Ballycarry (town of the weir) is a short detour of approximately 1.5km from the Causeway Coastal Route (map reference), the Island Road from Islandmagee and Brown's Bay continues on up to Ballycarry. I would recommend a visit to the old church ruin of Templecorran, not only for its antiquity but also the fabulous view over the lough and Islandmagee.
Templecorran ruins which we see today date to around 1622 when it was rebuilt, the site is much older and dates to an early Christian monastic settlement. The first Presbyterian minister in Ireland Rev. Edward Bryce (Brice) preached here at the first Presbyterian Church in Ireland from 1613 to 1636, he is also interred within the church. In the Taxation of Pope Nicholas of 1306, the church of Lislaynan is recorded as being in repair, this is believed to be Templecorran.
Along with Ballynure, Templecorran was one of the churches that Jonathan Swift (Gulliver Travels) preached at in 1695 when he was made Prebend of Kilroot just fifteen days after his ordination. It was not a happy posting for a young man used to a more varied social life and with a burning desire to write. During the two winters he spent at Kilroot, he gained inspiration for future writings and tried his best to encourage worship. One story tells of him skimming stones on a lake on a Sunday to attract attention, when a few people turned up he preached to them in the open air.
The graveyard is not only picturesque, it contains the burial site of some interesting people who left an indelible mark on our history. One of those was the Ulster Weaver Poet James Orr,who was born here in1770 and became know as the Bard of Ballycarry. James was educated entirely by his elderly father and began writing in English and Ulster Scots from an early age. He was on the same par with Robbie Burns and had a unique gift to write the tongue he spoke. James Hewitt said of him 'he came from that time before the schoolhouse tamed their lively tongue'.
He early years followed the weaving trade of his father and wrote and became well know locally. When United Irishman paper, the Northern Star was published in Belfast he began contributing his poetry. In 1791 he joind the society and continued his writings as well as working in the weaving trade. In 1798 he marched with the Army of Ulster and took part in the Battle of Antrim. With the collapse of the rebellion he went into hiding but eventually gave himself up and was put in jail.
With no self confession and no evidence to prove treason he was released on condition he transport himself to America, which he did. He stayed there until an amnesty was announced and then returned home to Ballycarry around 1800, here he tried to enlist in the local yeomanry but was rejected when the local landlord remembered his part in the uprising.
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