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Bonamargy Friary (Bun na Mairge)


(Mouth of the river Margy)

History

The ruin of a Franciscan friary founded by Rory McQuillan about 1500 and used until the mid seventeenth century. One of the last friaries to be built before the Reformation, it was approached by a small, two-storey gate-house. The friary church, originally roofed with thatch, is long and rectangular, and retains much of a fine east window. Against the south wall is a fine McNaughten tomb of 1630, and a low, holed cross at the western end is traditionally said to mark the grave of Julia McQuillan, a recluse nun who lived here in the 17th century. There is also a sealed vault which contains the coffins of several MacDonnell chiefs most well known locally was Sorley Boy resting in his massive coffin. In 1584, the church was burned when Irish and Scots attacked English troops quartered here, but the friars continued to use the church throughout much of the 17th century.
There is a stairwell leading to the roof but be careful not to step on the thirteenth step as this will incur a misfortune. When you reach the roof you will find an excellent view over the surrounding golf course, but be aware that only a few hundred years ago this beautiful place would have been the scene of many a vicious battle between the MacDonnells and the MacQuillans and many a courageous warrior was slain here.

Location

The friary is situated on the edge of Ballycastle Golf Course on the east A2 coast road, easily within walking distance of Ballycastle seafront.

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