I never became really friendly with a pig.

Pigs collectively I liked, just as I liked hens and geese and sheep ; but I never singled out any individual as a special object of affection, as I have sometimes done with all the other species of animals on my uncle’s farm. I never knew a pig by name. Yet pigs rightly considered are attractive animals.

Common report deals hardly with them. To say that a man is as dirty as a pig is to insult the pig. For a pig is a clean animal when his master will permit him to be so. He does not dwell in his moist, insanitary piggery from choice, but loves sweet, dry straw, and spends much of his time perambulating the dunghill to which he is condemned, in search of such a bed. We misapprehend his efforts to attain personal purity, and hold him up to obloquy v/here we should rather approve.

The sow that returned to her wallowings in the mire was really seeking cleanliness. A fallible being will fail somewhere, Doctor  Johnson has pithily said. The sacred writer, inspired only about heavenly things, in the matter of pigs was little better than one of the foolish.

Nor have profane writers dealt more happily with them. There was an old copy of the Essays of Elia in our lumber-room, when I was ji boy. Even then I was a devoted Elian, but I could never quite forgive Lamb for his callous attitude towards sucking pigs. His heartless conceit about the roasted youngsters’ jellied eyes was to me disgusting. It was not worthy of the gentle Elia. He would not have been guilty of it had he ever stood, as I have done many a day for half-an-hour at a time, watching the engaging gambols of a young litter, seen best when fresh straw had been thrown them. There is no more charming picture of animal infancy. Here a roguish eye appears, there a moist shining disk of nose working anticipatively in the hope of provender that your coming has aroused. One sportive little chap seizes a long straw in his mouth and frisks off with it, champing his jaws in pretended relish, another shakes his head till his neck smacks with the long, silken ears, then parades round rakish, with one ear turned inside out. This moment they are all fun and gambol, one jumping over another, or two or three butting a comrade down and nosing him playfully ; the next they form a group before the door, eyeing you with inquiring gravity, then in a sudden impulse scatter diverse through the straw again, squealing in affected panic. There was better matter and more akin to the mild spirit of Elia in such a sight than in the horrid spectacle of a roasted innocent. He might have given us a chapter on tails, and shown us with infinite adornment of fancy how that little embellishment of one end of a pig can modify the character of the other end of him ; how the accident of a straight tail can throw a subtle suggestion of melancholy over a snub and cheerful coun- tenance, or a curly tail bestow a certain archness on a long, serious snout.

To an Irish boy Lamb’s transports over the flavour of sucking pig seemed unnatural and ghoulish. We Irish have a repugnance to immature meats. We do not reckon sucking pig among our dishes. I would as soon think of eating a baby.

But Charles was punished for his repulsive preference. He never knew pig at its best. He does not seem to have known the incom- parable lusciousness (he would have called it sapor) of stuffed pork fillets. From his remark about ” the rank bacon ” he can have enjoyed no breakfast dallyings with mild-cured Irish such as my Cousin Joseph — esteemed a connoisseur — used to deal out to me some morning after I had been storm-stayed at his house, accompanying the generous helping with his time-honoured joke that ” there was something better than Shakespeare.”

Yet it was bacon that prevented my ever having a pig for my friend. The butcher’s  knife hung suspended over the most captivating youngster of our rearing. ■ I could not bear to embark on a friendship of which the end must, inevitably be tragedy. I knew too well the warnings of doom, the straw scattered in the yard, the cauldron of boiling water, the beam in winter laid along the rafters of the barn, in summer resting on two branches of the great ash tree — ^the sledge hammer and cord. Already I saw the carcasses hideously suspended. It was no mere porcine tragedy that my imagination bodied forth. Romance and history swelled the scene. Perhaps the Great Marquis had met his pitiful fate ; or I was in the Middle Ages, and Villon and his associates hung pendent from the gallows.

But had I been transported back to a sterner century, I could never have made one of the jeering crowd at a gallow’s foot. When our dog Keeper’s furious baying told me that Pat D -, the pig-sticker, was at hand, I fled to my bedroom and remained there with muffled ears till the execution was over in all its grisly details. I only once emerged from my retreat before the carcasses were cleaned and hung up ; it was because I wished to know exactly what happened to Vich Ian Vohr and Evan Maccombich after they drove off from Waverley on the hurdle ; and I wish I hadn’t done it. Ever afterward Pat D was to me ” a horrid fellow as beseemed his trade.” He perceived my distaste for him ; and being a kindly man, as I know now, and fond of children, used to propitiate me with bladders. But a pig’s bladder makes a lopsided football, with no accuracy of flight. I had little pleasui-e in Pat’s gifts, and wasn’t softened towards him. My emotions of horror were transient. Before nightfall I was looking forward eagerly to next morning’s drive to the pork-market ; that is, if I had obtained permission to accom- pany old Tom Brogan, who as a steady, faithful retainer of thirty years standing and more was generally trusted to sell our pork. The best market was nine miles away. To arrive in time it was necessary in winter that the cart should leave our house about five o’clock. It was the only early rising that was ever pleasant to me. But everything connected with it was full of novelty and charm. On such a morning a little boy might wash in the most perfunctory fashion un- reproved. Then there was the delight of having breakfast in the kitchen with Tom Brogan, and mopping up my bacon-gravy with crusts, and cooling my tea in the saucer, just as he did. For our maid-servants were always too sleepy to reprove my breaches of table manners, and my aunt, conscious of the undress beneath her shawl, issued her in- structions to Tom in a series of hoverings round the kitchen door, but never ventured in. I had my tea strong those mornings and ate twice as much breakfast as usual, and in half my usual time, the latter part of the meal degenerating into mere cramming as my uncle’s muffled roars from upstairs became more insistent. When I had gulped down the last possible mouthful of tea — the hottest one— I was pounced upon by our maid and wrapped in such superfluity of mufflers that it became necessary to shake the breath half out of my body before my overcoat would button. Then I mounted the box-seat of the stage-coach — for I was generally Tom Brown going to Rugby on such occasions — and off we went.

I shall never forget those early morning drives, though I cannot recall the details of any one of them. They are all compounded into a single experience. There is the sen- sation of darkness and intense cold. The lantern shadows wheel slowly on the trees as our yard boy lights us down the avenue. The lantern hangs in the air without human agency as I look behind me and call good-bye. The ice crashes under our wheels ; our horse snorts and clatters as he mounts the hill, fearful of the frozen road. We emerge from the trees, and there a pale moon is hanging strangely in the west. Presently we settle down to a steady jog. A phantasmagoria of tree and hedge shapes passes sleepily before my eyes. Across the fields sounds the rattle of another cart, bound as I know, on a like errand with ourselves. Another and another is heard as we draw near the four roads. The countryside is filled with the soothing murmur of innumerable carts, all going to D pork-market. I am lying on the straw and Tom Brogan is covering me with a rug. I peer drowsily over the edge of the cart ; we are one of a long procession of carts. Trees and houses are taking on colour ; here and there a lighted window gleams warmly in the pallid dawn. I close my eyes ; and next moment I am staggering on numbed feet in the pork-market of D , and Tom Brogan is peering into my face and asking me if I am sure I am awake.

Row upon row of carts fill up the market square. I scamper in and out, and am dis- concerted to find that our pigs are not the wonders of the pork world I thought them. I hurry back to warn Tom. He is surrounded by several sharp -faced men with pencils and note-books. They are pork- buyers, city men ; the name of a great bacon- curing firm in Belfast is mentioned. I feel myself a country boy, and am abashed before them, and forbear to warn Tom. But I fume with anxiety when he refuses the offered price, and know in my heart he is making a mistake, and that we shall return home ignominious with our pigs unsold. I cannot bear the strain, but go off again among the carts, and am diverted from my anxiety by observing, rather to my disgust, sundry ol boys from our school enjoying a holiday pork-market day. I return to our cart. ‘ pigs* are sold. I am delighted with success ; but feel that Tom took great ri and wonder at his nerve.

Then Tom and I go to what he calls eating-house, and I have steak and oni( and strong tea again, and fresh bread thicker slices than I had ever seen bef( and do not die of it all as I should now, hurry off to buy sweets with the sixpe that Tom has been authorised to give i and to watch the roulette table, and the n with three thimbles and a pea. I perct that this last is a simple fellow, and am sc I have spent my sixpence, and suggest a 1 from Tom ; but he tells me such men h the Black Art, and that I would only 1 my money ; so I press him no more, avoid evil, and pass on to the Aunt Sally

But my early rising begins to tell on i My appetite for pleasure is dulled soo than usual. I begin to have a curii sensation that all the movement around is happening in a dream. Besides, I anxious to get home again, to tell everyb( how well Tom and I have sped in i marketing. So when the cart is ready I cli in willingly enough. I feel a little sad on homeward journey. It is probably the st and onions ; but I do not know that, I think I am sorry about the dead pigs. When I have had my supper, I go to look at the empty piggery, and feel really sorry when I remember its departed occupants, their tumultuous rush to the gate when they heard my footsteps, their cheerful upraised snouts and interrogative gruntiftgs, their luxurious submission to my scratching of their backs with the handle of the yard shovel. These were the nearest approaches to friendship I ever made with our pigs. On the evening of pork-market days I was always sorry I had gone so far.


Ballymena Historic Timeline

7000-3500 BC The Mesolithic period is not apparently represented in the sites around Ballymena. Settlements of this period do not leave surface traces.

4000-600 BC Like the Mesolithic period, houses of the Neolithic and Bronze Age were still mainly of wood or wicker. Archaeological finds include a range of metal objects including bronze axes, palstaves, bronze heads and a gold dress fastener. A Standing Stone in Town Parks was apparently destroyed during he building of the towns workhouse.

450-1150AD The first recorded Irish history of the Ballymena area dates to the Early Christian period of the 5th and 7th centuries. Raths found in Ballykeel and a site called Camphill Fort in Ballee may also have been of this type. There are a number of souterrain sites within a 2km radius of the centre of Ballymena. Two miles north of Ballymena in the Townland of Kirkinriola the ancient parish church and graveyard possess several indicators of Early Christian settlement including a souterrain. Also in 1868, a gravedigger found a large stone slab on which was carved a cross with the inscription oa do degen. This refers to Bishop Degen who lived in Ireland during the 7th century.

480AD A church was founded in Connor, 5 miles south of Ballymena. Followed by a monastery at Templemoyle, Kells.

831AD The Vikings invaded the Ballymena area, burning the Church at Connor.

900-1100 AD The Petty Kingdom of the DalnAraide (Mid Antrim) was conquered by the Ui Tuirtre led by the OFlynns

1177AD In 1177AD and 1178 AD the OFlynns defeated and repelled the Earl of Ulster, John de Courcey.

1315AD Edward Bruce (brother of Robert Bruce, King of Scotland) invaded Ireland. On 10th September 1315, at the Battle of Tawnybrack (5 miles south of Ballymena at Kells) he fought against and conquered the army of Richard De Burgo, the Anglo-Norman Earl of Ulster.

1177-1205AD The Anglo-Normans led by John De Courcy conquered much of Antrim and Down and created the core of the Anglo-Norman Earldom of Ireland. During this campaign they built great mounds of earth topped by wooden towers, referred to as Mottes, as defensive structures. Harryville Motte and Bailey is one of the best examples in Northern Ireland of this type of fortification. Some sources, however, credit the O’Flynns with building the Mid-Antrim mottes and baileys in imitation of the invaders. In 1177AD and 1178AD the O’Flynns temporarily defeated and repelled the Earl of Ulster, John de Courcey.

1300s AD The ONeills of Clann Aodh buidhe (Clandeboy) crossed the River Bann from Tyrone and conquered the Ui Tuirtre in mid Antrim.

1368AD The last person to claim to be king of the Ui Tuirtre was killed. The OFlynns fled into the Ard, along with the Anglo-Normans of south Antrim.

mid 1400s AD South and mid Antrim was known as Lower or northern Clandeboye.

1576AD Queen Elizabeth I granted land, including the town of Ballymena, to Sir Thomas Smith. The lands had been forfeited to the crown after Shane ONeills rebellion in the 1560s. Smith brought English settlers to the area.

1581AD Smiths English settlement failed. The Lands were reverted to the crown.

1605AD An inquisition of 1605 divided the territory of northern Clandeboye; Ballymena lay in the division known of Clanagherty (Clanagherty consisted of the parish of Kirkinriola and the small part of the original parish of Ahoghill.

1607AD On 10 May 1607AD King James I granted the native Irish chief, Rory Og MacQuillan the Ballymena Estate. The estate passed through several owners, eventually passing into the possession of William Adair, a Scottish laird from Kinhilt in South-Western Scotland. The estate was temporarily re-named Kinhilstown after the Adairs lands in Scotland.

1600s AD The original castle of Ballymena was build in the early 17th century, situated to take advantage of an ancient ford over the River Braid, at the south-west end of Castle Street.

1626AD King Charles I confirmed the grant of the Ballymena Estate to William Adair, giving him the right to hold a market at Ballymena on every Saturday.

1641AD The local Ballymena garrison fought against the rebels but had to retreat to Carrickfergus, leaving the rebels to drive out refugees at Clough.

1669AD The hearth rolls indicate 106 houses at Ballymenoch

1684AD Ballymenas first market house (on the site of the present town hall) was built.

1690AD The Duke of Wurtemburg, a Williamite General uses Galgorm Castle as his headquarters. Sir Robert Adair raises a Regiment of Foot for William III and fights at the Battle of the Boyne

1704AD Population of Ballymena reached 800

1707AD Kirkinriolas first Protestant (Church of Ireland) parish church was built.

1740AD The original Ballymena Castle was burnt down

1765AD The founding of Gracehill Moravian settlement

1783AD Ballymena is one of nine leading markets for the sale of brown linen in Ulster with sales of 100,000 in this year

1798AD During the 1798 rebellion, Ballymena was occupied from 7th to 9th June by a force of around 10,000 United Irishmen, who stormed the Market House (now the Town Hall) killing three of its defenders.

1827AD Consecration of the first Roman Catholic Church in Ballymena.

1831AD Fairhill market was built by William Adair.

1834AD The population of Ballymena grows to 4,063.

1843AD Ballymena Workhouse was opened for reception of paupers on 17 November 1843.

1845AD The Potato Famine starts to affect Ballymena.

1848AD Belfast and Ballymena Railway established.

1854AD A Board of Town Commissioners was set up to administer the growing town.

1865AD Robert Alexander Shafto Adair erected Ballymena Castle, a magnificent family residence, in the Demesne. The Castle is not completed until 1887. A consortium of local businessmen established the Braidwater Spinning Company.

1883AD The first Ballymena Agricultural Show was held in the Fairhill.
Late 1800s AD Sir Alexander Shafto Adair (who later became Lord Waveney) noted the Seven Towers old Parish Church, St. Patricks Church of Ireland, First Ballymena Presbyterian Church, All Saints Roman Catholic Church, Old Town Hall, Braidwater Spinning Mill and Ballymena Castle. Unfortunately only three towers now remain; Old Parish Church, St Patricks Church of Ireland and All Saints Roman Catholic Church.

1900AD Ballymena assumed urban status.

1904AD The Adairs disposed of most of their Ballymena estate to the occupying tenants, under the provisions of the Irish Land Act of 1903.

1915AD Waveney Hospital completed.

1919AD The old town hall building, which also contained the post office and estate office, burned down.

1924AD The Duke of York laid The Foundation Stone to the new town hall on 24 July 1924.

1928AD The new town hall was officially opened on 20th November 1928.

1937AD The Urban District Council petitioned for Borough status and the Charter was granted in December 1937.

1939AD The first meeting of Councillors, as a Borough Council was held on 23rd May 1939. The population of Ballymena reaches 13,000

1948AD Closure of Ballymena Workhouse.

1953AD The Borough of Ballymena was granted armorial bearings, based on the Seven Towers.

1950s Ballymena Castle was demolished.

1973AD The Urban and Rural District Councils were merged to create the present Borough Council.

1989AD Closure of the Fairhill Market.
1994AD Closure of the Waveney Hospital.
1998AD Closure of the Braidwater Mill.

2008AD Opening of The Braid, Ballymena’s new Town Hall, Museum and Arts Centre

O m’anam – From the heart

Navan Fort. Macha Ulster’s ancient capital 



Celtic Inhabitants of Britain

Why did we lose our Language ?

The first inhabitants of the British Isles were not English speakers at all. They were part of an ethnic grouping known as the Celts.

However, not many Celtic loan words survived to become a part of Anglo-Saxon English. The Old English word rice–a noun meaning “kingdom” (cf. Ger. Reich), is almost certainly Celtic in origin, but this word was probably adapted by Germanic tribes on the continent long before the Anglo-Saxons settled in Britain. A few other Old English words such as ambeht (“servant”), and dun (“hill, down”) might be Celtic loan-words, but scholars are still uncertain. Algeo (277) suggests about a dozen other Celtic words are probably genuine borrowings from the Celtic peoples during the Anglo-Saxon period, including these mostly archaic terms:

bannuc (“a bit”)
binn (“basket, crib”)
bratt (“cloak”)
brocc (“badger”)
cine (“gathering of parchment leaves”)
clugge (“bell”)
dry (“magician”)
gabolrind (“geometric compass”)
luh (“lake”)
mind (“diadem”)
The Anglo-Saxons borrowed these words and used them for a few centuries, but these later fell out of common use. They simply didn’t “stick” linguistically.

In general, two types of Celtic loan words were likely targets of permanent Anglo-Saxon adaptation before the Norman Conquest:
(1) Toponyms or place-names. For instance, Cornwall, Carlisle, Avon, Devon, Dover, London, and Usk are all originally Celtic names. Other places like Lincoln and Lancaster are semi-Celtic in origin; i.e., they have a -coln ending that originally comes from Latin colonia or a -caster ending that originally comes from Latin castra via Celtic ceaster, which were Latin loan words the Celts borrowed from the Romans, but which in turn the Anglo-Saxons adopted as loan-words from Celtic languages. Many Celtic toponyms are hidden in the first syllable of other modern names, such as the first syllable of Lichfield, Worcester, Gloucester, Exeter, Winchester, and Salisbury. Other general geographic features–cumb (a combe, a valley) and torr (projecting hill or rock, peak, as in modern Glastonbury Tor)–attach themselves to a large number of place-names.

(2) Latin words the Celts borrowed from Rome, which were in turn borrowed by the Anglo-Saxon invaders–including words like candle (Latin candelere, “to shine”) and ass (Latin asinus).

Possibly the word cross and the verb cursian (which gives us and the Anglo-Saxons the ability “to curse”) were originally Celtic words–though cross may have been borrowed from the Old Norse. Less used today, the word “anchorite” comes from Celtic ancor (“hermit”).

Ironically, the largest number of Celtic borrowings occurred not during the Anglo-Saxon period, when the Angles and Saxons first lorded it over the conquered Celts, but they occurred centuries later during the Middle English period. Algeo notes these Johnny-come-lately Celtic terms include Scots Gaelic words–such as clan and loch. In the 17th century or thereafter, Scots Gaelic also offered words like bog, cairn, plaid, slogan, and whiskey. Welsh words like crag also appeared at about this time. In the 17th century, Irish Gaelic offered English words such as banshee, blarney, colleen, and shillelagh. More recently, words like cromlech and eisteddfod have entered English from Welsh as well (277), leading up to perhaps a couple hundred Celtic loan words if we generously count second- and third- hand borrowings of originally Celtic words imported from Romance languages like French, Italian, and Spanish sources later in the Renaissance.

Source http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/hist_celts.html


Behold I make all things new

Is baolach…Unfortunately.. or hádhúil… Fortunately

Ni lia duine na tuairim…Everyone has their own opinion

Onwards thru the fog

Time to wake up