilding yard.
- Ruins of Olderfleet Castle.
Another dimension to Larne is the Ulster American connection deriving from pioneer emigrants of the 18th century starting with a group of 52 passengers who sailed on the Friend’s Goodwill to Boston in 1717, a journey which took about 5 months. Many thousands followed in subsequent years to ports including New York, Philadelphia and Charleston.
There is an Ulster-American heritage Trail in Larne where visitors can inspect various plaques and memorials to Americans of Ulster descent including those specifically dedicated to: