Glendun - Glen of the river Dun

 

A beautiful and varied glen which descents from the  now farmed forest and tundra like slopes of Slieveanorra mountain down past deciduous and evergreen woodlands to Cushendun. The mountain of Crocknacreeva and Gruig Top form one side and Crocknamoyle and Crockaneel  the other. A small road follows the entire length of the glen from Cushendun to Bryvore bridge where it joins with the Glenaan road.  A Scenic Drive  loops off the main Causeway Coastal Route at Glenaan and takes in both glens with the drive either rejoining the main Causeway Coastal Route at the Glendun Viaduct or continuing on under the viaduct before eventually arriving in the small picturesque village of Cuhsendun.

 

The most unique feature of Glendun is the Charles Lanyon  bridge which was completed in 1839 when he was 26 years old, Lanyon would go on to become one of Ulster's best known architects with some exceptional buildings to his credit.   The Glendun Bridge is referred to as the viaduct due to its  'classic' design which is modelled on similar architecture,  it forms  three large arches, one over the glen road and the other the river Dun.  The stone for the bridge was quarried in the townland of the Layd and brought into Cushendun harbour by boat then by horse and cart to the construction site. The bridge was built as part of William Bald's Antrim Coast Road which started in 1832.

 

A road turns off at the bridge which takes you down to join the glen road that forms part of the Glendun/Glenaan Scenic Drive which can be joined in Cushendun or on the main Causeway Coastal Route at Glenaan.  The road  through Glendun is narrow, so if you do venture up or down it take care and drive slowly as it is a rural road used by both farm vehicles and animals, sheep would be quite common to see along the roadside.

 

It was Glendun that became a decisive factor in the McDonnell's defeat of the O'Neill's, McQuillans and two companies of English soldiers under the command of Captain Thomas Chatterton that had been sent from Dublin. The Battle of Orra in 1583 was the decisive battle in the lpower struggle between the clans during the 1500s. Under the cover of darkness and with superior local knowledge Sorley Boy McDonnell brought his force of lightly armed men across from Ballycastle and down through a steep valley into  Glendun where he followed the river up to Slievanorra, passing below the sight lines of his enemies camps.  During the night he strategically placed his camp and cut rushes which were lay on the ground to disguise the bogland between him and one of  his enemies camps, with the trap set he waited for daylight.

 

As morning broke his camp was revealed in what appeared to be a vulnerable position, the decision was made by O'Neill and Chatterson to send the heavy cavalry in to defeat the lightly armed McDonnells. They charged down the slope and straight into the trap set during night, what appeared like solid ground gave way under the horses and whole company became  stuck in bogland to their demise as the McDonnells moved in to  kill them. This effectively levelled the balance, when the muskets failed to fire in the damp morning air of the mountain the opposing forces fate was sealed and they retreated, Hugh O'Neill  was killed on Slievanorra, Rory McQuillan and Captain Chatterton fled the scene and were hunted down and killed, Rory McQuillan was found on the crannog at Lissanoure and Captain Chatterson was caught in the glen.