Fort Of The O'Neills

Welcome to the website of Rushlight The Belfast Magazine, Belfast's oldest  historical publication. Est 1972 By Joe Graham

The Belfast History Man

There are many more photographs and information on this old Belfast district available to media/broadcasters etc in Rushlight Archives, contact Joe Graham 90626631

That Henry Joy McCracken, the United Irishman hid out, after the 1798 Battle Of Antrim, at Ligoniel for some time  during his month 'on the run'  is without doubt true and archives in my possesion show him to have stopped in two different places at Ligoniel.

Name the United Irishman and friend of Wolfe Tone who owned a business in Ligoniel.?

1852 Ardoyne, Ballysillan, Ligoniel Residents in Vicinity

Andrews, Michael, Ardoyne Royal Damask

Bell, Richard, Clearstream Cottage
Branagh, David, Averton Cottage
Dickson, Dr. S., Ballysillan Dispensary
Emerson, John, The Mountain
Ewart, William, jun., Wheatfield
Ferguson, Thomas, Greenville
McClelland, Henry, Ligoniel
James Bodel Flax Mill, Ligoniel

McCullagh, Rev. W. C., Ballysillan Presbyterian

Shaw, James, Glenbank
Shaw, John, Ballysillan House
Starke, Lieutenant, Ardoyne Cottage
Stevenson, John, Springfield
Teape, Rev. H., Shankhill Church
Manufacturers and Traders
Ardoyne Royal Damask Manufactory
Campbell, Mic., Bower's Hill Tavern
Carson, John, publican
Emerson, John, flax spinner
Ewart and Sons, flax spinners
Ferguson, Jn. S., & Co., bleach green
Hemsley, John, publican
Johnston and Carlisle, flax spinners
Ligoniel Flax Spinning Mill
Townley, J., Glenwood Tavern

St. Mark's church sign acts as a kind of 'border line' between the two ancient townlands Ballysillan and Ligoniel.

Naoise O'Haughan

A regular visitor to the glens and hills around Ligoniel would have been the famous Raparee Naoise O'Haughan whom I write about on another page here in my site, links are on the home page. I also have many files on the history of this ancient area which has such a brutal story to tell in Rushlight Archives available on request.

Ligoniel Tit Bits.

Where is the vanishing road at Ligoniel...what movie was partly filmed in Ligoniel.. where was 'The Hanging Tree' near Ligoniel.? Where in the area did Catholics hold secret Mass in the Penal Days, What nearby road hints that a Priest was located there. 


The Forgotten History Of Ligoniel

Looking down on Ligoniel and across Belfast from Wolf Hill so named it is said because this is where the last wolf in Ireland was killed.

Built in the late 1800's these houses were seen as a slight improvement on older houses, other houses in the area were  condemned in 1873 by Dr Robert Newett, Ligoniel’s Medical Officer, who complained that he had seen “newly erected houses which... Are not fit to afford shelter to domesticated animals, much less our fellow creatures”; in one single-storeyed cottage the floor of the back room was quite saturated with sewage matter from a privy outside, which quite easily soaked in through the flimsy four inch wall .


St. Vincent De Paul's Catholic Church Ligoniel. Built in 1852 on the site of a temporary Chapel.

 The Society of St. Vincent De Paul is an association of laymen who undertake to visit and assist the poor, and to instruct the
young in Sunday-schools. It was introduced into Belfast in 1850, and consisted at first of only 13 members. In 1851, they established
Sunday schools in St. Mary's and St. Malachy's churches ; also erected schools at Ligoniel, at an expense of £350. In 1852, they
established National schools in Chapel Lane, which have more recently expanded into the schools of St. Mary's Hall. In 1854, they
commenced a visiting society, the duty of which was to visit the houses of the poor on Sunday mornings, in order to induce the
children to attend the Sunday- schools, and to induce their parents and others to attend at Mass. In 1855, the society opened National schools in Alexander Street West ; and, in 1856, they opened National schools in Garmoyle Street, which subsequently expanded into the schools in Henry Street. The society still continues its charitable labours, and is now divided into several conferences, to each of which the Bishop has assigned a chaplain.

St. Mark's C-Of-I Ligoniel Road built in 1854 on land donated by Elizabeth May a local quarry owner.

The old Public Library at Ligoniel Road closed in June 2010, but that didn't stop the continued sighting of the Ghost of an oldish man standing in a distressed mode at the left hand front door.  On researching I have discovered  a 100 year old story that perhaps gives origin to the Ghostly sighting.  Even earlier ghostly sightinmgs have been seen nearby going back to the 'mid 1800's of the infamous  and much hated John Greg, a very interesting story . The library building had earlier been the local public baths. At one time the village housed a police barracks a court and an Orange Hall.

James Bodel's Flax Mill Dam at Ligoniel.

At one time there were no less than six mills operating in the Ligoniel area alone so it is no wonder that Belfast became known as Linenopolis.

Ligoniel Men Fined For 'throwing The Bullet'

100 years ago two young men named Joseph Hughes and Thomas Thompson were charged by Sub-Constable John Cleery, Ligoniel, with having been engaged in bullet-throwing in the neighbourhood of Oldpark on Saturday last. Constable Cleery stated that he was on duty at the time in plainclothes, and saw the prisoners committing the offence. The bullet (produced) was nearly striking him. Several complaints had been made against the practice, which was very frequent, and the children in the village of Oldpark could not go into the street without very great risk. He had sprained his wrist in trying to arrest the prisoners. Mr. Hamilton said he would make an example of the prisoners. He would therefore fine them each in 40s and costs, which was the extreme penalty. The constable deserved great credit for the manner in which he had brought the case before the Court.