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Ecclesiastical Sites
in Co Antrim.

 

Bonamargy Friary.
 

(Bun na Mairgie)

Lying to the east of Ballycastle town on the road to Cushendall is Bonamargy Franciscan Friary dating from the 15th century, the friary now stands in the middle of Ballycastle Golf course. The name is taken from the Irish 'Bun-na-Mairgie', which means "at the foot of the Margy"

Built by local ruler Rory MacQuillan who's clan was defeated by the MacDownell in the battle of Orra, 1559 thereby giving them control of the area.

Randal MacDonnell built a vault for the burial of his family in the Friary. The most famous of the MacDonnells Sorly Boy is buried here.

The name 'Bun na Mairgie' means mouth of the river Margie, this river once passed close to the friary, it was diverted by Hugh Boyd who did much to develop the town after the plantation.

For a detailed history of Bonamargy Friary and other sites in the area visit this page compiled by local man Robert Starr.

The churchyard of Bun-na-mairgie was the burial-place of the MacDonnells. The place, says Rev. George Hill, heaves with the MacDonnell dust. There were those who fell when James MacDonnell slaughtered the MacQuillins in Glenshesc at the battle of Aura. There were those who fell when Shane O'Neill overthrew Sorley MacDonnell and his brother James in 1665 at Glenshesc or Glentow. There were, too, those who fell around Bun-na-mairgie in 1584 when Sorley Boy and his followers repulsed Sir John Perrott and his followers. It is said that during this period heaps of bodies were carried there and left unburied for weeks until an opportunity came.

The text above is reproduced "Sketches of olden days in Northern Ireland" by Rev. Canon Forde visit this page to read the full article.

During the first and second World Wars several bodies of seamen were washed ashore around the north Antrim coast several of them are buried in a corner of Bonamargy Friary, these unknown seamen are remembered each year.

You will find some images Bonamargy Friary here.