Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Scenic Ulster Tuesday 2 - 25-5-10

Well, here we are above river Bann close to lough Neagh - this snap taken on the road between Randlestown and Portglenone, on my way to Kilrea Primary School.
2 x snaps above are of the viaduct in Randlestown Co. Antrim, it is an impressive sight as you drive through the town.

Originally called An Dun Mor - "the great fort" - Randalstown was named after the 2nd Earl and 1st Marquis of Antrim, Randal MacDonnell and has strong links to the O'Neill family. The original stronghold of Edenduffcarrick was built in the 16th century and changed ownership repeatedly until it was renamed Shane's Castle after the new owner, Shane Mc Brian O'Neill. The O'Neill family still reside within the castle and enjoy a prominent position in Northern Ireland.

In 1830 Randalstown was described as " chiefly one street extending for half a mile along the road from Toomebridge to Belfast.."By the end of the 19th century the town depended on the success of the industries based on the east bank of the river, including an iron works and the Old Bleach Linen Company which was established here in 1864.
The Charles Lanyon designed viaduct was built in 1856 to extend the railway from Randalstown to Cookstown.

In the late 1990's the top of the viaduct and part of the railway track were converted into a walkway and cycle path leading from Station Road to New Street. This development provides spectacular views of Randalstown, the River Maine and the adjoining parkland of Shane’s Castle.

The walkway on top of the viaduct links both sides of the community in Randalstown, from Station Road across to New Street. The opening ceremony for the recent works saw an Orangeman and a representative from the Ancient Order of Hibernians walk from opposite ends of the viaduct to meet in the middle.


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